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Shoulder Saga Part 2

Shoulder Saga Part 2
17-19 Dec 2003

“No!  How the hell can he be better when last night he was groaning with pain?  This is not an age of miracles!”
        —Master Harold and the Boys by Athol Fugard

17 December, Windhoek

We’re down in Windhoek now. Last week my shoulder went from “somehow ok” to “this is really bad.” So I called the Peace Corps to try and get some more therapy, thinking I just needed to jump start my shoulder again. It had gotten really stiff and painful, to the point where I had trouble sleeping at night. My shoulder constantly felt like it would dislocate whenever I tried to move it. Plus, it’s been over a month and half since I dislocated it, so if it was going to get better on it’s own, it would have by now I should think.

We left Ekulo on Tuesday morning and a six hour bus ride from hell later, we arrived here in Windhoek. Actually, the bus ride would have been fine if it didn’t feel like my arm was going to fall out every time we went over a bump (which was the entire latter 3 hours of the trip). I had a doctor’s appointment this morning because Clara said I couldn’t have more therapy until the doctor said it was ok. So I explained how my arm felt to the good doctor and he simply said, “Yeah. Muscles won’t fix that. You need surgery.”

And at this point, I agree. In the beginning, I thought my arm would get better, but it has clearly only gotten worse and worse. It really needs glued back together or something. So Clara is sending the orthopedist’s report saying I need surgery to DC this afternoon along with a request to medi-vac me. Meaning that I will probably be on a plane to DC in the next few days and will hopefully receive surgery sometime thereafter. All this is somehow complicated by the fact that my non-disclosure case is still up in the air, but I guess they will now have to decide soon. In fact, my whole life is up in the air. At least Zac is down here with me this time, so we can wait it out together. If they do medi-vac me, he’ll probably stay here, at least for a little while to see what is going to happen with me–and if there’s any chance of my return to Namibia.

So, despite the fact that in all likelihood my Peace Corps service is shortly coming to an end, we’re just trying to enjoy ourselves here in the capital city. We have nice accommodation at a guesthouse called “Rivendell” much to Zac’s delight. Another volunteer and her fiancĂ© were staying there as well so last night we stayed outside on the big porch playing euchre and spades with them. Tonight we’re going to see the final Matrix movie. And then after that maybe the significance of all this will catch up to me and I’ll begin the grieving process. I think I’m still in denial right now.

Since we’re in Windhoek, I’ll have access to e-mail so I will let you know as soon as I know anything. We’re just waiting to hear from Washington.

And I know it’s silly to ask such questions, but it’s always there in the back of my mind: Why did this happen now? But it’s best not to torment myself with such questions.

Love always, Sera

19 December, Windhoek

Zac went back to the north today to get my shoes. I packed my passport and a warm hooded fleece, but I couldn’t pack my shoes and socks. I believed that as long as I only had my sandals, my feet would have to remain in Africa. Such is the rationale of a mind ruled by denial. I’m trying to move towards acceptance though, and that involves packing lots of warm clothes, and shoes.

My shoulder is not really in pain anymore. I’ve had three sessions of therapy where they do some nice massaging, and then ultra-sound therapy and some electrical stuff. I still can’t move it very well and it feels like it will fall out every time a taxi goes over a bump or around a sharp turn. Now all of my suffering is mental and emotional. 

Zac and I spend a lot of our time discussing the future and all the different scenarios of what could happen. He wants to stay, to get the school computer lab up and running. If he stays, and I get kicked out of The Peace Corps, I’ll be a free citizen. So I figure there’s really nothing to prevent me from just getting on a plane and coming back on my own. That’s my optimistic plan. I won’t go into the pessimistic ones where I’m a washed-up, broken, jobless ex-volunteer roaming the streets of America trying to find someone who is interested in how Okonkwo’s fears controlled his actions throughout the novel Things Fall Apart in 350-500 words.

Well, have a nice weekend everyone.

Love Sera

click here to read my “near-death experience”, a creative rendition of this time

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