My first sight of the truck was as I looked up and realised I was wearing it. I slithered out from underneath and motioned to the driver to reverse so that we could get my companion out from underneath the wheels. When the truck finally rumbled clear of his legs he stood up and started swearing, so I knew he was OK. Feeling faint I lay in the road, the extended Greek family from the truck stood over me, some screaming, others just crying. I was later to learn that this is a form of sympathy when someone is hurt but at the time it wasn't comforting. I lay in the road some more until someone who wasn't too hysterical to drive came by and drove us to a hospital. It wouldn't take us, but eventually we found one that would. Inside I realised why the driver had tried the other hospital first. This one had none of the glamour I'd come to expect from ER. You wouldn't catch George Clooney wearing white espadrilles, let alone bloodstained ones, as he stitched up my eyelid in between drags of his cigarette.
When an old man took off all my clothes and wheeled me into the basement I began to suspect something nasty was in store. Lying shivering on what looked suspiciously like an operating table, I realised I was right to worry. A team of stern-faced doctors marched in. "We give you little operation," said the one with the cleanest shoes. Someone removed my Rolex, "For my wife." My sense of humour having disappeared with my clothes I snapped, "It's a fake." They had the last laugh as they banged a plastic pipe into my stomach. As the clear tube turned red I couldn't argue with their diagnosis: "It's serious, we operate now."
And the long days and nights ahead? Yes, from the time I awoke tied to the bed and covered in tubes, to the days spent lying there swatting flies from my wounds while my companion emptied bags and bedpans down the cesspit, dragging his aubergine-coloured leg behind him. Intimate certainly, but not romantic. Educational though. I can't tell you much about Cretan countryside, but ask me anything about ruptured spleens and I get positively excited. Holiday souvenirs? A nasty penicillin habit and a scar that goes on for miles. And one thing's for sure ... my loved one knows me inside out.Reuse content