January 23

I witnessed my first, fairly severe workplace injury today. As I have mentioned, I have cut myself several times during my short career in the kitchen. Worst was the slicing off of a small part of my thumb and thumbnail during a mandolin incident. Today Isaak, the pizza chef, cut his finger very badly while cleaning his knife. As I am the least valuable employee, I was enlisted to drive him to Whangarei to the A&E (Accident and Emergency, the Kiwi version of the emergency room). It was bleeding very badly and he was feeling quite lightheaded. I drove very quickly (I’m still expecting a ticket from a the speed cameras) to get there before he passed out. I tried to keep him talking during our half hour drive. We made it to the A&E and he was forced to answer heaps of questions before we were taken in.

My experience with the New Zealand emergency services: there was a long wait time to first be assessed, once he was assessed we were left sitting in a room waiting for stitches for two hours (while he was in pain), and I had to remind the doctor that Isaak needed his tetnus shot. Overall, it didn’t inspire that much confidence. However, everyone was very friendly and the visit was free (since he is a Kiwi).

Along the way, we decided to make a photo journal to distract Isaak. Here are our various steps through the healthcare system in New Zealand.

In the end, he was fine. He was given a week of paid leave from work and I went back to finish the last 7 hours of my shift.


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