Depressing day at the hospital 🏥

Day 20. This was definitely one of the most depressing days of my whole trip in Vietnam.

I had been feeling some pain on my foot for a few days and when I woke up today I was barely able to walk. I looked down at my foot and there was some gross liquid seeping out of my plaster.

How it happened

OK background story: when I was hiking in Sapa I was obviously pretty stupid. My shoes were wet as I had washed them some days before and they apparently were still not dry. I also thought I wouldn’t need socks because they would just get wet again while walking through the muddy hills. That’s why I decided to just hike in wet shoes without socks. I had only planned to visit some waterfall nearby the bungalow I was staying in. But my short trip soon turned into a full day tour, consisting of a trek up a mountain.

My feet were fine until the descent, that’s when the actual pain started to kick in. There was some friction all the time at a specific part on my foot. After a while I realized that if I kept walking, I would get a pretty big blister. Damn, there were even locals offering me a ride back into the valley in their car. But I met a nice guy that I was chatting to during my hike and we had an interesting conversation going on, so I didn’t just want to leave in a car. What a mistake!

When I returned to my bungalow it was only a blister. A pretty big blister, but a blister nonetheless… Stupidly, I put a blister plaster over it to protect it. Terrible idea.

The problem was: although I had a horrible pain, I kept on walking for days and at some point without me noticing, the blister cracked open. After days of excess rubbing on my shoe, the whole area had gotten bigger and bigger.

Time for a hospital

So there I was. With my pain. Feeling that something was wrong with my blister. I thought that it’s probably the best idea to remove the plaster and check the wound.

If you’re brave enough, you can click on the image below to get an impression of what I was welcomed with.

Gross Wound. Open at your own risk.

I was shocked. How was I unable to notice that I had a real wound? But I couldn’t change the past… The only thing I could do was to take good care of it from now on. I decided to visit a hospital to get my wound cleaned professionally. Luckily my friend Trang from Sapa was currently in Hanoi and came with me to translate for the doctors. The whole process was very weird. First I had to pay 1.000.000 VND (about 44$) as a deposit, to prove that I’m able to cover the consulting costs. The docs then took a look and tried really hard to convince me to get an X-Ray. It took me quite long to explain to them that there’s definitely nothing broken. Nothing at all. 100%. It’s a superficial wound that might be infected.

They finally agreed and ordered me to buy three items at a nearby pharmacy. I was a bit confused because all I wanted them to do was clean it, but off I went and bought the stuff. There went another 900.000 VND (about 40$). I read the packaging and found out that one of them was antibiotics and the other one was painkillers. I didn’t care too much about the third thing (it was a tiny glass vial).

The trip of my life

When I got back to the hospital I had to wait around for a nurse who had time to take care of me. They first told me they would like to test the liquid in the vial in a small dose on my arm to see how my body would react to it. I had to wait for about 15 minutes to see what would happen and I was not really aware what it was… The first 5 minutes nothing fancy happened, but then suddenly it kicked in. I felt dizzy, weak as hell and started sweating like a pig for no reason. After about 30 minutes the whole trip was over. They were unsure if they should inject me with this thing, as my reaction was not what they were apparently hoping for, but according to them it was “very important”.

I got a little suspicious and started researching about this killer thing I was holding in my hands. Turned out it was a tetanus vaccine. I remember that when being asked about tetanus, I told them hundreds of times “NO! I DON’T NEED. I AM VACCINATED!”. I suppose they took my heavy handshaking as a “no, I’m not vaccinated”.

Anyways: I told them to stop trying to inject me with this poison and urged them for the 4th time to finally clean my wound.

About health

It’s basically like with anything we have in our lives: you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone. It took exactly three weeks until my wound was finally fully healed.

Next time my body screams out in pain I’ll listen a little bit closer!

4 replies

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] In order to obtain a work visa, I needed to apply for private health insurance in Australia beforehand. I guess the process would normally be really smooth, you just pick one of the 38 insurance companies out there, fill out the application, provide your credit card number and you’re done. But when filling out my application I made a horrible mistake and ticked a box about a pre-existing health-condition: “Have you taken any medication, other than the contraceptive pill or for cold or flu in the last 5 years?”. Yes, I did. I had to take antibiotics last year in Vietnam because I had an infected wound. […]

  2. […] 7KM away from where I wanted to go, meaning about 1,5 hours of walking through stormy rain with an infected wound on my foot. Angrily I jumped off the bus and ran for shelter underneath a rooftop nearby. Luckily there were a […]

  3. […] socks. Walking down I noticed that my foot was rubbing on my shoe all the time, which led to a brutal blister. See? […]

  4. […] 31. After staying in Northern Vietnam for a month I decided to finally move South. I still had a wound on my foot so I thought it would probably be better to stay away from harsh nature. That’s why my next […]

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *