Koh Phangan, December 2014: First the bad stuff:
I was attacked and bitten by two dogs on Koh Phangan a week ago, late on Tuesday evening. I walked home, highly inspired after following my first ever tantra workshop, and was going to look up friends in my favorite ‘organic chocolate & tea house’ just around the corner of the hut in which I am staying.
I’ve walked that same route more than a dozen times before and was unaware of anything specifically dangerous, when out of the blue two dogs ran at me and appeared só crazy, a huge fear immediately superseded the latent but always-present caution for the many stray ones out here.
And indeed, this time they bit. Hard. One in the right calf and one in the left. It was coincidentally the first time in weeks that I was not wearing my compression sock (what are the odds) so their teeth went right in. So startled, I kept thinking: this did nót just actually happen. It didn’t even hurt that much at first. In hindsight, it may have been one of those moments in which the brain is still catching up with what just occurred. That brief blur quickly vanished however as reality sunk in -literally- in the form of blood filling up my shoes. I looked down and saw two holes on both the insides of my legs. Add to this it was late and there was no one in sight.
One of the few downsides of traveling alone; what do you do when shit hits the fan? You scream your lungs out until you’re not anymore, I guess ;) On to the better part.
The good stuff:
A man emerged on a motorcycle, just as I was starting to lose it. He turned, took one look and said: “Hop on, I’ll take you to the closest restaurant.” He moved like the speed of light; drove to the nearest place with people around, approached the owner, quickly memorized directions to get to the hospital and started driving. I was holding on to him tightly, amazed by how rapidly the evening had taken a 180 degree turn: just a few hours ago had I been learning the technique of sublimating my internal orgasms and empowering myself through contained sexual energy – now I was holding on to a man I didn’t know, while hearing myself say ‘oi oi oi oi’ a thousand times and looking for anything that looked like a red or green cross.
This man’s name was Paul and he turned out to be a godsend. When we arrived at the hospital he promised he’d stay with me. To say he kept his word would be an understatement; he held my hand while I balled my eyes out on the operation table, called my family, made little jokes about parties we could go to later, urged me nót to look at my legs while they cleaned, injected and stitched them and afterwards suggested I’d stay with him that night so he could escort me back to get the wounds cleaned the next morning.
Wednesday was an ongoing chain of dark clouds with silver linings. After Paul ordered me a taxi to the hospital (that he followed on his motorbike to stay with me yet again while they disinfected the wounds), I was brought back to my hut. The Dutch doctor that treats my left leg had been notified as soon as I had gotten hold of a phone, and she had let my parents know she was scared I had missed a specific important shot. My dad called just as I had settled into bed and said “It is really shitty, and I wish I could support from here, but you’re going to have to do this by yourself – you need to go back to the hospital right now.”
The silver lining was Judith arrived – a very special woman I had met just several days ago, who said: “I’m coming with you, and we’re going elsewhere.” She’d read about a new Western Medical Center on a Facebook page dedicated to Koh Phangan’s “Conscious community” [trust me: if you think this island is merely about the full moon parties, you’re mistaken – everyone in the North-Western part where we are is either doing a full time yoga course, detoxing, fasting, cleansing, reading their aura’s or reflecting on previous ayahuasca ceremonies ;)]
She hailed a cab and it drove us to this new medical center, that admitted me right away. Second silver lining: They said I did have the injection, but it was good that I’d come – the wounds had been stitched too quickly, too tightly and the antibiotics I’d been given were like cough-drops compared to the horse-tranquilizer I would need to keep the wounds from getting infected.
Since then, funny things happened. Yes I’ve felt miserable and cried a lot, as my left leg is already so fragile and I wish with all I have no extra permanent damage is caused. But the people here have been nothing but amazing and have really liften my spirits. The doctors are warm, nurses are kindhearted, my roommate Nathalie is hilarious (more on that later), the travel insurance has been super cooperative and I feel like I’m in really good hands.
Just now, Marco (Judiths boyfriend) iMessaged to ask what today’s chocolate order for me is; two girls Asli and Ine from yoga class have come by every day and so has Paul – who also bought me a Thai phone, grapes (custom in the UK when you’re ill) and a teddybear we named Ben. I once loosely mentioned I wish I’d have any magazines with me, and without my knowing he scoured the entire area for English ones. Unable to find any but reluctant to turn up empty handed, he did bring the best he could find: two National Geographic editions, vol 173 (June 1988) and vol 177 (April 1990). Can you believe this guy? (and the shop that actually sells them? ;))
I wrote above that one of the few downsides of traveling alone is not knowing what to do when shit hits the fan. But without a doubt, one of the biggest upsides is former strangers completely stepping up when you need them.
I will be good. <3
In bad times, self mockery remains a must: