Don’t Read This Post If You Don’t Like Blood

No, really. This post is bloody. So full disclaimer: “Don’t Read This Post If You Don’t Like Blood.”

Ok then.

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been enjoying running here, particularly as the dirt roads are kind to my still recovering (slashforevercraptacular) knee. And while I’ve had a mishap or two, nothing too unfortunate has happened.

Well, until today.

A few days ago I’d tripped on my run for the first time while in Juba. And while my fall was spectacular, and I banged up my elbow a bit and had to thoroughly wash out my cuts I was mostly fine (pride excepted).

After work today I took off for a quick run through my neighborhood. I got to a section off the main road which is mostly a pedestrian dirt path, which is usually my favorite part of the run. Pretty residential, lots of waving, and not much city noise.

La la la. Lovely evening run.

Unfortunately, hidden dangers lurked in the form of innocuous rocks.


So naturally the inevitable happened.  Foot met rock. Rock stayed still. Foot stayed still. Inertia persisted. Erin goes flying.


I swore – quite loudly – as I flew uncontrollably to the ground. The few guys walking nearby asked me if I was ok.  Upon appraisal of my body, which I realized was now gushing blood in several areas, I realized I was, in fact, not okay.

That's not normal

Despite that, I waved off the nice men and decided what to do. I was almost halfway through the short part of my run, which meant that if I took the most direct route back, I was still at least an 8-10 min run away.

As my arm was now gushing and matted in blood (and literally dripping off my elbow) and my knee was in a similar state, I decided to run back the way I came as it happened to go directly past a friend’s house and I figured that I could try to wash off some of the dirt there before heading home.

When I knocked on his gate however, the guard informed me that my friend (who, by the way, is somewhat of a diplomat here) was not home.  So instead of me getting to go inside and wash off, I got to freak out a guard by showing up unannounced at this guy’s house, looking like I’d just been mugged and then take off running in the other direction.

Bleeding? A lot? Help? No? Okay, bye then!

I made it back to my house with surprisingly few comments from people on the street (I say surprising since during a normal, non-blood-filled run I generally get “Oh, sister/khawaja/mzungu/lady! How are you? Where are you running to?” at least once every few minutes).

Naturally, before I cleaned out my tetanus-choked wounds, I took pictures. Because I’m nothing if not neurotically diligent about photodocumenting my ailments apparently (This is the part where the lots of blood starts in earnest, fyi):

Um ow

Seriously talented

Oh and my knee, too

Once I’d washed off all the matted and dripping blood, I assessed the gash in my elbow and realized it was a little deeper and longer than I’d thought. And was already pussing out stuff. Figuring that maybe I needed more than soap and water, I wandered down to the new clinic and pharmacy that just opened near me.

Nicely, on my way to the clinic, one of my neighbors offered to drive me to the hospital. Very kind (although in Juba that actually might be a threat).

I was pleasantly impressed. Instead of just buying the gauze (as I thought would happen) I had someone look at my arm, assess it for damage and clean it up before wrapping it with gauze.  She did contemplate 2 stitches to close it up, but after realizing I am off to Malakal tomorrow for a week we agreed that if it didn’t look better soon I’d get it checked out there.

So in the end, not my bright and shiniest moment in Juba. Or life.

But hey, pain heals, chicks dig scars, and glory lasts forever… right?


8 responses to “Don’t Read This Post If You Don’t Like Blood

  1. Oh no! I hope it feels better soon, and especially that there are not infections! Glad you got stitched and patched up. And FYI, you do love your gory pics! I remember those awesome pics of your knee post surgery. Sweeeeet…

    • Heh. I know. I took a pic of my knee at a certain angle and was like “Hmm where have I seen this before?” Then had horrible flashbacks to the post-surgery days when I took pics to monitor the swelling. Classy.

  2. I think you should have gone for the stitches

  3. Very impressive photos. And I love your story board (good to see it’s not just me that still draws stick figures). Hope all heals well.

  4. Please take care, especially in Malakal area. Otherwise you may be writing a post in the not so distant future about a medical evacuation. South Sudan + Kawaja + Small cuts = horrible infected mess.

    Anyhow, love the posts, the drawings and the photos. More blood is always good.

  5. Worth it, I can only imagine. If it scars, people will ask you “How did that happen?” and you can mutter “Long story, I was working in South Sudan at the time …” then take another sip of your gin and tonic and gaze enigmatically off into the distance. People will assume the story goes something like “She was saving an orphan from hyenas” rather than “she bought it while jogging.”

    Can’t get a better souvenir than GLORY.

    • Oh, for SURE. Right now the story is some variation of “Well, I got into a fight with this SPLA guy, and… ”

      Might have to add in the hyena though. You know, to up the ULTIMATE GLORY factor a bit higher.

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