Bicycling Can Be Dangerous to Your Health


I always strive to be honest with my readers and today is no exception.  Due to the injury to my left (and dominant) hand, it will be a slow process to write this and I will go for brevity.

I left Chiang Mai, Thailand on Monday for a routine overnight visa run to Vietienne, Laos, expecting to return Tuesday evening.  Tuesday morning, I rented a bicycle to do some sightseeing.  I pickup truck suddenly overtook to pass and then cut right in front of me causing a collision.  A moment later, I was on the roadway in a busy traffic circle with blood gushing out of my hand.

In brief, I was taken to a hospital where after several hours I had many sutures placed in my hand.  Amazingly, beside a bump on my forehead and some skin off one knee, there were no other injuries!

No x rays were taken and I was just told, “your bill is paid, you can leave.” Apparently the father of the young man who hit me paid the bill.   There were no post-op instructions; heck, no one spoke English.  First though, I had to go to the local police station and pay a bribe of 800B (US$27) to leave the country.

I missed my plane, stayed overnight, during which my wound seeped blood.  After paying $10 to replace a blood-soaked pillow, I barely managed to make a flight to Chiang Mai the following morning sporting a crimson soaked bandage covered by a plastic waste can bag.

Relieved to be in a country with excellent medical care, a friend took me to University Hospital where I found out I also had a broken metacarpal.  A surgery was required immediately and four temporary J wires were inserted to help prevent bone infection.  I am presently recovering at Chiang Mai Ram Hospital.  The level of care I have been receiving is amazing and I am very grateful that my injuries are not worse.  I have had a dedicated hand surgeon (Fellow: MASS General) assigned as my primary doctor.  This is better care than I would receive in the USA.

Ironically, this is some of the best wifi I have had in four years of travel.

The wires will stay in for 3-4 weeks.  I will require physical therapy and possibly a skin graft later on.  I expect to fully recover.

The high degree of my emotional detachment coupled with full presence and engagement through these days has surprised even me.  I am in good spirits.  A few friends have Skyped me (you are welcome to–it’s free).  A few new friends in CM have been most helpful.

I had planned to be heading south about now to get my SCUBA certification.  That and all other travel plans will be placed on hold for now.

However, I do intend to continue my journey and once my hand is better I can resume blogging.  Meanwhile, there are over 100 posts on this site for you to enjoy and much useful travel information.  I will continue to reply to comments here as well as on my FB page.  Heck, I might even get a few Instagrams up in a day or two.

All the best.

Travel safely; travel well.

Philip, aka the Dimensional Heart Traveler

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  1. The Traveling Fool March 17, 2013 at 3:05 am #

    The things some travelers will do just to get good Wi-Fi. Seriously thought I am glad you didn’t get hurt worse and your right about the medical care, your in a good place. Get better soon man.
    The Traveling Fool recently posted..Dangwa Flower Market Manila

    • Philip March 17, 2013 at 3:52 am #

      Thanks from one fool to another.

  2. Linda March 17, 2013 at 8:08 am #

    Philip you lead a charmed travel life. I am so glad to hear the relative happy ending to this accident/adventure. I was leaving a message to say I too will be going to have surgery in a week! Wish me well on my ‘new hip’. I’ll be sending you heart, send me some back. Lots of love, Linda

    • Philip March 17, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

      Dear Linda, thank you for your heart-felt wishes. Yes sending you much love for a positive outcome as well. btw, the krautwurst pics look great, I’m salivating.

  3. Susan Big Basin March 17, 2013 at 8:22 am #

    Philip–so glad you’re okay and getting good care. I admire your great attitude and am sure it helps the healing.
    The redwoods and I miss you, but enjoy learning about new places vicariously!

    • Philip March 17, 2013 at 6:24 pm #

      Thanks Susan. I miss the redwoods often as well. This is a good place to recuperate though.

  4. Brian Berndt March 17, 2013 at 8:36 am #

    Thanks for the information Philip, I’ve been wondering how you are getting along. Other than the Hospital (if you can call it that) bill being paid for, do you have any other recourse for getting reimbursed for your surgery? Since this happened in Laos, I’m sure that would be nearly impossible.

    I am very relieved that you were not injured more seriously. Glad to hear you are in good spirits and planning on continuing your journey. Hopefully you will heal up quickly with no complications.

    You are in my thoughts, my friend.

    • Philip March 17, 2013 at 6:14 pm #

      Hey Brian–I do have travel insurance so should get close to full reimb. Better care here than in U.S. Take care buddy.

  5. Sherye Woodley March 17, 2013 at 10:37 am #

    Dearest Philip,
    Am so glad to hear the care you’re receiving is so excellent! Just know that you are blessed with love and heart for your protection in your journey. You are always in my thoughts and prayers for your safety as we do not have many Heart Dimensional Travelers! Your attitudude of gratitude is so important for the complete healing process that you are experiencing. Sending you so much heart in your ongoing quest. I love you!!!! Sherye

    • Philip March 17, 2013 at 5:58 pm #

      Thank you Sherye for your heart. Big love to you!

  6. Judie March 17, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

    Philip, so glad to have this update from you. I am relieved that your injuries were not worse than what they are and that you made it safely back to Thailand. Very glad you are receiving excellent medical care too; so important and reassuring. Just keep taking good care of yourself and stay in the heart centered space you are in now.
    Sending love and healing thoughts your way,

    • Philip March 17, 2013 at 5:04 pm #

      That’s the only place to be Judie!

  7. Matthew Karsten March 18, 2013 at 8:11 pm #

    Crazy! Are you still in the hospital? I’ll come visit.

    • Philip March 18, 2013 at 9:31 pm #

      Yea Matt. CM Ram Hospital room 1006. Thanks.

  8. Jeremy Foster March 18, 2013 at 11:53 pm #

    Geez. Hope you feel better soon, man! I recently had to fly to Singapore from mainland China for a gallbladder removal and even that was a nightmare. Good luck in your recovery.
    Jeremy Foster recently posted..Win $150 in Wimdu Worldwide Accommodation Vouchers!

    • Philip March 19, 2013 at 2:19 am #

      Thanks Jeremy. Hope your operation went well, that sounds serious. I was so glad to get here where they have a high standard of medical care.


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