16 March 2009

In Which, Clara has a bicycling accident and spends the night in a Tuscan hospital

I fell off my bike (and I feel really stupid about it).

Four friends and I were in Chianti for a day to bike around to different towns and do some wine tasting. After biking from Greve to Panzano (about 6 miles?), I started going too fast on the road. A car came out of nowhere and scared the hell out of me. I can't exactly remember what happened, but the next thing I remember, I'm on the ground with my friends all around me. There was a lot of blood down my front and on the road. Luckily, I was with a woman who was an experienced doctor and she used a first aid kit to tape up my chin which had torn open (I didn't realize how bad it was until much later). The two Italian guys in the car stopped and were super nice and took me and one of my friends to a medical center in Greve.

At the medical center, they poured some sort of antibiotic wash on all of the gashes on my arms which (really, really) hurt and told me that I needed immediate medical attention for my chin. The two Italians drove me to a hospital in a town called Figline Valdarno. I think I was in shock the whole time and luckily, was more uncomfortable than in pain.

At the Figline hospital, no one spoke ANY English, but I was cleaned up and got stitches on my chin. Because I didn't remember exactly what happened, they insisted that I stay the night. All in all, I got a LOT of blood taken for tests (two times from my inner wrists, which hurt SO MUCH), X-Rays, MRI, ultrasound, and vaccination against tetanus (sp?)

Everyone at the hospital was SO nice and they were so patient with my Italian. As awful and lonely and scary as it was, it was also kind of an amazing experience. I somewhat got over my fear of speaking with errors and the language seems to be flowing a bit more easily now. (And in one particularly embarrassing moment, I couldn't manage off my bra to get an X-Ray and the cute medical doctor needed to do it for me. I thought I was going to DIE. But he was super professional, for which, I will be forever grateful. Oh yeah, and I had to take my pants off in front of him too. Fantastic.)

The doctors wanted to keep me another night, but I just wanted to go back to Florence. I have to go back next week to get my stitches removed, but for now, I think I'm okay. I just look like such a mess. I can't take any showers, so I think I will make a visit to a hair salon and ask them to wash my hair for me. I can't really chew, so I've been feeding myself bananas with a teaspoon.

Haha, I'm torn between feeling sorry for myself and being excited about my new-found freedom with speaking the language. And even though it has only been two weeks, my roommates have been so amazing and patient with me. Not to mention what a great conversation starter my face has now become.

My computer also broke down again, so my updates via email and this blog are going to be coming a LOT more slowly.

I was hoping to spend today updating with pictures of Chianti which is really beautiful and enchanting, but I guess thats not going to happen.

Things that I have learned this weekend:

1. I finally found out where all the cute, non-greasy Italian guys have been hiding (they all work at the hospital).

2. I will always, always wear a helmet while biking (the front of my helmet was crushed from my fall). Although, I don't know when I will ever get on a bike again after this.

3. I am so thankful that it was my chin that I hit on the ground and not my teeth. Or for that matter, it was my right cheekbone that was gashed and not my right eye, which is about 1/2 inch away from blue/purple-ness.

4. Italians are generous and friendly and patient. Especially with me, the stupid American girl who fell off her bike. :(


trace said...

oh no!!! clara, be careful! we need you back in one, healthy piece. will be praying for your speedy recovery :]

Anny said...


Take pictures of your injuries!

January said...

OMGGGGGG, my jaw was down to the floor reading this...

and I'M SO SORRY, but i was also cracking up about the whole bra and pants off thing in front of cute dr.

yet another story to add to your already fabulous list.

ps. PLEASE take pictures of your red badges of courage.

pps. oh, most importantly, I'M SO GLAD you're ok.


lauralim said...

PICTURES! PICTURES!! I'm referring to the wounds not Italian countryside. (I am insensitive)

Pictures of the italian doctors too.


Love Laura

Winston said...

wowww, crazy.

good to know you are safe and sound though!

Kayoung said...

Eeeek. Chin tear. :( But glad you're doing well now! 'Cute medical doctor.' Haha.

manny said...

clara! heal quickly! oh no for bike accidents.

xangelangeex said...

please be safe! i can't even imagine how terrifying it was for you to have experienced all this in a foreign country... but i'm so so so glad you're OK & that you got to look at some eye candy while you were at the hospital ;)

ps. i have a scar on my chin from when i fell & had stitches when i was young... we match! HAHA

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a pseudo grown-up: book lover, wanderlust-er, sometimes photographer, blog follower, coffee drinker, dessert baker (and eater), music listener, Italian learner, storyteller, story writer