My Hospital Stay – AKA Getting nurtured to death

Nope, Bannock has not yet arrived. She is still firmly ensconced in my womb, unaware that she is about to experience the worst day of her young life. I like to remind myself that no matter how painful/traumatizing labour might be for the mother, it has to be infinitely worse for the poor baby who is being squeezed from a warm amniotic sea, through an incredibly small tunnel that will actually make pieces of her skull overlap, and into the cold, cruel world. Todd and I often watch Bannock happily kicking my ribs, and say “Poor munchkin. You have no idea what’s about to hit you.” And then we have a good laugh. There’s already some great parenting happening right here…

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Todd learning to be a father at our hospital’s birthing class.

We have had several weeks full of fun, assorted sicknesses. For me, it started out when Todd flew to Singapore for a weekend conference. As soon as he was safely out of the country, I got hit simultaneously by the flu and false labour. I’m sure that anyone who has previously given birth wouldn’t be too concerned with the false labour, but as a first-timer, the first taste of contractions is pretty shocking. Todd started looking for earlier flights home while I was busy hacking up a lung and phoning our doula. In the end, Todd made it home, Bannock decided to bake a little longer, and the doctor gave me antibiotics for a throat/chest infection.

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Too bad he couldn’t give me a prescription for my swollen feet/cankles.

A week later, I had mostly recovered, when Todd and I decided to eat street food for dinner. We kept exclaiming over the delicious chicken satay, which is ironic considering the utter havoc it wreaked on our guts. After 24 hours of intestinal distress, the situation was basically under control when I visited my OB/GYN for a regular appointment. I mentioned the food poisoning episode, and – this being a private/for-profit hospital – he eagerly referred me to a Gastroenterologist. The Gastro then eagerly informed me that I should really spend the night in the hospital for rehydration and monitoring. I figured, “what the heck. Might as well get some serious bang for my baht/buck out of this insurance policy,” and agreed to stay.

No sooner had I murmured the fateful words than the nurturing began. Suddenly, an orderly with a wheelchair appeared to take me to my room. I started laughing, and said that I could walk, but the nurses looked appalled and said “you are pregnant.” So I sat in the wheelchair, and tried to look like an invalid. Once I got to my room, a steady stream of overly-attentive nurses appeared. They took my blood pressure, inserted an IV, and inquired about the content of my guts. They then informed me that any time I needed to use the facilities, I had to call the nurses station: “Madam. You go pee-pee, you call.” Considering that pregnancy makes me “go pee-pee” approximately 30 times a day, this was a bad joke, but the cute nurses were unrelenting. I drew the line when one of them tried to come in the bathroom with me, though.

I spent the next 24 hours lying in bed flipping through a truly dire array of tv channels – when you are excited by the opportunity to watch the same episode of “Cupcake Wars” twice within 12 hours, you know it’s bad – and eating the same meal in four slightly different formats. Apparently, the gastroenterology department has decreed that chicken and mush is THE appropriate food for distraught intestines. The first time, it was ok – mashed potatoes and a slab of some sort of ground chicken. When I woke up to the same slab of ground chicken and gravy accompanied by something that looked like potatoes but tasted and smelled like rotting eggs, I was less than pleased. Lunch was a bowl of broth with a few noodles and ground chicken balls. To end the cycle, I was served the exact same dinner as the previous evening immediately before I checked out of the hospital. I never want to see ground chicken again.

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The first of many…

The nurses fluttered in and out of my room throughout the day and night, and at one point even offered to shower me (I firmly declined their generous offer). As the day dragged on, I started to wonder when I would ever be allowed to leave. After being visited by various insurance agents and doctors, I assumed that my stay must be over. As if on cue, the steady stream of nurses slowed to a trickle, and I was left to contemplate Adam Sandler’s acting ability for several hours with no interruptions. When a nurse finally set foot in my room again, I asked her when I could leave. She looked surprised, and said “You want to leave?” Yes, yes, I did. 30 minutes later, I was finally allowed to put my own clothes back on, and, miraculously, walk out of the ward (although a wheelchair was offered).

The humid air outside the hospital tasted like pure freedom. Next time I get food poisoning, I think I’ll drink some Gatorade and take a nap.

Thailand’s growing population

It seems that EVERYONE in Thailand is procreating these days:

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A friendly neighbourhood dog and a few of her septuplets. Her eyes just scream: “All I want is a good night’s sleep, and a chance for my teats to breathe.”

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Our friendly neighbourhood crocodile farm. I have no idea who produced whom.

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Not sure if these two are parents yet or not, but I think they would make a good go of it. 

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Ugh. But no one can say she didn’t give it the ol’ college try. (http://www.boredmd.com/science/unique-spider-pictures)

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“What is it?”

With all these procreating friends, we had to hop on the bandwagon: Baby Facetious Farang coming in November 2013. Just doing our bit to ensure the continued viability of Thailand’s farang population.

It’s not my fault that this post is late: blame my Myers Briggs type

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you may have noticed that I sorta dropped off the face of the earth for the past week or so. The combination of editing/writing for a magazine (I will give you the link to it if you promise not to laugh at the title), subbing for a Japanese teacher,* and having a friend stay for a few nights led to significant levels of stress, which, in turn, induced writer’s block.

My response to stress always intrigues me – on one hand, it makes me work incredibly quickly, and I can crank out schtuff in a mad burst of adrenaline. On the other hand, it also leads me to neglect less-urgent activities – blogging/house cleaning/flossing – in favour of not-at-all-urgent activities, such as googling the Quiver-full movement, obsessing over Bachelor spoilers, and petting street dogs. My long-time favourite not-at-all-urgent activity, however, is the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), and in my stress induced weakness, I once again turned to it this past week.

For the uninitiated, the MBTI is basically a personality test with some scientific backing. It situates your personality on four different spectrums (introvert-extravert (I or E); intuitive-sensing (N or S); thinking-feeling (T or F); judging-perceiving (J or P)) and gives you a four letter code (one of sixteen) that summarizes your basic tendencies. In my case, it’s been eerily accurate.If you haven’t taken the Myers Briggs test yet, I encourage you to do so. Here is a link to a free (unofficial) version of the test, and another link to the type descriptions.

I already know almost everything google has to offer about my type, but in true INFP form, in my stressed-out stupor, I kept searching for more and more information. Maybe I would find that one bit of information that would make life fit together in perfect, self-analytical, relational harmony. Or to use teacher lingo, would give me ‘enduring understandings’ about myself and the world. Flossing/cleaning/blogging would no longer matter because I would discover the meaning of humanity.

Let me explain humanity to you.

Well, it didn’t quite work out that way, but I did learn a few intriguing things about myself. While writing apparently comes naturally to me, so do procrastination, day-dreaming, and being totally oblivious to the tangible realities of life. Also, I’m apparently prone to hypochondria. Maybe that’s why googling my symptoms when I’m sick always leads me to believe that I’m dying.

When I ran out of new information to apply to myself, I began using the MBTI to analyze the people around me, and I must say, it has been incredibly illuminating. I know that I take this too far, but I love figuring out the personality types of people in my life, and the combination of living and working with the same group of people yields ample opportunity for analysis. I find this really intriguing, but it’s also useful – knowing a person’s Myers Briggs type can help you know who you should – or shouldn’t – approach in any given situation.

For example, if you want someone who will peer deep into your soul and identify themselves with your emotions, an NF type is optimal, and an SF would do in a pinch – just remember to steer clear of the Ts. If you want help making a decision, ask anyone with a J in their Myers Briggs type – TJs are best for rational decisions, while FJs are best for decisions involving people’s feelings. Ps will probably be pretty useless in helping you decide anything, but they’ll help you dream up loads of options. Ns are great for big-picture ideas and creativity, but they may be totally unaware of tangible reality – for anything involving details and/or the concrete world, find yourself an S, stat. If you need help writing an email, an introvert is a better bet, but if you want someone to give a speech, get an extravert.

And other than the writing/editing/hosting, that is what I’ve spent the last week doing. Just loads and loads of analysis, and procrastination, and contemplation. Exactly as my Myers Briggs type predicts. I’m just relieved that I’m married to an ISTJ (ie: sensible, dutiful, decisive, detail-oriented, rational), or my head would have floated away from my body by now. And I’d be in the poorhouse.

* I do not, in fact, speak any Japanese. Other than what I learned from Zoolander.

What’s your Myers Briggs type? I’m dying to know! Leave me a comment.

Delhi ho!

Last travel post from India! We spent our last few days in this strange and wondrous land in Delhi. Before lurching into India’s capital city, we spent 6 hours on a train from Jaipur. Train trips always make me feel melancholy – more than any other mode of transportation, they epitomize “journey” to me, and I inevitably find myself in a contemplative space.

The Indian train, in all her glory.

However, Indian trains are also far too a) bustling, and b) revolting to allow for unbroken contemplation. Todd and I sat in one of the cheapest classes on all of our trips, and there was rarely a dull moment. Apparently, paying for a berth doesn’t mean that it’s really yours – we had endless numbers of villagers “sharing” our seats, and cramming themselves into any unoccupied space. We also watched a dizzying array of activities taking place, including a business meeting between 5 men that lasted for six hours (with breaks for sharing village gossip).

Todd was totally appalled at the idea of chatting for 6 straight hours.

And whenever I felt too melancholy, I just took a trip to the toilet, where I was abruptly jerked back to reality.

And this was one of the cleaner options…

Things didn’t get any more normal once we arrived in Delhi. I booked a place that was highly recommended on Trip Advisors, and we found ourselves in one of the most delightfully bizarre hotels that I have ever encountered. The Hotel Kabli is a converted mansion in a random residential area that appeared to be at the edge of the universe when we arrived in the cold night fog. We were warmly welcomed by the Sikh proprietors, and were soon huddling in our room under every blanket we could find – it was Delhi’s coldest day in 66 years. The next morning, we awoke to find ourselves in the middle of Kabul. There were Afghans everywhere – men chatting in large huddles, and veiled women sitting in a segregated area. We were the only Westerners in the joint. Apparently, the hotel is a favourite stopover for Afghans doing business in Delhi. The men wanted to talk to Todd, but when I joined them, it felt awkward – they weren’t rude, but I felt like I was committing a cultural faux pas.

We spent the rest of the day walking around the Jawaharlal Nehru University campus. Before we decided to move to Thailand, I was considering applying for a PhD at the JNU school of international studies. Needless to say, things didn’t work out that way, but it was neat to see the campus. It was an interesting mixture of a stereotypical university environment (political posters everywhere), and unique Indian charm (a walkway covered by a cement roof that would occasionally crumble and drop chunks on students’ heads).

Doing my best to look like a university student.

We also spent time fighting for survival on the metro. I have never seen people push and shove quite like this – I finally understand how people get crushed to death in crowds. And I’ve never seen grown men dive for seats on the metro like I have in Delhi. It is a blood sport.

We arrived home in the wee hours this morning. After a short stretch of glorious sleep, we were woken by insanely bad karaoke music blasting from a celebration across the canal from our building. Nice to know that even though we’ve left India, there’s still plenty of weird to go around.