Khae’s Fall From Grace

January 24, 2013

Friday was to be our day for gathering provisions. All the toys were on hand for the kids, but there were still lunches to be ordered, ice cream to be delivered, balloons to be inflated, and so on. The previous day, Koi had scampered up a leaning ocean-side coconut palm tree


to pose for pictures, and Khae decided to give that a try Saturday morning. It proved to be a bad move, as she lost her balance and dropped about eight feet to the ground, landing on her bottom. She was in a good deal of pain, which I could easily relate to after a similar fall last year from a moving motorcycle; her fall was a greater distance, mine was onto pavement, neither was any fun. I gave her a couple of extra-strength ibuprofens from my travel stash, but they didn’t seem to bring appreciable relief. By mid-morning, she decided it was time to go to the emergency room of the local hospital, and we gently moved her to Colin’s car for the twenty-minute ride. The waiting room was quite full, so we shifted Khae to a wheelchair and settled in for the duration.

Not the preferred mode of transportation!

The orthopedic surgeon, purportedly en route by plane from Bangkok, never showed, and finally Khae was admitted to see a general practice resident, who gave her a prescription for muscle relaxants and a four-day reprieve from work. “Is there anything else you’d like?” he asked.
“How about a month off?” Khae countered (remember that…). I was asked to wheel her into the nurses’ area where she would receive an injection for the pain. I guess the nurse thought we were married, as she didn’t even hesitate for a moment in pulling down the back of Khae’s jeans a fair bit to give her the shot. A better man would have modestly looked in the other direction, but I was taken by surprise, and the sad fact is that I am not a better man. If a photo of this existed, and I am not suggesting that it does, I would never put it in the blog. Just saying.

On the plus side, the injection seemed to alleviate the pain, and by the time the bill had been paid (about $2), Khae was able to move about on her own, and make transitions from sitting to standing and vice-versa much more easily. A bit more than a day later, on Saturday night, she and Koi would make the eight-hour-plus train trip back to Bangkok, followed by a twelve-hour bus trip to Chiang Mai, arriving just in time for work (which, of course, Khae had a doctor’s exemption from) on Monday morning. Instead, she used the day to pay a follow up visit to her usual doctor, where x-rays showed that she had broken her C-12 vertebra. She was ordered immediately to bed, and the doctor told her not to plan to return to work until a month had passed, an ironic and uncomfortable lesson in “be careful what you wish for”.

As I write this, I am in Chiang Mai (the blog runs a consistent ten days or so behind), and I saw Khae yesterday. She is doing a lot better. She is wearing a lower back brace, but she can walk around some, and she is okay to ride in a car. Her spirits are good, and the nature of her work is such that she can do much of it at home. She gets around reasonably well, although there are a few things that still give her pause, like reaching up to wash her hair; bending over, fuhgeddaboutit!