We went to an orthopedic hospital in Milan yesterday to get some more X-rays and tests done, as the emergency room's X-rays were deemed "not thorough enough" by the family back doctor. Since I can't walk, we had to call another private ambulance to cart me there. It's not that bad, except that the family house is on the 4th floor, so the ambulance drivers are never thrilled. Nor am I, as being carted up on a backboard is a little scary.
The tests at the clinic came back normal save for the fact that it looks like I actually have 2 or even 3 fractured vertebrae, which they missed on the first X-ray. I also was apparently fitted with a brace way too big, so we got me a new smaller one. Thank goodness we decided to get me a fancy universal insurance policy earlier this year.
It doesn't change anything in terms of my recovery time, so we called ANOTHER ambulance to bring us back home.
We have explained every time to the drivers, who usually are from the region
the hospital is in, how the roads to arrive in the Cinque Terre are horrible. They usually laugh and say they've seen worse. When we arrive they start out zooming around curves and then slow down, no longer laughing and commenting that the road (singular, yes) to arrive in Monterosso is like roads were in Trentino (or insert other region here) 50 years ago.
Our ambulance from Milan wasn't much different save for the fact that we have another factor to add to the equation.
It's snowing. A lot.
They inform us confidently that they have taken courses driving in the snow and ice in Switzerland. They have driven in Austria! They have been to the mountains in a blizzard and didn't even use the snow chains! This is nothing! It's not even snowing!
I nervously nodded, knowing the outcome when we got off the highway would be the same. It does not normally snow here, and with the roads already as they are, plus an area unprepared for weather of this kind, it makes getting around in a car nearly impossible.
After exiting and getting to Levanto with some effort, they turned back and laughed, feeling confident in their snow tires and driving skills, until we informed them we were actually the next village, and yes, we have to climb back up another mountain then down to arrive in the village.
They were not happy. Even less so when they learned they'd have to go back the exact same way, as there is just one road in and out of town. I knew this drive would be added to their bragging list as the started to quietly snap pictures. Strapped to the back in a gurney with no view of what was happening outside, I was pretty nervous.
Climbing up, we got stuck in the snow for 15 minutes as they finally relented to the snow chains and grudgingly got out into the thick flakes to put them in the tires. As they opened the door to the back of the ambulance, I craned my neck to see the sea a haze of grey as it blended into the sky, the dark green terraced hills laced with a white icing of snow, and our one lane mountain road covered in slush and ice. A few other cars had also pulled to the side, the drivers nervously planning their next move. With the snow chains we were able to climb up the mountain then down into monterosso, but a normal 3-3.5 hour ride took us a little over 5.
The roads were promptly closed by the police shortly after.
As always, another adventure. And only 12 more days lying in bed!