Medicine is a very helpful thing. In the medieval days it was passed down mother or father to child and master to apprentice, now there are whole schools dedicated to the cause of teaching this skill. The other day I went and got a stitch for an ugly cut I gave myself while carving something for my Grandpa. As we were driving to the health center my mom remarked to me, “Son, you seem to be bent on testing the healthcare in all the places we go.” I laughed tightly at this, trying to hold in a scream, and thought to myself, “Not everywhere.”
In America I have gone to the hospital for many things. Drinking a coffee cup full of medicine, which nearly stopped my heart, falling off ripsticks, twice, once on the arm and another time one the head. I think I lost a few brain cells. I did get a concussion. In Asia I went insane. We called it the Chicken Apocalypse because our only theory is that I didn’t clean my hands well enough after cleaning a chicken of its guts.
That afternoon I had spent time cleaning a chicken of its bowels. A few years before, I had spent time on a chicken farm with some friends. We, being Jonathan and I, gutted quite a few chickens. I don’t think we did as many as fast as we had hoped and my grandpa told me later that it brought to mind a saying, “One boy does work fast because he wants to get back to something he finds fun. With two boys it takes twice as much time to do one thing. With three boys you get nothing done.” Thankfully the other boy who was near my age was a little queasy about doing it, so we did end up getting something done.
Back to the story, I took the time to gut a chicken. That night we enjoyed some very tasty roasted chicken. That night we also watched a usually pleasant young man turn into a crazy killing machine. Almost. I was found twice wandering aimlessly around the house without focusing on the things in front of me. I threw up three times and bashed my head on the wall four. I remember this slightly. Everything is blurry of that time but I remember sitting on the bathroom floor and thinking, “Why is mom in my face and moving her mouth like a fish out of water?” In truth, she was yelling at me. I would go up to a wall and bash my head on it because if felt strange. I didn’t feel any pain when I pinched myself or smashed my head, just a tingling sensation.
Mom and Dad decided it was time to take me to the hospital. Dad had checked the beer supply and wine and all the other alcohol in the house and had found none out of place; so they knew it wasn’t that. As they were dragging me out of the house to the car, which was not ours, our neighbor had decided she would drive us to the hospital because there was no way I could ride a moped to the other side of the island, sound rushed back into my head. Dad was talking with Mom urgently and whenever I would make a noise they would say stuff like, “Shh Baby, it will be ok, were going to the hospital.” I knew right away that I didn’t want anything to do with needles, or doctors prodding me, or asking questions and so, in my delirious state, I attacked them. For a moment it I felt like I was winning, and then all strength left me and I sat down on the bed and started to weep. Did I mention that I had been having nightmares as well that night? I found that out later though.
The hour or so drive felt like seconds. Lights were all around me suddenly and I was walking. A man talked to me and I looked at him for a second and said, “What?” He smiled and said again, “Blureditdifdbg.” “What?” was my response again. His face changed from pleasant to concerned and said the same thing again. This time I was not even able to hear what he said because I was still puzzling over which muscles had to move to make the eyebrows come together like his did. Then a girl came into sight and she and the guy took my hands and arms and lead me down a corridor.
Everywhere I looked there were people lying on beds of white. Strange things would pop out at me, the way the man was breathing, the way the foot of the little girl sitting on the edge of the bed looked. Then I was one of the people on a bed and they had pulled the curtain all around me. A moment later and Dad came in. I saw him through a haze and blinked. Still, he was in a haze. It wasn’t fair, I could not see long distances anyway and now my short distance eyesight was not working. I felt tears run down my face and then a sharp prick. Looking at my arm I saw someone pushing a needle into my arm. All my reflexes said, “Pull away!” But my brain said, “If you do they will do it again and you might break the needle inside your arm and then they will have to cut on you to get it out” Dad reached out what I found out the next day to be his hand, but it looked like a snake and I jerked away from it. .” I was delirious.
The next few hours passed so fast I don’t remember them really. The next thing I knew clearly was I was lying on my back looking up into a face. It rolled in and out of focus for a moment before turning into Dad. It was night and he had checked on me and woken me. We went back to sleep and around ten hours later we were taking a drive home that took two hours, not five minutes.
Bangkok Hospital, on Phuket, was probably the best hospital we had ever been to in the history of our lives. It was clean, the people there were nice and helpful, if not fast, and all in all it is a good hospital to go to. We never found out what happened to me, but we have decided it was the chicken.
About the concussion, I remember nothing. One minute we were watching a movie, the next I was looking at the roof of a camper. Dad says I got stuck in a loop. It went like this, I would say, “Dad, where are we going?” And he would say, “To the hospital” and I would say, “But why?” And he would say, “Because you may be really hurt.” A minute would pass and I would say, “Dad, where are we going?” I can’t tell you anything about the time there because I do not remember myself.
The latest hospital run is probably the stupidest. One day I was out working on a spoon for my grandpa. I stupidly held it in the wrong position and it sheathed itself in my hand. It bled, I nearly fainted, and we got a stitch in it. Not much of a story. It is a little strange, I can see other people’s blood and not think any different about it, but if I see any of my own in any great quantity then I feel like fainting.
So, if ever you are in Phuket Thailand I would suggest taking a trip to the emergency room just for the fun of being in one of the best hospitals in the world!