When the World is Out To Get You

Life in Peace Corps is tough.  Sometimes it seems as if the world is out to get you.  Everything goes wrong.  Yet other times, I can’t believe I am here, life all seems too glorious.  Let me tell you about an unlucky 6-day period I had 1.5 months ago to better illustrate this concept.

Now, the time of July 20-26 was not a lucky for me–a total of 3 times to the ER (none previously).  It started with a dog bite.  I was walking through the bus station hut, when suddenly a dog whips its head out of nowhere and bites me. Big inconvenience.  Although it was just a nip at the ankle, I had to go to the emergency room in Chiang Mai, twice, to get the rabies shots because skin was broken–somewhat less inconvenient because I was planning to go to Chiang Mai anyway. (Note: Killing animals is contrary to the beliefs of Buddhism.  Therefore, Thais do not kill dogs infected with rabies.  If you get bitten by any dog in Thailand, you need to get the rabies shots.  Not all dogs are infected, but you never know.)   Peace Corps, thankfully, gave everyone pre-exposure rabies shots during training.  All I needed was two post-exposure rabies shots in the arm, the second shot three days after the first–also, somewhat less inconvenient because the scheduled second shot was the last day of the holiday weekend.  Thankfully medicine has advanced so I did not have to get the 13 shots across the stomach.

I returned to sight thinking all my bad luck was over…I was wrong.  Two days after my second rabies shot, I am biking home, after just having eaten dinner at my host family’s house, when I get hit by a motorcycle.  (Note: Getting hit by a motorcycle while on a bike is not exclusive to Thailand.  It can happen anywhere.)  The accident occurred just outside of my house, within 50 meters.  All my friends from the food stalls across the street rushed over to see if I was ok.  I was a little in shock lying on the ground.  Nothing hurt too bad.  I tried to communicate to my friends to I was ok, but all my Thai language skills had disappeared.  Therefore, I ended up getting driven in the ambulance , accompanied by one of my food stall friends, to the local hospital’s emergency room.  ER appearance #3.

What happened next was a bit embarrassing, but so special.   Thankfully, there was no terrible damage.    I was wearing my helmet, so my only injuries ended up being a skinned right elbow (very small)  and a fist-sized bruise on my right upper thigh.

What surprised and amazed me, though, was the support that showed up to the ER.  Seven, again  SEVEN, of my coworkers from the tessaban came .  Wow.  They had all come at 7 pm on that Thursday night just to see me!  I couldn’t believe it, maybe three or four, but seven?  I always get embarrassed when my injuries are not really that bad, but everyone else is making a big deal of it, and that night was no exception.  I felt super embarrassed… but I also felt blessed.  My coworkers really care about me.  Not everyone can say that.

The next day I had decided to stay home.  After that week having the world out to get me, I was not going to try my luck leaving the house.   Next thing I know, three more of my coworkers, who weren’t at the hospital the night before, came to visit and checkup on me.  I had fully recovered from the shock of the accident and was back to my usual Amy-self. On seeing me, my coworkers gave a relieved sigh.  Then, they said things such as “Oh, you aren’t hurt that bad,” and “How old are you again? Yeah, you will recover easily.”  It was sweet.

I now know if anything were to happen to me, I am not alone.  I have got a whole tessaban, not to mention a whole town, not to mention the US Peace Corps behind me.

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