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Hospital Story

  • Written by JD
  • December 24th, 2004
  • 5 min read


I was living on Koh Tao Island for a few months. Great place. And I scratched my foot and ankle on a small bush. 10 days later it had almost healed up. I had to do the dreaded visa run, and a friend invited me to Hong Kong for a few days.

Whilst walking around Hong Kong, the small scar on the inside of my ankle, right on the knobbly bit started to go red. I though it was just my shoe rubbing on it. After 5 days I came back to Bangkok and went to Bumrungrad to get it checked out. Wow what an amazing place. Within 15 minutes I had an appointment to see a plastic surgeon and skin specialist. In Australia they would let you wait for hours. I'm not squeamish but I’m allergic to pain. 3 lovely nurses were preparing me, and then the doctor came in and put 4 injections right into the wound. Absolute jeb mak maa. He then started to scrape the wound. I had my face in the pillow to muffle the screams. The nurses thought it was funny. Typical Thai humor, they love slapstick.

2 days later I came for the test results, and it was a skin eating disease, stratocumulus pyogene group a. It was like the white ants of the body world. It had travelled under the skin, about 6 inches up the leg under the skin. It only looked red. It was travelling to my foot as well. Lovely I thought. The Doc said if I waited 1 more week it would have reached my knee and possible amputation. One nurse said her uncle lost his leg, because he was a poor farmer and didn't see a doctor.

They booked me straight into surgery that night. Huge private room with couch and balcony. I was put under, and woke up with a throbbing leg. I stayed for 2 days. The next morning they removed the bandages to reveal, what the fuck. I was looking at a cut about 4 inches long and open wide to reveal all the lovely jibbly bits in my leg. Where the original wound was, it was opened up to the size of a condom packet. The doctor finally came to my room to explain that they have to keep the wound or cut open until the deadwood so to speak was red and healthy looking. I couldn't put my leg down for more then 15 minutes because the blood pressure would make my leg throb and ache badly. So I just had to stay in my hotel room with my leg up for 2 weeks. Everyday I had to go to the hospital to have the wound cleaned out. So I hobble down to the lobby and get a taxi. Everyone was so helpful. I didn't even have to make a appointment, I would just rock up anytime, with lots of Thais waiting, and I’d be the next one in. Then 2 to 5 lovely nurses would slowly, very slowly peel the gauze out of the cut. With more pillow biting and gnashing of teeth. They pour a bottle of saline whilst they do it to try and make it less painful. Sometimes the plastic surgeon would come in for a look, but he didn't have the time to do it slowly, so he would just rip the gauze out. Faaaaaaaark off. Ate another pillow. I started to call him Doctor Jebb after that. The nurses thought it was funny, so did the doc.

I used to have to ring out for girls, or hop in the taxi to Nana carpark. Stay in the taxi and pick one out. Amazing Thailand. Where else. One girl insisted I have a shave. So I hobbled into the hong naam and my crutch slipped on the bath mat, so I went arse up out of the bathroom. Cracked my elbow on the tiles and banged my head on the wall. One inch over, I would have hit the glass cabinet.

Then after the 2 weeks I went into surgery again to have it stitched up. Because it’s on the ankle, the skin there is paper thin. So he had to take a skin graft off my leg for it. Great, another wound. They use something like a cheese slicer and take of a huge piece, paper thin of the top of the thigh. That was red and sore for a while.

So I come out of surgery. Now what! I’ve got a half plaster cast on the lower leg. I'm not allowed to bend the ankle. Great, just when I started to walk again. Then while I was in hospital, I had the scariest time of my life. I don't want to say this to rubbish the place, I hope it's just a one off. But 2 nurses were putting in a drip. After they put in the catherta, and hooked up the hoses, I saw this air bubble about 6 inches long travel towards my arm. FAAAARK. I told her, "so solly". Yer right. I'm feeling a bit green. Then fuck me. After they fucked around another huge air bubble headed toward my arm and I only caught it myself in time. I put my thumb on it , and pressed like hell. I demanded to see a Doctor. No problem. Working now… Yes, and if I didn't see it deary, I wouldn't be working anymore. After that I had cold sweats, my toes were tinkling. I did stop it but I was sort of going into a shock. I know only one bubble could kill you. I told my sister who’s a Doctor, and she was shocked.

Anyway, the next day I was talking to a cute Indian nurse. And she tells me all the nurses complain that they get treated like kids. They have to ask the Doctor for everything, so I’m not sure how much training they get. All in all, 2 operations, 3 nights in hospital, and visits and supplies everyday came to about 120,000 baht. Not bad. Even George Bush and John Howard went there. My leg is fine and I owe it to a great hospital. If I was anywhere in Asia with problems, I’d fly straight there. So keep those wounds clean before you catch something. They still weren't sure how I got it, he said it could even have been a mosquito. I'm pretty sure I got it in Hong Kong though.

Stickman's thoughts:

Great, but nasty sounding, story.