Third Time This Year

For the first 15 years of this century I recall visiting an emergency room twice however over the past 5 months I’ve visited the same one 3 times. Today’s visit was the result of a fall while bouldering. I landed barefoot on a rock which snagged my second smallest toe and snapped it like a popsicle stick. I didn’t need a ruler to tell me that thing was pointed in the wrong direction, gross/ouch. I immediately ripped the worn-out organic cotton t-shirt I was wearing into a bandage and used it to tie my bad toe to a good one. I then made my way to the hospital for an X-ray.

While at the hospital two French guys came in and one of them was looking to get a rabies vaccination after having been bitten by a monkey. While I was waiting in “MASS CASUALTY ZONE A” for the results of my X-ray I watched a nurse stick this guy in both shoulders with a long ass needle and inject vaccine. I’m fine with sliding a needle into a vein for a blood test but this lady just inserted a needle like 3 or 4 centimeters deep into the guys flesh. Hopefully that monkey wasn’t infected with anything and that guy and anyone reading this learned not to play with monkeys or let them know you have food.

I must once again thank the Ministry of Public Health Thailand and all the wealthy and middle class people who paid a little more in taxes so they themselves and everyone else could have access to affordable health care. I’m glad I live in a place with some form of socialized medicine and universal healthcare however I will be trying much harder not to have to use it with the peace of mind knowing that I could afford to if necessary. If I had taken these emergency room trips in the U.S. I don’t even want to imagine what they would have cost. Here in Thailand my bills were as follows:

Broken wrist: X-rays and removable cast – 900THB = 26USD
(Be extra careful on longboards, especially while taking wet corners.)

broken-wristSplit scalp: wound cleaning and a stitch – 450THB = 13USD
(Watch your head in caves, especially those with many stalactites.)

stalactite stitchBroken toe: X-rays and a wrap – 690THB = 20USD
(Be careful while bouldering barefoot, toes can break easy.)