*A little disclaimer- I wrote my blog post yesterday at 3 am off of only 4 hours of sleep the night before, so please excuse my excessive spelling and typing errors 🙂 *
I am amazed at how much can happen in a day here. Just about 24 hours ago yesterday, I was on the way to the emergency room with Laura and Randy! Laura had been feeling a “churning” in her chest all day and it got to the point where she was shaking, lightheaded, weak, and it was more difficult to breathe, so we wanted to bring her in to make sure everything was okay. We actually brought her back to San Pa Tong hospital where I shadowed and the nurse I was with was Laura’s nurse! When we walked in, they all exclaimed, “Amanda!!” It would have been more fun to see them under different circumstances. The doctor checked her out and said that everything was okay, but we decided to go to one of the larger hospitals in Chiang Mai just to make sure. Don’t worry, we brought a blanket for Laura to lay on because there was no way that she was going to lay on those beds. The nurse also brought us to the staff bathroom because the patient one was “Dirty, dirty!” We definitely appreciated it. By this time, Laura was feeling a little bit better, but we decided to head to Chiang Mai anyways. The doctor and nurse didn’t speak great English, so it seemed like a lot got lost in translation! It was interesting basically being Laura’s interpreter because I had to tell them the medical terminology for what she was telling me she was feeling. I empathasize with non-English speakers in the US because it is hard to feel confident that the person taking care of you completely knows what is going on. We went to the furlong hospital in Chiang Mai, and the doctor said the same thing- nothing was wrong and we could go home! They did give her a sleeping pill for the night just so she could get a good nights sleep after all of the craziness. By the time we were on our way home, Laura felt almost normal, so we were happy to see her feel and visibly look better. I guess going an entire month without using my nursing skills was just not possible! Laura joked that she gave me the opportunity to see the large urban hospital here! It was still very behind the US.
Not going to lie, it was pretty stressful because both Randy and Laura were relying on my two years of nursing education to make the call on whether or not we should go to the hospital and which hospital we should go to. We gave her a peanut butter sandwich in case her blood sugar was low, made her drink a bottle of water in case she was dehydrated, and had her deep breathe in case it was her lungs- it was like a nursing test in real life!! I guess I just made the best judgement call that I could at the time, but then I also felt responsible for anything that might happen based on the decision I made or didn’t make. I will be glad when I have more experience under my belt and better judgement in the future because I am sure that I will be put in similar positions as a nurse with my family and friends. I am just glad that it worked out okay and Laura was fine!
We ended up getting back to Randy’s around 2 am and then I needed to finish my blog post because I really don’t want to get behind and it was such a big day, so I didn’t really get any sleep last night. However, we all had the morning to just hang out before our flight left to Bangkok so it was nice that we didn’t have any sort of activity to rush off to. For our last breakfast at Randy’s, Kun Pa made stuffed cucumber soup and grilled pork. They also had fresh watermelon on the table. We will miss the food in Chiang Mai along with the wonderful people!
We all have been to the Chiang Mai airport at least 4 times already, so it basically feels like a second home in Thailand. We even have our regular table at Starbucks! We are getting very efficient at the flying process! Our flight to Bangkok was only about an hour and went very smooth!
After grabbing our bags, we got a taxi to bring us to our hostel. When I told people in Chiang Mai that I was going to Bangkok this past week, they all told me only one thing about it- “Traffic jam!” They were very right! We were able to pay to get on to the toll road which is similar to the carpool lane which helped, but we were in the taxi for over an our and drove under 10 miles.
Our taxi driver did not really know any English at all, but thought that we could converse in Thai. He would just repeat these Thai phrases or point at buildings and say words, but we had zero idea what he was saying the entire time. I tried really hard to find even one word that I recognized in both Thai and English, but no such luck. Smile and nod- it works every time.
The city of Bangkok is very different from Chiang Mai. There are high-rises and skyscrapers everywhere instead of smaller buildings. Also, the pace here is very fast- except for traffic. There is a light rail system that we are going to try take advantage of. There is also a very distinct smell here. Laura describes it as a sulphur smell, similar to Yellowstone. On top of it all, it is very dirty. When we were walking back from the mall, we saw a rat in some garbage and it almost ran over Laura’s foot! We all were super grossed out! Let’s just say that we are all happy that we only have basically a day here to see the things we need to see. We would all prefer the mountains and the beaches to the city.
After we finally arrived at our hostel and got checked-in to our room, we all basically collapsed into our beds. Air conditioning felt like heaven after being in a hot, stuffy taxi for over an hour! The beauty of having a long trip is that we don’t feel like we always need to be doing things. For example, we were all very tired today, so we just lounged around our room looking at our photos from the last week and didn’t feel like we were wasting a day of our trip. The elephant sanctuary posted the photos that their photographer took, so it was so fun to look at them! Honestly, cramming onto a bed and giggling over funny elephant pictures was way more fun than touring any temple would have been with how exhausted we were. Sometimes you just need a vacation from your vacation!
There is a mall that is really close to our hostel, so we decided to head there to eat. They had a “Foodie” area and we found an interesting looking chicken restaurant and decided to give it a try. Their signature item is fried chicken with a soy garlic sauce, so we all ordered it and were curious if we would like it. It was seriously the best fried chicken that I have ever had. It wasn’t greasy at all- it was almost like the skin/breaking was a thin, crunchy paper around very juicy chicken. We even got sticky rice with it! You know that they were delicious because both Beth and Laura (slow eaters) finished at the same time or even before Paige and I!
If you ever see a Chicken BonChon, eat there!! There are a few locations in the US, so be on the look out!
We don’t have anything planned for tomorrow, so we are just going to wake up and see what we feel like doing! There are a few things that tourists have to do, but other than that, our day is open, so I am curious to see what we will do!
If you are interested in seeing the photos that were taken yesterday at the sanctuary, just search ‘Elephant Jungle Sanctuary’ on Facebook and we are in the album: 28-05-16: Half Day Morning: Camp 6. There are over 500 photos, but it might give you a better idea about what we were doing if you are interested!