Wednesday, October 7, 2015



If you want to find the dullest person in the room, find the one who wants to talk about their medical problems.  If that's you, I'm sorry - you are fucking dreadful for other people to talk to.

So why am I writing about it?

a.  It is easy to escape.  Good manners keep many people tied to the spot as they try to work out some way to escape or hope a meteor will crash into the earth ending their pain.  With this medium, you just click to something else and you're away without fear of hurting Logan's feelings.

b.  This sort of thing helps highlight the 'every man' aspect I seem to personify.   Anyone thinking "Could I actually handle traveling?" has only to note that a 140 KG (over 300 lbs in the outdated system of Imperial) crippled sack of shit who thinks he isn't all that bright is out there doing it so clearly it can't be all that fucking hard.

When you google  'traveling fat man', you can get some weird stuff back.

c.  Medical stuff in foreign countries may be of interest.  It seems there were a lot of people interested when I had part of my body removed in the Republic of Georgia.  That could be because the hospital itself was fascinating or it could be the next reason.

"Why hair-roh there!"

d.  People like watching Logan suffer.  You bastards.

e.  Old people are notorious for this.  To be fair, attempting to survive through modern medicine is quite literally all that many of them have going on.  I'd rather eat a gun than get there but that way isn't for everyone.

So that's the disclaimer.  Because that's pretty much all that is going on right now with me for this week it's what is getting written about.  After my eyes eventually heal, I am planning on going further north and eventually giving Lao (or the French map misspelled 'Laos') another chance.

Tune in then.


Woke up around eleven after seven hours of sleep not inspired by alcohol.  I've felt bad enough for the last couple weeks I haven't been drinking.  Those who I've stayed with have an idea of what that means.

Arising to the melody of band saw meets concrete, I eventually managed to wander off to get some supplies for the coming evening.  Mostly more water and toilet paper.  I've switched to that instead of my dew rags to try for a more sterile thing for my eyes.  Which are still fucked.

The pharmacist directed me a very short distance down the street to a 'clinic'.  Turns out this is my favorite type of clinic - free though you pay for medicine.  Also, they are unused to having non-Thais in there so I was kicked up to go in immediately.

In the past, trying to say 'no, I am happy to wait' and 'I don't want any special treatment' only tends to frustrate, confuse and delay them.  Just go with it.  Think about it from their end.  If some foreigner has something serious happen while waiting to see the doctor, it is going to be a huge hassle.  Better to just thank them, try to move through speedily and not cause a fuss.

While consulting the doctor about my medicine and such, I began complaining that I couldn't translate into Khmer (that's Cambodian talkie talkie for those in the USA) without the wifi, the doctor patiently explained he was Thai.

It then struck me that I had again forgotten what country I was in.  Had I been in a cheesy sitcom, I'd have looked at the camera and said "I'm not in Cambodia?  That would explain why I've had so much Thai food lately!"  And pause for the laugh track.  Only the laugh track.

Apparently, my brain isn't working well either.

Since my health isn't robust enough with my eyes red and trying to crust over, I decided "Yeah, let's have a go at the foot I've been limping around on."  The seventy year old mother of the owner of the hostel was negotiated down to two hundred baht from three for a foot and leg 'massage'.  She attempted to renegotiate five times during the next hour but I stuck to my guns.  You are seen as a weak, stupid, rich foreigner if you give up those extra three dollars.  Plus, we'd already come to a deal.  As Patton Oswalt​ is so fond of saying "Break a deal, face the wheel."  Or is that the Road Warrior?  I forget.

Rather than just ineffectually rubbing my leg for awhile, she pulled out a hammer and some sort of stone chisel and went to work on them.   She did stop to ask me what the fuck was up with my leg.  I gave her the equivalent of 'it is what it is'.   For foreign readers, this is a phrase people in business within the USA are fond of using.  It means you have a fucked up situation or thing but that is all you have to work with.  Generally, this is caused by the normal shapers of human experience, incompetence, laziness and stupidity.  In my case, poor health.  And incompetence, laziness and stupidity.

Then she walked around on my legs making me wish she was a lot thinner.  It wouldn't have been so bad if she didn't laugh at my pain as often.

When my hour of light torture was concluded, it was time for a walk to follow her recommendation of 'stretching out'.  Only a couple kilometers through much worse pain were endured.

And I ate the worst Thai meal I'd ever had.  Bad food is so rare in Thailand, I thought I'd mention it.

And that, gentle readers, is my heroic tale of survival.


This is being written a few days later.

After five days of intense, hourly treatment of my eyes with antibacterial eye drops and taking four horse pills a day of some pill I was vaguely told was good for me, my eyes had not improved.

Back to the clinic.

The nice young doctor was not there.  He had been replaced with an old, mean guy who was very upset I was interrupting his boxing.

He was such a bad doctor that he didn't want to hear anything I said.  He had no interest in what medicine I had been taking or anything.  He kept yelling "I am the doctor - I will talk you not!  I will tell you things!"

I think he had mental health issues - or was a huge boxing fan.

After discovering a better (or any) doctor was not available, I took the wildly dangerous motorcycle taxi to the hospital.

They are decades away from wearing helmets that could do anything but fall off in the event of an accident, wear them correctly (or even fully on the head) and so forth.  But there are rarely enforced helmet laws.

Once at the hospital, I determined that my German was much better than people's English who worked there.  Their English may have been on par with my Spanish which is not a reassuring thing.   Attempting to use the translate to Thai function on my phone (love my phone) resulted in the amusing yet sad recurring phenomena  of them attempting to read the English text.  Rather than the highlighted Thai text.

How I wish I were joking.

As my good friend Jana once said, Google translate does make 'little puzzles' but watching them attempt to even read the Thai characters - sometimes with more difficulty than the English ones - makes me think that language should just be scrapped.  Pretty much, anyone not using Latin characters (like what you are reading now) is being left behind much as anyone using the Imperial measurement system.  Both countries.  Out of over two hundred.

"No, this works better and let me tell you why..."

But I digress.

So, I'm in a hospital where understanding will eventually be reached, but it will be a hard road.

Eventually, I got on to what I always think of as 'the track'.  This is where you are getting sent to different stations where they collect different bits of information and such.  Because they somehow figured out I was a foreigner, they assigned various native guides to me to keep me from getting lost forever.

For those interested, my blood pressure was 160/100.  A bit higher than normal but not terribly so.  For me.  If yours hits that, seek medical help immediately.  I would also like to point out that it was tested twice and the other was much lower.  I have doubts about their equipment.

The scale went up to 140 KG.  According to the scale, I weighed 140 KG.  For the various wits out there, the needle didn't hit a post.  While on the scale, I do wish I was eating a large hamburger.

Experience has taught me to try to find out how much treatment and such costs before you get it to prevent a heart attack - though a hospital is generally a decent place to have one.  Nobody could tell me.  Eventually, I had to talk to an accounting supervisor who sounded a lot like they were guessing when they said 300 baht.  That's approximately $10 USD so I was good with that.  Less than fifty is generally good though when it is given in baht it looks huge.

The general practitioner sent me off to see their eye doctor.  This made me happy though for some reason, they wanted to run me through the eye test.  I can count to ten in Korean about as well as the lady could do in English, meaning she knew some but not all of the characters on the board.  So I would slip in other answers in a confident tone of voice such as 'dinosaur' and 'peach' and she would nod and point at the next one.  The funny thing is that next to the board she could not use - which was inexplicably in English - they had the E board.  This is made for illiterate people where the E points in different directions.  By means of hand signals, you point which way the E does.   This board was not used.  Weird.

With medicine and such, I ended up being charged only 150 baht.  They took away all of my paper work and it looked like everything was done.  "Is that all?  Finish?  More money?"  "No, have good!"  OK.  Good enough and I'm off.

So now I have two different types of eye drops that I have been instructed to use "until".  Until my eyes get better.

Not my eyes.  But they were there...

We'll see how that goes.

Congratulations if you made it this far.  I'd suggest going down to volunteer at the old folks retirement home.  I'm sure they'd love to have someone so patient!

PYRAMIDS (A bit of bad poetry for you)

Three small pyramids sit along the edge of the sea,
Projecting upward eldritch energy.

Who built them or why they are there
Nobody seems to care.

When you gaze upon them with wonder,
These questions from you are torn asunder.

Past the sands of the beach is a jungle
Which hides a cyclopean temple.

Twined with plants and vines without
It fills your mind with doubt

If in ancient days of yore it was of human design
or of darker force as others opine.

How I should like to visit again this strange land
but the key lies in Morpheus' hand.


Across town on motorcycle taxi, 20-30 baht.
Tuk tuk, double above.
Medical visit with medicine, 150 baht.

1 comment:

  1. Il(ILL, wow, those i's look like L's), I (E), Sam, Sa,'re right. Counting to 10 is overrated. Oh, Yuk, Chil, Pal, Gu, Ship!

    Ha! I brain good! Didn't even need the internet. Just my fingers.

    RobotTeacher from HC.



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