“You will not die today”

Eyes creak open and Queenie’s asking, “Do you want to go to the hospital?”, “Yes definitely. Happy Birthday.”

It is in fact Queenie’s birthday. And Halloween, although there’s no indication costume or decor-wise that anything is happening.

We get our rain gear on and trudge to the hospital, it’s not too far thankfully. Nice place actually, called First Western Hospital. Leather coaches in the front waiting area with coffee and biscuits.

I go to the front desk and they give me a form to fill out. A tall slender gentleman comes over to me to explain things. Super nice guy, keeping things light hearted, he appears to be the hospital translator. I can’t quite place the accent but I’m gonna say he’s Israeli.

He takes me to a nurse that gets my blood pressure and temperature and then I’m transferred to a doctor. He tells me that I have a fever and it’s not related to the allergies. He also says the hives weren’t caused by anti malaria pills but his English isn’t the best and I’m not totally convinced on this yet. Also my friends shouldn’t worry they aren’t contagious.

I get taken back out to the waiting area and translator dude brings over a breakdown of things they’d like to do with prices. “Blood test to figure out the fever, dengue fever test, steriod shot for the hives, doctors fee and nurse fee. Will probably get antibiotics and other pills. Should come out to about $150 American. I’ll get him to ditch the dengue check since the blood test will show that anyways. Sound good?” Yep lets do it.

I’m taken to the emergency room and put on a gurney. A really polite group of 4 nurses flock over in formation and come up beside me. (The whole time I was the these nurses were always in a little square. Only one of them did anything, I think the rest were job shadowing).

Head nurse girl kneeds my elbow out gently, puffing up the vein. A slight prick and the needle is in. They draw a vial of blood. Then she takes a large needle full of clear liquid and pushes that all in the same spot they drew blood from. Quite a bit of steriod there. They attach another vial and double it up.  “You will feel tired and very dizzy, rest here 15 minutes.”

Jeez, yeah that stuff is no joke. I’m super light headed now. Not gonna fight it, I just lay my head down.

(I saw the no photos sign while I was taking a photo)

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I hear the door open and it’s the translator. “You will not die today”, “Well, that’s good news”, “You have a bacteria. White blood cell count is very high. We don’t know what it is really. So you will get pills. This is why you have fever and no energy.” Great, so I was fighting 2 things. Stellar combo. “A few minutes and you should be good to go.”

A new patient comes in with some bandages around his knee and elbow. Translator explains to me, “Yes motorcycle accidents are very common here from tourists. Please be careful if you are thinking about that”, “At some point we probably are, yeah.” I suppose the whole driving on the left side of the road thing might be difficult for people. Reminds me of the Mongol Rally, diving on the left in England and then having a right hand drive car for 10k more miles while driving on the right. Stories for another time.

After a little bit the nurse tells me I’m good to go. I get off the gurney and go to the front. Translator dude is there to run down the final bill with me. It comes out to $150 as promised. They give me 5 packs of pills and tell me when to take them. Here’s my new cocktail for a while, antibiotics, anti-histamines, anti-inflammatories, and anti-rash and itch. I’m ante’d up.

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The girl behind the counter says something to me and giggles a bit. I have no idea what’s going on. The translator just says, “Someday I will understand them. Some day. See you later, have a good trip, and be well.”

So not a bad hospital excursion, only took about an hour. “So you went to the hospital, got diagnosed, got blood work done, got the results, got a steroid shot, got a bunch of prescription meds, paid $150 and you’re done?”, “Yeah pretty much”, “Well what the hell is wrong with the American medical system? You’d have to go to 3 places for that and pay  way more probably even after copay. It’s probably cheaper to fly to Thailand just to get stuff done!” Haha, yeah I hadn’t really thought of it. That was crazy easy.

It’s still raining when we leave. We slip into a place that’s just opening for breakfast and the sky opens up yet again into torrential rains while we’re there. Food was decent, I went with a simple garlic pepper chicken and made sure they understood that no fish oil or fish sauce could be used to make it.

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This seems to work. It is a little dry with the rice though so I peruse the hot sauces. There’s one on the table that I recognize as pretty common from Thai joints in the states so I slather a bit on. Hmmmmm.. would there be fish in that? Damn. First thing I do after getting out of the hospital. And I don’t know. Naaaah, I’ve had that before. I put some more on. I love hot sauce.

(Spoiler alert: There’s fish in that)

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We walk through the rain back to Goodtimes. We’re gonna make our way back to Koh Samui today and get a baller place for Queenie’s bday. Can’t really do much in this weather so we figure we’ll just get back, hope the weather lightens up, and try to see some things back on that island.

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