Everything in the universe has something to say about consequences:
– Mom: You will have to pay for your actions, so be careful! There are always consequences!
– God/The Bible: You reap what you sow.
– Newton’s Third Law: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
So you see, all around us somebody or something is there to remind us of what could happen…I’ve got two stories to share. One’s pretty long, so bear with me. You also have my permission to laugh at any time, because I find some elements to be rather humorous myself.
I learned this whole consequence thing pretty well a few weeks ago. I was playing fútbol with some of the girls from my “hogar” (my section/group). I was wearing an older pair of Tevas that are just a tad too big, so running around made me look, sound, and feel like a duck, so I took my shoes off and proceeded to play barefoot on the concrete. You know where this story is going, don’t you?
Naturally, I fell. It wasn’t anything magical or horrific, but when I stood up, a puddle of blood was quickly forming at the base of my pinky toe. I washed it off at one of the nearby spigots, but since I couldn’t put my shoes back on and walk because of the location of the wound, I hobbled to the clinic, trying not to get it dirty. The nurse cleaned it and put a big white bandage and tape all around it.
Ground zero – where it all began.
The next day, the girls, Tía Silvia, and I went to the river. To get there, we walked through the corn fields and then through the cow pastures. Mind you, I hate wearing tennis shoes and socks, but since I had a bandage covering my wound, I decided it was okay to go gallivanting through the fields in open-toed shoes (a different pair of Tevas this time!) At some point, the bandage came loose. It wasn’t flopping around open leaving my wound exposed, but the damage was noticeable. Now you definitely should know where the story is going…
The next morning, I woke up with more than mild pain in my foot. Walking wasn’t fun, but I managed. Little by little though, my bravado wore off with each step. Not only did my foot hurt just by itself, but walking was a Herculean effort. I started limping. I wanted to go and just sit down, but I was in the school and since the teacher I assist was gone (for the entire week!), I couldn’t leave. I had class! I was really looking forward to going to work in the office in the afternoon, because that meant I could sit down for 4 hours. After lunch, my boss convinced me to go to the clinic. She was right in saying that you never know what could be wrong. Better to get it checked out now rather than have negative long-term effects.
After talking with the doctor, she told me that my foot was infected. That was not at all what I was expecting her to say. I was hoping for something like a sprain or break…not an infection. That stuff is scary! If she noticed my face turn pale (or should I say, paler than usual, haha), she didn’t say anything to me. She kept touching my foot too, which hurt a lot. At one point I thought I was going to be sick. I couldn’t surmise whether it was because of the pain or because of what she told me.
Oh hey look! I’m infected. (Also, ignore my ridiculous tan lines. The price you pay wearing Tevas every day in the sun…)
Anyhow, my directions were to go to the clinic twice a day to change the bandage, and I had to take antibiotics for 5 days. After the antibiotics were over, the doctor was going to put on a special 3-day patch to help the skin regrow. Within 2-3 days the pain went away. The only kink in the recovery process was that the patch was delayed by a few days because of something in the wound. I still haven’t figured out what the problem was. Finally, the patch was put on, and I was told that I absolutely could not get it wet. With the bandages, I didn’t worry because after I showered, I went straight to the clinic. Now all of a sudden, I had to rethink showering. I wasn’t about to go 3 days without bathing. That wouldn’t be good for anyone. So showering was a “fun” and ridiculous chore.
The patch was taken off only to show that the wound had closed just a little. So they put on another one, which was a surprise. Yay, more time of awkward showering! Yay more time that I couldn’t go out in the rain! (I got trapped a few times at dinner and at the office in the afternoons.) After the second patch, the wound was mostly closed, so I only went back to have regular bandages put on. Finally, after a little over 2 weeks, the wound on my foot closed. It took another week or so for the scab to go away.
Why tell you all of that? Well, because I don’t know how to tell stories without making them incredibly long. But from playing fútbol barefoot, I encountered many consequences and have learned a lot. For one thing – Moms are always right. We should play with real shoes on. Another is that we humans are rather delicate, at least it seems that way to me. One tiny, quarter-sized scrape on my foot made me miserable. I couldn’t walk or move my foot without being in pain. When it was raining and I had to be outside, I often wore a black trash bag around my foot because I couldn’t wear my tennis shoes (oh the irony, right?), which was a humongous source of embarrassment and laughter. I was worried for some time about the serious health consequences from an infection. I kept thinking about that girl in the news that had the flesh-eating…thing. I was also worried about what might happen that might prevent me from staying here in El Salvador. The foot story is incredibly long for a reason. Sometimes when we want simple fixes for seemingly insignificant problems, we get much more than we bargain for.
Almost 4 weeks after the infamous injury…
The second story is short. The moral of it is: if you suspect that something is lurking in a dark space – like a hole – where you can’t see well or see at all, don’t put your hand in it. For me, things had seemed awry for a few days preceding my incident, so I doubly should’ve known better.
I noticed that a hole had formed between two stacks of clothes in my closet. Against better judgment, I put my hand in the hole and felt something weird. I started pulling out all of my clothes, trying to find that “thing.” I pulled out a pile of shorts and saw something scurry. Turns out it was scorpion! I finally shook it out of the shorts and killed it. In the end, those 20 minutes were some of the most terrifying I’ve ever had in my life. So listen here kids, don’t put your hand in dark places.
I could very well have put on a pair of shorts THAT HAD A SCORPION CRAWLING AROUND. Think about that the next time you put on any article of clothing. You never know what may be lurking in your shorts, so you might wanna check them before you put them on…