THAILAND :: BANGKOK SAVED MY LIFE // food poisoning in hong kong, two hour flight to thailand, air asia flew me to bangkok, entered sukhumvit soi 38, bed rest for four days, samitivej hospital

Worst Day of My Life

For those of you who follow me on twitter and facebook, you may have picked up that I was sick while traveling in Asia.

BUT I didn’t have access to twitter and facebook (because I lost my iPhone in the humungeous city of Hong Kong on the same night I got food poisoning #badnewsbears)… so I apologize for not keeping you up-to-date with my insane case of food poisoning (not that you really wanted to know the details)…

BASICALLY. I was mistaken for a local and given normal “tap” water in Hong Kong (and unfortunately, this makes sense since I am of Chinese origin and speak English fluently like everyone else in Hong Kong)

But how do you know it was the water? Well, this is a long story so I’ll try to make it short.

Stubborn and stingy (because I made the mistake of not buying travel insurance), I refused to admit myself into the emergency room until I couldn’t handle the pain any longer; after I woke up from a night of dinner and drinks in HK, I suffered an enormous amount of pain for 36 hours (either it was an abnormally long hangover or something was seriously wrong) (not to mention, the 36 hours included an already scheduled AirAsia flight from Hong Kong to Bangkok that could not be refunded) (oh and did I mention that I put myself on bed rest with no food (not by choice- stomach didn’t agree), minimal sips of water and little to no air conditioning??)… so when I couldn’t bear it any longer, I finally admitted myself into the hospital and got blood tests taken in Thailand.

How did you get to the hospital? Well, I contemplated the idea for a couple of days, so I googled directions, but I thought I was getting better and decided not to go. However, I crawled out from my bed when the vomiting started (again), looked for help at the front desk but I figured they were sleeping since it was 4am, heard two guys entering the building after a night of partying and asked them to hail me a cab… turned out they were two, young, sexy doctors on vacation (can you say lucky??), but then they analyzed my vomit as I tried to walk towards the main street for a taxi (can you say unlucky??)… after a few tips from the boys, I was off to the hospital.

Entering the Emergency Room: I’m pretty sure I rolled out of the cab, begged for a wheelchair and struggled onto a bed. The wait wasn’t long, I mean it was 4am… so they analyzed me… told me I needed fluids… made me sign a lot of papers… and a HUGE credit card payment. I started to cry- I don’t know if it was the pain or the credit card bill, but I was exhausted and asked for drugs as if I were in labor. Shortly after they inserted the needle (don’t worry, even in my delirious state of mind I made sure to watch the entire process), they drew blood from my arm for testing, hooked me up with fluids, saline and some other stuff for the pain.

Hospital Room: Forgive me but I wasn’t really in the mood to take pictures… of anything… but I will tell you that the room was immaculate (although, I was somewhat pissed that I was paying for two beds: my private hospital room AND my bed at the hostel which was a shared room with 5 other lovely girls)- no wonder why my hospital bill was so high…

  • big flat screen tv
  • huge bathroom with ammenities
  • I could’ve easily fit 8 to 10 travelers in the room with me
  • all you could absorb fluids
  • remote control beds
  • room service
  • free wifi
  • and butler service with a click of a button!

Okay… all jokes aside, the room was spectacular, the staff was extremely warm and friendly, and they all spoke English.

Room Service: The only thing I could eat was a warm bowl of potatoes and every single pill they prescribed- I think I was on six different meds. The nurse wanted to order me more food but I couldn’t do it. I was just focused on getting the potatoes down #hugesuccess

Doctors Visit: I pretty much slept for forever while I was hooked up to the fluid machine. When I was woken up around mid-day by the doctor, I was still woozy from the drugs. Apparently she told that my illness was related to food poisoning, but she was going to confirm the results at my appointment with her the next day. WELL! I did not remember any of that. So 6 hours later, after a few skype calls on my iPad with my family and friends (yes I was smart enough to bring that with me)… everyone wanted to know why I was in the hospital. And well, I wanted to know too! When I was feeling much better, I walked out of my room (since the butler was off duty) and demanded to speak with the doctor to understand what was wrong with me completely forgetting the entire conversation with her earlier. Oops, my bad.

The Initial Recommendation from the Doctor: In addition to the bag of fluids that were already in my arm, she wanted me to stay an extra night and fill me up with another bag of fluids. Apparently I agreed under the influence of pain killers… but I was almost at the end of my bag and felt like a person again. With that being said, I told them not to replenish the fluid (and that saved me an additional 1,000 USD) (yeah apparently they’re used to Americans spending big bucks in this particular hospital for plastic surgery, hence the reason why they all speak English).

So once I cancelled that transaction, they told me that I was allowed to stay in the room for 24hours 4am-4am (but they let me stay until 7am) and bumped my doctors appointment from 9am to 8am #score

How to Avoid Food Poisoning?

  • Make sure YOU open any beverage you’re about to consume… do not make the same mistake I did. I was in a fancy restaurant, full of locals as well as expats and trusted that the waitress would serve me the correct water #bigmistake
  • When you arrive in a foreign country like Asia, do not eat the local cuisine right away. No matter how many people tell you it will be fine (ex: someone from Malaysia bragged how they do not get sick from the food in nearby countries and I’m like yeah… because you’re from ASIA!!), just adjust to the food slowly… start with bread, vegetables…
  • Street food is safe. Just watch their procedure.
  • When I was in sit-down restaurants, my guard was down- I had two mild cases of food poisoning (due to a combination of travel exhaustion and an overall weak stomach for new flavors/cuisine) prior to this case…
  • So based on my experiences, viruses can be violent for the first 24 hours and it takes a minimum of 3 days to recover
  • And as gross as this last tip is, OUT is better than IN

Lesson Learned: Even though my credit card took a beating, I was very happy to be alive thanks to Samitivej Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand… no thanks to Hong Kong.

Oh and get travel insurance, I heard it’s like ridiculously inexpensive… but wouldn’t know for sure because I made the mistake of not purchasing it… obviously.





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