From Grim to Great

A Turn Around

By Lynn U. Stewart

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A ten day visit to Paradise; we were on our way to Ko Lanta Thailand. We were taking in the beauty of the island and beginning our vacation. We had traveled the whole day; it was time to settle in.

René, my new friend, had accompanied me for the Thailand trip. We had spent three days in Bangkok and the next leg of the trip was a five-hour journey to the island. The driver at the airport stopped for supplies at the local store and we were on our way to the ferry. With the New Years day traffic it seemed like waiting an eternity. Finally, we were on our way to the Villa. Once there in darkness, we started to unpack.

Our first night was challenging. While unpacking I took a corner too swiftly and caught my ankle on the edge of my Thai bed. Within seconds, the blood began to ooze from a three inch wound to my shin.

It was 8:00 at night on a hospital-deprived Island, a primitive little oasis in the Andaman Sea. This was the second accident I had had since coming to Bangkok. The first was the step up into a Tuk-Tuk where I scraped my ankle against the sharp threshold and within seconds I was watching a stream of blood sliding down my leg. A visit to Praram 9 Hospital, a Doctors visit and a Tetanus shot got me up and running. I could feel comfortable to go to the villa in peace, as Ko Lanta has no hospital the closest one is in Phuket three hours away. So far I had done all the right things to prepare for our precious winter break. So the second hit to the same leg was a crushing blow.   Not only was it painful, but cuts to the shin are always a tricky place for healing… especially in the tropics.

It took me 30 minutes to regroup, but I was able to wrap up the wound and make our way across the street to Cook Kai, a familiar Thai restaurant known to all of us for over eight years. There we met owner Cook Kai and Nom a friendly waitress who expressed their condolences for my wounded leg. That night I heard about South Lanta clinic, a place fifteen minutes away by Tuk Tuk and with a good reputation.

The next morning René and I made our way to the clinic. After letting four Tuk-Tuks go by, we chose the fifth one with a driver called Sos. Who knew he would be our driver for the next six days. At the clinic we found Dr. Kan and his professional team of healers. Warm and professional, fifteen stitches later, armed with water-proof band-aids, anti-inflammatories with antibiotics in hand I was back in business. We stopped to celebrate my win.   What we found were five fortuitous discoveries that came out of this unfortunate set of circumstances.

  1. Kan was our first doctor to know on our island. American educated in Rhode Island, he was to be our G.P from now on. His stitches were plastic surgeon perfect/world class as was his attitude toward customer service.
  2. The nurses in the clinic had been assigned to me. And every day they would monitor my progress and take care of redressing my wounds.
  3. The clinic was fifteen minutes away and open from 8:00 until 18:00 every day.
  4. They took care of my Bangkok wound and my Ko Lanta stitches all in one go with Dutch insurance to take care of it all.
  5. As a consummate caretaker and leader on the vacation, I had to turn over the care of us to René who did a great job.

Is there a situation in your life that you find hopeless? Try reframing it to find the good in each situation that seems impossible.

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