I spent part of my day attempting to talk to Thai doctors in an emergency room.
Sometimes, getting thrown straight into the middle of Southeast Asia’s chaos only makes you realize why you love it so darn much.
I started my day out unsure of what to do, after eating some toast with my hostel mates. I decided to head over to a cafe, sleepily sipping on a Thai iced tea and writing in my journal, all half dressed in my pajamas still. I started creating a budget for Nepal and decided to take some diamox (altitude sickness medication) with me, just in case. My parents wanted me to get the medication in Bangkok, where they knew it was the real deal, instead of in a Kathmandu pharmacy where I could potentially be handed anything. Soooo I set out on the hunt for it.
Luckily my hostel is situated just a little bit away from Khao San road (which is scattered with tons of pharmacies), so I didn’t bother changing into real clothes and went to the first pharmacy I found… Which referred me to another… Which also referred me to another… Which then referred me to a clinic across the street, and then finally, to the hospital. I asked if I would have any trouble speaking only English at this hospital, and the sweet receptionist said no and wrote down the name of the hospital in both English and Thai so that my taxi driver would know where to drop me off.
Taxis and tuk tuks will always try to scam you. I was quoted 400 baht for a 20 minute drive, then 200, and 100, and I bargained it down to 70 baht in the end ($2.80 sgd). I was dropped off at the hospital and had absolutely no idea where to go because EVERYTHING WAS IN THAI. I mean honestly, what should I have expected, I am in Thailand. It was still a little hectic not knowing where to go, but I found the entrance and went in. I asked the receptionist where I could get some diamox, and she rushed me over to the emergency room, all whilst I was trying to explain I just needed some medicine. Language barriers at hospitals: kinda scary. I was thrown into the middle of everything, tons and tons of patients in stretchers and wheelchairs around me. I found someone and they gave me a piece of paper and I didn’t know what to do with it, so I just wrote “Diamox (acetazolamide) prescription” on the paper just in time because some injection was coming towards me and then was thrown out of the emergency room (phew) and told to go to the pharmacy across the street. I was in the medical district of Bangkok, so there were tons, and I just picked the nearest and asked for diamox, was asked how much I wanted, and given it, without prescription or questioning. “Easy.” All for some medicine that I probably won’t even take (UPDATE I did not take).
I decided to walk home and hunt for food ’cause I was famished. I found tons of delicious looking and smelling street food, but decided not to risk eating it because tomorrow I’ll be on a plane for the majority of the day. I instead went with a questionable bao from 7/11. Safer than street food? Probably not.
I honestly didn’t really know where I was going, just the direction of home, so I walked on over and found myself at a pier. I was across the river and my hostel was on the other side. I took a ferry (I just hopped on the one at the dock) and luckily, it brought me across the river for 3 baht (12 cents SGD).
I found myself at a crazy crazy intersection, sweating in the 39 degree heat, unable to find an opening to cross into. One bus stopped right in front of me to drop off a passenger, and the fare collector lady on board told me to go ahead and start crossing. Man, it’s the little acts of kindness that you really learn to appreciate. I crossed the street and walked to my hostel, where I am now! Honestly, the whole ordeal was exhausting and intimidating, but boy do I love Thailand and all of the chaos that comes with it. Ugh so sad to leave tomorrow 😦
Also I just realized I have no idea how many milligrams these pills are… Oh boy.