My leg is throbbing, but I'm grateful I feel almost no pain... just discomfort.
I can see the "Azamara Journey" at anchor in the distance, but I'm not going there.
I'm awaiting some sort of boat to take me to another landing on the Island where an ambulance will meet me and take me to get the medical care I need.
One of the Tinders shows up and I am assisted aboard, Sara Jean at my side.
We motor close to shore for about 15 minutes, then I'm again assisted off the boat by the boat and ambulance crew. The ambulance crew seats me in a chair and literally lifts me into the ambulance, then secures the chair to the ambulance floor.
We start the uphill climb in the ambulance.
Similar to the stairs at Fira, only on a scale large enough for cars and trucks, the roadway zigzags back and forth up the cliff. From the landing to the top of the hill seems to take forever, although the total time lapsed was probably five minutes or so.
We arrive at the Clinic in Thira, Santorini, and I'm lifted out of the ambulance and wheeled in for a pretty thorough lookover after they have cleaned the wound...
X-rays of my leg from several angles. Blood samples. Chest X-ray.
Two Doctors here both speak decent English, thank God.
This is just the beginning of what we can only call WONDERFUL medical care we received in Greece.
Big Bubba shows up at the Clinic with our luggage. When he went back to the ship they told him to pack all our bags and disembark. Our cabin attendant assisted him in this task. How he handled four fairly LARGE bags is beyond me!
The Clinic shows me the X-rays and tells me what I already know... I am seriously injured and will need surgery. Surgery is scheduled for 0700 hours the next morning.
They make reservations on Aegean Airlines on the next flight out for the three of us.
We get hugs and "Good Luck" wishes in English with heavy Greek accent from Doctors and technicians as we leave for the airport.
At the airport I am transferred into a regular wheelchair. My entire family gets priority treatment through security. A "High Lift" truck arrives and I am loaded aboard. The size of a small room, it lifts me and my wheelchair to the back door of the Airbus 320. The three of us are the last people to board the airplane and we occupy the last row of seats on the starboard side.
The flight to Athens takes 45 minutes. Another High Lift truck awaits us there. We are the last to disembark the airplane, and are once again given priority handling to pick up our bags.
I'm beginning to realize I might want to break a leg before I ever fly in another airliner...
Other than the "looks" I get from other passengers as we go "to the head of the line", this priority handling business is pretty neat!
I'm again lifted and secured in an ambulance and we motor half an hour to the "Central Clinic of Athens". The hospital is clean and bright. I'm taken to the ICU where they transfer me to a bed and establish an IV port on the backside of my hand through which to administer drugs.
Sara Jean and Big Bubba are allowed to come in individually to hug me, then depart for a hotel nearby.
They administer painkiller and, I'm certain, something to help me sleep.
It is 0100 hours.
And... I sleep better than I would have imagined.
To be continued.