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Western USA and SE Asia

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Phitsanulok Funeral

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This page of images is quite large, around 650mb. It will load more or less ok with a strong connection, but rusty, cracked old cell phones in the outback on a cellular package will struggle, so beware.

This page features the death of and funeral for a 32 year old strong and vibrant Thai man who suffered a simple kidney stone. After much hand-wringing it was removed and he was sewn up and sent home. But as is often the case herein SE Asia, whether good hospital or bad, Peritonitis set in. I personally believe it was fully and completely treatable -- I've dealt with that exact scenario in friends and all recovered completely after daily cleanings for a period of 1-3 weeks, plus, preferably, IV antibiotics. This man fought it for a year on oral antibiotics, saying the hospital ordeal was just too much to repeat and he felt he could recover at home. He felt another trip to the (Thai government) hospital would probably kill him. But after a year it was clear he was seriously declining, so he was taken back in and operated on again. This resulted in the removal of, as the surgeon said, "pretty-much everything", as the infection was extremely advanced.

The family was asked if they wanted to put him to sleep then and there, immediately after the operation(!). They declined. He was taken home to fight things as best he could. He lasted another month.

I chronicled it over the last weeks. He was a damned good man -- always cheerful, always helpful, always positive and smiling, strong as an ox inside and out, and never, ever caused any trouble or problem. He is survived by a perfect daughter (Mai) and a wife so loyal and caring that I frankly didn't think that kind of devotion existed in the world today. His last weeks were unabashed misery and pain. I supplied all the meds and help I could but the best we could get was oral morphine and after awhile he couldn't get those down. Still, he steadfastly refused to go back to any hospital. He passed more or less peacefully with all family and friends holding him dearly. In that regard, any man should be so lucky.

While on this mission of mercy I consumed an average of 5 liters of water a day and peed out about 1/2 liter. I won't even bother to say it was hot -- it was mid-summer in the lowlands of Thailand, so go figure. No TV out there, no Internet, no restaurants, and the only "stores" consist of someone's closet with a few goodies tucked away that they might sell if they have any extra. Hungry? Go kill a chicken and find some naturally growing vegetables; that's it. Those are the options. Refrigeration can be found, but finding AC would be like finding a Pizza Hut on the Moon. Intermittent power. One 10 inch fan that rattled, shared by all. One person spoke English out of all the people you see and my Thai is weak at best. It was a "difficult" period.

The man was being cared for in the family bed; only two walls and mosquito net at night. Snakes absolutely everywhere (the one shown being killed had been harassing the play area for babies and children for a week or more)(almost no guns in Thailand so it was killed with fence-posts). The Thais said it was a Cobra but Thais think every snake is a Cobra. I have no idea what it was. They cooked it and ate it and at least one man became severely ill from it, breaking out in a horrific whole-body rash within 24 hours.

These images are not in chronological order. Sorry. I'm still exhausted from the trip; maybe in time I'll go through and tweak some photos, cull the rejects, turn the sideways ones, crop a few, correct some colors, etc. These are barely more than thumbnail sizes. The originals are 28mp images. If you need the full-res version of something without the copyright notice, you know how to contact me. -Various photographers on this particular page. I sometimes turned kids loose with cameras to do whatever mayhem they wished, and I have not culled their photos. All the good ones are mine (hahaha). Here's a Thai lesson: In Thai, the number "5" is pronounced "ha". So, in Thai, when you write a message and you might otherwise end it with "hahaha", no Thai would understand that. But they DO understand 555.

 

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