I’m nearly out of words, friends.
Since we landed back in Mae Sot in April–what seems like ages ago!–it has just been one thing after another. It has been life-changing shifts, government surprises, arrests, emergencies, deaths, and tragedies at every turn. Whoa.
And this week was another biting one, this time literally.
One of our bread ladies has had her two-year-old admitted to the hospital all week, so we’ve been visiting them every day. And while she sure does look cute on this creepy old hospital bed, it wasn’t a fun week for her.
And since they were still in the hospital on Friday, I filled in with bread making. We served breakfast starting at 6:30am, and while kids still trailed in, we started making bread and tortillas at 7am.
I came back from deliveries pretty exhausted. We were ready to call it a day, but one of the girls in the community said her “uncle” had a sore foot and asked if I’d come bring him some medicine. They live on the road behind our house, and then down a little path in a field. Since it’s rainy season, I went as far as I could on the motorbike and then hopped off to walk the rest of the way through the mud and cornfields, growing high over my head.
Right where the fields break into the clearing for their house–just a few meters from their house–three street dogs lunged toward me, two in front and one ran around behind me. Since we have some twenty street dogs on our road, I didn’t think much of it, just pulled back a bit to let them call them off, throw rocks, or whatever they would do.
Ah, but not so lucky.
The one that came behind me was more aggressive and bit right into my calf. I was a bit stunned, since I encounter street dogs all the time, have been out to their house multiple times; I just thought nothing of it. But as I kept walking I was certain he had got me.
I went ahead and gave the girl’s “uncle” the medicine he needed–for a wound, mind you, that was much smaller than the one I’d just gained giving it to him!–and I tried to just make my way back home quickly. I had a ways to walk back and still the motorbike to drive home, but I couldn’t see blood seeping through yet and thought I’d just hurry!
Well, long story short: It’s really, really good I was wearing jeans. You could see a full ring of bite marks, but only two teeth had punctured. He had gotten all muscle, and it huuurrrrrtt. But the worst part: those two little punctures (and the fact that he’d bit three other people that week) definitely meant I needed rabies shots.
Off to the ER.
Since our public hospital is Thai-run but encounters primarily Burmese patients, they have translators on staff. We had met one of the night-shift ER translators last week when we brought in our friend with a bicycle accident. He loved that we knew Burmese, invited us to church with him, and just generally really wanted to be friends.
So on Friday, he was incredibly friendly and welcoming. It was nice to be able to tell exactly what had happened, and to be honest, even though we haven’t learned Thai, we are finding that most Thais we encounter are at least impressed we learned Burmese (and Burmese translators are easier to find than English!).
Alas, it was still a rough night. There was a stab victim in the ER, too, and that was less than pleasant. We were also given masks shortly after arriving, because apparently the H1N1 outbreak is continuing to get worse, and they had had five cases already that day. 😳😷
I had to have six shots in the end–one in each upper arm, one in my lower arm, one in my hip, & two into the wound itself, which I will openly tell you IS THE MOST HORRIBLE THING. I don’t know exactly what they did, but it involved putting the needle in and moving it around for a very long time, where you have just been bitten by an angry dog. I screamed in shock when she started moving the needle around in the wound. I also limped for two days following, perhaps from the bite and perhaps from the shot.
Oh, and I have four more rounds of shots to return for in the next month.
So that bites.