09 August 2007

I Love Being Poked By Needles

And now Pah my nurse rolled me down the corridor to the elevator, where we wheeled on board and headed up to the 4th floor to see an intestine specialist (they didn’t know I had Dengue at this point, working just with the outrageous body aches and stomach issues). The bell “dinged” as we approached and the door opened. We wheeled out and made a sharp right, RUNNING DIRECTLY INTO A SEVEN YEAR OLD! He landed smack in my lap after belting both of my shins with his absurdly pointy shoes. It felt not-so-good, to say the least. Fortunately, Erika, the American in Thailand working with Ashoka, got the whole ordeal on tape!

The specialist quickly agreed that I had some sort of infection and would need to stay in the hospital for “at least one night,” which became five nights real quick, once they noticed the antibiotics weren’t “killing” anything and my fever kept rising. This meant it was time to select my room. They handed me what appeared to be a menu and I went down each section - Appetizers: “Full-time nurse or part time nurse.” Entrees: “Deluxe, Super Deluxe, Special, Elite, Vice Presidential & Presidential Suite.” Deserts: “Jello” (apparently Jello is internationally known as the official food of hospitals). I decided to eat light and go with the “Deluxe,” which was air-conditioned (could you imagine me asking ANY other question about the room?).

While the Deluxe was being prepared I was wheeled to a “prep room” where Pah and Ding (my nurses nicknames) decided it would be fun to bludgeon me with an IV needle for fifteen minutes looking for a good vein. After each stab they would look at me apologetically and say, “oh, so sorry. Very bad veins. Very bad.” Six stabs later they finally got what they needed, and the fluid started flowing. I could feel it running up my left arm (even though I’m left handed it had to be that way, as my right hand failed in the decent vein department). The cold felt wonderful amid the roasting sensation that was now pulsating through my body.

It took them a good hour to cover my hands in holes and subsequently, band-aids, which meant by the time they were done, my room was ready. I was wheeled off once again, only this time I was too dizzy and disoriented to get myself from the bed to the wheelchair, which meant Pah and Ding had to physically lift me up and plop me down. I can’t even tell you how ridiculous and pathetic I felt. Fortunately, once again, Erika was rolling, which means it was all caught on camera! Sweet!

The door to my “Deluxe” room opened and I could see the fantastic view of downtown out my window. The bathroom door was open, chrome showerhead glistening in the light. The couch-bed had been prepared for Erika, who they thought was sleeping over. The leather reading chair and ottoman were nestled nicely in the corner. Delivery menus for Starbuck’s and Au Bon Pain were knowingly placed next to the HBO movie guide. My first thought: “Is this a hospital or a 4-star hotel?” Sadly, I was too out of it to really enjoy my surroundings. I slipped into my official “hospital uniform” and fell into my powered bed, which I had already adjusted to the only position that didn’t make me want to have my entire back surgically removed. Erika headed out and I dozed off for what would be the first of many nights in my new home – Samatijev Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand. Changing the World would have to be put on hold for a while – or so I thought.

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