Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Potentially Less-Than-Epic Saga of My Illness.

I guess it all started one charming Saturday afternoon… I went to the tailor’s to pick up my uniform and it actually fell off. As in completely fell off, was not even held up by my butt and hips if I was standing with my feet together. According to the handy-dandy measuring tapes they had there I had lost about 2-3 inches around my middle.

When we got back home I went to my room to lie down, due to the fact that I was feeling kind of vaguely nauseous. At that point, I was considering the likelihood of this being due to my rather drastic change in diet over the past few days.

I begged off of dinner that evening, took a Gravol, and fell asleep at about 5:45. The next day, I still wasn’t feeling too hunky dory, so I rested up until we left to take Nan to the airport at 11:00.

Ohhh man. You guys would not have believed it! We got to the airport at about 11:45 and it was just our family, and then some of her friends were there. And then more friends were there, and more friends, and parents of friends, and friends of parents, and more friends. I am not exaggerating in saying that in the end there were about 50-60 people there, all standing in this huge mass of constantly shifting and moving and running and milling and gift-giving people in the middle of the airport, saying goodbye to Nan.

We were there at about 12:00 to see her off for a 1:30 flight. This means, essentially, that I and the two other exchange students already in Chiangmai stood at the sidelines of this pandemonium for over an hour while a whole lot of people did a whole lot of stuff in a language we didn’t understand.

Now, I’m not sure how the other exchange students felt, but if you look at photos on Facebook, those of you who know me may notice something peculiar. My cheeks had absolutely no colour in them. None. Zip. Zilch. Nada. I spent this rather lengthy period in the airport feeling sickly and concentrating on two simple objectives.

1 – Don’t vomit
2 – Don’t faint

Now, I managed to successfully complete both my mission objectives, though I did get really dizzy at one point and fell into the poor Brazilian girl standing beside me. But I’m pretty sure she just thought I was clumsy enough to trip over my own two feet, standing still in a crowded airport. (Which is really more up Allayna’s alley than mine…)

After the big celebration and innumerable “Sawatdeeka”s (which is how they say goodbye over here) we – Khun Mae, my Aunt, and I – were back in the car, headed home.

Or not.

Actually, we stopped at this adorable little Japanese restaurant to meet up with my other aunt and her two kids. I was, at this point, decently feverish and I had some intense nausea. So while everybody else around me sunk into absolutely amazing looking food I drank a cup of cocoa and tried to ignore the fact that I saw a cockroach skitter across the floor.

After that, we finally got home. I went to go lie down and I think the rest of my family ate dinner. Then, Khun Mae and Na Oot (my aunt, and the spelling is a total guess) went to the hospital, it was maybe 7:00, 7:30 in the evening.

The hospital was a pretty spic and span place. And man were they efficient! I signed in and went to sit down. Then I was called up to this little desk thing in the ER, weighed, and had my blood pressure taken. After that, I took a seat again and after not too long I was seen by a doctor.

Those of you who have suffered through the lengthy waits and privacy-lacking admissions in our hometown Emerge would have appreciated the setup they have at McCormick hospital. Instead of being admitted back into some area filled with little cloth-separated cubicles, they have multiple small rooms in a row along the wall in the ER, with sliding doors. My doctor was a brisk and efficient, and extremely kind, Thai woman in her mid-fifties, with surprisingly good English.

She prescribed me a blood test, which I went to immediately. I was told that we would have the results in an hour. When the hour was up, the doc said she was worried I had Dengue fever, gave me an electrolyte drink and some antibiotics, and told me she wanted to see me again tomorrow.

What really surprised me was that I’ve had that same doc my entire stay. I don’t know how it all works here, but obviously Doctors in the ER aren’t exclusive to that one area.

But anyways, when I went back the next night (Monday for those of you who didn’t want to have to exercise simple logic) I was admitted, and given the happy news that I didn’t have Dengue fever.

Then I spent the next few days in a Thai hospital. Thank goodness for Jack McCoy and Lennie Briscoe, they kept me from being bored out of my mind. (Law & Order reference, for all those who aren’t obsessed with crime shows from the 90s).

The nurses here still wear those classic nurse outfits. They have these little short-sleeved buttoned up shirts and pencil skirts and those awesome nurse hats – you know which ones I’m talking about. But instead of being classic white, their outfits are all pale purple. They are very nice nurses and all seem to get a kick out of Oster Hause (my stuffed rabbit, who just happened to climb into my luggage).

Most of them seem to be ridiculously efficient, though something interesting happened Tuesday. The nurse fumbled when attaching the line from my antibiotics to my IV line of saline solution, I think it had leaked out and was kind of wet and so she accidentally popped out the attached part from my main IV line too. Did you know that when there’s nothing going into the blood from the IV, the blood decides to see what life is like on the outside? That’s right; some of my blood took a field trip up my IV line. But she got it sorted, and I haven’t died from a bubble yet, though Law & Order tells me it’s possible.

But onwards and upwards my friends, as this is getting to be a fairly lengthy post.

I was staying, as previously mentioned, in McCormick hospital. From what I can tell, it’s a missionary hospital – it’s certainly Christian. My medicine came in little baggies that said ‘We prescribe medicine but Jesus Christ is the Healer’. Which I thought was a very nice sentiment. A little funnier, however, are the sugar and creamer packets. They say, in nice big block letters. GOD BLESS YOU. Isn’t that adorable?

I know being out of hospital isn’t a clean bill of health. It’s gonna take awhile before I can go out and eat anything I want to, but at least now when I go to sleep I don’t have to worry about where my IV arm is and whether or not the flow of my IV is being impeded because I’ve decided to sleep curled around Oster.

Thank you so much for all the warm wishes and prayers.

If this posting is slightly disjointed and doesn’t read quite right – I was sick, cut me some slack.

Huge bundles of love and cuddles to you all,



  1. Eeeek! Sickness! One of the most distressing parts about that is being deprived of the ability to eat awesome Thai food (and, of course, there is the feeling aweful factor). I am happy to know that you are on the mend. Oh, and the Christian hospital sounds awesome, the sugar packets would make me smile too!

  2. Those med packets sound AWESOME. And I'm so glad you're back home! What did your problem end up being? Just dehydration and an adjusting stomach?

    I also have this great mental image of you, sound asleep, attempting to cuddle with an IV in a hospital in Thailand. I know that's not what happened, but it's what I picture!

    We're all still thinking about you, love. You were even prayed for in Saint Augustine's staff meetings! Keep us updated if you have time whilst convalescing.

  3. Awe Jocelyn your my favorite! The mental image of you watching Law and Order with your rabbit in a Thai hospital make me smile. The whole coacroch thing creeps me though.

    However there is one thing in particular I would like to draw your attention to! I deffinitly would not have tripped over my... ah drat yet i would have... well thanks for the shout out.

    Miss you more then you know