Thailand – Cigars, Scooters, Bumps And Hospitals

25 Jan


nfc capCigars can be dangerous to your health alright – specially when you ride on a scooter and try not to fall from it.

I was the one to count my blessings on the coastal road here in Pak Nam Pram and ended up at the Royal Thai Army Infantry Hospital in Pranburi.

Rented a scooter motorbike at noon to drive 5 km to Villa Maroc, a nice small hotel and cigar/shisha lounge Saturday afternoon, was bored, didn’t pay attention to the road looking out at the sea, missed a bump ahead, braked too hard, the rear tire wobbled, I braked on the road with my left foot at 30 km/h to keep from falling off the bike and prevent worse but twisted my left knee so badly I can’t hardly walk 10 yards, knee & ankle swollen up and hurts like a mofo.

I got off the bike badly shaken, noticed the sharp pain immediately and said a prayer for my lucky escape from worse.

But, shitty Karma, it had to be my left knee – the one that has already endured 3 operations for torn meniscus and has given me more trouble than I can handle.

Continued to the Villa Maroc, and, of course, the cigar lounge was closed, opening only from 5 to 10 pm.

Ok, so at least I had a look at Pran Havana next door, a lovely decorated and simple beach hotel with just a few tasteful rooms right by the beach.

Noticing the pain getting stronger I stopped at a roadside café for a sandwich, coffee and a cigar – but my first request was for 2 large bags of ice that I put on my left knee.

Didn’t help much, I returned the scooter and went to the pool to inform Inge. She wasn’t really very happy, rather concerned.

Then I went next door to the massage place where we had been enjoying good and professional massages and explained my case, which was becoming quite obvious to see now as I could hardly walk and the knee was swelling up to melon size.

The friendly ladies there immediately felt my knee and thought I should see a doctor very pronto.

They advised me to avoid the local hospital and proceed to the military hospital at the nearby town of Pranburi. Khun Nung, the friendly owner of the place was called and he whisked me there, helping and taking care of me while speaking basically no English but we became friends on that trip.

Next to the HQ of the Royal Thai Army Infantry in Fort Thanarat is their hospital and I was attended to in perfect fashion, the staff there being absolutely professional and the doctor skilled both in English and his profession.

Dyclofenac and muscle relaxant plus a knee brace were prescribed, I picked them up at their pharmacy but the doctor’s consultation was free.

Real Nice and : A Big Thank You from me to the Royal Thai Army in Pranburi as well as to Khun Nung !

He would not even accept payment for the trip. I insisted he take some money and that evening he presented me with a bottle of Sang Som, the Thai rum !

I hobbled painfully to dinner but enjoyed a good cigar and some Thai Rum to celebrate that nothing worse had happened. We were joined by Khun Nung who shared a glass with us.

Sleep was almost non-existent that night as I couldn’t move but just lie flat on my back with a pillow under the knee.

Next morning was even worse – I hardly could crawl 5 meters and it hurt like hell. I started making plans on getting a wheelchair in Bangkok and having the airport van in Frankfurt delivering me right to the operating table at a clinic in Germany.

So got up really early, light breakfast at 07h00 and then Googled information on the best Orthopedic hospitals in Bangkok.

Bangkok Hospital and Bumrungrad Hospital were recommended and I remembered a TV documentary on the latter as being one the best in Asia – a phone call and I had all the help, assistance and an appointment there.

While Inge was packing up for a premature departure from our quiet resort, I hobbled over to ask Khun Nung about arranging transportation to Bangkok. While his wife translated I noticed a small improvement in bending the knee and then in walking – Hey, something was improving !

Indeed, the tablets seemed to start working as I could bend the knee a bit and place my heel firmer on the ground. I went back to Inge and cancelled the trip as we were supposed to be leaving next day anyway and it was a Sunday. I informed the hospital and went back to have an hour of massage on my leg and knee using ice first, then Tiger Balm, a potent Asian ointment that can be used for basically anything and some Thai herbs in a small bag. Finished off with hot compresses and I felt much better. The swelling was reducing in size from melon to orange and I repeated the procedure later that afternoon for 30 minutes.

After dinner I celebrated my new found hope of not having a serious meniscus or ligament issue with a 2005 Reynaldo Diadema, Thai Rum and Inge and Khun Nung. Great dinner and great people !

I could walk, I even slept and was feeling much better.

Next morning, Monday, we left the tranquility and peace of Pak Nam Pram and drove up to Bangkok to check in back at the riverside Chatrium.

First thing I did was arrange an appointment at Bumrungrad with the help of their most capable and friendly Ms Stephanee  so I had a qualified opinion on the knee issue.

We then picked up some orders with my tailor and some handbags at Silom Village and while Inge took a stroll at the large river market I had a couple of beers and a cigar at Asiatique by the river and dinner al fresco at Baan Khanitha where we found my beloved Chicken wrapped in Panadanus leaves and a seafood green curry.

A cigar and a stiff Mekhong whisky on the terrace of our 19-th floor room overlooking the Chao Praya and off to bed early.

Next day the good news from the five star International hospital that looks and feels more like a luxury resort hotel and a gathering of the United Nations : Cancel Knee Alert !!

Spent the afternoon there, fantastic place, and after a check by Dr Payan, one of their specialized orthopedic doctors and an x-ray of the knee and leg it was determined that the pain was due to the impact of the foot on the road and that there was nothing wrong with neither the leg or the knee.

Just happy I can walk and will not miss Havana in 4 weeks …

Happy Nino

One Response to “Thailand – Cigars, Scooters, Bumps And Hospitals”

  1. Frank 25/01/2013 at 16:00 #

    Pic 9. Nino getting his knee massage.
    I just see a happy Nino getting a good massage 🙂
    Serious : glad you are feeling better my friend.
    Nice pics of a superb holiday.