Sunday, August 02, 2015

An unexpected journey.

So I've been away from this blog for a super-long time this time, which is ironic because I have kind of an interesting story to share on it - but I haven't been able to.

In April, Husband and I went on our usual spring vacation in Cuba. Cayo Largo, to be exact, the tiny key that has become our home away from home after repeated visits. The trip was for two weeks, and it was to be a much, much-needed break after a dreadful winter that saw us pounded and pounded with metres of snow. It was also to be a rest and reprieve for both of us after the devastating unexpected loss in March of my mom-in-law.

We arrived in Cuba on the evening of April 11. We spent the evening greeting staff at the resort, many of whom we've gotten to know over multiple visits. We spent the evening in the lobby bar, retired to bed, and got up excited to begin our two week vacation.

By 3pm, I had fallen and broken my left shoulder.

We went to the clinic in the workers' village on the cayo and were seen by the resident doctor. He x-rayed it using a machine that surely dates to before the revolution. He didn't have a lot of English, but one of the nurses helped, and a little while later our (Cuban, fluent in English) rep from our tour company turned up. (How? The hotel must have phoned him - we didn't even think to do so.)

It was definitely broken and the doctor was pretty certain it was going to need surgery. It was suggested that we might want to go to Havana and have the surgery done there. We considered it, but my past health issues mean any time I go under general anesthesia I am at increased risk, and our very limited Spanish meant we didn't feel we could make informed decisions. So we told the HolaSun rep that we wanted to go home as soon as possible to deal with it here. That distressed him a little; there were no flights out of Cayo Largo for a week, and even if we hopped over to Havana on a plane to try to find from there, all the flights to Canada from Havana were pretty much fully booked. Furthermore, Havana was seeing a significant uptick in bookings due to increased visits by Americans under the relaxed travel restrictions and the city was pretty solidly full. We still said we'd like to at least try.

The clinic visit, x-ray, a shot of morphine, and the bandaging of the arm to my chest for travel resulted in a fee of  $112 CUC (Cuban convertible pesos). That is about $145 CAD or $111 USD today, and our dollar was about 10 cents stronger back then. (The care, while limited, was excellent; when I finally presented myself at an emergency ward in Canada, the examining physician looked at the bandaging and said, "I can't do any better than that. Leave it that way until you see the orthopedic surgeon.")

But now we had to figure out how to get home ASAP. The HolaSun rep was able to arrange for us to get a couple of seats on an AeroCaribbean flight leaving that night for Havana, and was also able to miraculously book us a hotel room in Havana. Everything after that was completely wide open with no guarantees. Well, we thanked him and accepted the plan.

That led to two days of sheer off-the-charts adventure, which I have been dying to tell you all about ever since. But I only got permission to ditch my sling on Thursday; and in the interim I've been typing with one finger. It's kind of a long story to blog with just one finger.

More to come about AeroCaribbean, Havana, an Air Canada office on the Malecón, and the immense and generous kindness of strangers, Cuban and Canadian.

ronnie


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6 Comments:

Blogger Carl said...

I"m glad you're doing better now, anyway.

My immediate thought reading this was, "Catch a local flight to Grand Bahama or Mexico, then go to Canada from there." I have no idea if this is possible.

8:10 PM  
Anonymous Hearing Life said...

Glad you're better, but will look forward to hearing the rest of the adventure!

12:28 PM  
Blogger KB said...

You poor thing. Glad you are feeling better now.

12:26 AM  
Blogger ronnie said...

Thanks, everyone! Next chapter coming very soon.

7:40 PM  
Blogger ronnie said...

By the way, Carl, that's an excellent suggestion... I expect it would have come to us or been suggested by our tour company rep eventually.

7:57 PM  
Blogger Xtreme English said...

omg...you've been in cuba with a busted wing. looks very uncomfortable--can't lie down to sleep, etc. anyway, it's been months since I've read your blog. so happy to see the new posts, even though they may be old posts by now, and full of challenges for you. you do live a charmed life. dare i ask about mojo? and his companions?

have a great day...make that a month. a new one starts today.

4:24 AM  

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