Two Nights In A Hospital, One Night In An Airport - Unexpected Experiences in Bangkok.


On returning to Bangkok from Burma, I felt incredibly weak after 2 weeks of on/off illness. The thought of an hour’s journey across Bangkok on two trains with a backpack, just to get to the hostel I’d been to whilst waiting for my Burmese visa, was very unappealing. I headed for the airport hotel with hopes of Wi-Fi, warm showers and a comfy, clean bed. I soon discovered the cheapest room was £160. I may have been ill but I knew this was slightly too much for my budget for one hotel room for one night. So I walked all the way back across the airport and rolled straight into a taxi to roll me straight to the hostel I knew.

After 2 hours of trying to sleep in the afternoon heat, I was feeling no better, so I headed downstairs and asked the man for the nearest hospital. I wanted to see a doctor, him to take some blood, give me some pills and send me on my way.

When I arrived at the hospital, I pointed to 8 of the 10 symptoms listed in my phrasebook and waited my turn. The nurse took my blood pressure and then took me to the “Emergency Room”. At this point, I’d like to mention I’ve never been to hospital. Petrified doesn’t even come close.

After a dizzy wait, I saw the doctor, who thankfully spoke English. Once I’d explained my story, he said he wanted to take a blood sample. It couldn’t have been long after that I turned pale because I was soon offered a bed. After a long cold wait in said bed, I was told that the doctor wanted to admit me for the night, x-ray me and take further tests. Not one to want to argue with a doctor, I reluctantly agreed, was put into a wheelchair and taken to be x-rayed. Another first! And second, and third. He had to do it a few times.

Finally, starving, thirsty and slightly dazed, I was taken up to a bed. Everyone around me looked like they were on death’s door, all non-moving, wired up to respirators with pipes up their noses and drips in their arms. An encouraging room for medical experts to place you in.

It wasn’t long before a very nice lady doctor came over, and I had to tell her all about my poo. She was very beautiful. I bet her poo smells of roses. If she even does poo. So it was embarrassing to have to give her graphic detail of mine. She said she didn’t know what was wrong, that it could be anything, cancer, but I’m very young so probably not, a tropical disease, like malaria, she didn’t know. But she’d said the words cancer and malaria. Not great words to hear on your own, in a hospital bed in a foreign country, surrounded by pipes and drips. I cried a little bit, not helped by the fact that none of the nurses seemed to understand what I wanted when I pointed at the Thai for “food” in my phrasebook.

Thankfully, some visiting relatives of a very ill looking woman across from me spoke English and were kind enough to go to the 7/11 across the road and get me some food. Suddenly, I didn’t feel so alone. People are nice.

At this point I got a phone call from my boyfriend, which helped in the perking me up stage I was now going through. When I finished I was moved rooms! A woman in a smaller room cornered off by glass had seen me on the phone and spoke a little English so they moved me closer to her.

And this room was air conditioned, and there were no respirators or pipes or drips! In fact, I was now the only one with a drip. Which was horrible, I don’t like needles so having one stuck in my hand all night wasn’t great fun.

Despite having a needle in my hand, I slept very well. Until I was woken for pills and two more blood samples.

It was a mind numbing experience being in that hospital. After two sleepless nights, four drips in my arm and countless repeats of flood footage on the television, the doctors decided that I was well enough to go home. Well, I say home, I mean the cold, hard floor of Suvarnabhumi airport for the night. Then home. Home sweet home.

L Dow

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