Riding Vietnam Day 167: One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

Today I slept in with not much on the agenda but with the simple goal of seeing a doctor and find out what the hell was happening with my body. After moving into a homestay with Roman and Thomas, I sat down for a meal of com ga, which came as a full chicken thigh spread over a bed of broken rice. Upon arriving at my request once beyond the miscommunication over my desperate pleas for the beloved fish sauce, I was faced with the task of operating on this damn chicken with a depleted toolkit of a spoon, fork, and chopsticks. Making the best of what was available, I cut that bird like a seasoned surgeon using the fork as a clamp and my all-purpose spoon posing as a blade. Satisfied, I could now go in search of a hospital. What I found did not resemble anything close to what I hoped and envisioned; I probably should have been more realistically prepared for what I was about to walk into. After parking my motorbike I found a hospital that can only be described as a place taken from the movie ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’. After getting forwarded on to the nurses’ desk, I revealed my bandaged mitts to which one led me through the drab hospital corridors in search of the room I would be looked at. Upon leaving the waiting area, I did a quick sign of the cross as if I were performing my own last rites! On top of patient beds, I saw people laid back as if dead to the world with one outstretched arm laced across their face in dismay. I felt like the Jack Nicholson character that first entered the psyche ward with various loonies scattered throughout. In my given room, I met a doctor that didn’t speak much English and a nurse that spoke perhaps just a bit more.  One thing that was clear after unwrapping my wounds was that I had an infection. He prodded the skin around my wounds and showed wrinkled skin that had been pulling in on itself. Both of my palms and left knee would need to be cleaned of whatever leftover yellow goo that had begun to deposit itself onto the wounds. Since I am no nurse or doctor, I will skip over my butchering of proper medical terms in an attempt to describe the operation. The cleansed the wounds and wrapped them up fresh before revealing to me the mixed cocktail of medications I would be tossing back over the next few days. In four days I would need to come back hopefully for a clean bill of health or at least some serious progress that could move me ahead in my travels. It was so difficult at times to get each other’s message across especially when the subject centered at the core of my heath but the doctor was smart enough to rally enough gestures to avail any concerns I may have had upon first entering the building. Even though I am not a beach person, the waves and cool welcoming water beckon from afar as a popular attraction from Hoi An travelers but I will have to find alternate routes to avoid restlessness in these awaiting days for the verdict of my condition. Again who said any of this would be easy? Just one more bump in the road to get past (not a riddled road of bumpy rocks as a couple days prior since that has now topped my list of most scary situations imaginable). I am getting tried in more ways than I could have even envisioned for myself. You got to take the good with the bad as the cliche goes. I try to make the most of a moment and bring some humored levity to the situation as I was smiling and laughing with the nurses as I gritted through the scrubbing pain of tender wounds. The rest of the day was spent lying around while making some big moves in search of food (the com tam reeled me back in and did not disappoint one bit) and to meet the rest of the guys for a short while before they went on a liquored tour of town in the still hot evening. 


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