Without any further ado, here’s my frightening, surprising, and slightly embarrassing story:
I’ll set the scene: Middle of the desert, on my birthright trip in Israel, no hospital/medic in sight.
Half of us were riding atop the camels, while the other half of the group were trotting along merrily on donkeys. It was my turn to switch animals.
I jumped carefully slid off my camel, feeling super confident that I had just ridden this HUGE smelly animal. Now it was time for the donkey’s, “Piece of cake,” I thought. “Look how small they are!” (Compared to the camels, anything was small…) Everyone is riding them with such ease!
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Being on the petite side, I finally realized it would take a lot for me to get on top of this thing. Thankfully, I ended up with the smallest donkey.
I kicked off the ground, and attempted to swing my leg across the donkeys back, unfortunately missing. Tried again, complete fail.
Everyone was already sitting peacefully on their donkeys (patiently awaiting my success), so I had no one to help me. It was just me, myself, and the donkey.
I grasped my hands tightly on the donkey’s back, kicked off (yet again), and swung my leg around. I made it- I was finally successfully sitting on my donkey’s back! Phew, gold medal for me, or so I thought…
A split second later, I was laying on the ground, with my right leg pinned underneath the donkey.
I was trapped.
Trapped under a Donkey in the Negev.
Unable to move my leg, let alone any body part, due to sheer terror and immobility.
I had no idea what had just happened.
No idea that the donkey I was just sitting on a second ago, had completely collapsed, threw me off, and fell right on top of me.
I was dazing in and out for a few moments, unaware of my surroundings and just laying there with no plan in mind.
Little did I know, I was being pulled out from under the donkey. My then fiance, (now husband), had jumped off his donkey and sprinted to me the second I crashed to the ground. He saved my life. I didn’t quite get this until a bit later on.
Thankfully, a few moments later, when I realized I was still alive and that my leg was still attached to the rest of my body, I was able to carefully get up with the assistance of my knight in shining armor.
(Unfortunately, my poor donkey was unable to lift his legs, most likely due to sheer exhaustion. The Bedouin men attempted to pull on the rope attached to him, but he would not budge. They had to cut the rope and leave him in the middle of the desert. It was actually quite sad, and I felt like I kind of wanted to go back and get him.)
Feeling like a trooper, although it hurt like hell, and wanting to scream my mouth off, I walked all the way back to our Bedouin settlement. The rest of the group still enjoying their rides, I walked alongside them with a few others who decided not to challenge themselves atop the camels.
Thankfully, as we were approaching camp, the fallen donkey started to get up and make his way back as well.
Nothing could have prepared me for that fall. One of the scariest moments in my life.
It wasn’t until a little later that I realized just how bad the fall was. Two-thirds of my right leg was completely bruised and sore. It took what seemed like a LONG time to come up with a solution as to where to get a bag of ice, since it was apparent the Bedouin settlement either didn’t have any or we couldn’t find their stash. I honestly don’t have a clue as to where they got it, but all I knew was that I was instructed to elevate my leg and ice it periodically. Being without any medical supplies there was not much anyone could do. Thankfully my new friends were there for moral support.
That was the best picture taken. Deal. And I look like I’m 12. I’m Not.
My first concern: Does this require a trip to the hospital? Do I have to pack my bags and go home? On Birthright, if you must be hospitalized, you almost instantaneously are sent home on the next flight.
My second concern: Would I still be able to participate in the dreadful adventurous hike up Masada to see the sunrise the next morning?
Another concern: What about the Dead Sea? Can I still “swim” with such a bruised and cut up leg? The salt will surely sting like no tomorrow.
It was basically my decision on all of these, and I opted to participate in everything. I obviously did not spend the night in the hospital.
Thankfully, one of our group members, (who later become one of my good friends- guess I still owe him), was currently in medical school, and checked on my leg every hour on the hour.
And now for the slightly embarrassing part:
Why did the donkey collapse? Was he overworked and hungry? Did one of his legs give out? Or the most dreaded question of all: Was I too just damn heavy for the donkey?
Everyone reassured me it was one of first two, because full grown men rode my donkey without any problem. I have no issue with my weight at all, so convincing me wasn’t too difficult.
One of my bruises about a week later… look at all those colors!