Readers' Submissions

Rabies

  • Written by Anonymous
  • April 2nd, 2008
  • 22 min read


Black Pagoda Patpong Bangkok


You may remember me from 2004 when I wrote a few letters.

I was thinking about Thailand again and I had to laugh at myself about an incident that happened on my second trip to Thailand in 1981.

1 week before I was to leave for my 2nd trip to Thailand, during the winter of 1981, this time on my own with no dumb struck travel associates…that is a story for another time…I was in a local pub and I ran into a friend who, in those years, used to spend at least 6 months of the year partying in Thailand.

Larry kept a house in Pattaya beach and from there, himself and his drinking buddies would make excursions to other parts of Thailand.

Larry was a party hound and a major drinker to the max and Thailand was the world to this guy and the perfect place to get drunk everyday for months at a time while staying there.

Myself, I drank in moderation and avoided the heavy drinking like Larry and his new found foreign friends, one of them being a German guy that could drink as much as Larry.

Anyhow, Larry is telling me how himself and his good German friend were partying on one the beaches in Phuket and his German friend was bit by a dog and the dog chewed up his leg pretty good before people got the dog off the German guys leg.

Being drunk and mindless they just wanted to carry on drinking and partying but most of the people there insisted they go to the hospital because, on inspection, the dog bite was fairly nasty and bleeding a lot.

So off they went to the doctor and came back to the beach several hours later boasting about the 20 plus stitches in his leg and telling everyone the dog was mad and the doctor said the dog may have Rabies so you should have a good look at the dog and observe its behaviour

Larry told me they tried to find the dog but they could not see it anywhere and figured the beach bungalow operator may have taken the dog away and hid the dog because it was no where to be found.

So they just kept on partying and drinking and did not give it a second thought really.

On a Friday night, 2 days before I am going to leave to go Thailand, I am in the same pub and I end up sitting with a friend by the name of Russ, who also used to spend as much time as he could in Thailand and shared the house in Pattaya with Larry.

Russ and Larry's work schedules and times off from their jobs sometimes did not coincide so sometimes Larry would be in Thailand and Russ was working and then Russ would get his time off and get to Thailand and Larry was at the end of his holiday.

But their good German friend was there most of the time because he was supposedly from a well off German family and spent most of his time in Thailand for many years.

So there I am mentioning to Russ that Larry was telling me how the German guy was bit by a dog in Phuket and the way Larry had told it, it sounded like a comedy act rather than something serious.

But Russ goes on to tell me about 1 year later the German guy died from Rabies when only Russ was there in Pattaya while they were on one of their many drinking binges for weeks at a time.

He told me that they were heavy drinking and his German friend was on the floor in the house in Pattaya and several girls where there with them at 1:00 AM in the morning.

Russ was laughing and so was everyone else because the German guy was on the floor bouncing around and the girls were all flopping around and dancing and it was all in good fun until the German guy wasn't looking right so the girls and Russ thought maybe he was seeing "pink elephants" from all the heavy drinking they had being doing.

Some of the girls figured they should take him to the hospital in Pattaya so off the girls went with the German guy and Russ said he was so out of it himself he passed out awhile later.

At around 10 AM he woke up all hung over and some of the girls were still there and they reminded Russ that "Yerman man go hospital…and Russ was all hazy on the details of what had recently happened.

So off he goes to the Pattaya clinic and starts asking about his German friend and the main Doctor is called and takes Russ to the room where his German friend is and the doctor is telling Russ he is surprised the man is still alive because he has Rabies…big time.

Russ is saying NO NO…we have just being drinking a lot …I mean a LOT …he is telling the doctor ..but the doctor is telling Russ this guy is on his way out and tells Russ the heavy drinking is probably a factor in why he is still alive and why the signs of Rabies were not noticed.

Russ said he was in disbelief and at first thought : "Ok what's the scam going on here"… but his friend was just lying there unconscious and Russ figured he was just sleeping off the heavy drinking and if anything he had alcohol poisoning.

But …the man died later that day and Russ was a little confused until he remembered that Larry had told him about the dog biting the German friend while they were drinking in Phuket.

So Russ is now trying to be sober about the whole thing and told the doctors and the hospital he wanted a proper death certificate and a autopsy or something proving that his friend died from rabies and not alcohol poisoning.

He got what he asked for and the death certificate and the autopsy stated Rabies as the cause of death

He had to phone the German Embassy and talk to them and inform them he was a friend..but really did not know the mans background all that well and talked to the police in Pattaya and explained there was no foul play and tell the police about the dog biting the guy approximately a year earlier.

Russ said the police were looking at the dead guys leg and you could clearly see where the stitches had once been and the Police understood and did not ask any more suspicious questions

Russ told me the mans parents finally showed up in Pattaya about 1 week later and they arranged everything and the body was finally taken back to Germany…but it was all very awkward as he really did not want to explain to the mans parents how their son had lived the last years of his life…wild and crazy and LOTS of alcohol.

Anyhow I personally had never met the German man but Russ told me he was a good friend as any one could have and it was somewhat sad to hear the story.

So there I am in Bangkok 4 days later and I am staying at the Rex Hotel on Sukhumvit road ( don't know if it is still there now) and I decided that day I wanted to stay in Thailand for 3 or 4 months and I was thinking I should look for an apartment to rent.

I stepped outside the hotel and right there at the corner of the hotel is an entrance to a soi and I figured I should take a walk down that soi and look for apartment buildings and check out some apartments for rent.

Soon enough I see a sign outside a house on the wall and the sign says: "Room to let"

When I looked at that sign I figured someone here must speak English really well because that is the proper use of the English language.

Feeling fortunate, I start walking through the security gate and I get half way up the drive way and I can see a dog resting, while lying on the concrete floor of a 2 car garage and the dog sees me and is now up and moving forward towards me in the "slinking" attack position while growling and baring its teeth at me.

So I decide not to go any further and while standing still and momentarily watching this dog approaching me I see out of the corner of my left eye another dog coming towards me from my left hand side and this one is one me before I can step back.

But fortunately this dog must have been a relative of "Goofy" …from Disneyland …because he was all tongue and whimpering and bouncing around and trying to jump up on me and lick me..this dog is overly friendly.

Meantime while I am distracted, the other dog maneuvers behind me and I had not forgot the other dog but momentarily so I look behind me and sure enough there he is and he is going for the classic bite on the back of the leg and I jerk my right leg forward just in time..but he got me …but it was just a little nip that I felt… right where the joint is at the backside of the knee.

So now I turn to confront the dog and I was ready to put the boots to the dog and suddenly there is a little maid girl grabbing hold of "Goofy" and shouting at the attack dog and while she is firmly dragging "Goofy" around by the collar she is swatting away and trying to smack the attack dog and then finally chasing the dog away from me.

While I am turning around this way and that way watching this whirlwind of activity happening around me I hear someone behind me say in excellent English: "Hello, can I help you"

I turn around to see a middle age Thai lady, holding 2 brown paper grocery bags full of groceries standing there staring at me, looking a little perturbed at my presence.

So she says: "Can I help with something" and I say: "Well I saw your sign outside and came in to ask about your "room to let" and your dog here came and bit me.

By this time the maid girl had both dogs under control with a firm grip on both of them but the attack dog was really trying hard to break free and have a go at me again.

The lady with the groceries said she was the owner of the place and I said : "Fine but your dog just bit me" and she did not believe me until she questioned the maid girl and the maid girl was nodding her head up and down silently saying: "yes…the dog bit the foreigner".

I remember the lady did not apologise and I said: "Here look" and pulled up my pant leg and showed her the small bite mark on my leg.

Fortunately it was just a small scratch mark with a hint of blood…but it was there and the lady just shrugged her shoulders and asked me if I wanted to look at the room.

At that point I was thinking…"Yeah right… I really want to live here and be harassed by your dog every time I enter the property"

I asked her if she had a Band-Aid and some disinfectant or ointment and she immediately said: "NO".

I figured it was time to go back to my hotel and call it a day.

But, while walking back to the hotel…there I am thinking about the German guy that died from Rabies and now I am thinking…I don't want anyone ever telling me …"told you so"… "you should have taken care of that "Little Bite" from the dog because now your dying from Rabies"…1 year later.

Now some readers may be thinking…"don't worry about it" .. or …"I would not have worried about it"…but I was thinking I should take the effort to do something about it…like go to a hospital and find out what Rabies is all about and get whatever Rabies prevention medicines are available.

Was I being paranoid…maybe a little …but I was trying to laugh the whole episode off…but at the same time there was this nagging voice in the back of my mind saying…"should have taken care of that while you could".

So there I am back at my hotel and I am at the reception counter and the night shift manager is saying "Good evening" … "how are you" and I am saying .."Not so good" and he naturally asks: "Why, what da matter"?

I told him I just got bit by a dog and he says: "Dog bite you" and I say: "Yup a dog bite me" and he says: "Where" and I say: "Here on the back of my leg" and he says: "Why dog bite you?"… So I explained to him and I was just about to say: "Maybe the dog has Rabies" and the manager said it for me: "Dog no good..sometime Thai dog have Rabies".
So I sort of chuckled and said: "That is what I was thinking" and then I was just about to say: "I should go to a hospital" and the manager says it for me: "I think you go hospital, see doctor" and I said: "Yep that was what I was thinking".

Then I was thinking I will need a taxi cab and before I could ask, the friendly manager was ahead of me saying: "You need taxi cab…go hospital" … and I said.."Yep, that was what I was thinking" and he grabbed a hold of my arm and outside we go and he waves down a taxi cab and puts me in the cab saying: "So solly …Thai dog bite you…Thai dog no good…hospital take care you good…good luck.

I am shaking my head at all this trying to be positive about the whole affair and now I realise I am in a taxi cab during rush hour traffic at 6 PM and the taxi cab has no air conditioning and no meter and I don't know how much the fare is and or which hospital I was going to.

The cab is inching forward, very slowly and I am sweating profusely and I am beginning to think crazy thoughts… like maybe I have the Rabies already …and I am feeling nauseated and I am trying to be patient and be calm.

Finally after 40 minutes we arrive at the hospital located across from Robinsons Silom Road and to this day I don't know why the manager sent me all that way over to Silom road from half way down Sukhumvit road…there must have been closer hospitals.

I paid 200 baht for the taxi…did not want to even think about the fare..and in the hospital I go…feeling kinda sickly and my head was spinning in a funny sort of way with all the thoughts going through my head and me being all sweaty and hot and agitated.

By now most readers will be thinking this guy is a paranoid type ..but by no means am I paranoid…just letting my thoughts get the better of me in a strange sort of way.
Me ..all alone in BKK …having just been bitten by a dog…maybe with Rabies…Yikes…Thai Rabies at that!!!…maybe the worst kind ever…who knows?.

So now I am in the hospital reception area and that was one old hospital even back in 1981 and there is at least 40 or 50 Thai people …some sitting around on the few chairs available but mostly sitting on the floor.

I look at these people and they are all staring at me in disbelief..or something .. like I was the only foreigner that they had ever seen and I see this one guy lying on the floor and he is bleeding a lot all over the floor..but he is just silently looking at me and I am thinking: "Wow, this is going to be sort of awkward… if anything".

There was a nurse receptionist there but she could not understand or speak English so she went and brought another Nurse who could speak English.

I explained to her how I was bit by a dog and when I said "Rabies" her eyes grew bigger and she came around my side of the reception desk and grabbed a hold of my arm and scoots me into the hospital proper.

She put me on a bed in a sectioned off area with curtains and she is looking at the back of my leg and I am pointing at the scratch mark and telling her I know it is not serious looking but I thought it was best to come to the hospital and have it taken care of.

She agreed and then she went away…with me thinking she was going to get some medicines or something …but no..she comes back with about 5 or 6 other nurses and they are all staring at me and giggling the way girls do and they are all trying to practice their English with me.

But they are all asking "where I come from" and "how about my wife and children" and "how old I am" and "why I not marry" and "you like Thai girl" and "you marry Thai girl?" and "why dog bite you" and "Thai dog not like foreigner"…ha ha ha

It was mildly amusing and finally the Thai doctor comes but he comes with another 4 or 5 nurses and now there is 10 or more girls and the doctor surrounding me, all having a good gander at me and even the doctor is asking me the same sort of questions.

I am thinking…"Jeez all the attention is nice ..but what about that guy bleeding a whole lot outside in the reception area?

Finally, after a few more nurse came over to see the "White Guy" the doctor shooed them all away and had a face to face talk with me and I told him what happened.

By this time I was feeling a whole lot better because there was air conditioning in the hospital and I was not irritable anymore from the heat. That and the pretty nurses (You could develop a thing for Thai nurses) were taking my mind of my situation.

I had once heard something about 13 big needles to the stomach concerning Rabies and the doctor told me that was after you contracted Rabies and it was a possible way of stopping the Rabies ..but not for sure.

The doctor told me they really did not know when and if Rabies will be contracted and it could be in a weak or a month or 1 year…just like the German guy…but if you get it ..most people Die..at least in Thailand he was saying and yes there are a noted number of Rabies cases in Thailand every year he was telling me.

Hmmm …what to do …what to do?

The doctor decided a big shot of antibiotic fluids into my butt was the best thing to do AND 10 days worth of oral antibiotics…all for a mere 300 baht …back in those days.

So that was all arranged and meantime the doctor is asking me if I know where the dog that bit me lives…and I am telling him yes…it lives at a house…it is not a common street dog .

So doctor Somchai says: "I should hang around and watch the dog for 10 days and see if the dog is acting crazy and foaming at the mouth"…all the while he is play acting like a crazy looking person attempting to demonstrate what I should look for in a crazy rabid dog.

I told him I am on Vacation and I was not planning on hanging around and watch a stupid dog for the next ten days ..but he was seriously concerned that the dog may have Rabies and wanted me to watch the dog for the next ten days.

Then he gets a brilliant idea and puts his finger up in the air and of he goes and comes back five minutes later with a envelope and hands it to me asking me if I know where the dog lives.

I reiterated that I did know where the house is and the dog that bit me and he says :"OK you give to dog lady…owner dog."

I said: "What is it"?

The doctors says: "For lady having dog"

So I open the envelope and there is a letter in there and the letter is written in Thai language and I asked: "What does it say"?… and the doctor says it is for the Thai lady who owns the dog and I say: "OK but I want to know what is says"

So the doctor takes the letter and he begins to read it and recite to me in his best broken English saying:
"Ahem Ahem" (clearing his throat a little) …AHHHH …dear dog owner…owner.
Mmmm…ahhh ..you dog…dog you…having bite…solly solly having biting Mr.Har…Mr.Harwy from Canada.
Dog habbeen…having maybe rabie…having rabies.
Dog die you…please off chop head dog …bring to doctor Somchai…hospital me.

With a big smile on his face saying to me: .."understand you now."

I had to put my head down and laugh to myself silently ..the thought of the Thai lady actually chopping off her dogs head… after it dies …and bringing the rabies infected head of her dog to doctor Somchai at the hospital so he could analyze it the way he had explained earlier…if it had Rabies…I couldn't see that happening..nope.

I had to get out of there and I showed my gratefulness to doctor Somchai all the while the doctor is pumping my hand and telling me I should watch the dog for 10 days. So me and my medicine left the hospital…all the while thinking that was bizarre in an amusing way …and I should have been STONED on some really good Thai stick pot.

So now it is about 8 PM and I get a taxi back to the Rex Hotel …thinking I am not really in the mood for going out drinking all by myself and I just need to relax and maybe go to sleep.

Geez… if I do got Rabies what the Hell does a guy do about that..of all things to get on a holiday.

So there I am back at my hotel and I am in my room and I am lying on my bed trying to go to sleep and for Christ sakes there is a rat or a mouse up above me in the ceiling panels above my bed and it is furiously scratching away at something…the little bugger would not let up so I was whacking away at the ceiling panels with my shoes.

It would not go away and on and off it kept scratching at something so I decided to watch TV and I remembered when I first checked into the hotel they told me they had Video movies every evening.

I phoned to the reception and they told me put on channel 10 and hung up.

So I put on channel 10 and nothing but fuzziness.

I called down and told them ..nothing…and the girl said .."wait wait" and hung up.

I waited for 5 minutes and nothing…so I phone down to reception again telling them I don't see anything ..hellooooo.

The girl once again says…"wait wait" and hangs up.

I am there waiting and finally after another 3 or 4 minutes of waiting the movie is on ..but it is not at the beginning of the film and I have no idea what I am watching.

There is a young man talking with a pretty young girl and they are having a dispute outside her apartment and the acting seems pretty good and I am thinking I have never seen this movie before…I am wondering what movie it is ..I don't recognise it

The young man parts from the young girl and walks back to his apartment, disturbed about something and he is highly agitated and keeps looking up in the sky and finally gets back to his own apartment and by now he is acting all demented and his face is starting to contort. Then, suddenly, lots of hair starts to form all over his body and his hands …and then his knuckles start to crack and turn severely deformed and …Jesus Christ …it is a Werewolves movie… "AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON"… Lord help me …Just what I don't need to be watching for entertainment tonight …of all nights.

But I watched the movie anyhow and back in 1981 it was acclaimed as the best or one of the best and most realistic Werewolf movies ever produced.

There I was lying on my bed after the movie thinking about how I will soon be scratching away like a rabid dog and digging around in garbage cans …all the while I can still hear this stupid rat above me furiously scratching away at something, adding to the disturbing thoughts going through my mind.

Not much sleep that night.

But I never got Rabies obviously… but I would occasionally wake up suddenly and I would be thinking ..oh yeah it is 3 months now…any signs of Rabies…nope…oh yeah it is 1 year now..any signs of Rabies?

Anyhow…that was a perplexing experience and believe it or not… several years later in 1986 when I permanently moved to Thailand, I was in bar and a monkey bit me!!!

But that is another story …but that event was also funny in a silly sort of way.

I hope your readers get a chuckle out of this.

Stickman's thoughts:

No comments, busy today!