Olena's Journal: August 16th

I never knew before what it meant to see red. It didn’t occur to me that it was more than just an expression.

Monty Mittel, the reporter, went out to take pictures of the biker bar and see if he could figure out whether they were looking after as many people as we are to be taking all those supplies. He saw a bunch of bikers bring two young girls into the bar – crying, being handled roughly, hoods over their faces. I was ready to get a shotgun and go get those girls, and so was Mittel by the look of him – in fact he said as much.

But those wusses running the community centre decided to start defending the centre instead – boarding up the windows and making the place into a fortress. They wrote off those two girls as outside their control.

I expressed my opinion – which was that we needed to go rescue those girls and anyone else the bikers are holding against their will – and was pretty much patted on the head. I left the meeting before they could get me hammering plywood over windows.

I was angry a lot in Africa last year – angry at the general injustice, angry at the specific injustices, angry at a world that had need of Medecins sans frontieres. But I’d never been angry like this.

This is the part where I’m glad this journal isn’t live at the moment. I’m not sure I believe it myself, except that the evidence all says it happened.

I was wandering the corridors, angry and frustrated, debating and discarding ideas for suicidal rescue attempts with every step, and I wasn’t watching where I was going. I stepped on a nail. It was about six inches long, about four inches of which were showing through the other side of a two-by-four. I think it went right through my foot. I remember seeing the bloodied point sticking up through the top of my foot.

I admit I panicked a bit. I really had two choices – I could scream, or I could take the nail out and risk bleeding out before I could get to the makeshift hospital. I chose the latter – I wasn’t sure anyone would be able to hear me from where I was. Now, a good little medical student would NOT have done that, because taking a sharp object out of a wound makes the bleeding worse. But when you can see a nail sticking out of the top of your foot, you’re probably not thinking too hard about whether the nail hit a major artery. You’re thinking OW this fucking hurts son of a bitch get this fucking thing out of my foot OW. So that was what I did. Then I took off my shirt to apply pressure to the wound. (Yes, prurient minded readers of the future, I had a tank on underneath.) I am 100% certain that I was bleeding from the top and sole of my foot.

I limped my way to the hospital and asked for Dr. Glover. I hadn’t done a shift in there in several days, and there are still people right on the edge of death; he was rather busy and it looked like I hadn’t hit an artery. So I sat down and continued applying pressure top and bottom. I stayed like that a good ten minutes, and then took the shirt off the wound to look at it.

I couldn’t find the wound. No, it wasn’t obscured by scabs of blood, though my foot was very bloody. When I rubbed at the spot where the wound had been, the skin was unbroken. There was no wound.

I looked at the sole of my foot. Same thing there – no wound.

I got up and walked back to my cubicle of a sleeping area, without so much as a limp. Also without my flip-flops, because I’d been wearing one and it was still impaled on the nail. I got changed, put on some sturdier shoes, and went to look for it. I mean, surely I didn’t imagine puncturing my foot on a six-inch piece of iron?

But no, there was the flip-flop, the left one, with nearly four inches of nail above it. And I wasn’t even limping.

I wandered the corridors a bit longer, still angry over those wimps nailing plywood (and leaving nailed boards lying around willy-nilly, then went to find the reporter. We’re going tonight to rescue those girls. I’m going to have to find a way to make sure I take most of the fire, though. I don’t want to get him killed. I wonder if a bullet wound would just disappear like that nail wound did?

I’m crazy. I’m going to get myself killed. Who am I to be going into that den of iniquity to rescue anyone? They probably weigh more than I do.

But I’m doing it anyway.


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