15 oktober 2010
Onlangs werd onze Thailand correspondent Robert in Phuket slachtoffer van een verkeersongeluk. Het scheelde niet veel of we hadden een in memoriam moeten tikken, maar gelukkig is het niet zover gekomen. Robert, die sinds het ongeluk alleen nog maar Engels spreekt doet verslag. Van het ongeluk, maar ook van de medische zorg in Thailand. En van taxi’s. Dit alles getypt met één hand. Geniet u van: A NIGHTMARE IN PARADISE a true story of Phuket by Robert F. Zurel
Kissing the asphalt is strictly the pope’s business, and the pope’s business alone. I’m fed up with it. The pope smiles up happily afterwards, smelling oil. I taste oil and I lay for dead.
In a split second the film of my life passes buy, I watch out of my helicopter. A warm peaceful feeling overwhelms me and I realize this could be the very end. 19:30 On the evening of October 3rd 11.000 km. away from home, my 89 year old mother, my children and grand-kids.
I’d never expected to taxi back home happily on October 7th evening. Grateful for 2×24 h. intensive care and 2×24 h. luxury room. All hospital rooms are single occupancy with a second bed/sofa for a visitor to stay over and a bathroom. They come in 4 categories ranging from 3.500 Baht (90 euro) to 10.000 Baht (250 euro).
Thai Medicare is transparent approachable streamlined efficient and extremely affordable. Whole my life I walked in big circles around hospitals, so much I was scared and hated them. Bangkok Bunungrad Hospital and Phuket Bangkok Phuket hospital are eye-openers This must be how a man feels when he turns from a convinced atheist into a religious person. It’s almost fun to be inside almost fun to undergo investigation or treatment. A Westerner like me feels like Alice in Wonderland. A valued customer, treated with oriental respect, with patient rights. Everybody bows every time you come and bows every time you go! Adults feel like adult. Adults are treated like adult. Refreshing! No cover ups. Cancer is cancer is just a word.
Under the roof of Bangkok Phuket Hospital 200 specialized doctors cover all fields of modern medicine. The institution of family doctor (huisarts) outside the hospital does not exist. Who needs the pope anyway nowadays to speak with our Good Lord or is it Buda?
All 4 Phuket big hospitals are English spoken and within anybody’s ½ hour distance. Bangkok Hospital has laid the standards for its many satellites in all big populated centers of Thailand. American awards, ISO certification and yearly audits explain why Asian Medical tourism is evermore on the rise with Bangkok Phuket Hospital lonesome at the top.
I’m a simple man. I eat when I’m hungry, I drink when I’m thirsty. Such is the prerogative of living in the paradise, Phuket. If my heart aches, other than a girlfriend problem, I go straight to the cardiologist. For a bone problem I see the orthopedist. There’s not such a thing as waiting lists whatsoever. “Sorry please wait, doctor is busy,” may occasionally occur. It means 15 minutes of patience. Pharmacy, restaurants, coffee shops, supermarkets, all requirements are in-house. Just show the color of your ATM card. I never saw one single nurse in the hospital. They generally operate in groups of 3 or 4. Over 200 mysterious smiles of the Orient at guard 24/24 and they do care, all of them. One even prettier than the other. All of them very clean and very professional.
Unaware of what life had in store I drove my racing-bike for my bi-daily exercise. Playing children sealed my fate. I bounced face down with my teeth on the pavement. Surrounded by 50 compassionate Muslims. Scraped together out of pools of blood by 2 ambulance paramedics half an hour later, cleaned, bandaged, connected to the computer ‘flying low’ to Patong Hospital in Michael Schumacher style. Emergency un-bandaged cleaned bandaged x-rayed. A double complicated left arm fracture with 2 open wounds confirmed what my brain already knew. Patong Hospital is a State Hospital for Thai with a Thai insurance. I once had to go to the 1st aid with 40 people waiting in front of me and 1 doctor only. I asked to contact ‘my own’ hospital and Bangkok hospital ambulance picked me up at 22:00. Compared to the 1st ambulance, stretcher on the bare floor, rocketing back and forth like descending Disneyland’s Space Mountain, I imagined to be in a Rolls Royce.
Bangkok Phuket emergency was prepared for my arrival when I was wheeled in ½ hour later. A scissor to remove my clothes and l’histoire se repete, the same bandages and cleaning routine. Parts mended with needle and thread, a shot of morfine against the pain and a déjà vue with the x-ray machine. An immediate operation at midnight was imminent. Anesthesia is done by blocking the local nerves. They fool around with needles inside you to locate them. In my case I made the anesthetist nervous. My nerves played seek and hide en won. A simple shot and I found my Waterloo, to awake at 05:00 with 2 metal plates in my arm 4 hoses through my throat and 3 catheters. That breathing machine is torture! Adapt to the machine rhythm or suffocate!
Blood and gastritis in my longs, I was taken care of simultaneously by 5 different specialists. Blood pressure temperature checked every single hour medicines every 3 hours x-rays inside out every day. Pia, my caring That girlfriend on my side 24/24. More and bigger hoses an viewing operation of the stomach. The self evident tetanus vaccination, liters of intravenous antibiotic and 22 pills in 11 varieties per day after leaving the hospital. I was lucky my taxi back home was not searched by one or another drugs unit. An average pharmacy would be happy with a stock of drugs this large.
My adorable Pia fulfilled my every wish before I even could blink with my eyes. She helped me peeing feeding washing dressing telephone newspaper glasses changing the ice-packs manicure pedicure etc. A fulfilling complete and new sensation. Such is true life in the Orient; this is Thailand at its best. Life as best described in the fair tales of the ‘1001 nights.’
I walk out of the hospital 4 days after my nearly death experience without gyps or brace.
Of course, the zips have to be removed in a week. Of course I return to the hospital every day for checking and maintenance. I’m the sweetheart of the nurses. They call me by my 1st name.
Nobody goes before his time is due. Apparently my time was not up yet. Thank you Bangkok Phuket Hospital thank you doctor Kanison Chaimanekorn with your 15 years of experience and all the other medics. You saved the quality of my life, if not my life. Thank you Budha.
5 Years earlier I had an eye laser and a small cosmetic operation in Bunungrad Hospital in Bangkok. I recommend every reader, if there’s something to be mended on or inside your body and you have an alternative, do go to Thailand to either of those hospitals. They are runned like 5 star hotels be it on a bigger more professional scale. Understandable, the stakes are high.
Twitter proves to be a real and effective social medium. Twitter is my lifeline to the real world during my recovery. Most of my 8.500 followers spoiled me like a newborn baby with their concerns. Thank you tweeps, I love you for this.
Driving is out of order for the time being, so I’m dependant on taxi’s. There are many stories about taxi’s in the Phuket Gazette. I have one to add. The taxidrivers I experienced are a big disaster! The average Thai in Phuket makes 300 Baht (7,50 euro) per day for unschooled labour. So when I pay a cabdriver 2.000 Baht (50 euro) for his service it’s a fortune. He promises to pick me up next day same time. No show! New day, new cab, driver promises to pick me up next day same time. Sends another cab that arrives ¾ hour late. This should be an issue for the local Tourist Authorities! I happily found the number of a cabdriver named Aoun from Surin who I know since 5 years. He came today, as always, exactly in time. The happy few.
Deze keer (vrijdag 15 oktober 2010) geheel verzorgd door Robert.