Every year, my school hosts three five day field trips. These trips range from unbelievable ventures in Acadia National Park to trips that the school clearly ran out of budget for, like hosting an impromptu play in a library’s basement.
I was on the bike trip, a trip that all freshmen were required to go on. The bike trip used to circle a nearby lake — a trip where kids never came back the same. Even though there were never any severe injuries on the loop, the faculty changed the location of the field trip.
Now, the trip takes place on a peaceful flat bike path in Canada, where nothing could go wrong. Each adventure has faculty members to guide the students. On my trip, I had my Chemistry Teacher, the Dean of Students who was new to the school, and the School Receptionist, who also runs the yearly school plays.
I packed my clothing, utensils, and other essentials into small ZipLocks and smushed them as tight as they possibly could go into my rather small backpack. “This was going to be fun,” I assured myself.
My watch said I was only going ten miles an hour during the crash, but it felt like more. I recalled slamming into a bike while trying to pass it, sending me flying through the air, only to need to come back down to the pavement again.
Fun fact: I may or may not have made a zoom sound effect while passing the bike, making it especially amusing for my peers when I fell.
I tried to put my hands down and stop the fall; there was too much force for my arms to handle. My chin slammed into a pebble, which made a pretty sizable hole. Oddly, the only pain I had was from a small cut on my hand.
The Dean of Students told me dad jokes while my chemistry teacher examined the gaping wound through his oval-shaped glasses. He knew that I would need stitches. I was so high on adrenaline that I asked if he was going to conduct the procedure.
I took the walk of shame with my Chemistry teacher to the bus, parked in a Tim Horton’s parking lot. Sure, a hospital might help my physical health, but an exquisite, warm donut was sure to improve my current mental state. I thought to explain my thoughts with my teacher, but I had a feeling he would say no.
As we made our way to the hospital, I caught my teacher giving me the “I’m not mad; I’m just disappointed” glance through the mirror several times. Other than that, the bus ride was mostly uneventful, giving me plenty of time to contemplate my life decisions.
The ride to the hospital was short, and we were able to find a parking spot quickly as well. We walked through the sliding glass doors and proceeded to the front desk.
“Salut! Comment puis-je vous aider? “ They don’t speak English. “Parlez vous anglais?” he replied. She shook her head side to side.
With the help of other hospital visitors around us, we found our way to the waiting room, taking a number. Within minutes, a nurse was able to see me. She spoke very poor English, so my teacher and I tried to communicate through a series of hand gestures, broken French, and showing off the glorious hole in my face. The nurse eventually made the prediction that I would need stitches.
After what felt like centuries of paperwork, we got escorted back to the waiting room. I never thought that I would be sitting in a hospital in Canada with my chemistry teacher, I thought to myself.
A display mounted on the wall showed the current placement of the patients. Every once in a while, it would refresh with new arrangements.
Hours passed. Although my teacher and I were sitting next to each other, we barely talked. To pass the time, I had multiple staring contests with the wall. It always won. The coffee machine blared French whenever anyone was trying to get something to drink, which scared an elderly couple away at one point.
Eventually, I got up to use the bathroom across the hall. Now I don’t know if it’s because Canadian doors work differently from those in ‘Murcia, but I could not open the door to get back out.
As I struggled with the door, my teacher heard my plea for help and looked for someone familiar with Canadian doors. After what felt like century’s of attempting to turn the lock, It finally budged.
Fun Fact: It would be physically impossible for this day to become any more embarrassing.
After many more staring contests, I was finally first on the display. The loudspeaker crackled to life and announced where I should go, putting my teacher’s French skills to the test.
Upon arrival, no doctor was in sight — drawers of alcohol preps and cotton balls, needles for every occasion, but no doctor. My teacher took this time too closely admire the medical equipment in the room, sometimes reading aloud the item, seemingly ready to stitch me up himself.
“They certainly have all the right tools to do this,” he said. I let out a nervous laugh.
Right before the temptation grew to high for my teacher, a doctor slipped through the doorway. She spoke English well enough to understand us and reply in English as well.
The doctor carefully examined the gaping hole in my chin, padding it with prep pads. She told me that my skin was too tight to use stitches, which I’m guessing was a compliment. She closed the wound with glue and Steri-Strips and covered the whole thing in a circular bandage.
The doctor instructed me that I could not get the wound wet; I needed to apply sunscreen daily and massage it every day after the bandage falls off by itself. It was finally time to leave. We took the bus to the next campsite where I reunited with my classmates.
My bike got the worst of it — significant scratches all over the aluminum casing, the front wheel badly out of alignment. The alignment of the wheel got fixed that day, and I was able to continue the journey.
The rest of the week was full of rain, brutal class discussions about responsibility, and constant questions about what happened. Yah, I was pretty thrilled when I came back home again.
The weirdest part about this whole thing? Every morning before we depart the campsite, we all get handed a printed Google Map of the bike route we are taking, as the teachers talk us through it. Icons indicate points of interest, such as the hospital.
When we were going over the map the morning before the crash, I circled the hospital and said: “Wouldn’t it be fun if we took a field trip there?”
Fun Fact: No.