I Went To Thailand For Vacation And All I Got Was This Lousy......

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Captain Swing
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#1 I Went To Thailand For Vacation And All I Got Was This Lousy......

Post by Captain Swing » Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:59 am

Flesh-eating bacteria. Yes, my recent trip was something less than wonderful. I spent a few days in Pattaya. Jomtien was somewhat quiet, and you don't need me to tell you that Sunee is a shadow of it's former self. I then flew to Phuket for a planned three days--I wasn't feeling great at this point and just stayed in my room and ordered room service. I stayed at the Hilton Arcadia (lovely but strangely empty) and was looking forward to trying some of the nearby Thai restaurants and maybe going in the water. I didn't--the next day I barely managed to go to one of the hotel restaurants for dinner. The third day I couldn't even do that I went to bed around 10:00--I had a taxi coming at 10:00 the next morning. I woke up around around 8:00 (and was slightly surprised that it was still so dark). I managed to check out and made my way to the taxi pick-up point. It didn't show. By 10:30 that and the fact that it was still dark made me realize it was 10:30 PM--I'd slept all night and all day, missed my taxi and my plane. I tried to assemble a Plan B and called for a hotel taxi. Following the driver to the car I didn't notice the steps and fell face first onto the concrete sidewalk.

The poor driver was holding a cloth to my face trying to stop the bleeding as security people and God knows who else gathered. Before long an ambulance came to take me to a hospital where they tended to the gash on my face--it was only one stitch. Then another ambulance took me to Bangkok Phuket Hospital for a CAT scan. There were no head problems, but the surgeon didn't like the looks of a sore on my leg and decided to operate on it the next day. He told me at some point it was necrotizing fasciitis--the famed flesh-eating bacteria, although he bristled when I used that term--perhaps it's more a media than a medical term. I was in that hospital for eight days, being pumped full of antibiotics (oh, and blood-thinners--they also found blood clots in my leg) I was scrambling on my cellphone to rearrange plane reservations and explain the situation to my Pattaya hotel. Amazingly, on a whim I had bought travel medical insurance, which I seldom do, and they paid the 725,000 baht hospital bill.

Upon release I made it back to Pattaya, though not before falling again, in the Thai Airways business class lounge at Phuket Airport, doing no further damage to myself but demolishing two of their cocktail tables. I managed to survive a few more days in Pattaya going nowhere except to a clinic to have my wound dressing changed. I must give a shout-out to Poi, a Jomtien massage guy, whom I've known casually for years. I had his phone number as he'd helped me by getting taxis at Jomtien on my first days there. When I called him he agreed instantly to come help me out and he was invaluable, getting me food, rounding up taxis and going with me to the clinic and eventually the airport, and just being helpful in countless ways. I don't know if I could have managed without him.

Eventually I made it to BKK and back home to America. I had my sister, who picked me up, drop me off at my local hospital before I even went home. I spent four more nights there, being released on Christmas Eve. The doctors there think it was NOT necrotizing fasciitis, as that would have been even more serious and destructive, but instead cellulitis with an abscess. Whatever-- (flesh-eating bacteria makes a better story) I sit here celebrating New Year with a hole in my leg the size of a walnut and nothing but fond memories of my last and final trip to Thailand.

P.S. I didn't mention that two days before I left on my trip I was going to get a haircut and some one rear-ended my car, totaling it.

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#2 Re: I Went To Thailand For Vacation And All I Got Was This Lousy......

Post by fountainhall » Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:05 am

Captain Swing wrote:my recent trip was something less than wonderful
Less than wonderful? That seems like the understatement of the decade! What a dreadful experience! I do hope that you will soon be fully recovered.

I wonder if you have any idea what caused the original condition? You mention you were first in Jomtien for a few days before starting to feel ill. Do you suspect it started there? I only ask because on my rare visits I have found the water on the beach to be filthy and prefer to stick to a hotel pool. Could a cut on the skin have become infected?

I am very glad you had travel insurance. Your experience was probably a one in a million or less, but it illustrates better than anything how essential insurance is when travelling. I hope those with a "it won't happen to me!" attitude and who continue to travel without insurance will seriously consider it next time around. US$22,500 would be a shocker to anyone.

You mention this was your last trip to Thailand. Is that the result of your experience? Or was it a decision you made some time ago?

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#3 Re: I Went To Thailand For Vacation And All I Got Was This Lousy......

Post by Gaybutton » Wed Jan 02, 2019 11:47 am

Captain Swing wrote:my recent trip was something less than wonderful.
Well, as long as you had a good time . . .

I suppose your car getting totaled was an omen. Based on your trip report, out of all the days you spent on your holiday, that day was the best of them.

I hope 2019 brings you much better luck than 2018 did. Still, maybe you should avoid buying lottery tickets for a while.

In all seriousness, what happened to you is a perfect example of why Thailand is getting real about insurance requirements for farang. 725,000 baht is equivalent to about US $22,500. I have a feeling you'll be buying travel insurance from now on. You're lucky you had it when you needed it, especially since your car was totaled. Depending on how old your car was, my guess is you ended up getting peanuts for it from the insurance company. All you would have needed was a major hospital bill on top of that.

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#4 Re: I Went To Thailand For Vacation And All I Got Was This Lousy......

Post by Jun » Wed Jan 02, 2019 1:01 pm

I always buy travel insurance.
As a UK resident in my early 50s, an ANNUAL policy for worldwide cover excluding North America was about £35. Max trip length 90 days. About £10 million medical cover.

I am aware that this will get more expensive as I age, but right now it's a no brainer.

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#5 Re: I Went To Thailand For Vacation And All I Got Was This Lousy......

Post by Captain Swing » Thu Jan 03, 2019 1:33 am

fountainhall wrote:I wonder if you have any idea what caused the original condition?
Thanks for the good wishes. I get sores on my leg occasionally due to circulation issues, usually superficial and inconsequential. It was one of those which got infected--I have no idea why or how. The surgeon asked if I'd been in the water; I hadn't--I'd never even taken my shoes and socks off at Jomtien. I bet if I'd gone in the water there I'd have lost my leg, at least.

I was almost certain before I went that it would be my last trip, for financial and health/mobility reasons mostly. My miserable experience just reinforced that resolve. But I've said that about at least my last four trips, so who knows.

The two bright spots were that I had insurance (the best $105 I ever spent) and that I thought to call Poi, who was such a willing helper.

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#6 Re: I Went To Thailand For Vacation And All I Got Was This Lousy......

Post by Dodger » Thu Jan 03, 2019 1:16 pm

Captain Swing,

Was all the falling down a result of this leg bacteria you're describing or do you like to drink a lot when traveling abroad?

Your vacation sounds like something out of "Animal House".

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#7 Re: I Went To Thailand For Vacation And All I Got Was This Lousy......

Post by Nasherich » Sat Jan 26, 2019 11:37 am

I don't know Poi, but I've made other acquaintances in my multiple visits to Thailand. What kind hearted people they are!

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