Here I sit with a bone fracture in the right foot with a kind of half cast. My whole life, I have been skiing, horseback riding,exercising etc. and I have been lucky never to break a leg, foot or arm. But walking my two small dogs on Sunday morning, we suddenly got attacked by two huge dogs coming like bullets from behind, both off the leash.
It was a very scary moment and my dogs tried to save themselves behind me and what happened? I fell to the ground; hitting my hand, head and foot. I tried to stand up, trembling and furious and saw an old Chinese man staring at me with a bright smile. A street vendor, who saw what happened, came to my rescue and helped scare the threatening dogs away. They ran back to their owner, who bent down to cuddle his dogs.
I stood frozen watching his strange behaviour. I just couldn’t believe what I saw; did he really smile at me? I know, that Thai people smile when they feel embarrassed, for us Europeans this is a strange way to show “I misbehaved”. I was, at least, expecting him to come over and ask me how I was, if I and my dogs were okay, but no he just stared at me.
I have to admit, at that moment I was furious at both the old man and his aggressive dogs. I carried my wounded dog and limped home. My tunic was drenched with blood from my dog Bailey and he was groaning … poor little fellow. I didn’t have any time to think about myself at that moment, my dog came first.
“You find out quickly who your real friends are when you have a problem and need help. I am a lucky one, surrounded by many faithful and caring friends.”
If you don’t have a car and driver, it becomes difficult when these kinds of situations arise. No taxi is willing to take animals anymore, my first reflection; from years ago was that every taxi driver was happy to take both you and your pets and plenty of luggage and they would step out to open the door for you. Today, it can be difficult to get a taxi and if you are lucky to get one to stop, they rarely want to take you to your destination;
it’s too far, too much traffic (rot tit mam) or they don’t know the destination. Or that they begrudgingly accept to drive you, but for a large fee without turning the meter on. I ask myself, how come, why have the drivers attitudes changed so much within a few years? I admit that I think they should be better paid. The small sum of 35B, to pick you up, is peanuts. I ask myself, why hasn’t the government raised that amount? It has been the same since I arrived I think. I don’t think anyone would be against a small increase.
You are not allowed to take your pets on the BTS (Skytrain) or MRT (Underground) either. Even if you carry them in a basket, bag or cage, they are not welcome. Could it be, that as of today, many people are allergic? It might be an explanation, but they search the trains with sniffer dogs on and off…
To be an owner of pets without your own transport, makes complicated. I did manage, after quite a while, to get a taxi driver who accepted me and my dog and we went to the vet. Thank you to that guy. He received a good tip from me and a warm smile. You find out quickly who your real friends are when you have a problem and need help. I am lucky, surrounded by many faithful and caring friends. I was picked up by a Thai girlfriend, also a pet owner, from the vet and taken to the police station to report the case.
I was surprised when we entered the police station to see how many people were lining up, waiting for a police officer to listen to their case. That Sunday, a girl from Morocco had been slapped in a disco by two men without passports; an elderly man had been drugged by a Thai woman and forced to withdraw a large amount of money from an ATM machine. He was on his way to leave Thailand and now needed help urgently.
You certainly need patience when you are visiting the police station. At the Lumpini, they offer 17 translators of different nationalities, all more or less fluent in Thai, a huge help for us foreigners. That Sunday, one of my Swedish friends was working and took care of me (God bless her). Back to the “place of the crime” and we waited for 2 policemen on motorbikes to come. Together we went to pay a visit to the old man, as I knew where he lived.
The door opened and there was this smile again. My girlfriend gave me a sign to keep my mouth shut and let her and the police officers do the talking. Maybe good that I only know Thai just “nid noi” (very little), made it easier to keep quiet. The man started to say “I pay, I pay”, strange that the first thing that Thai people think of is money as adverse to an apology… I would have appreciated a “Sorry mam” but not a word of apology.
He said he was too old and weak to keep the 2 dogs and in that case he was completely right. To make a long story short, we got his confession and name and could leave for the hospital to see what injures I had sustained. I used to say, if you have to get injured or getting sick, Thailand is the place to be. It has, in my eyes, the best hospitals and service I have experienced.
My friend drove me to “my” hospital and I went to the Emergency Room. Friendly staff welcomed me, a wheelchair was there and a few minutes later I saw the doctor. In Sweden, I would have had to wait for hours without anyone asking about me, at least in the hospitals in the big cities. The friendly doctor examined me, listened to my story and ordered Xrays for both my hand and foot. As the pain wasn’t too bad, I was sure nothing serious had happened but, to my disappointment, I had a bone fracture in my foot. OMG I thought, what is going to happen now?
I thought about my coming busy weeks with meetings, fitness, teaching etc. At this point, I lost my composure and started to cry and tremble. The doctor tried to convince me that neither a cast or surgery was necessary – it could be worse. Sure maybe so, but I would not be able to go on with my daily, busy life and that made me worry and sad… as if the globe would stop rotating without me. To start with, he put on a cast and what could I do, I had to accept it. If your foot is not better within a week, we might have to consider an operation he said… Stay and rest at home, cancel all duties for at least a week, was his advice. I was at that moment so unhappy, lonely and felt sorry for myself.
During the first few days, trying to move with help of crutches, I have a completely new understanding of disabled people. Who am I to complain, this condition will not last forever I have to tell myself. Suddenly you start to think in another way. An old friend of mine, who himself had to be hospitalised here during his visit, told me that maybe this was meant to be, maybe I needed a break, maybe it would bring me some new thoughts and many more maybe’s…
I don’t know, but I might learn how to become a little more patient, not taking my way of living for granted, realising who my real, true friends are and who cares for me… I now have time to sit and think through things, to appreciate health and take time out to cuddle my 2 dogs. An old expression says “there is nothing that doesn’t bring something good”. I don’t know if I believe that, but it doesn’t make any difference.
I am happy I am quite strong and well trained, it makes the situation easier. I have learned to appreciate life and not take it for granted, probably the most important lesson of all. Time will show what the next step will be, I hope for the best.