Tuesday, July 08, 2008


I hurt myself.
Last weekend I was at a summer party held in Leányfalu. That's where Dorá's family has a house. We spend most of our weekends there for nearly three seasons of the year. It's nestled in the hills that form the western bank of the Danube Bend, a lot of forest and summer homes, but not much else. The dogs love it there, and for me it is always a welcome respite from the city. Here's a view of the Danube from the front porch of the house.
The landscape never gets old.

That, however, has only a little to do with my injury. We left the dogs at home and went into the village for a party hosted by a friend of Kazi's (Dorá's cousin). There was a DJ, and a goulash over the fire, and as it took place at an outdoor bar, there was plenty to drink (cash bar, grrr).
This outdoor bar is situated next to Leányfalu's popular "strand." [That is a word I have trouble translating. If there is a lake shore where a beach is set up, the Hungarians call it a strand. But They also call a public pool a strand. So I guess you could call it a 'swimming place,' but that doesn't sound right.]

Leányfalu's strand is popular because it is a big collection of pools, with an Olympic sized pool as the main draw. The Hungarian water polo team actually hosted the US water polo team at the Leányfalu Strand a few weeks ago.
Anyway, the bar we were at allows its customers to use the strand bathrooms after the strand closes. In order to do this, they roll back a section of the chain link fence. The night I was there, however, someone pushed the fence aside, but forgot to unscrew the lower guide wire from its mooring. This left a taut steel wire stretched parallel to the ground at ankle level. I'm the one who demonstraed the danger in having such an obstacle between the bar and the bathroom.

I went down like a plank. My left wrist broke the fall (I'm a lefty). I tried to walk it off, but the next day there was some swelling and a lot of pain. I went to the hospital.
I've written about Hungarian hospitals before, but there were a couple of little gems I thought I include in my closing here.

There admission process was not a problem. The hospital is in a very old building with sub-par upkeep, but everything that needed to work was in place, including a fairly efficient staff (and its 'free'). It didn't get weird until after Dorá and I entered the hallway where patients waited for their diagnoses. I assumed the elderly woman in bloody sneakers would be the strangest thing of the day. After all, when she was asked by an orderly, "What did your son do?" she responded, "He stabbed me in the leg with a knife."

That was only the second oddest part of the hospital trip after Dorá told me to check my 5 o'clock. Behind me there were two wooden sliding doors with a small window in each. The doors were just barely ajar. The brass handles of the doors were loosely tied together with a long piece of gauze, the kind they use to wrap injuries. There wasn't even a proper knot tied. The gauze was just wrapped around the handles and twisted up a couple of times. Emerging from the open crack between the doors, there was a wrinkled old hand reaching out and trying to unwrap the strip of gauze. There were three orderlies in the hallway with us. I assume they knew there was a person somewhat trapped in the next room. But no one seemed concerned, especially the owner of the hand. Any attempts to untie the gauze were half-hearted at best. When the thin white fabric finally did fall from the handles, the woman merely peaked out at those of us standing in the hallway. She must have been close to 150 years old. She had a black eye and greasy gray hair. I made eye-contact and she retreated back into her room.
Easily the most Lynch-like moment of my year.

I didn't break my wrist (they think). I've got a cast on for a few days. They'll x-ray again to check for minor fractures on Friday, but the outlook is good.