I landed in Bangkok in agony. My left foot was throbbing and I had trouble hobbling through the airport, even with the assistance of the moving sidewalks. I thought about what could possibly have caused this and remembered my foot getting boarded over my last day surfing in Bali. (I think the stress of the flights, altitude & air pressure changes made it worse.)
I cleared customs, withdrew some baht from an ATM then loaded my bags into a trolley and went outside to wait my turn in the taxi queue. It was almost 10 PM by the time I reached my hostel in town. Bed Station was very similar to the pod hostel I stayed at in Seminyak. I was surprised to meet another American in my room, who also happened to be a graphic designer, who invited me out to a bar with his newfound friends but I declined as I felt decrepit and exhausted.
I took a naproxin and had the crappiest, intermittent sleep before finally getting up and deciding to go to the hospital for an x-ray on the recommendation of my parents and their friend who is a nurse. There was a handful of hospitals in the area so if it was any other body part that was battered I would have walked but instead I took a taxi.
Immediately upon arriving at Pyathai Hospital around 7:30 AM, I was seated in front of a check-in desk and welcomed by my very own English-speaking attendant. I described my general woes, gave her my travel insurance info and soon enough an orderly appeared with a posh and padded wheelchair for me. It was very comfortable - like the La-Z-Boy recliner of wheelchairs. I hate feeling helpless but I climbed into the chair anyways and fastened the little seatbelt and smiled awkwardly as I was wheeled through a sea of Thai people staring at me with a variety of facial expressions. I ended up in the Musculoskeletal Center and spoke briefly with a doctor before getting the x-ray. Then I waited for a bit and munched on dried mango and peanuts that I had brought for breakfast and comprehended almost none of the Thai morning show I was watching.
When I was summoned back to the doctor's office he gave me the good news first: my left foot wasn't broken. The diagnosis was severe contusions that left blood and fluids to settle throughout my sole, heel and ankle. He wrapped it and said it could take up to two weeks to heal. Dammit. This used to be my good foot! (My right ankle is a bit weaker and slightly deformed from where I tore all the ligaments in during a beachside basketball game when I was sixteen.)
The doctor wrapped up my foot then sent me on my way. Right in the same waiting area was the cashier and a pharmacy. Brilliant! Back home in the States, there are so many extra steps: take Rx to pharmacy, wait a while, pick up Rx at their convenience. Makes so much more sense to have it at the hospital! I left with a copy of my x-ray on cd-rom, some Ibuprofin and some muscle relaxers. The total cost of my visit was around 2 hours and 3,500 baht or about $97 USD.
I marveled about how fast and efficient the whole experience was and my orderly hailed a cab to take me back to my hostel. On the return trip, I happened to glance out the window at the right moment to see a faded yet familiar orange face grinning at me from across the road. I immediately recognized Atomik's signature tag and took a picture to be uploaded and hash tagged ASAP on Instagram. (Atomik is one of the awesome Miami-based street artists that I worked with on my last big project for Whole Foods Market.) Seeing that simple visual really brightened up my otherwise discouraging day.
I had only a few minutes to pack and requested help with loading my bags into the car that would soon after whisk me away to my volunteer destination in Phetchubari. I really wish I had a bit more time in Bangkok and that I had seen more than the inside of one hostel and one hospital, but I'm thankful my injury wasn't more serious. (Still seriously painful though.)