It wasn’t like that at all when I was shot.
It is not that the Dominican Republic is particularly dangerous; it is just that they do things a little differently. I blame it on the unavailability of stocking masks. When you are burgled, the chances are you will know your attacker, as everyone knows everyone here. The burglars, of course, don’t want to go to jail. The jails here are pretty gruesome as jails go. If a burglar gets caught in the act of robbing your house, he really has no option but to prevent you from snitching to the police, and so he shoots you.
I am not sure whether they were aiming for my heart and shot too high, or my forehead and shot too low. In any event, when I caught them in the act of robbing the house, I said “Good evening,” as everyone is polite in the DR. The short one said to the tall one, “Give it to her.” I waited for whatever it was they were going to give me, totally unafraid, and then one lifted up his T-shirt, pulled out the gun tucked into the top of his trousers, pointed it at me, and fired.
I saw the gun, and a little spark, and then heard a loud bang, so I turned and ran, in case they shot me. I had no idea I had already been shot—right through my neck. I didn’t fly backwards; it didn’t hurt. I didn’t feel a thing.
My dogs decided it was about time they attacked the guys (like they should have done when the men first broke in). The burglars fired more shots, killing one dog, but that still left four more attacking them, and having run out of bullets, they left. Meanwhile, I was beginning to realize that I had probably been shot somewhere as I felt a tad odd. The bullet had passed through my throat and then gone straight through my right lung. Then, it stuck in my back. I am not sure where else it went, but it was a .22, and I was told later they bounce around a bit once inside you. The air was escaping from my lung, but instead of going out of my mouth or down my nose, it was filling the top half of my body with air. I was slowly blowing up like a balloon. This meant that I couldn’t see as my face got fatter, and my eyes were swelling shut. I quickly tried to use my phone to call for help. Stupidly, I didn’t have my reading glasses with me so couldn’t see any numbers. Note to self: always carry reading glasses in case you are shot.
Still no pain, only fuzzy recollections. I think your body must produce all sorts of natural painkillers when you get shot. By the time we arrived at the large hospital, there was no oxygen left in the ambulance. This was very inconvenient because I was unable to breathe on my own. I was rushed into the ER. Unfortunately, before they would start work on me, they insisted on a deposit. At 3:30 a.m., my husband managed to get the requisite cash from an ATM right next to the ER, and then the doctors started to repair me.
To my utter dismay, the first thing they did was to cut off my Dolce and Gabbana top. That hurt far more than being shot. They put chest drains in, and I gradually began to deflate. It actually took over a week before I stopped looking like the Michelin man and all the air in the top half of my body disappeared. Once the chest drains were in, I regained full consciousness, and my body decided to stop producing painkillers. Then it hurt—nine hours after the gunshot.
Twelve days later, I was home. No longer able to work as a scuba diving instructor with the holes in my lung, and courtesy of the botched tracheotomy, I was no longer able to sing karaoke or even speak properly. However, I was still alive.
So don’t believe what you see on the films; it isn’t like that. If the government wants to reduce violent crime in this country, they should start selling stocking masks.