Nov 28, 2016, 5:13 PM
This is crazy! Donna went through dental surgery yesterday without a hitch. This morning as we are out walking, she trips as we are crossing the street and actually falls face first, sliding on the pavement. She’s got a big fat split lip, sore front teeth, a skinned up nose and a banged up knee to boot! Thankfully we were near our dear dentists office and she helped us with emergency care. Her teeth from the implants don’t hurt at all, no swelling there. It’s only painful and swollen from the fall! Cray cray!
Nov 30, 2016, 7:39 PM
Tourist trap (noun)
A place that attracts many tourists and where goods and services are more expensive than normal.
But that is not what we think they are here in SE Asia! In light of Donna’s recent fall, we took some ‘tourist trap’ shots today as we walked around town…
Jan 7, 2017, 2:46 PM
We did our shopping and Lance’s medical for his DVT, all is good. BUT, remember when Donna fell last month and skated on the sidewalk face first? Apparently, when she fell she also injured her ‘bad knee’ (the one that needs the knee replacement). Last night, after a couple of days of walking and jumping on and off buses, it was an elephant sized leg. We figured water on the knee. So, we went to the doctor this morning and found out it was not water but blood! It had been bleeding internally for the last month! He drew it off (slightly painful) with a big syringe. No wonder she’s been having trouble with it! Getting on the mend before a further knee-jerk action! But it delays us from getting back to the island for a couple of days. I guess we’ll just have a pizza delivered for dinner since she can’t walk around. Always good to find some good in every situation!
Nov 27, 2017, 7:52 PM
So, now it can be told. Donna went in for knee replacement surgery today around two o’clock. They told us that it would take place about 8 this morning but then the time got bumped back later and later. That’s a hard wait. She was a little worried but she was brave. They wheeled her to the elevator and around to the operating room and I waited in the waiting area speaking a combination of broken English, Lao and Thai with the other people also waiting for their loved ones to get out of surgery. We shared photos on our phones and also the snacks we had all brought along for the long wait. Plenty of questions. It was a good way to pass the time. At last, one of the student doctors we had met earlier came out to tell me that everything went well and she was in recovery. Then another nurse came out and told me the same. Then shortly afterwards another came out and told me again! It’s really sweet that they all wanted to let me know all was good. It also gave them an opportunity to practice a little bit of English.
Now they wheeled her out and the first words she could get out from her parched lips were, “Cheb li” which means ‘much pain’ in lao. So we wheeled the gurney back up to the ward where after telling the nurses that on a scale of one to ten she is at eleven and they shot her up with morphine. Now she is ‘resting’ drifting in and out of consciousness. When she does surface she just says ‘pain’.
I ate her meal that was left for her as I don’t think she’s going to be eating it. I’m here by her side and trying to comfort her. Her knee is wrapped up in a ace bandages and looks as big as a football.
I have to run to the pharmacy and buy the meds when the nurse tells me. That means I go down to the pharmacy on the 1st floor, turn in the order, go to the opposite end of the hospital to pay (about a city block. The hospital has its own zip code) and return with the receipt, pick up the meds and return to the nurses.
More updates later.
Status Update: 1 Nov 28, 2017, 1:11 AM
Monitoring everything closely. Good pulse. Blood pressure is a little high (normal for her) which is another problem we’re aware of and addressing. She’s still pretty knocked out, drifty and in pain when she comes up. Morphine is her friend right now. There is a drainage tube from her knee. I figure she’ll be in some pain for a few days or weeks but will be dancing before we know it! There are 27 beds on this ward but they aren’t all full. Here in Thailand unless you pay for a private room you are on a ward like this. There are 3 nurses and sometimes an aide so it’s really up to the family to care for the patient. They allow one family member to sleep in the ward, normally on a woven mat on the floor. I bought a cot and have set it up between her bed and her neighbor’s bed. The rest of the accompanying family members ‘camp out’ in various open spaces around the hospital including the hallways. Some have mesh pop up tent like structures while others just sleep wherever they can find a place to huddle up. It’s a very social environment. Everyone gets to know their neighbors and helps each other when needed. I’m meeting lots of interesting people. We are the only foreigners on the ward and so naturally a curiosity. Donna is sleeping good now so I better get some sleep, too. The morning will come early here. Probably about 5 o’clock. Good night.
Status Update #2 Nov 28, 2017, 9:03 AM
Well, I was right! 5 o’clock rolled around and the ward sprang to life. Traditional morlam music started gently emitting from the speaker system throughout the hospital. I had miraculously awakened just minutes before as did Donna. She had a serious case of dry mouth and slowly polished off a full bottle of water. We talked about her side of the experience recounting that the last thing she remembered was telling the anesthesiologist she did not want a local because she didn’t want anyone messing with her back. (She had slipped and herniated discs a few years back). Then the mask went on and she was out! We laughed that her first words were in lao. She told me to thank everyone for your thoughts, prayers and well wishes. The nurses decided it was time to give her a bath and washed her up. The ward was all a buzz with baths, bed changes, meds and turning immobile patients. She was in some pain but less and happily accepted the pain killers. The nurse started her on her first exercises, pulling her toes towards her. She did several. Hydration, hydration and more hydration and finally a bowl of rice soup, her first meal in 40 hours. She wolfed it down and then the meds kicked in. Fans that seemed to be spinning, weren’t. Focus was difficult. She was “bully high”, I told her to just let go and let it take her to that happy place of sleep without pain. By 7 am she was out again. So I went down and got a bowl of rice soup for myself. She was still out when I returned so I figure this was my time to synchronize with her and catch some zzzzz’s for myself. She’s doing great and determined to get out of here as soon as she can. She’s tough so I figure we’ll be out of here pretty soon! That would be great as I go in for a hernia operation on the 12 Dec! When it rains, it pours! LOL!
Status Update # 3 Nov 28, 2017, 6:45 PM
Today I could see marked improvement in Donna. She did the exercises that they told her to do, bending her ankles back towards herself. In fact she did so many over the day she finally wore herself out.
She’s in and out of complete sanity with the meds but is really pushing to get better. One thing for sure is that she has retained her sense of humor throughout. Tomorrow they will remove the giant football of a bandage and make her walk. They told me to buy a walker for her from the hospital orthopedic area but when I found out the price I went across the street and bought it for the half of what they were asking. This made us question other items but upon review found everything was okay. Our friend, Kalone who works here, stopped by to help with billing confusion. It wasn’t as bad as we were led to believe. We had some Thai visitors, friends of Ting who asked that they check in on her.
We are both tired. It seems that nurses always manage to let you just get to sleep when it’s suddenly time to wake you to turn, take blood pressure, temperature, give meds, etc. but not at the same time! It’s always just the one thing and just as you get to sleep! Why can’t they do all these checks at one time?
Last night it got down right chilly and I could not bring myself to take another blanket as they are for the patients so I bought a cheap one for myself for tonight. I think we will both try to sleep through the most of the night tonight regardless of the disturbances. Maybe more like passing out than sleeping. 😴
We are both looking forward to getting her up and walking 🚶♀️!Then we can checkout and into the hotel and get some real rest.
Status Update # 4 Nov 29, 2017, 2:41 PM
Donna and I have really been so touched by the outpouring of love and concern from all of you! Thank you! You have blessed us in so many ways by knowing you. I believe this has truly helped in her recovery. She pushes on and is absolutely determined to be up and running as soon as possible… or maybe before! She is tough!
Today the ward is swarming with student nurses. So, under the direction of the nurses they removed the huge bandages, pulled the drainage tube from her leg and catheter leaving her no longer tethered to the bed. The walker will give her the temporary support to rebuild the weakened muscles so she dance down the hallway.
Our friend, Kalone, brought a guitar 🎸 to the ward and asked that Lance play a few tunes for the other patients. I don’t know how much English they understand but Kalone sang a couple of Elvis songs and I played “The Sun Will Shine”. Everybody seemed to enjoy it. Phones came out and videoed. Suddenly we were even more famous than before. Lunchtime came, fried rice, and I decided it was time for a cold water bucket shower! No hot water here.
When I came out they had Donna up and walking! She did great even bending 10 to 20 degrees! I went through buy meds and when I got back she had been pushing to bend up to what looks to be about 80 degrees! She says she is bound and determined to get out of here! “It’s too expensive to stay in the hospital!” Maybe so, but it’s still cheaper than in the US!
The nurses say she is really doing great! I’m so proud of her!
Here’s some interesting things about being in this hospital. Cats 🐈 roam freely all over this place! I guess they need them to help control the rats 🐀. The dogs seem to stay on the outer periphery where the mobile kitchens set up to grill meats, make soups and serve the masses of hospital visitors and staff. The hospital is really open, no doors that close the building up. A maze of hallways that connect many huge buildings that make up this enormous facility. A large city block that continues to grow and has its own zip code. There are a multitude of sales people hawking their wares from bottled water to toiletries, from grilled chicken on a stick to shorts and toys, to lottery tickets all wandering through this medical city from ward to ward and through the giant waiting rooms filled with people.
Until next time, thank you for your love and support!