Stop, Drop, and Roll On
I often look at the pictures we take and think, “Wow! We really are having the adventure of our dreams!" For us, there is no greater lifestyle than traveling around the world on a motorcycle, and sometimes we stand next to our bike with a jaw-dropping vista in the background on some crazy winding dirt road in the middle of nowhere, and I just couldn't be prouder of how far we've come.
Unfortunately, this is not one of those moments.
Yesterday Tim and I found ourselves hobbling around the Peruvian town of Huaraz, me on crutches, him looking pale and sickly with four cotton-ball bandages on his arms where the nurses stuck him with needles and IV's, and I couldn't help but think that whatever superpowers we may have once thought we had, they're certainly gone now.
About two weeks ago, things were pretty much perfect for us. We were making our way south from the remote reaches of northern Peru, stopping by every grouping of ruins we could (there are tons in this region) and exploring the towns and gorgeous views of the countryside along the way.
We met some incredible friends along the way, both Peruvian and international, got interviewed for a local news channel, and even attended a full-out rap battle that you had to see to believe.
We were on top of the world, both figuratively and literally as we discovered many high-altitude roads through little mud villages perched precariously on the mountainsides. The Andean people we came across were living in ways that appeared unchanged for centuries, and it was a joy seeing how each region had its own style of hats and textiles.
We even got our bike decked out to look the part in a local sheep skin from a little woman who desperately wanted us to take one of her puppies as well. I told her we were traveling on a motorcycle and could not bring a puppy with us, but she insisted that they were small enough to fit in our backpacks. Then I explained that we would need to cross borders, and bringing animals was not allowed without the proper paperwork. She said she had a box we could hide the puppies in, and the guards would never know. After a long debate about this, we were able to purchase just the sheepskin and thankfully were not forced to leave with a puppy.
Our adventures in Peru were truly taking us to fantastic places. The roads in this country are cliffside, scary, and breathtaking, and are famous for zig-zagging with countless switchbacks. Sometimes you can spend an hour simply going down a narrow valley and then up the other side. But we were loving every second of it.
And then our luck literally took a turn for the worse. We were making a turn on a dirt road with a concrete patch that was used for water drainage when the back tire slipped out from under us. Normally our falls are slow and you can sense yourself tilting farther and farther over. But this one was quick and sudden, out of nowhere. We skid for a good 10-15 feet along the concrete, and all was good, except that the ground had somehow pushed my right toe so that my foot ended up backwards and under the pannier.
I had to jump off to flip myself in the direction of my foot since I couldn't get it out right away, and from the pain and the angle that my leg had been forced in, I knew something was definitely wrong.
Our plan had been to camp that night since it was a long way to the next town. So despite my injury, that's what we did. Needless to say, I wasn't much help at putting up the tent, but Tim was quite the gentleman, doing everything for me, and even brought some cold river water for me to soak my foot in, which helped a lot with the swelling.
That night I was in a lot of pain, and I probably wouldn't have gotten any sleep if it wasn't for taking a few pain pills which we always carry with us. But I had no idea whether I broke my foot or not, and knew that we needed to get to a hospital with an x-ray machine as soon as possible to find out.
So the next day we headed to the nearest town of Caraz, passing through gorgeous Cañon del Pato on the way. Once in Caraz, I went straight to the hospital and got an x-ray. The doctor told me there was a broken bone, unfortunately, she did not seem confident in her assessment. To add to the confusion, she kept trying to call the doctor who makes casts and he wouldn't answer, and nobody knew if he was on vacation or when he would ever come back to work.
They made a temporary cast for me, and I had suspicions that they made it wrong, so Tim and I made an executive decision that night to go to a different hospital in the next town: Huaraz.
Not even two hours away, and backdropped by white-capped mountains, Huaraz's hospital seemed to be much better equipped than the one in Caraz. And after a new set of x-rays, the doctor in Huaraz confirmed that I did not have a broken bone, and it was just a pulled muscle. Even so, I would need to stay off my foot for at least 10 days. That was a lot better than a month or two in a cast, so I was very thankful for this second opinion, and after we found a comfortable hotel just down the street from the hospital, it seemed that everything was going to be alright.
We've been here in Huaraz for more than a week now, and I'm happy to say that my foot is on the mend. In fact, we'd planned on leaving yesterday to go check out the gorgeous mountains around here, but then Tim got sick two nights ago.
This was the fourth fever he's had this year, and it was a bad one. Without a wink of sleep, he spent the night mumbling incoherently and complaining of pain wracking his head, stomach, and back. So yesterday we spent the morning at the hospital conveniently down the street from us, and after many tests, we learned that it's not malaria (thank goodness!) but that he could have Typhoid Fever.
Typhoid Fever is actually what happens when you get salmonella. And although it can be quite miserable and severe if untreated, and it can even lead to death, it's also easily treated with a round of antibiotics.
So here we are still, and apparently Huaraz, Peru is our new home. We are luckily very comfortable and have all the amenities we could ever want, but we're definitely not feeling as bad-ass as usual, and our adventuring has been put on hold.
I'm not sure how much longer we'll stay here, surely until we are both fully recovered, but once we feel well-enough, we'll be headed into the mountains where we'll try to gain some of our superpowers back.
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