I am sure you are familiar with those plans that run as smooth as butter. Once set in motion, nothing seems able to stop them. Nothing can go wrong.
Well, this is not about those plans. This is about that other kind of plans. The plans that seem to want to fail, no mater how well planned, no mater how well executed, they are just searching for a way to fail.
As you know we will start our journey on the 10th of January, 2019. There is no postponing that date as permits to cross Myanmar and subsequently Bhutan are very hard to get and even harder to change.
To obtain new permits would take weeks, if not months, and that would mean we miss our, weather-based, window and would have to wait until next year to try again.
So, no pressure, but we MUST go on the 10th of January.
It is now the 3rd of January and an other wrench has just been tossed into the gears of our schedule, threatening to crush the delicate system of cogs and gearwheels into oblivion.
It’s not the first wrench, nor is it the second or third, but let me start at the first one.
December 2018, Wrench nr 1.
Since we are going on a long long journey into 3rd world countries with little and undesirable healthcare, we thought it was a good idea to get our teeth checked out before we are out of reach of reliable dental care. Our dentist’s practice is called “for fun”, which makes more sense if you speak a bit of Thai because “fun” in Thai means “Teeth”, and she (yes, she is a lady-tooth-engineer) is good.
Tip went first and after a thorough cleaning all was declared A-OK.
I was up next and apart from a tiny bit of caries, all was declared in order. A follow-up appointment was made to fix that itsy bitsy tiny weeny little hole for the next week.
But during that week something in my upper left row of molars started to act up. Whenever I drank something cold or warm, it would send electrical horrors down my nerves and at times it was so bad I could only carefully drink lukewarm coffee and non-refrigerated coca-cola.
But not to worry, in a few days I would be at the dentist anyway, so she could fix this.
Sadly that was not the case. After several sessions, countless X-rays and even twice some sort of electrical-conduction-test, it turned out impossible to find anything wrong. She cut away gums to plaster the roots with insulation paste, covered all possible sensitive parts with composite filling material and polished anything that looked in any way suspicious, but nothing helped.
Four weeks down the line and five or six dentist-visits later I was desperate, decided to make an educated guess about my tormentor, and I told the dentist to simply pull it out.
Luckily she disagreed, and said that instead she would drill out an old filling to see if there was anything underneath it that did not show up on the X-rays.
Of course all looked fine, so she replace that filling with a temperature-insulating composite filling and told me to try it out for two days. If no improvement she would cut off the crown on the molar next to it.
You can not imaging how fantastic it is to drink a hot cup of coffee without getting tears in your eyes.
Yes, the new filling had done the trick. We don’t know why, as nothing was wrong with the old one, but we don’t care. We are happy.
Of plans and wrenches...
Nothing is going to stop us now.
Two days later Tip came down with a cold, and knowing myself, I would follow her a few days later, and we just could not loose a week or more because of a feverish, sneezing, snot-expelling, delirium.
Luckily I had developed my very own common-cold blocker last year, and it worked its magic. We were both sick for a day, a little bit “wet in the nose” for two more days and that was it.
Nothing is going to stop us now.
So fate tried something else.
Tip started to have severe sensitivity in her left breast. So sensitive that bouncing it against her pillow send her screaming “up the wall” with tears in her eyes.
Not the best condition in which to undertake an eight months journey on bumpy roads, so we had it checked out at the hospital on the day after New Year, eight days before we leave.
The check-up in itself was one of the most horrible experiences Tip has ever had. Having an already hypersensitive breast pressed flat, like some sort of sandwich, for a mammography is more than painful. People could hear her screams across the road. OK, maybe not, but it was terrible.
Then the doctor threw a new set of wrenches in our planning-gears, in the form of a small tumor and a complex-cyst. Nothing to worry about, she explained. Usually they would take a tissue sample for analysis and, depending on the outcome, decide what to do with it, but the tumor was small and the cyst very common.
Problem was: It would take at least two weeks to get the analysis done and as you know, those were weeks we did not have.
Since both the tumor and the cyst were deemed most likely non-malignant, we suggested an other approach to the doctor: How about we skip the analysis and simply yank them both out of Tip’s breast right away. Then send the removed stuff for analysis and let us know the result by email. If it turns out to be a problem that requires treatment, we could always return to Thailand.
We always seem to be lucky with our doctors, or maybe we are just expert persuaders, but she checked her agenda and told us she could do the surgery in two days.
Now we had to negotiate “hospital time”. The standard time to be hospitalized was four days, but Tip talked her down to two days. After all, it was a minor procedure. Snip, snip, yank yank and bob’s your uncle.
Why Tip had to come to the hospital the next day, we don’t understand. They took a cardio-recording and a lung-photo, put a tube in her arm and filled out 300 kilos of paperwork. And that was that. The rest of the day she was sitting on her, extremely uncomfortable, hospital-bed watching TV.
What is even more incomprehensible: Tip had to be in the hospital at 8:00 O’clock in the morning to “check in”, but the people that work in the “check in department” only start working at 8:45. But I guess that is Thailand, or any other bureaucrat-loving country where the right hand does not even realize there is a left hand, let alone knows what it does.
An other mystery of Thai hospital-rules: If you have a private room, you must have a family-member accompany you at all times, even at night. But there is no bed for the accompanying person.
As you probably have guessed, we are in breach of that rule as I left to sleep at home. Bite me.
But, as promised the second day in the hospital she took a bed-ride to the operating-room and came out a few hours later, a few grams lighter, with the scars to prove it. Later that afternoon the nurses pulled the plug… of her IV and kicked her out of the hospital. It is good to be home… again.
Fate will have to try harder. On January 10th we will start, unless we are both dead, cold, cremated and buried, all at the same time.
Nothing is going to stop us now...