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The Stuff That Legends Are Made Of!

  • Written by Lukchang
  • September 10th, 2019
  • 6 min read


The first week I was really ‘lost’ here without internet access, there is no WLAN here ‘out in the sticks’ at our family’s house. Having resurrected an ancient USB-surf stick (holding a SIM card) I tried hard, but my Windows 10/64 absolutely failed to recognize the stick as anything other than a general USB device. If it had classified the thingy as a modem I could have manually taken over from there, but absolutely no go.

It did not help either that I spent my first five days in Thailand – Monday morning until Friday late afternoon – in Banna Daem Hospital. Meanwhile – Sunday evening – even AIS in Surat Thani gave up on their hardware and I obtained, for some 1400 baht, a mini-WIFI-Router that accesses the net through a SIM card (which I have).

About my hospitalization – well, let us start with an episode 2 years ago. I had a bout with diabetes some years ago, no problem there any more, no insulin for 5 years but I must be careful of infections on my legs. Well, I will be 70 years old next Thursday. October, 2017, I was here in ThaRua and, while fishing, I managed to take a very unplanned bath in the family pond, not very gracefully diving down a 6-foot shore into five feet of muddy water, nicely scratching my leg there. And boy, I probably picked up some rather exotic bacteria that way. I must have been quite a sight when I did appear at my wife’s sister house next to the pond, could have gotten the lead role in “The Monster From The Swamp” without any further makeup.

Surprise and giggles gave quick way to help for me, getting me to roughly human appearance again, taking care of my belongings – everything soaked/muddied nicely. My wife’s nieces dried(!) my money, see pic – hope money-drying is NOT as frowned upon as money-laundering…

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It took me five weeks of outpatient-treatment at Banna Hospital to finally get rid of the “Plague from the Swamp”. Therefore they had some ‘patient data’ on me already…

Boarding for BKK in Vienna last Saturday, I somehow got my leg jammed between some luggage and a fast wheelchair. Long flight to Suvarnabhumi did not really help. March to immigration, stand, march to baggage claim, then wait for obtaining local ticket, wait for check in, wait for security song-and-dance, wait for flight – two hours late because of a powerful thunderstorm.

By 22:30 my wife and I finally arrived ‘home’.

My leg looked – and felt – rather crappy by then, so the Monday morning 8:00 saw us at Banna Daem hospital. That is just 4 miles away from the house, and the doc took a look at the ‘disaster zone’, consulted my patient data about the 2017 infection and decided to keep me under medication and observation. What a way to start a holiday…

The first day / night I spent in a 9-bed-room, no problem, only the one malfunctioning ceiling fan got on my nerves, giving a sharp metallic >Clack< every 2.5 seconds. One older man (not sooo old, 74) seemed to have bad problems after a stroke, his relatives told us. My wife stayed with me 24/7 those five days, and starting around noon my / her family, friends and neighbors started trickling in. As they do for any Thai family member. Think I do not exaggerate when I feel very well integrated and accepted with our crowd.

The next morning, my wife arranged “room #1” for us, separate with a decent air-con, fridge, TV and separate ‘hong nam’. At the cost of 600 Baht per day, many hostels do worse there.

Door on the left leads to a small balcony.

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Regarding my treatment – I am still somewhat ‘flashed’ by the competent care and very good service of that ‘one-horse-town’-hospital. The state of my leg changed from “cut that off and burn it quickly” the first day to “cut if off, maybe the dogs will like it” later into “well, let it be, it might look like a human leg again” on Thursday. No pictures of that because none of us likes thoroughly nauseated readers. My wife watched all the ghastly wound-treatments closely so she is now, at home, continuing that chore, which is fortunately much easier now, from the act and from the view.

One small problem I had, around 23:00 on Tuesday I realized that my breathing had got really bad. Not a very uplifting effect. I remembered that 2 years ago after the antibiotics / infusion treatment here, I had had a quick stint in a German hospital where they removed 1.5 liters of water from my lung. That is where water does not really belong. I do have issues with water in my body, get some medication to cope normally rather well with it, but against this present ‘infusion-tsunami’ that was not enough. About 1:30 I told the nurse who checked my blood pressure about the matter.

Well, in the high-tech but low-staffed German hospital, they might have given me some oxygen and have me wait for the doctors to appear around 8:30 the next morning. Not so here! Five minutes later two lady doctors were checking me, quickly agreeing my observation was ‘on the spot’, checked my oxygen-levels with absolutely up-to-date equipment, stopped the infusions and gave me two injections to better cope with the hydration levels. Plus some oxygen to make me feel ‘completely in the green’ again by 2:00. I am very positively impressed. Five Stars for Banna Daem!

Funny thing we found out, even ‘my’ head nurse is a close relative! He father was a brother of my beloved mother-in-law who did miracles for the way her offspring turned out. Especially my dear wife of more than 27 years now, she was there unflinchingly when I needed her. And boy did I need her, imagine yourself with both hands tied under a tangle of infusion tubes. Shudder slightly when you think of having to go to the toilet, but I will not elaborate further…

She stands by me, come hell or high water. I did the absolutely right thing then in 1992 when I ‘collided’ with the hotel manageress, talked with her for three days to get to know her better, always in company, and then we decided to get married – still in company then!

That can be the way with a good woman from a decent family of this very special, often wonderful and sometimes not-too-positively-surprising country. This tenacity and dedication has an almost archaic touch, in contrast to our ‘modern’ times with its often-interchangeable people and totally debatable values. You yourself can have that only if you are fully willing to answer in kind. Which I do to my wife – where ‘my’ is no possessive pronoun, we are rather like the two separate entities of the Yin-Yang symbol, who together form a new unit – a perfect circle. Wow am I lucky. Sure some different experience from ‘normal’ central Europe…

This Friday, when my leg started more and more looking like a part of a human anatomy again, I was discharged form Banna hospital into the good care of my wife. Unfortunately, the stroke patient from my former ward passed away that morning. There are different ways to leave a hospital…

Took us some time to get the bills together, but they gave us a good English abstract of their diagnosis and treatment, for my travel-insurance back in Europe. With 11,400 Baht total it is very doable now. Thanks a lot, Banna Daem hospital!

Second day ‘at home’ now, wound is coming along nicely, thanks to my wonderful lady. That is the stuff ‘legends’ are made from…

Greetings from the South of Thailand from Lukchang, who made the right choices and hopes to do so for many more interesting years!

The author can be contacted at : [email protected]