D.C. Chillin’

The universe is mysterious. Life events have seemingly conspired in three ways to bring me to Washington, D.C.

As I’ve previously written, all volunteers in Guinea have been sent home temporarily due to the Ebola outbreak. But the week before we were removed, I had an MRI done that revealed a torn ACL in my left knee. Remember when I wrote about a small injury during a Malaria soccer event? Yeah… that pop was apparently more serious that we thought. I was in the midst of discussing my medical evacuation to Washington, D.C. with the medical office when Peace Corps made the decision to bring all volunteers home. As if those two twists weren’t strong enough to keep me in D.C., I’ve been selected as a winner of the Peace Corps Blog It Home competition and will be participating in a conference mid-September with 8 other current volunteers. Thanks to you all for your votes and support!

There’s some type of energy pulling me here. It’s beyond my comprehension but I know enough to recognize the odd coincidence of it all. I’m not sure what will happen, what life will dish out, but I am open and remaining positive.


The view from my suite. Georgetown is gorgeous -- full of tiny shops and restaurants for moseying around and spending money I don't have -- and we're only a mile from the Peace Corps HQ downtown!

The view from my suite. Georgetown is gorgeous — full of tiny shops and restaurants for moseying around and spending money I don’t have — and we’re only a mile from the Peace Corps HQ downtown!

I’m now in Georgetown with other medically evacuated Peace Corps volunteers. We’re in a lovely suite-style hotel and I’ve met several volunteers in my day and a half here – Malawi, Indonesia, Philippines. Tomorrow I have surgery at the George Washington University Hospital to repair my ACL and possibly also my MCL. For all you medical nerds, I’ll be receiving a cadaver graft. Recovery to walking is 6-8 weeks with full range of motion recovery in 4-6 months. I anticipate being back to Guinea within 8 weeks, inch’Allah.

What's going on inside my knee!

It doesn’t hurt as bad as it looks, I promise.

I don’t really know what to expect and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little scared, but the injury has already happened so there’s nowhere to go but forward. Nothing to do but heal. It’s a common injury and the surgeon is confident I will recover and be able to return to Guinea. I may have issues with arthritis later in life, but I will be better off with the surgery than I would be living on a torn ACL.

Many people have been surprised at the seriousness of my injury — myself included. I’ve been walking and biking several miles a day for months with limited pain. I always thought an ACL tear was a debilitating injury. Doesn’t it sound scary? But, I’m here to report to you all that it’s actually not that bad until you make a sharp pivot or unexpected shift in weight. That’s when you feel your entire knee buckle under excruciating pain. Surgery is definitely needed.

So, updates to come. I don’t know much and I’m going with the flow. In my healing downtime, I’ll write more about Guinean culture and be sure to keep you apprised of my new life in the states. If you’re in the D.C. metro area and want to buy a cripple a drink, you know how to contact me.


6 thoughts on “D.C. Chillin’

  1. Congratulations. On winning the blog contest. You deserve it. Your writing is wonderful. Very insightful and descriptive. Good luck with surgery. Enjoy D.C.

  2. Sara, this blog is absolutely fantastic!

    My son is a recent GW grad and heading for an assignment in Guinea as a health volunteer in December. Your blog is the single best source of information about what he is going to experience that I have found on the web. It is very well written and clearly deserving of the recognition you have received for it. Thank you for doing such a thorough job on it!

    I hope your surgery goes well and you have a complete recovery. Thank you for your service.

    • Brett,
      Thank you very much for the kind comment. I am glad to be able to help your son and your family learn more about Guinea. Reading blogs before my service was a huge chunk of my daily schedule, and helped comfort me and my family a lot so it’s awesome to be fulfilling that role now! I look forward to meeting your son in December. Thank you for the well wishes!

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