26 August 2010

koh tao and a thai hospital!

After our lovely time in Chiang Mai, it was time to head south into the gulf of Thailand and go to the island of Koh Tao. After flying back to Bangkok, the plan was to take the night train from Bangkok to Chumphon, and then a ferry to the island the next morning. That meant that we had a bit of time in Bangkok just to hang out...so we took a walk around the train station. Here's some of the typical housing along one of the canals.

Then we took a tuktuk around, seeing the Lucky Buddha...

Wat Saket, or the Golden Mount (temple built on an artificial hill, used to be the highest point in Bangkok, now still very good for overlooking the city!)...

And Chinatown!

And to the train station for our 1730 departure. I love trains.

So here's Josh in his cute little seat. For the beds, the seats sort of pull out so that it's a flat surface, and then a lovely man comes by and makes your bed and puts a curtain up so that your little bed is sectioned off, and darker. It looked very cozy when it was all made up...but then I forgot to take a picture! The night train was supposed to get into Chumphon at 0345, but nicely enough, it was about 1.5 hours late, so we got to sleep (or in my case, pretend to sleep) for a bit longer.

Then we took a bus to the pier, which was the longest, most rickety pier we've ever seen.

And then we got to Koh Tao! Koh Tao means turtle island, and was named because the shape of the island looks like a turtle. Nice, huh? It's tiny--only about 8 square miles, located in the Central Gulf Coast of southern Thailand. It's known for it's diving and snorkeling, and it's all around prettiness, of course. This picture is overlooking the bay that we stayed in--called Tanote Bay.

Pretty flowers near our little hut.

Josh on the beach with an angry sky!

Angry sky made for some cool looking photos...

One day we went snorkeling around the island in a long tailed boat. Lots of great coral and fishies--Hin Wong Bay had lots of big boulders int he water that had a ton of marine life--that was probably the best spot of the day.
Here's Josh getting his equipment!

Views of the beaches from the boat.

Our driver! (Captain?)

That afternoon the sky grew quite ominous again. This is actually monsoon season in Thailand, but typically the gulf is more sheltered than say, the western coast.

Great pictures with a scary sky!

Our last stop was Koh Nang Yuan, which is a very tiny island just north of Koh Tao. It's gorgeous!

Here's the island from a high viewpoint where you can see the three bodies of land connected by sand.

Hi Josh!

These are the long back boats that take you around the island. Aren't they lovely?

And now we come to a sad part of our tale. So Josh started noticing some pressure/pain in a very sensitive area, and taking a peek at it, it looked like an abscess. So we went to the International Clinic on the island, where the doc was a young woman with no social skills to speak of. I also had doubts about her medical skills, as she asked only ONE question regarding the history of the illness, and literally stood as far away from Josh as possible and stuck one finger out to poke at him and then was done. She suggested antibiotics...these sorts of abscesses really don't call for antibiotics, but we were really hoping that they might work so that Josh wouldn't have to get an I&D. Fast forward about 2 days and it's getting worse...good news was that we were leaving the island and so went to a real hospital on the mainland.
Josh in the ER!

The folks at the hospital were very kind...the ED doc (another young gal) wanted the surgeon to come and take a look at Josh. She said that he (from her H&P) recommended that Josh get a spinal or general anesthesia, and that he stay in the hospital for 3-4 days. YIKES!!! That is NOT something I wanted done in a Thai hospital...for an abscess!! At home, it's typically something that can usually be taken care of in the office! And we needed to be traveling in just a day and a half! So we talked to the surgeon, who agreed to use local and keep Josh only overnight. So they took him to the OR, where the local didn't help so much (Josh said he yelled), but the pain was almost immediately better than before. Yay. Then they gave him multiple doses of IV antibiotics. Yum.
Josh wanted the surgeon to come outside and show me the pus baby.

Poor guy!! All of this nice medical care for the low low price of $500. Amazing. Here's Josh's room, where he shared with 4 other people. And their families. It was great.

On our way out of Chumphon, I had to take a picture of the post office box...when we were in Bangkok I thought it made sense that they had a slot for 'Bangkok' (being local and all) and 'other places.' But it's that way in ALL of Thailand...so no matter what town you're in, the slots are always 'Bangkok' and 'other places.'

Waiting for our train.

You could stand outside and watch a sliver of the world go by!

Great views of the Thai countryside.

We got to Bangkok and to the airport all in one piece...Josh was in not TOO much pain, and we're off to Italy!