Another Country, Another Very Serious Wound

Continuing my proud tradition in the Foreign Service, I managed to reset the Days Without Injuries sign in the office to zero.

One of my new responsibilities is “Accountable Items Officer.” I have to keep our important documents secure. When they are not being used, they have to be locked in a safe. Before you start thinking that I have access to top-secret spy information, I should explain what the items are.  I do not have access to nuclear launch codes (people who know me should be very relieved to know that. The world is a much safer place with that information NOT in my hands), or the keys to Fort Knox.

Rather, the important documents are things like blank visa sheets and the seal that we use to notarize documents. Not exciting material, true, but in the wrong hands, they could do some damage to national (and personal) security. So we have to keep track of those items. That’s my job. My ultra-glamorous task is to open the safe every morning, and hand the visa “foils” to the LE staff to print. Then in the evening, I collect the unused sheets, and lock them up in the safe.

Not 007-level excitement. No one will ever make a spy movie about this task. But it’s important, and I take it seriously. Because I don’t want to get fired, and I want to stay out of jail.

A few days ago, I was doing the morning start-up procedures, and I attempted to open what I am now ironically calling the “safe.” To open the safe, you have to pull a big, heavy ka-chump lever.  One morning,  in my haste to get the door open, I ka-chumped my finger between the handle and the safe. Hence the ironic usage of the word “safe.” Blood and naughty words leaked out.

If I were smart, I would have gone to the med unit at post.  But it’s across the street.  In order to get there, you have to leave the Embassy, risk your life crossing the street, and enter the annex compound.  I figured it wasn’t worth bothering the nice people there, I could patch myself up right in the office.  Being an OSHA-compliant work place, the Consular section does have a first-aid kit.  That dates from World War I, from the looks of it.  And the contents seem to date to the Civil War.  The kit contains a pair of scissors, some gauze, rubbing alcohol, and tape.

My makeshift bandage. This may or may not lead to gangrene and an amputation, which would be 100% my own fault.

No infection so far.  I’d cross my fingers, but I can’t at the moment.

2 thoughts on “Another Country, Another Very Serious Wound

  1. This is a wonderful post, Dennie, made even more so by the two evidentiary photos. Can’t tell you the number of times I’ve done something similar, often with levers, although perhaps not ka-chump levers, neglecting to remember that the distance between the lever (and our body part attached to them) and some immovable surface nearby diminishes on opening. At least I’ve done these things in northern climes and not in the tropics where that immovable surface is likely coated with invisible deadly tropical microbes just waiting for an open wound to invade. Good luck!

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