Stoned in Bangkok
Days 792 – 796
We never know what will happen in the day in the life of us #grownuptravellers, and today was no exception. And stoned in Bangkok springs to mind!
We rushed to my 9 am appointment, the traffic was chaotic. Unbeknown to me, that would be the last time I rushed for a few days. Once again, the Doctor was none the wiser what was wrong with me. My lower abdomen pain was still constant, and this was dragging on. The Doctor decided to send me for some tests.
A young man turned up with a wheelchair and feeling a fraud, I sat in it to be taken to another part of the hospital. The next hour I had to drink loads, then have a couple of enemas. To think people choose to have and pay for these is beyond my comprehension. I won’t go into detail about what happened next. I expect you can imagine. Let’s just say that the explosions must have nearly sparked a military crisis!
The only way I know what happened in the next few hours was afterwards being shown some pretty pictures of my immaculately clean tubes. All looked good there, so next, I went for CT scans, x-ray and ultra-sound scan. The last time I had ultra-sound scans were for a wholly different purpose, getting a little peek of our babies growing inside me. No baby this time, but a senior doctor, who was called in, spotted something untoward.
Wheelchair-bound, I headed off to see a different doctor who informed us that despite my symptoms not being normal (when have I ever been normal?), he reckoned I needed my appendix out. He immediately phoned the Key-hole surgeon and I was taken to see him. By this time it was 7 pm.
Frustratingly, after me repeating my symptoms for the third time today, this surgeon didn’t think I needed an operation and seemed reluctant to do anything. Still no diagnosis. He must have seen the look of exasperation on my face, so started looking at the CT scan. Hang on a minute. What’s that shining white blog in the middle? Could this be the culprit of all my pain? Some kind of stone?
Yes, I needed surgery to get this diamond out of me (Ok, I can dream). Within a few hours, I was in the operating theatre and quickly drifted off to gaga land.
Excitement over, groggy and in pain, I came too. It turned out that the stone, which wasn’t to my knowledge a diamond, was in my swollen and infected Appendix that was somehow attached to my bladder! All removed, I have three holes in my tender stomach and for some reason a painful shoulder.
For the next four days, I stayed in an immaculate, clean private room in Bangkok Hospital. The nursing care was first class, including from my wonderful Tim. Every few hours my blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen level and my temperature was being taken. And it seems that this is one area of me that is normal! Antibiotics were pumped into me and each time a nurse came in, she asked: “Have you done pee-pee?” Haha, that did tickle me, and it hurts to laugh.
Food orders were chosen and arrived, but my appetite was poor, so often Tim tucked into the soup, fish, mashed potatoes and vegetables. Gradually, to his dismay, I started eating again.
I saw the surgeon a couple of times. He was a jolly man, a bit gung-ho and would tell me how I was, rather than listen to me. According to him, I was in no pain and had done a proper stool. Wrong! Luckily another excellent Doctor, Dr Nina, did listen to me and arranged for me to have some stronger painkillers. (And thanks to my friend Jan for suggesting I had all the pain killers I could get.)
The one thing that let down the first-class service was the level of listening. I am sure a prognosis would have been quicker and I wouldn’t have suffered so much pain. In my room was the Wong-Baker Pain Rating Scale and rather than the nurses coming in and stating “You don’t have any pain now, do you?”, it would have been better for them to ask where I was on the chart. On a positive note, just before I left, a lovely young man, JP, who organised my discharge yesterday, asked me to fill in a feedback form. And boy, did they get they receive it.
Yes, the service was outstanding but apart from JP and Dr Nina, who really listened to me?
My time in the hospital has given me space to reflect on how deeply I listen to others, and how present am I? How much listening do we all do? Or are we too busy creating our own answers, distracted by our own thinking, allowing this to interfere, so missing a deep connection with the other person and listening beyond the words? We miss so much when our heads are elsewhere, already assuming we know their answer.
And now? Things to organise, extend our Thai visa, change our flights, accommodation and claim on our Insurance. TrueTravellers Insurance Company has been absolutely fantastic. They have been proactive, calling me to see how I am, communicating with Bangkok Hospital and paying directly for the tests, surgery and aftercare. You can’t get any better than that!