Still in the operating room, feeling faint but alive. It didn't take long for robber reinforcements to arrive. I looked up from this journal and saw a shiny silver knife immediately in front of my face and two mean animals, both hominids. Great smelling salts. I shall continue entries on these now bloody pages later, for I'm not quite able as yet.

12:37 Blood pressure 120 over 60, a vast improvement on 60 over 40 upon arrival. The breakfast I was hunting arrived, as well as another 2 million units of penicillin. I have seven stab wounds in the left arm, one in the right leg and a hominid bite on the left shoulder. The worst cuts are down to the bone and three inches long. I'm not sure how many stitches were needed. I didn't count the internal ones and I can't see all the wounds on my now immobile arm. I shall recover use of my wrist and fingers but to heal properly the severed arm muscles which manipulate them must remain immobile for at least ten days--doctor's orders.

By the wailing in the hallway it is obvious that someone just died. How unmistakable a crying out. The man who hit a child with his car continues explaining how the kid was running 20 mph and suddenly appeared in front of the car. The child continues crying. Right after my stitching, a 2 1/2 hour process, a man with an abdomen knife wound arrived. His hands held his intestines in. The following arrival had a machete wound across the knuckles. Lots of blood, most of it mine today. I remain liberally coated; daypack, jeans, shirt, shoes, all is bloody. At least one of my assailants is bloody also. Angel, a policeman, reported shooting twice while pursuing them from the scene. Although they escaped he reported finding blood. I'm told they were identified by witnesses, their residences are known and they are being sought. Another rest is much in order and then the second by second details.

1:30 A man just arrived with two knife wounds to his right hand. On Central Avenue, the same avenue as my second assault, he was robbed of his billfold containing one dollar. He got twice stabbed for reaching back during a fast pickpocket. J.C. Tamayo, the policeman guarding me and waiting in case my assailants arrive needing medical attention, is taking the crime report. Patricia, the woman lying on the operating table having her shoulder wound stitched, was stabbed in the back. I spoke with her. Her assailant claimed he was in love with her. Madly in love, I'd say.

A pain killer has just arrived, a 65 mg. Darvon. The police are changing shifts. J.C. is telling just arrived Dean about my wounds. Dean tells of shooting a man in the leg. He says the stubborn man kept fighting and he had to shoot him again. The man lost his leg.

2:25 Sitting without fainting. I've sat up for about 15 minutes. I can't as easily now keep exact time. I lost my watch. One wound is the result of the careless indelicacy with which it was cut from my wrist. I'm literally depending on the hospital staff for the time of day. Repairing the carnage today are two great surgeons, Humberto y Roberto. Humberto needed a rest after two hours of stitching my worst wounds. Roberto completed the job, stitching the three smallest cuts. Roberto speaks English. His mother migrated from Liverpool. It's time to wash up. I'm feeling well enough to stand and walk.

3:05 Hemoglobin 15.1 per cent, Leucositos 11,500, Neutrofilos 38 per cent, Linfocitos 58 per cent, Monocitas 2 per cent, Eosinofilos 2 per cent, Hematorito 46.5 per cent. Nurse Sixta told me to write this. She says it means I'm healthy, that my recovery expectation is "positiva." She is removing the intravenous needle that supplied antibiotics and a liter of Ringer's. I must now go for a squad car ride to the police station to satisfy the bureaucratic requirements of denouncing the criminals.

3:50 The second cop shop. At the first we scrutinized mug shots, typical dime store family albums full of mean hominids. Quite the photo study! Here I'm waiting for I don't know what yet. On the walls are several Xeroxed flyers which read, "1986 Year of Peace, Security without War..." On the TV Houston leads Denver 104-102, fourth quarter. No TV sounds, the stereo is blasting Colombian salsa.

Now, some fifteen minutes later, someone with authority is in the room and they have resolved to attend to my case. The boss screaming "Can't you see this man is dying!" had its affect. I've been moved to a chair at one of the desks. The formalities are about to begin. I'm feeling okay, except that my arm really hurts. Any slight movement of my left elbow, wrist or fingers causes sharp pain. Now it's a raggae cassette. The policeman is tolerating my poking about his desktop to a degree. I was denied reading the "crimes of the day" sheet, its "prohibido." I found another list which I'm allowed to read, a ten item list of how to get along with others. Let me abbreviate and translate:

1. Say less than you think.
2. Make few promises and keep them at whatever cost.
3. Never pass up a chance to say something nice.
4. Take a real interest in others.
5. Always be jovial, smile and hide your worries.
6. Argue without raising your voice.
7. Let your virtues speak for themselves.
8. Don't listen to disagreeable speech.
9. Don't joke about other's faults.
10. If you cannot resolve a conflict, remember he who laughs last laughs best.

I wonder if my bullet injured assailant lives. Meanwhile, I'm being interrogated about the details of my digital wrist alarm-chronograph-calculator, part of the crime report. The carbons are in the typewriter backwards.

9:15 p.m. The International airport near Panama City. I didn't have to look at my arm long to realize this journey had changed in ways unplanned. After surgery, with a necessary supply of smelling salts in hand, I was taken by wheelchair for an x-ray. While returning we nearly ran down a two-inch cockroach racing across the hospital corridor. Precisely then I decided to fly back to the SW USA. With possible infection or gangrene my medical situation could become worse before better. If my fingers don't function properly I will need more surgery and my budget is already limited. I can't load my pack, I can't move my left arm and it even hurts to walk. Simply put, I cannot continue as I was doing.

At this late hour I'm eating for the second time today. The friendly people at the next table opened my milk carton. I'm definitely disabled and disliking it. Dealing with a 50 pound pack is now a tremendous chore. I'm in pain and just took two aspirin. After the police dropped me back at the hotel I began learning one-handedness, a novel form of living slowly. I took a washcloth bath, changed into bloodless garments and packed. The people staffing the hotel refused payment. I called a taxi which delivered me to the bus to Panama City. The bus driver wouldn't let me pay either. The hospital staff spent 2 1/2 hours repairing me and also refused payment.

The bus ride across the continent was slowed by carnival parades on both streets and highways. It's all out party from New Orleans to Tierra del Fuego tonight. I caught the first available taxi to the airport, arriving five minutes after the air terminal bank closed. A clerk noticed my condition and reopened. Not a bad place to get stabbed, the people are so nice. I changed enough traveler's checks to pay the taxi and survive a while longer. The first flights are available tomorrow morning. Perhaps while in the air there shall be more than enough time to recount the details of this day, a day with too many.

Later. At the Holiday Inn after a real bath. There are no cockroach havens in this neighborhood, only expensive hotels. I'm viewing color TV in English. An advertisement just aired informing newly arrived visitors that bees here are 8 times more aggressive than in the U.S. It's the Armed Forces Radio and Television network. NBC Nightly News is headlining the Philippine election. Meanwhile the deposed Haitian dictator arrived in France where he enjoyed a salmon buffet before turning in. Castro warns the U.S. he will send more aid if needed to Nicaragua to counter the U.S. sending more aid to the contras. Life in the colonies isn't going very smoothly. Now, what to do with this pain filled arm while trying to sleep?

Feb. 9. 7:00 a.m. Holiday Inn Restaurant. A window table. The buildings enclose an open courtyard with, as centerpieces, a fountain and a large swimming pool. There are lawns, palm trees, vivid ornamentals, beautiful flowering plants and a few thatched huts, all impeccably maintained, a far sight from the nearby ghettos. At a neighboring table the only other early birds are discussing where to find $80 jeans for $35, which clubs have which people and what kind of swimming pool and on and on. There is too much contrast in life. How did Lynurd Skynurd say it in "Things going on"? "Have you ever been to the ghetto? Well there's things going on you don't know" Well now, have you ever been out of the ghetto? If never then stand up and scream for there are things you have not seen.

Breakfast downed with the hunger of a starved animal. I ate little yesterday. This morning I chose from the buffet a cheese omelet, pastries, ham, sausage, melon, papaya and papaya-orange juice. I should also be drinking champagne to celebrate my continued existence. Events could have resulted otherwise. Yesterday I could have been breakfast, today I have vivid purple teeth impressions on my arm!

9:35 a.m. Awaiting takeoff. Eastern flight 956 to New Orleans, connections to Phoenix, Arizona, ETA 8 p.m. So there I was in the ghetto yesterday morning, sitting in the median parkway of Central Avenue beginning to write the details of the first assault, oblivious to the possibility of further danger. Just as I was writing that I'm right handed and as I was about to describe my violent reaction I was violently interrupted indeed, but what first transpired ought to receive first telling.

Standing face to face with someone, let's call him "Rob," while, with both his hands in my left front jeans pocket, he frantically tried to extract my wallet was too novel a situation for any predetermined or reasoned reaction to arise. I immediately pressed Rob's hands tight against my body with my left hand. I also pulled back at the waist, thereby tightening my jeans and the crease above the cash. Rob should have realized his failure. We looked into each other's faces as his fingertips vainly pulled at the wallet. I even pushed my stomach out to further tighten my jeans. Then I took notice of Rob's stomach and his vulnerable predicament.

With all my power I hit Rob. The measure was effective and then some. Immediately after the force of my right arm was absorbed by Rob's abdomen he jerked forcefully to free his hands and turned to run. The direction of my punch and the pull from his arms combined to cause me to begin falling forward. As Rob leaned into a sprint I broke my fall by placing my hands somewhere near the back of his knees. I very clearly heard his cranium impact on the sidewalk. Rather than take Rob captive in his thoroughly defeated pose I let him scramble well punished. He retreated, post haste, towards an alley. I yelled loudly, "Robo, Robo," as he ran past a man, but otherwise I let him escape without taking notice of his clothing, etc.

I walked the quarter block to Central Avenue and out onto the median. In the center of the median, a 100 foot wide park between two one-way streets, at mid block I straddled a backless bench, purposely facing away from a military monument. I placed the daypack beside my left foot, unzipped the top, extracted this journal and began writing, oblivious to surroundings or further danger. Suddenly, on my right, two feet stepped too near to be friendly. I looked up from writing in mid-word.

Take off. Flight 956 to New Orleans is in the air. So how does one react to a shiny knife in the face? Frankly, it's immobilizing. The moment I looked up the knife-wielding man, let's call him "Knife," said, "Con calma, con calma." Literally translated that's, "Stay calm," and means, "Don't move." Knife was not alone. His accomplice placed his chest on my shoulders and pushed, bending me forward. Knife directed, "Check his pockets." He checked both empty back pockets twice and reported, "Nothing," from immediately beside my left ear. I hadn't realized that pickpocketing could be such a contact sport. My billfold was where Rob had found it, sideways in my front pocket. Also, I must add, it is relatively new because I was pickpocketed on my previous Latin American trip.

On that occasion in Mexico City near the Museum of Anthropology on a crowded bus a young man dropped some change. While picking it up he lifted my shoe at the same moment that his accomplice lifted my billfold. I realized what had happened and informed the bus driver. He stopped in a no parking zone and opened the rear door to let the crooks escape while refusing to allow me out the front door. I lost my pride and three dollars. I'm still enraged and I moved my new billfold to a front pocket for this journey. "Where's the money?" Knife asked. "In the hotel," I quickly responded. In the wallet I carried 4 dollars. That I could afford to lose but very near the wallet, below my clothing, I wear a money belt. I was carrying $1,500 in traveler's checks, a magic money card, an instant loan check, passport and birth certificate, a quite complete kit for world travel. All this was well hidden by the way I was pressed forward.

This time loudly, Knife growled, "Donde esta el dinero?" (Where's the money?) He did sound impatient. Obviously they didn't know and that was certainly in my best interest. The middle of the parkway in daylight is not the best place for a long, drawn out mugging. Perhaps they had expected to be running off with a fat tourist wallet by that time. Events were certainly transpiring other than as I would have chosen.

Quiche has just arrived. Second breakfast now downed; quiche, sausage, tomato, three pastries, melon, pineapple, milk, coffee, cheese, butter, marmalade and breaded yams. Luis, one of the friendly crew, has served me champagne with OJ--toasting my survival. On the commuter bus from the hotel to the airport I explained my condition to the flight crew. My shoes and day pack are freshly blood-stained as are my bandages. I feel like a walking, limping even, sympathy case. I certainly look the part. I'm encountering continuous aid and concern. Everywhere people have helped with my pack. I was moved to the front of the ticket line. I've been given free rides, free room, and free surgery. And now I'm enjoying the champagne treatment.

While eating I conversed with a cabin mate, a senior woman from near New Orleans. During her one month stay in Panama visiting relatives her niece's car was stolen. She said she went to Panama only to visit and got a lesson in geopolitics instead. "I don't know how a man can support a family on three dollars a day. Why that's only twenty-one dollars a week and they work nearly day and night," she said. I knew not of the local wage and labor situation, but her statistics would explain the ghettos. Again Luis just asked how I am doing.

So there I was, confronted with a knife and a second really belligerent. "Donde esta el dinero?" Knife sounded like he hadn't believed my lie. Louder, shakily, and with what I hoped sounded like exasperation I repeated, "En el hotel." Criminal #3 believed me, I knew, because he responded by biting hard into my upper left arm. Let's call him "Bite." Being bitten by a fellow Homo sapiens is a very primitive experience indeed. My head and attention shifted to the animal chomping me, therefore I fully viewed Bite reaching for and lifting the daypack off the ground. Bite began to dash. My teeth were already bared. As I lunged my right arm reached and grabbed the pack's backstrap.

Surely the bitten behave differently, but also that pack contained more than I was willing to part with. I worry about theft of what I leave unattended so, as a rule, I carry with me valuables, photo equipment, film, writings, etc. in the daypack. There was no time to inventory contents or even think at all. I had acted without considering Knife's knife. As with punching Rob, my behavior was purely impulsive. And the bitten do behave differently. My impulse was to not let go of an important part of this journey. From long habit that daypack is important, even integral. On the other occasion that same daypack was stolen it contained botanical notes, exposed film, photo equipment, rain gear, traveler's checks and passport. That theft, in the Mazatec Sierra of Oaxaca, was by four machete wielding men partially disabled by alcohol. Ten minutes later I stole it back and dodged an upraised machete to make my escape. The following day I got a pistol snuggled deep into the parts of my throat for breaking up a fight.

12:10 Visible below is the broad expanse of clear turquoise water between reef and shore on the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan peninsula. Landing is expected to be in 1 1/2 hours, at 12:32 New Orleans time. Little did I expect to be in New Orleans during Carnival. The four hour layover will be spent seeking pain killers, bandages and a comfortable chair, not parades and parties. Great, Luis just brought another champagne.

I can vividly recall grabbing the backstrap before Bite had moved the pack six feet. The next thing I remember was noticing tremendous pain in my left arm. I wasn't seeing as that pain sensation flooded my consciousness. Then I began seeing again. We were in a different location, in the street behind a parked truck. Bite was pulling on the daypack and towards the nearby alley. Knife held my left wrist and his right hand was upraised and moving. The shiny silver knife glimmered as it moved through the air, the immediate focus of my attention. I felt it sink deep into my arm knowing it wasn't the first time. Was this my reward for resisting being pulled into the alley and not releasing my equipment? The knife was fast flying back and forth.

"Robo!" I bellowed as loudly as able. Bite and I played tug of war as Knife put holes in me. "ROBO!" I awakened and shook the neighborhood without deterring Knife. The animal within me quickly settled on a new plan. My eyes made a rapid observation of the precise location of Knife's crotch. I was fully aware of being split into two participants. "The me I know" being only an observer of my adrenaline charged body. And my body was acting without "me" deciding what to do. In what to memory function seemed like very slow motion I observed my foot moving towards target. As Knife began to move back, my body compensated. Having the weight of a man on each arm assisted in delivering a forceful perfect kick.

Crunch! I'll never forget the image of my toe smashing into Knife's genitals. Yes, that produced the desired reaction. Knife was no longer stabbing me. Bent forward and backing away he grip wilted, he released my wrist, turned and ran. Bite took the cue and passed him in the alley. I only then realized I was gushing blood. A policeman dashed across my field of vision, unholstering his pistol and entering the alley.

"Auxilio," I yelled loudly, thinking he should assist me, the injured. He was in close pursuit, less than 50 yards behind Bite and Knife disappearing around an alley corner. I wasn't feeling like myself, but rather like a wild animal. I was definitely filling the neighborhood with loud, piercing screams, "AUXILIO." I walked to and picked up this journal and placed it in the pack. Everything was getting bloody. When I bent to the ground blood splashed from holes in my sleeve. My left hand and fingers were dysfunctional.

"AUXILIO!" People came from all directions. The quiet of carnival morning was over for the neighborhood. With my back against the military statue I placed the pack between my feet. Someone added my address book and sunglasses. I was trying to unbutton my shirt. A man picked up the pack and again I lunged and grabbed it.

He said "tourniquet."

I said, "My shirt." In unison he and another man took my shirt off. From the shocking sight I learned how badly knives injure flesh. A circle of people was forming. At my feet on the crossribbed paving tiles a circular pool of blood was forming, brilliant red, fresh blood, my blood. I have black and blue bruises where the shirt sleeve tourniquet suddenly snapped tightly knotted around my upper arm.

We are now approaching New Orleans. I must fill out a customs declaration which begins, "Welcome to the United States." My dried bloody garments will be a worse surprise than backpacker's socks for any overzealous inspector.

After 2:00 o'clock. Awaiting the Dallas/Fort Worth flight. My backpack did not appear at the claim area. Perhaps narcotics dogs detected the bloody contents. An airline employee said it is "safe to presume" that it missed the flight. Safe to presume? I was moved to the head of the line! What can I do? I have my inseparable daypack. On the way to the first clearance gate we passed a poster of Ronald Reagan with his letter of welcome. "Ron" writes that he is writing on behalf of all Americans and expresses the wish that visitors will "enjoy our culture." On my behalf, Ron, let's keep it plural, cultures.

Pain killers and bandages are unavailable here in the terminal. I'm feeling only just well enough to travel onward. More later.

After 4:00. Seat 27F of a nine seat wide American Airlines DC-10 Luxury Liner. I'm definitely back in the USA. On the concourse there was an electric car serving as a roving bar, the "Bayou Blaster." The janitor pushed his equipment. The East beat the West. Makeup and costume jewelry abound. Hair is "done." Yes, I'm back in the land of blow-dry consciousness. Some of the hairdos remind me of George Washington. The USA indeed.

The crew announced that it's cold and overcast in Dallas. I have only a T-shirt, pants, bloody shoes, one pair of socks and the daypack. The cabin screen features a live video of the cockpit, pilots and runway. The cockpit audio is available on one of the earphone channels. I'm listening to "I don't feel much like a cowboy tonight." The selections do not include salsa or raggae. Well, back to yesterday morning's events.

While the tourniquet was being knotted a woman standing directly in front of me repeatedly yelled loudly, "The taxi," as she pointed up the street to the approaching car. I ran to the slowing vehicle. The driver had the door open when I arrived. Blood stirs the blood and people were responding to the circumstances. I was in no condition to ride in an auto without bloodying it. I wrapped the shirt around the cuts, held the leaking mutilated appendage over my lap and said, "Excuse the blood." Blood stirs the blood indeed and the driver held down the horn and put the petal to the metal. Soon we were flying through intersections. I told him to cool it, I wanted to arrive to wherever we were going. I said I didn't want to see him equally bloodied. That slowed him.

As I dashed through the hospital door a nurse pointed out the trauma room door. Beginning to feel faint, I knelt beside the operating table, arm held high, as hospital personnel surrounded me. Suddenly three or four things were happening at once, I could not have been aided by trained professionals attending my predicament any quicker. The group reaction of everyone responding to my wounds has impressed me. In the street people came running to my wild yelling. They removed my shirt and tied the tourniquet. Somehow the taxi got the signal to pull over. It seems I was surrounded by the right response right away with everyone acting as quickly as possible. Doing battle had left me injured to near helplessness and probably bleeding to death but I was surrounded by fellow humans acting without hesitation. The sight of bright red blood has a very real effect.

A nurse reported that mine was pumping at 60 over 40. My next wound was the intravenous needle. I refused a blood transfusion so Ringer's began to slowly flow into my vein. The nurse washed the wounds with a disinfecting solution, thereby making the floor a bloody mess. My blood-soaked shirt was replaced with a rubber band tourniquet. Two tetanus shots were ordered upon notice of Bite's teeth marks (he's missing his two front teeth.) A nurse asked about my leg wound. That's when I noticed it. Yes, my jeans were bloodstained around a new hole in the fabric. Removing the jeans revealed a knife hole above the knee. That wasn't the only detail of the attack I had failed to notice, I also took note of the missing watch and then suddenly realized that my memory had not functioned during part of the episode. With that realization I considered myself fortunate to be alive.

Our descent into Dallas/Ft. Worth is beginning. I have to move the table "Back to its original position." The concentration of writing is an effective technique to sublimate the sensation of pain. Drinks help also. It's 5:35 and only a few hours to one of the places I call home and everyone's greatest nurse, Mom.

6:35 Dallas-Fort Worth terminal. Undoubtedly back in the USA, would you believe a snack for $6.83 in a place where you stand facing a tile wall and the coffee companions in order to eat. The person next to me dined on nachos and cola. A man who reached in front of me for a coffee companion verbally expressed dismay that the stirring stick were not nearby. I gave him a plastic spoon. We were like bovines in a feedlot, except environmentally inferior. I consumed three items and discarded eight pieces of plastic.

Behind me a woman with a loud voice just stated that her son Stuart was born with automatic knowledge. The conversation is not faltering after her assertion. Her friend is responding with an account of the incredible computer skills of her grandchildren. All the smokers are burning my eyes. Feedlots have more space per animal unit. The weather is expected to dip into the twenties tonight. Snow may accumulate. It's foggy. Arizona should be warm and clear.

Feb. 10. 7:23 p.m. Apache Junction, Arizona. Violence and gunfire on the tube. Back in the USA indeed. Spook stuff. "I'm not in favor of killing the mother of two children"--"I can't help it, it's her or us"--"Such a delicate morality"--"Hire me from 2,000 miles away..." It doesn't end there. Are you immune to the notion of violence America?

America is cold these days. Snow on the Superstition Mountains. Sunny here today. My arm is now much swollen but seems to be doing okay. The cuts remain closed and cauterized. There is no sign of bad infection. I'm ingesting antibiotics. The leg wound is doing best. I walked a mile to get new pens and writing supplies. In the combination Post Office-SW Gift Shop I found sand paintings of Navajo healing plants.

"Vigilante killings are not going to make the world a better place"--"We are not outlaws, we are trying to make the world a safer place to live'--"Killing me is not going to make the world a safer place." Ms. King does not wish to be killed by Mr. Eagles. From where I sit writing I can view two color televisions, it's stereo violence.

So there I was in the combo PO-gift shop selecting appropriate postcards--mostly rattlesnakes or mountain lions--to communicate news to friends. Behind me people discussed which offices and businesses would be closed on which days for Presidents' Day. "They even have a nigger holiday now. I hadn't even heard of him 'til they made it a holiday." I turned and looked at the racist; a short, fat, ugly old man with a flattop and more silver jewelry than I've ever seen on any one person.

The clerk said, "He worked to help his people and they are Negroes, not niggers."

"You must be from somewhere where everyone is white or you would know that," I added. He proudly stated that he was from an all white town in Iowa. I told him he needed to learn not to use the word nigger. His response was to begin telling how the first "niggers" to move into his town had been run out. Everyone turned away from him. I pictured him with all his jewelry walking down Central Avenue and meeting Rob, Knife and Bite.

In Colon the trauma room's environment matched the impoverished neighborhood. The doctors wore plastic gloves, no one wore masks. The dripping air conditioner kept the air moving. My arm laid in a pool of blood on grocery bag like brown paper which was replaced at intervals. Such was the scene as Humberto and I began figuring out which muscle had to reattach to which finger. This was accomplished by instructing me to move a certain way while watching which flesh moved inside the cuts. Work began on the worst wound first after injecting a local anesthetic. The other wounds remained painful, more so with the necessary movement. I was beyond pain by then. We didn't bother with anesthetic on the smaller cuts.

I decided to get the worst wound on film before it was stitched closed. I asked a nurse to place my daypack and shirt within reach of my right arm. I then first noticed the shirt pocket torn almost completely off. Missing were three pens and a notebook purchased in Tuxtla; an irreplaceable loss for it contains the names and addresses of all the people I've met along the way and all photographic notes since Tuxtla. I pulled this journal out of the daypack and laid it beside me on the operating table.

"You can write later," Humberto said. I had neither intention to do so nor pens. The pages had to be unstuck before the blood dried. The next task was made easy because the close-up lens was already on the camera. As I put the camera away Humberto advised me to place the pack under my leg so it wouldn't get stolen. He was serious! I'm reminded of the sociologist I met when he was studying a village in Perú where theft was commonplace. I don't know what new understandings he garnered about people stealing from each other, but he lost two stereos.

I was developing the impression that I was in the wrong neighborhood. A stabbing every two hours makes for a busy hospital. Ever so often the janitor came in and mopped up blood. Eight hours in a trauma room is a unique and distorted perspective of any neighborhood. Two children with burns, one caused by cooking oil and one by a clothing iron, were treated. Are the tenements too crowded? The hospital certainly was. After my suturing I recuperated lying on a table below the air conditioner. My wounds were already closed and bandaged when the nurse led in a slow ambling old gray-haired blind man. A very old gray-haired woman ambled in behind them at the same very slow old age pace. The nurse helped the old man lie down and then explained and demonstrated to the old woman how to properly drain an infected penis, Then they slowly ambled out. To the avid young sociologist looking for raw material to study I would recommend the slums of Panama. Expect to get stabbed a few times and leave your stereo at home.

It's 10:10. In stereoscopic color imagery I'm viewing the nation being informed that later there will be a report about designer firearms on "Entertainment Tonight." Put the children to bed, America. Don't tell Rob, Knife and Bite.

The bathroom scale reports that I've lost ten pounds since Christmas. Today I purchased vitamins, yeast food, and juices. I've begun eating four meals a day and then some. For the next week I shall work at recovery and R & R, this doc's orders.

Feb. 11. 12:50 a.m. A man delivered my pack at the door, seemingly intact. Now to try to fall asleep again, a not easy task when the slightest motion aggravates my now bulbous and pain-filled arm.

Finding America -- Part I -- Part II -- Part III -- Part IV -- Part V -- Part VI