Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mr. Roy Gets Sick

I had planned to write about our trip to Laos a couple of weeks ago; about finding wonderful French bakeries, seeing a country far more poor than Thailand, more French food and briefly being followed by a set of angelic girls singing their way to work on their bicycles.  However, this week was far more challenging and deserves its place today.
A representation of my lower GI tract

I got food poisoning this week.  Up until now, I have managed to eat street food, home-cooked food, friend-cooked food, raw food, berries I found in the wild and even a nicely cooked cricket at the market with no ill effects.  The water here is rarely drunk straight from the tap as I did in the US, though people cook with it without fear as did I.  Wherever you fill up your gas, the station always gives you a free liter bottle of water to take home for the kiddies.  Up until last week, we had been happily living downtown within walking distance of limitless restaurants and street vendors, selling everything from fresh cooked fried rice to little balls of meat skewered on sticks.  I generally avoided the latter, though, since they also have a habit of coating all the meatballs with a sugary syrup which I find a bit nauseating.  Through it all, I managed to stay in one piece and generally erect.  That is until this week. 

Our move was stressful.  We were driving the pick-up in our apartment that was better set up for motorcycles.  There was no place to park out of the rain, and sometimes no place to park at all.  The rain came in bucketsfull, drenching me to the bone as I did all I could to cover things and move the truck out of the way of other trucks wishing to leave the building or move someone else.  Once moved, the rain stopped and the heat came.  Days have been drearily hot here lately; so much so that I find myself getting a bit woozy from it.  Then came the bugs.

Our first night at our new place was cool and damp.  What I didn't know was that cool and damp also brings out hordes of flying insects.  We came home from dinner out to find the kitchen filled with lacy-winged insects covering the windows, lights and filling the air.  Nee had me place a tub of water on the floor, a cure her mother used.  Sure enough, within minutes, the little devils dive-bombed the tub and they were gone.  The next morning, the back porch (aka outdoor kitchen) was covered in wings.  We also have an assortment of beetles, ants and other things that fly into your face. 

The final curse was the heat.  The rain disappeared and all last week we had heat that would melt rubber.  Excess heat makes me nauseous so this was not much fun.  Enter the food poisoning.  Somewhere around Tuesday evening I went from happy-go-lucky Roy to my-god-wheres-the-toilet Roy and I managed to lose all I had consumed for the day.  Perhaps it was the heat, or maybe the week old peanuts or anything else I may have consumed.  This followed me the rest of the week until today.  Maybe it was the tap water I made coffee with that morning, or maybe I just was born under an unlucky star.

Today we went to the hospital.  In Thailand, out-patient care usually takes place at the hospitals during the day and small clinics dotted around the area during the evenings. Both are run by the same doctors, as I have been told.  We went to McCormick Hospital, comically shown as Mcommich Hospital on the GPS in true Thainglish and was able to see a doctor in minutes.  Definitely not the American experience.  I wasn't asked about insurance and the fees were 1000 baht including four can do the math.  When I was called to see the doctor, I was announced as Mr. Roy.  No one goes by last names here.  I received four plastic packets of pills, one I take before I eat, the other I take after, another I take in the morning and I can't remember when to take the last one.  Don't leave them out of their packets, either, or you will never know when to take them.

So far I have been referred to as Khun Roy, Mr. Roy, Teacher Roy and even briefly Ajarn Roy.  Anyone one of them would be happy to stop going through this period of deja flu (haven't I seen this toilet before?) but, alas.  I have been home for the afternoon, licking my wounds in my airconditioned bedroom and the problem is still with me.  Perhaps in a day or two the antibiotic will start to work.  Or maybe I will just dream of the lovely eclair I had in Laos and how much better I felt that day than I do at the moment.  It was filled with real chocolate cream, too.  Mmmm.


  1. Hope you're feeling better, Mr. Roy. And what's that about a new job, according to LinkedIn? Are congratulations in order?

    1. Thanks, Geoff. I am finally better with yesterday being my best day. That said, the job may be more than I am able to take in, a sweat shop run by a fellow with a Napolean personality. To quote the Far Side, I am an old dog and this is a new trick. I can still teach and even though it isn't nearly as much money, I will feel morally better about it.