Nov 17, 2015: Down and Out in Chiang Mai

I’ve finally had the experience I’ve been dreading, being really sick abroad. It started the second morning we were in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I woke up nauseous and in pain, and spent the next few hours vomiting until I couldn’t even keep water down, which, if you’re in the know, is very bad. Hydration is important, especially when you’re in a hot tropical country.

So we called an ambulance that carted me off to the local tourist hospital for a three and a half day stay while they sorted me out. Acute gastritis with a fever of 103 F. I hadn’t drunk tap water, and I can’t even say I ate anything weird or suspicious. I hadn’t been in the country long enough to do that.

But Chiang Mai turns out to be a pretty good place to get sick in. The hospitals are top quality and the pricing is favourable for tourists. For my three and a half day stay, blood work, ultrasound, cat scan and endoscopy, we paid around $3000 CAD (which should all be reimbursed by insurance).

Still, not as bad as I thought it would be. We had prepared for this possibility and gotten some traveler’s insurance, so cost wasn’t really an issue. My biggest complaint is that I had to take out all of my piercings for a CAT scan, and all of my cartilage piercings closed up (I managed to save my lobe piercings, so not all is lost).

I was discharged from the hospital after I was able to have a night without a life threatening fever and after I was able to keep soft food down. Now, I’m resting up at our flat, awaiting my follow-up appointment with ample medications.

UPDATE: Everything was fine at my follow-up, and now I'm as good as I ever was (even if I'm a bit unusually terrified to try new foods).