Earlier today I wrote about random and entertaining things we encountered in Frankfurt, Germany. Now I’m going to tell you about another incident that happened there. I filed this under “worst,” because it’s not something I suggest you copy, but it allowed me to see parts of Frankfurt that I would not have otherwise, and it also left me with a great story to tell. So prepare yourself, everyone, because this is the story of The Time I Swam into a Door.
Another place we went to while in Frankfurt that was somewhat off the beaten path (and pretty far from the city center) was a water park. I think it was the largest indoor water park in Germany – a somewhat dubious distinction, since I’m not sure how much competition there is for that title. Most of us went anyway – one of my friends decided he was not a swimmer and would rather continue sightseeing, so we agreed to meet up with him later that afternoon.
The first place we dived into was the wave pool, which made me quickly realize that my swimming lessons from second grade had not stuck and I couldn’t make it across. I’m a doggie paddle kind of gal, I guess. Eventually we gave up on the hard swimming and moved onto the indoor waterslides, which were a lot of fun. After many passes down those, we meandered through the shallower, calmer part of the pool. There was an outdoor section of the pool, separated in the water from the indoor section by a revolving door. Revolving doors are hard to push when they’re half-submerged in water, so we dived under the bottom of the door, since it didn’t reach the floor, to go back and forth between the sections. It went fine for the most part – until it wasn’t.
During one dive, I didn’t make it quite far down enough, and bumped into the bottom of the door. The only excuse I have is that yes, I am a bad swimmer, and I had left my contacts in, so I was trying to close my eyes under the water. It didn’t really hurt, so I thought I was fine. I came out the other side, and my friend came up after me. He asked if I was alright, and I said, yeah, of course, and turned around to face him. “No, you’re not,” he said. I touched my face and there was blood all over my hands.
So we gathered everyone together and got out of the pool. This time we went through the actual door out of the water in the wall enclosing the indoor pool. (Why didn’t we use that door to begin with? I don’t know, I guess we didn’t adequately account for how much of an idiot I am). My friend opened the door for me – and promptly cut open his big toe on a piece of glass or plastic that was sticking out of the bottom of the door. So we hobbled and bled to the lifeguard enclosure in the middle of the complex.
Fortunately one of my friends was German, and some of the others spoke German as well, so they were able to explain what had happened. All the lifeguards were able to do was clean us up and give us band-aids. (I had sliced open the bridge of my nose). They showed us on the map where the nearest hospital was (it was not very near). So we got on the train to head over to the hospital.
Our next task was to reconnect with our other friend. This all happened on April 1 – April Fool’s Day. So of course his first reaction to our texts to meet us at the hospital was “Haha, great April Fool’s joke.” But a picture of my injured face convinced him that we were telling the truth. I felt really bad that everyone had to waste part of their trip accompanying me to the hospital, especially since it wasn’t a life-threatening injury, but my friends convinced me to continue since if nothing else, getting it taken care of it would probably keep it from scarring horribly.
After (what at least seemed like) a very long train trip, we made it out to another part of the suburbs where the hospital was. We started following the signs for the hospital, but they soon petered out. We wandered through pristine residential streets, heading in what we thought was the general direction. Eventually we made it to a main road and asked directions at the gas station – we were heading in the right direction at least. After quite a long walk we finally made it to the hospital.
I got checked in and we proceeded to wait. My friend refused to pay for the emergency room, so he decided to just deal with his injury, although I’m sure after that long walk he was in a lot of pain. I finally got called in to see the doctor after about an hour and a half of waiting – not too bad, really. The doctor tried to speak with me in English at first, but he kept talking about my “wound” as in “I wound it up” rather than the “wound” on my face. (Not that I can make fun of him since my German is atrocious. I took one semester of it my last term in college to fulfill a credit requirement, and have since forgotten pretty much everything I learned). Eventually he gave up and just started talking to my German friend. That’s always a little worrying, having to wait for the translation to figure out what is going on with you. Basically all he had to do was pull the the flaps of skin together and seal them with a liquid bandage. Afterwards, we waited some more while the doctor wrote something up for me to submit to my US insurance for reimbursement. It took a long time, but it was a valiant effort for him to write it up in English.
I had to pay 75 euros, which did get reimbursed, and really isn’t that expensive anyway. While the hospital was out in what seemed to be the middle of nowhere, I’m sure if a tourist got injured where I live (and I live very close to DC, so there are plenty of tourists), it would be much harder for them to find the hospital (especially on public transport), they would have to wait longer, and probably pay more, so I really can’t complain. And considering my friend’s toe spent the next couple weeks in various stages of infection since he refused to let a doctor look at, I feel like it was 75 euros well spent. It also gave me a trip through the German suburbs and the German healthcare system that I would not otherwise have had.
When we returned home, I didn’t try to make the story sound better whenever someone asked me what happened to my face. There’s something rather entertaining about a person’s reaction when you tell them you swam into a door.