An Unexpected And Unwanted Trip To A Thai Hospital
I’m not an expert on such matter, but I would think most trips to the hospital are unexpected and unwanted. Going to a Thai hospital with little Thai vocabulary is both of those things, with a side order of ‘but how can I explain what’s wrong?’ The worry about being understood by a Thai nurse or doctor is, of course, a moot point as they all seem to have English that is at least on a par with my own. Not only that, but when you wake up at 2 am with the worst pain you’ve ever felt, you don’t stop yourself going to a hospital in the off chance a medical professional doesn’t understand you.
My First A&E Experience
Not only have I never been to an accident and emergency department in Thailand, but I’ve also never been to one anywhere. So the surrealism was doubled as I ‘checked’ myself into the Bangkok Christian Hospital on Silom Road.
Can I Get A Rewind?
But maybe I should start at the beginning…
Most if not all, stories that begin with ‘I had to go to the A&E Department last night’ usually start with pain. Well, this story doesn’t disappoint as that is how this one begins. All was well as I lay down to sleep, but within 2 hours, I was up and clutching my stomach. The pain was instantly all-encompassing and began what was to become the first of many steps up and down as I tried in vain to find a position that would give me some slight relief.
But as I quickly discovered there was no position and there was to be no relief.
Enough Of The Rewind, Get On With It Now.
Having spent the best part of an hour loudly moaning in pain whilst simultaneously telling my wife that I’m ok, I decided (with undeniable encouragement from her) that I should probably get to a hospital. I’ve never in all of my life felt such pain. It was something I had no concept of – pain so bad that you can’t stay still. I’ve experienced the pain that leaves you prone on the floor but never the pain that makes you want to keep moving.
2 am isn’t the prime time to be trying to wave down a taxi, and I did wonder if any would stop at all. After several minutes an unsuspecting driver pulled up beside us, and we clambered. Several words exchanged between the driver and my wife before he turned to look at me. Up to this point, as the driver pulled out, we were travelling at a perfectly respectable Thai speed but having caught a glance at the pain etched onto my face the driver put the pedal to the metal, and we were hurtling through the Bangkok night.
The Bit Of This Story When I Am In A Thai Hospital
Two nurses welcomed us to our stay in the luxurious surroundings of Bangkok’s Christian Hospital and I was quickly placed on a bed in an empty A&E. I caught a glance at one of the nurses face which seemed to say, “What the fuuuuuuuuck is wrong this this dude?! He looks awful! We can’t cure this guy!’ After quickly describing the tight and utterly debilitating pain in my stomach, a painkilling injection was shoved into my arm.
An Hour Later
An hour later and the pain hadn’t subsided. If anything, it seemed worse. And now the pain came with a free bought of excessive sweating. As I writhed in agony, a doctor asked me if I was feeling any better. I almost had the urge for some gallows humour and told him I’ve never been better, but I’m not 100% it would have been appreciated. A few words between doctor and nurse later, another injection was piercing my skin. I held onto my wifes hand as the ripples of pain moved one way and another around my stomach. The pressure in my body was so intense that my back muscles began to go into spasm – such a wondeful thing to feel.
A Short While Later
By now I’d lost all sense of time but I was placed in a wheel chair and taken to an x-ray room. I’m only able to tell this part of the story having been reminded of it the following day by my wife. I recall sitting in a wheelchair but that’s about as far as my memory goes at this point. Was it the drugs kicking in or a pain blackout? No idea, but I do remember being back at my bed in A&E a short (I think) while later.
Not surprisingly, the x-ray showed nothing unusual, so the doctor suggested a CT Scan. Pound signs flashed around my head as with no Thai ‘NHS’ this would all be coming out of my pocket. I had no concept of how much a CT Scan would cost, but the pain was so intense and so confusing that I nodded my head to my wife and before I knew it I was back in my trusty wheelchair and heading to the scanning room.
Again, I don’t remember much of what followed, but I do remember the nurse that would be doing my scan asking me if I was allergic to fish. It seems a strange thing to ask someone as they’re about to go and have a CT Scan but sounded even stranger to someone that was now obviously coming heavily under the influence of some serious pain killers.
I looked up at my wife and asked why I needed to answer this question and muttered, ‘Am I going to eat fish?’ Something in my head told me that this was an attempt as humour and I gave a slight smile as I was ushered up to the scanner. I think it is fair to say that the second dose of painkillers hit the spot.
Nothing. Not A Sausage.
After a vague recollection of having the scan and being pushed back to the ward, the pain seemed to be subsiding. Whether it was the painkiller or ebbing away naturally, I was able to remain stationary for longer than 3 seconds. I’ve never felt happier to be so static.
I was wheeled into a private room, and my wife and I fell into a deep slumber with occasional disturbances from nurses coming in to take my temperature and heart rate.
With nothing showing up on any of the scan, x-rays or blood tests it was left with only one other serious conteder to what this pain was – farts. Trapped farts. Or, as they say in medical circles, ‘trapped wind’. It seems such a stupid thing to have had so much pain with but there are few other possibilties.
As Occam’s Razor principle states, the most straightforward answer is often the correct one. It’s been a week now since this all happened and I’m starting to feel normal again (i.e., I’m farting) and despite the medication making my hands come up in about 100 little spots, I’m doing ok!
I may have to buy some health insurance, and I winced when paying the bill, but I guess no amount of money can cover the piece of mind that comes from knowing I am full of hot air and need to fart more. That’s my excuse anyway.