It is almost time to end our nine-month long odyssey and return to Canada and see our family and friends. We have pretty much stayed put in Bangkok in order to rest and recover from the trauma to my arm.
We went to see the orthopedic surgeon at the Adventist Hospital the morning after we arrived in Thailand. My brother David received great care there a few years ago when he fell very sick while on a buying trip to Thailand. He often spoke of the efficient care he was given and told us to go there if we ever needed medical attention. Fortunately it is located a short distance from the Khao San Road area where we like to stay.
When our taxi pulled up at the emergency room door, we were met by a porter who took us directly to the registration desk. There we were assigned to a woman in a neat business suit. I can only imagine that her role was to facilitate our process through admission to the Out Patients Dept and on to the doctor. At every stage of the process there was more than one waiting staff member. I was weighed, my blood pressure and temperature was taken, and moments after being seated outside the examination room, we were ushered inside to see the doctor. Neither of us could believe the speed with which this all happened.
The doctor greeted us warmly and I gave him the x-ray taken in Langkawi. He studied it for a long time, making 'ooh's and aah's' and screwing up his face at the extent of the damage. When he turned to us he looked rather gravely, I was prepared for the worst. He said the bones were very much out of position and they would have to be properly set. I then told him that this had already been done in Langkawi and he looked relieved. I was sent for an x-ray, and once again the efficiency was amazing. I was taken back to see the doctor in no time at all. He studied the new x-ray for a long time and then turned to ask when we were planning to fly home and if I needed any medication for pain.
I immediately asked him if he thought that surgery was required and he looked surprised. "No", he said, "it will just take time to heal". What a relief! He did change the cast to fiberglass as the one applied in Langkawi was really just a temporary splint meant to last until I had seen the orthopedic surgeon. I even got to pick what colour I wanted. I never thought of a cast as a fashion statement.
He asked me to come back in one week's time for a follow-up. We were then taken to the pharmacy where I was given some medication and a can of aerosol spray to help relieve the discomfort of the cast. I had never heard of such a spray but was happy to try it out. Next we were taken to Physiotherapy where I was fitted with a fancy mesh sling. Our last stop was the cashier where we paid the bill. I was surprised to learn that the total cost was just over 5,000 Thai Baht or only $150.00 CAD. We do have travel insurance so we will be able to recover the costs, but it certainly is a bargain if we had been forced to absorb the fees ourselves.
Since being given the all clear, we have pretty much lazed around our hotel room with brief forays out for food and fresh air. I found the discomfort of the cast much relieved by the spray but whenever I am out in the heat and become bathed in perspiration, I get a sensation like prickly heat along my arm and it is horrible. For that reason we stay indoors as much as possible. I wouldn't recommend that anyone break a limb in the tropics. When we saw the doctor for the follow-up, he split the cast and wrapped it in a tensor bandage to relieve the pressure which the heat causes. I am told that the discomfort (pain) that I am having in week two is not uncommon. That's a relief, but I can't help feeling sorry for myself now and then. We were supposed to be relaxing on the beach in Phuket instead of this. It helps that Anil is not a beach person, so he isn't disappointed to miss out on more surf and sand.
I am glad that we decided to stick with our initial flight booking for June 25th, as I wouldn't have been comfortable with the long flights overseas so soon after the injury. Besides, here we don't have to cook, clean our room, or do laundry. Once we are back in Canada all those tasks will be our responsibility (or Anil's).
Editor's Note: Major retraining program coming up!
I can do a little but Anil laughs when he has to close the button on my trousers and other such dressing issues. I call him my sherpa because he has to carry the laundry back and forth to the cleaners and all the groceries we pick up to keep in the fridge in our room.
We did manage to get out to the Chatuchak Weekend Market last Sunday where I was able to stock up on some new clothes at 'Tribe', a stall where I found clothes for my Western size in the past. We had to leave shortly after noon when the crowds made walking through the narrow lanes difficult with a wounded wing. I did manage to find a lovely lady who does tailoring out of a small shop near our hotel. I was pleased to be able to bypass the pushy Indian tailor shops in the area. These shops only provide high-pressure salesmanship in their air-conditioned premises, and then they farm out the work to the local Thai tailors with a huge markup. I wanted to be able to talk to the tailor myself to ensure I would get the fit I wanted. It has worked out well and now I have some new capris and shirts to come home with. My clothes have served me well but are now pretty much ready for the rag bin after all these months on the road.
Other than little excursions like that, we pretty much stay in this backpacker area. The variety of foods here is amazing and there is always lots of people watching to be done. We are ready now to head to Canada and the cooler temperatures. For those of you reading this in western Canada, we are looking forward to seeing you soon and catching up on your news. We have lost a couple of senior extended family members and new babies have been born. It is so wonderful to have such warm family and friends to come back to. It's the people that provide our "base", and we're lucky to have them.