21.01.2007 - 25.01.2007
Most people remember Potosi for reasons such as the astonishing mine tours or its status as the highest city of its size in the world.
I will forever remember it as the place where I bashed my head and had to brave the Bolivian medical and dental systems to get fixed up.
What happened? Well, I hate to brag but I was a real hero out there... singlehandedly thwarting the gang of shotgun armed thugs who stormed the hotel in the middle of the night. They got a couple of good shots in, I admit. The cuts and gashes near my eye were when I couldn´t quite dodge the flying knives fast enough. But the black eye? That was accidental. Hey, sometimes you misjudge the speed of a falling baby when you swoop down from the balcony to catch it. Please forgive me. And the bloody mouth and broken tooth? That was obviously from the wild boars that the robbers brought with them. Man, those things are fast and charge hard. I´ll be more prepared next time. Currently they are building a shrine and gold-embossed monument in my honour in the plaza square. After renaming it Plaza de Brian of course.
You don´t believe me? Well, ok. Maybe the real story was a little more stupid and a little more embarrasing. Maybe it involved something along the lines of goofing off near a toxic landfill. And sprinting down hills with Jodie on my back. And losing balance and smashing my head on pavement and being dragged unconscious to the side of the road and all that trivial stuff. But I swear there were also shotguns and flying babies and boars.
The gashes were not a problem. Those always go away. I was a little nervous getting stitches in a public Bolivian clinic but the nurses were very professional and caring.
The big problem from the get go was my front left top tooth, which after it connected with cement, was left hanging by the slightest of gum tissue. Originally I really thought I was going to have to pull a Lennox and return home to get it fixed. That was until I was blessed with the consultations of Dr´s Woolsmith, Shutsa, and Resnick. I am forever in debt to these guys for guiding me with pinpoint instructions and advice. More importantly, they relieved a lot of stress and anxiety. I can not thank them enough nor Tandis and Chris for putting me in contact.
This is Dr. Mirko Coronado, the greatest dentist in Potosi. I hope I will not retract that statement in 2 weeks when all my teeth fall out. He didn´t speak much english but was very good at understanding it. Conversely, I am now much more adept at my spanish dental terms. Anyways, to say I was nervous is an understatement. I don´t even like dental surgery back home. So to do it in Bolivia? With a man who was constantly distracted chatting to Jen while he was operating? With a man who kept repeating ¨es muy dificil¨ with a little smirk on his face? With a man who turns up for work each day 1 hour late? I am one lucky SOB to be able to say I think everything is in order. There will be a lot of retreatment to do when I get home such as fitting myself for a new gold tooth. But Dr, Coronado, you´ve done a lot in the meantime. Thanks.
As bad as things were, at least there was no other significant damage. Im grateful as hell that Jodie just bruised her knee...I would have never forgiven myself if she ended up like me. I´m fortunate my concussion wasn´t more severe and that I didn´t hit my eye instead of my mouth. And I´m lucky the Bolivian medical system isn´t as bad as it sounds. Maybe you should come here for your next procedure. Check out my bills, ridiculous:
1 week supply of antibioitics: $1.50
Stitches and medical visit: $2.00
Dental consultation: $1.50 (plus a complimentary vial of local anaesthesia)
Root canal, tooth bonding, etc.: $60
Finally, I´m thankful as hell for my amazing friends, whose travel plans I´ve likely fucked up and yet they´re too selfless to give a damn. I feel much worse for them than for me. It would have sucked here by myself without you guys giving me grief, reminding me how hideous I look, and patching me up with silly donut bandages. You guys are something else.
The adventure continues...barely.