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 TravelerTweet