Travel Talk

Late Night Trip to the Bangkok Hospital

Greetings, make sure your boss isn’t around, this may take a while,

Last night I was hanging out with some of my better “Tuk Tuk” friends and told them of the dog bite, they kept laughing saying “BAD DOG, BAD DOG” and this one older guy pretending to be a dog using his hands as a mouth trying to act rabid. Do you know some characters in your life? Well put them inside the body of a 25-55 year old Asian guy and amplify their eccentricities x 10 and you are STARTING to get an idea about some of these guys, we’re tight.

I tell them this one place wants 35,000baht for full treatment and one of the guys pretends to faint and falls back on to his tuk tuk and starts laughing about how I’m being an idiot tourist. The others shake their head like, no way man. At this point I start thinking about everything else in these countries. IF YOU GO THROUGH A MIDDLE MAN YOU GET RIPPED. Read that twice so it sinks in, the guy even said we have to do the shots at the hospital… Hmmmm.

Fast forward 15 minutes and I run into a guy from Belgium we will call “Andre the Giant”. The name says it all.

I digress.

So I sit next to him and say what’s up, I met him at an “impromptu” street rave on Khao San an hour after the bite, last time I met a guy that big was this bouncer from Serbia who LOVED house music and danced around like a kid despite training for Strong man on his spare time by way of benching mini coopers and eating a dozen eggs plus for breakfast and several litres of milk a day. Every once in a while when he got tipsy he’d pull out photos of AK holding peeps with ski masks from when he was a kid or show me knife marks in his arms from the “war over there”.

I digress once more.

So yeah, I tell him about my ordeal and he is like “no big deal”. He said he got bit a few years ago and to go to the local hospital, he said it shouldn’t cost you more than a few hundred baht per shot. He told me he got 5 and is better then ever or something like that. Then I met his Aussie friend who told me to simply drink more beer, I bounced.

I went to my main tuk tuk friend (Joe of course) and told him I wanted to go to the hospital for the bite, he asked when it happened, I told him last night and he waved me in. We drove there howling at the moon like rabid dogs or some over caffeinated Slope of Hopers piling into the FAZmobile on margin whenever the market opens any color but green. (If that last sentence means nothing to you, it’s ok)

Get to the hospital and the ladies at the front desk speak no English, furthermore all the signs are in Thai… I was like wow, this is something new. Start the game of charades and key words until I meet this old Thai lady who went to school in Melbourne who walks me through the emergency room, we had a moment. I get there and explain what happened and they guide me to this other building. I enter my name and am treated with great respect. When I tell them 35,000 baht is what I quoted, they all start laughing. There were 2 people there that spoke perfect English. I spoke with a surgeon from the trauma area who had a crew of ~10 final year med school students assisting him. They take my blood pressure and all that jazz, I’m healthy.

He checked it out and it was classified as a low risk case so no immunigalizasdfaf(I will never remember how to pronounce or spell that). Like a Rabid dog, or a Rabid Rob I told him I don’t care about price, load me up with everything you got. He insisted it was not necessary and told me it is ONLY necessary when a dog breaks through all your skin so its fangs puncture really deep directly into the blood stream, or something like that. I’m in between case 1 and 2 severity, case 3 is nutso land.

I got the shot required and a tetanus shot. I have to go back on the scheduled days for more. Whether I’m in Bangkok, Thailand or not it’s a very popular vaccine called “Rabipur” or something like that. I also have my record. I think I have a tetanus shot but I took one anyways because it was $3 and at this point would of taken anything they’d sell and safely inject in me at these bargain basement prices to ease my most anxious mind.

Getting your meds in these hospitals is quite interesting. You get your prescription, go to a registrar and pay for one of the drugs the tetanus, transfer buildings and give these people behind a glass wall your card, they enter some words in Thai and send you to another station, you pay at that station, you then go back to the other station and pick up your meds before returning to the inital site to get injected.(I know this is a long sentence but I’d get it out in one breath so it stays) I remember sticking my head through the glass with a Joker like grin saying “Hello Ladies” and seeing 10-15 wide smiles back. The “drug factory” kinda reminded me of Charlie and the chocolate factory with conveyor belts and everything and everyone singing and dancing in harmony, maybe it was just the rabies induced hallucinations but I was mesmorized by the efficiency and friendliness of this little “op”.

Get the shots and roll out, 5 missed calls. I figure Joe has left and that is OK, I was in there ~30-45 minutes and this is at ~11PM aka PRIME TIME for a tuk tuk driver to bank some coin on tourists venturing off to different parts of Bangkok. I don’t see him, this other guy starts talking to me and I see Joe at the other side of the highway doing jumping jacks to get my attention, I run across and off we go in the TUKMOBILE! He keeps joking “bad dog, bad dog” and making barking noises as we speed around cars with great vigor and zeal.

Seriously, driving in these countries is nutso, if you are a control freak, stay home. When you jump in these vehicles you’re just a sack of potatoes in the back, you gotta “trust yo driver” or something like that. I mean this is how they roll out and the best defense is a good offense right? Either way, I was genuinely surprised he waited, acquaintances drop people at the hospital, friends wait.

Yeah so here I am, just chilling. I am actually kinda glad this happened in a weird way. While I was laying there with the sinking sensation that I needed medical treatment some things came to my mind, we’re all here for a short time that feels like forever. Kinda like a vacation if you will, you never really think about the inevitable until the trip starts coming to an end… Suddenly having the possibility of your “trip” cut short by decades makes you think of things you typically never do, it was enlightening. I basically entertained thoughts I’d never had before, none of which I’ll share with you.

FYI – hospital stay and the 2 shots cost me a grand total of 467baht aka ~$16US. Each additional Rabipur is ~377 baht or ~$13US and tetanus is ~$3US

This is long, tips hat,

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