My foot was bleeding like crazy: A young backpacker lives every traveler’s nightmare in South East Asia- a motorcycle accident. Pushing through her minor injuries, she makes the most of it. One day she realizes her injury is more serious than she thought.
Ava: I was in Bali.
We were staying up near the mountains, maybe 30 or 40 minutes from Amed, a coastal area on the east side. We went out to Byron Beach, had a couple drinks. Already, it’s one of those, “You shouldn’t drive, but we weren’t drunk,” situations. Maybe we were a bit more confident than usual.
I went on the back of my friend’s bike. To get back to our place, we had to go through these winding roads on the side of a mountain. It’s pitch black and there’s no traffic laws and no traffic lights, a literal blackout. The couple days before we had to take the route, and we had to shine flashlights while we were driving, because the high-beams couldn’t cut through how dark it was. Also, it’s really misty up in the mountains, to the point you can’t even see a car in front of you until it’s two or three feet away. So already this road’s a little spotty.
Whatever, we’ve driven it before. It’s like a thirty minute drive, which seems long, but we’ve been trekking in the mountains, so it’s not that bad. We’re driving, it’s all good, and we took this turn at one point. I kinda felt my foot get caught on something, but we’re going so fast I didn’t really notice it. It didn’t seem that bad in the moment. It didn’t hurt when it happened.
I looked down and my foot was bleeding like crazy and my shoe was gone. “Stop! Stop the bike!!”
We get off. “Holy shit, that’s pretty fucked up.” We go back and we get my shoe.
Me: So you turned around and found the shoe?
Ava: I don’t know why that was a priority. “One second!”
We were coming back from the beach, and my friend just had a bathing suit and her sarong. She wrapped my foot in her sarong to stop the bleeding. It was bleeding a lot. I had to bike back in the middle of the night in my bathing suit. Probably looked a little ridiculous. We were staying at an Airbnb, which was lucky because the guy who owned it was awake at 1 in the morning. “OK, you need to go to the hospital, but I need to check if one’s open,” he said.
There were no real hospitals. He drove out, came back, and said it was closed, but there’s another one we can go to. He takes me to… it was just like a room in the village? The doctor comes out wearing a polo shirt. He didn’t speak English, but our Airbnb host was there. He cleaned out the wound, very aggressively, and wrapped it. They were moving my foot around, and I was screaming. Anytime they moved it or touched it hurt.
“Not broken,” he said. “It’s just a really bad cut, it’s not that serious. It will go away in a week.”
“What about infection?”
He handed me some random antibiotics. These people couldn’t have cared less.
“Come back in two days if it doesn’t stop bleeding. Good thing you didn’t need stitches, because if you did, you’d cry.”
Me: So they couldn’t give you anything for the pain?
Ava: The guy from Airbnb told me to take some tylenol.
We kept going along our trip. We stayed in Uluwatu after that, a really awesome beach town which is mostly filled with Australians. Of course I couldn’t swim, in fact I couldn’t really walk at all. It was so swollen and I couldn’t put weight on it. So my friend piggybacked me everywhere. She deserves an award. She would carry me down the steps on cliffs to get the beach. Anytime we would go out, she would piggy back me around the bar.
Me: Good friend.
Ava: She did everything for me. She was amazing! At this point, I was on crutches.
Me: Most people who have an injury like that just go home.
Ava: Yeah, well we came over from Canada, so I wasn’t going to let that stop me.
A week in, my foot was getting more painful. I started freaking out, because even my chill friends went from, “Yeah, whatever” to “Yeah, let’s go to the hospital.”
All these thoughts enter your mind. An infection or something. Fuck, I have some blood disease.
You hear these horror stories about people getting these really serious diseases in southeast Asia. I was kinda freaking out at this point. It wasn’t so chill.
We went to the hospital. They didn’t seem too concerned. They did a bunch of x-rays. “Yeah, it’s broken.”
Fuck, I’m going to have to go home. How am I going to do anything with a broken foot? When I actually saw the x-rays and the cast I was going to get, I thought, “I can stick this out.”
Me: How long were you walking around before you realized it was broken?
Ava: A week.
I literally couldn’t stand on it at all. “Wow, this must be really bruised,” I would think. We were still doing everything and then it became a thing. Uluwatu is really small, so we would go to bars and people would recognize us as the girl who’s carrying her friend with a fucked up foot. “Oh my god you’re back at it again.” We were going to beaches, exploring and stuff. It was still pretty good, but I’m glad I wasn’t there alone, because I would have had to stuck in the hostel all day.
We went to this really nice bar and they gave us a seat right on the water! Wow, you usually have to pay for these!
Eventually, I got to the hospital. It was really expensive, and my insurance didn’t pay right away. I had to submit a claim. That’s a whole thing, so I lost a grand and a half.
Me: But you’ll get it back?
Ava: I hope so. That’s something I have to deal with when I get home. At that point, I was like, “Fuck it, whatever.”
I still had to drive around after, because there’s no way get around there without a bike, so I’m still on the back of the bike. They have these things on the bike where you can strap in surfboards, so we strapped my crutches into that. It worked out! After Bali, we went to Java, which is more rural Indonesia, for lack of a better word.
Originally, I was supposed to go to Thailand for a month, but decided against it. I couldn’t swim, I couldn’t hike. I’m not just going to lie on the beach and watch everyone else have fun. So, I had to give up a plane ticket for that, and then decided I would go to Taiwan and Japan.
Me: Considering we just climbed up this whole mountain, it’s obviously not that bad now.
Ava: That was the only time I thought, “I’m going to die.”
Enjoyed this misadventure in South East Asia? Read about a man from Lebanon