‘I don’t think you understand the severity of the situation’ – Auroraman, Bumrungrad Hospital, Bangkok

We had to travel back to Bangkok from Koh Tao the day after my accident, as I required medical attention for my injuries in a hospital. This was lucky as Bangkok has some of the best hospitals in the world, which is handy.

After a 12-hour 4×4, boat and bus ride, (don’t call me a hero), and being helped with our bags by a rather lovely Spanish/Italian couple, we arrived in Bangkok in the late evening. After having to haggle our way into a taxi that wasn’t trying to fleece us, the final leg of the journey saw us dropped off outside the Bumrungrad Hospital in the Sukhumvit area of town. I was instantly placed in a wheelchair and wheeled to the Accident and Emergency area. I could get used to this.

Unfortunately, we were too late to see the specialist about my foot, and would we mind coming back in tomorrow morning? I was happy to do this. Due to the severity of the situation, it was only right that I deserved a specialist. I nonchalantly noticed that the waiting room was showing live Premiership football. Maybe we should stay? After all, it was imperative for me to get medical attention. Yes, we should stay. At least for 90 minutes or so. I verbalised my concerns to Stannie.

A couple of minutes later we were in the hotel lobby that would be our home for the next week. A lovely hotel very near to the hospital and in a wonderful turn of events, opposite a Lebanese/Moroccan/Indian café/restaurant. I knew what our diet would consist of for the foreseeable future. Our room was large, with a seating area and sports channels showing live Premiership football (HA!). Thank you insurance company.

The next day, we were in the hospital lobby bright and early to see the specialist. I was placed in a wheelchair and wheeled up to the floor we needed to be on. I was getting really used to this. Bumrungrad has got to be one of the most impressive hospitals I’ve ever had the fortune of attending. Its demeanour and architecture is more akin to a 5+ star hotel, a bit like the ones we saw in Dubai.

The hospital has three main buildings. They consist of its own hotel, food hall and shopping centre, as well as the actual hospital. The staff treated us like Indian and Welsh bourgeoisie. I’m not sure I’ve ever got used to treatment of this manner so much in my life. I was parked in the waiting room, whilst Stannie went off on a mission to sort out our insurance claim.

I was shown into an office where the doctor could assess my situation, which if I haven’t mentioned previously, was one of severity. He asked me what injuries I had sustained. Once I had informed him, he laughed. Actual laughter, whilst pointing at my cast. **

‘Why did they put such a huge cast on you? It’s ridiculous!’

I don’t think he understood the severity of the situation.

‘I don’t think you understand the severity of the situation’

‘We’ll take a look at it now but I’m sure if everything is healing as should be, you won’t have anything to worry about’

I was in a lot of pain though.

‘I’m in a lot of pain though’

‘Mr Mohial, I think it would be easier if you trust me on this. I’ve been a doctor for a very long time’

‘I come from a family of doctors’

He looked slightly exasperated. Unprofessional. ‘We’ll take a look and take the relevant action from there’

‘I concur’

‘Concur with what exactly?’

‘Exactly’

‘Right. Nurse please take Mr. Mohial into the treatment room’

And with that he marched out of the room. **

Whilst I was guiding a world-class doctor in the procedures pertaining to situations of severity, Stannie found herself sprinting through each building of the hospital, being sent back and forth through various departments in order to sort out our insurance claim for medical expenses. Due to a factor of time differences between continents and our insurance company not being registered with the hospital, it was proving to be a most arduous task.

No sooner would she overcome one hurdle, another three would rise up against her. Looking back on it with fresh eyes, I’m so proud of the way she handled the situation. This would go on all week but she never once made me aware of the just how much hard work the insurance side of things were. A lesser person would have broken. Stannie don’t play that game.

Speaking of individuals with immense intestinal fortitude, I was ready to take the cast off my leg so the doctor and nurses could take a look at the damage. All was going well until the bandage on my big toe was coming off. It was stuck to the flesh where my toenail should’ve been. In the end, I had to prise it off myself in stages, but we got there.

**The doctor and I took a look at the injuries so we could make our diagnoses. We both declared that the broken toe needed just a strapping, and the big toe was healing very nicely with little or no chance of infection. ** Great news. I was very pleased about hearing…diagnosing….this information when I spied the nurse pouring iodine onto a swab and slowly bring it down onto my toe….

By the time Stannie managed to find out where I was and came to the treatment room, I had been calmed down and was in a good mood due to the lovely new cast I had been given with its own special shoe. As a kid, I have never broken anything or needed any sort of special support for an injury (that I can remember), I was living a childhood dream.

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We went back into the doctor’s office, where he said to rest up and come back every other day to change the dressing. So we made our journey back to the hotel, picking up some hummus, Lebanese bread, yoghurt, salad, Peshawari naan, garlic naan, daal, rice, paneer, samosas and a vegetable bhalti. After that Stannie ordered some sort of aubergine dish for herself.

Now I won’t bore anyone with the exact details of our week spent in the hotel and visiting the hospital every other day. It would make for monotonous reading. To summarise our 7 days living in the lap of luxury we:

· Watched six full seasons of The Office: An American Workplace. Twice.

· Ate a lot of Lebanese/Moroccan/Indian food. Sometimes for lunch and dinner. The hotel provided breakfast.

· Visited the hospital a couple of times. Mainly just to be wheeled around the buildings.

· Ventured out twice. Both times to shop. Both times the trip was cut short due to my injury.

· Watched some football.

· Stannie spent a LOT of time visiting the hospital on her own and on the phone to sort out insurance.

· Watched six full seasons of The Office: An American Workplace a further two times.

· General relaxation and non-movement. Mostly on my part.

Cambodia was calling at the end of our week’s stay in the hotel. But first I needed to get the all-clear from the doctor in order to fly and travel around a country with primitive medical facilities compared to that of Bangkok. The toes were healing nicely. Having an iodine-clean no longer made me want to amputate my foot from the rest of my body and nervous system. I was good to go!

We had been looked after incredibly by the Bumrungrad hospital www.bumrungrad.com and staff at the FuramaXclusive Hotel www.furamaxclusive.com/sukhumvit . As has been the case everywhere we have been on our travels, the good people of Thailand made sure our care was their absolute priority. If you’re going to have an injury of utmost severity as I did, you couldn’t be around a better hospital or hotel to recuperate (Bumrungrad is actually top in a host of ‘best hospitals globally’ polls). Thank you.

The best thing about being temporarily disabled is how quickly you are ushered away from the general plebeians around you and taken into priority areas, which is mostly evident at the airport. What was normally a tedious task of waiting around in queues, being herded into departure lounges, buses etc hardly made a dent in our schedule as we were whisked to and from areas we needed to be. Next time you’re at an airport, make sure to take some crutches.

Onwards to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, for the next part of our adventure. How I was going to deal with being incapacitated, only time would tell. We settled in our seats (at the very front row of the plane, of course) and took off.

‘Baba, have I ever told you that I come from a family of doctors…?’

** Some of the events and conversations marked may have been slightly exaggerated or reconstructed for comedic effect. Others are outright lies…

S+R xxx