Wednesday, 15 August 2012

The Day Laura Got Bitten By A Dog

You have probably heard us mention (in real life or another social media outlet) that I was bitten by a dog while we were in Thailand. We thought we should tell you all the full story!

Moments before getting bitten by a dog - do you see why I wanted to get in that water so badly?
It was our first full day in Thailand (after we'd spent a day recovering from Egypt and the Full Moon Party) - we wandered down to a beautiful little cafe, Karma Sutra, for breakfast, and afterwards decided to find a nice spot on the stunning Bophut beach to sunbathe and take our first (and much anticipated) swim in the sea.


As we wandered down the beach looking for the perfect spot of sand, out of a nearby apartment complex came bounding out a black lab, barking aggressively and baring his teeth. We are both dog people and knew he probably thought he was protecting his territory, so we calmly kept walking away from him and his property. Sarah was a few steps ahead of me, and before I knew it, I felt a searing pain on both sides of my right ankle.

It took me a few moments to register what the pain was - and I remember even before I knew what had happened, screaming 'IT BIT ME!!! THE DOG BIT ME!! SARAH HELP!!!' over and over at the top of my lungs. Sarah began yelling at me to get into the ocean 'GO INTO THE SEA, LAURA!! JUST GET IN THE SEA AND DON'T COME OUT UNTIL HE IS GONE!!' and the dog slinked away, probably because of the noise we were making, and I think it too was shocked at what it had done.

I don't remember what happened very clearly,  but I know that I saw a woman standing in her hut in the same complex the dog came from. She could have been the owner, or I suppose could have wanted to see what all the noise was about. At the time I was too traumatised to ask her if she was the owner, and Sarah didn't see her, but I hope she didn't know the dog - it is horrible to think that the owner could have watched her dog bite someone and not wanted to see if that person was okay. 

Anyway, back to the scene. I'm standing in the ocean muttering to myself 'I can't believe I just got bitten by a dog. I love dogs. It bit me. I don't want to be scared of dogs. (Continuous string of dog-related thoughts)' and after working so hard to get me into the water, Sarah changed her tune, and wanted me out of there, so she could get me to the pharmacy. Well I didn't seem to want to leave the water, because she ended up full on dragging me out and up the beach, onto the road.

We walked, both sobbing, and me bleeding, to the pharmacy in Bophut. The pharmacist wasted no time in calling a cab, and I sat in the back while Sarah got me some water. 'Accident?' the cab driver asked sympathetically, so I told her I got bitten by a dog, and still I'm not 100% sure she knew what I had said. But she drove us to the hospital anyway, and even offered to wait until we needed a ride back to our hotel. Poor lady, I don't think she knew quite how long she'd be hanging out at the hospital!

The people in the centre were lovely - I was seen right away, and the doctor cleaned my wounds and gave me my first rabies shot. The dog broke my skin in five places when it wrapped it's jaw around my ankle - 4 cuts were 1cm deep, and 1 is a whole 2cm deep! It's was, and still is, a big hole in my leg! There was also bruising around the back of the ankle where his jaw slid off.

While I was flat out on the doctor's table, Sarah got stuck with the bill - 6000 bhat, and they only took cash. We didn't have that much cash!! So she was whisked off on the back of the doctor's assistant's moped to the nearest ATM! Very funny, because she said on the way there, she didn't realise there were foot pedals on the back of the bike, so she was holding onto him with sheer thigh strength - talk about thighs of steel, the poor guy in front!! 

The front desk person told me that she liked my skin colour because it is nice and pale - haha she was so lovely, but pale was NOT the skin shade I was going for!!

On the way out, our very patient cab driver agreed to take this ridiculous photo of me documenting every part of our holiday.


Do you know what the heartbreaking bit of this is? No swimming for a week! My dreams of the warm Thai water were crushed!! So close, but yet so far.

I walked around Bophut in a maxi dress, but somehow my giant white bandages still stood out - three Thai locals stopped me to ask me if I was okay over the next few days! I couldn't fault the Thai people, they are friendly, caring and helpful, even when we don't speak more than a few words of the same language.

Two days later, I went back for a check up and my second rabies shot. The Doctor said the wounds were healing alright (though they still hurt terribly, and I hated changing the dressing every day SO much because of it), and he laughed at Sarah's attempt of pretty-ing up my bandages. After a little haggling, he said I could go in the ocean - on Friday, the day before we were leaving to go home!!! I could have hugged him, I was so happy!


The next day was our friend Blakeley & Sam's gorgeous wedding - by two hours in, I was known to the entire 60+ people as 'the girl who got bitten by a dog' or 'dog bite girl' or 'oh, you're THAT girl' haha - poor Sarah I'm sure was pretty tired of re-living the story, but she was a good sport, and it gave us a talking point!

Friday morning we called my (very worried) Mum before heading to the beach for my first swim. My excitement was very short-lived, as Mum had spoken to the people at the World Health Organisation, who had said it was absolutely necessary for me to get another injection - HRIG. Another day at the hospital??

We took a tuk-tuk to Bangkok Samui Hospital (it was funny because they usually stop on the road, but the guy drove us right up to the entrance!) and we went inside. The doctor took one look at my red and swollen bites, and said I needed HRIG (human rabies immunoglobulin, fools) - and that I should have gotten it a few days earlier! This injection sparks your immune system to produce antibodies to the rabies virus so if/when rabies kicks in, it's already prepared to fight it off. Something like that.

In this picture, I'm obviously bringing sexy back
So I was lying in the hospital bed while they filled up the single biggest needle I've EVER seen, for what seemed like half an hour. Sarah and I took turns crying, and consoling one another. The nurse kept asking if Sarah was okay. I tried to explain that she doesn't like seeing me in pain, but it got a little lost in translation. Then, they (and if you are squeamish, you may want to skip to the next paragraph here) injected the stuff straight into my 2cm deep cut. It was about 25 loooooong seconds of the single worst pain I can remember feeling. Ever. Thank god Sarah was holding me, and talking continuously in an attempt to distract me 'What do you want for dinner? Okay, you don't know, lets count down from 25. 25, the age I was when I met you. 24, the age you are in October. 23, the age you are now. Do you want to count with me? No? 22, my lucky number. 21, we went to Vegas....' etc.

Then, when I thought the worst was over, something almost equally bad (okay, you squeamish may want to move on again... on second thought, why did you open a post you probably knew would be about wounds/blood/hospitals? Hahaha I promise not too much longer now) happened - they took... a scalpal? Or a tiny melon-baller - and scraped out the entire scab that was forming in my deepest cut, where they had just put the medicine. Ouch. Awful. Horrible. They then proceeded to wrap my whole leg in an even more dramatic bandage than it was in before, and left us there to recover.

Giant needles and the fastest wrapping nurse in the world
An hour later and we were about to get up to pay, and the nurse comes in with another needle. 'Bum?' she said. I have to get more injections?? Yes, yes I did. In my bum. 

After we paid the 68,000 bhat (that made our initial payout seem like pennies and is about US$2,200 or £1,400) we hobbled down to the main road, with instructions that I was not allowed to walk that day, and.... no swimming. *Sob*

We hitched a ride in a random guy's van home, and rested.

Since we've returned, my life has been one long string of injections. In total I've now gotten 5 in my left arm, 1 in my right (look out for the GIANT bruise on it in my holiday photos), 1 in my bum, and 1 in my dog bite. I have two more rabies injections to get over the next month. I have visited two Thai hospitals, three times, the London Hospital for Tropical Diseases, and my GP.

The good news is, I was told this morning that we did everything right, it is healing well, and I can finally have a shower without covering my leg in a plastic bag to not get it wet.

Despite this giant saga, we had an incredible holiday, and did lots of fun, non-water-related things. It was a big part of the trip of course, but didn't eclipse all the fun we had.
Biggest. Pill. Ever.
I honestly can say that I couldn't have done any of it without Sarah. She got me to the hospital, made sure I didn't forget my medications, changing the dressings, etc. On top of that, she completely spoiled me (more than she usually does!!) - everything I needed, she did or helped me with, and she was so wonderful. She still gets teary when remembering our time in hospital, or when I talk about the dog bite - she says she's never hated something as much as seeing me in such pain. I really am the luckiest girl in the world. On top of that we have the funny memories of balancing my leg on water bottles to stop it getting wet, going all Macgyver and creating leg bandages tied with string from our overnight bags provided by Egypt air and generally finding ridiculous ways to make it stay dry.

Now all I have to do is get out in the sun to get rid of this awesome square bandage tan!!

Love always,

Laura xo

15 comments:

  1. Awww, it sucks that you got bitten by a dog, and couldn't swim and had to have all of those injections... but I am glad you managed to enjoy your holiday regardless! You're right, it is something of a story to tell - I really feel for you! Stacey and I are off to Barcelona in September - I think we'll be staying away from any dogs we don't know!!

    Carley xxx

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  2. OH my gosh Laura you poor poor POOR thing!!!! :( That sucks SOOO bad that happened to you! OUCH at the bite, all the injections.. especially into the wound OMG! & bless you Sarah, what a great & diligent gf you are <3

    M xxx

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  3. I am so glad you are okay, that is scary... I hope I never have to get a rabies shot..I would be too much of a wimp.. you are a trooper

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  4. We were sitting at the edge of our seats reading this! You have been through quite an ordeal! We're glad that you were still able to manage to enjoy parts of your vacation and also lucky that you have each other! We hope for your speedy recovery and hope that you aren't holding this against other dogs (although S did said she's going to be weary of dogs in CR now).
    Take care -C

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  5. Well, considering that rabies is 100% fatal if contracted - all this is a small price to pay! Now you have a wonderful story to tell your children, your grand-children, etc..... ;D Love you! Mum xxx

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  6. Wow - that is a tale and a half! I live in Thailand and I have to say that despite all the roaming dogs, bites are really rare. You were very unlucky. I really enjoyed reading your post, and glad everything is healing properly now. :)

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  7. Oh. My. Gosh. You have such a great point of view on it all- I would have been in hysterics and my recount of I would not have been nearly as pleasant has it been me!! Heal well darling!!

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  8. What a horrible experience! Hope you are doing much better now.

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  9. Oh my goodness, that sounds like such a horrible and scary experience! I'm so glad you're alright now! Sarah sounds absolutely amazing, so glad she knew exactly what to do the whole time. Get well soon, if you haven't already! xxx

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  10. Good to hear that you were alright after the dog bite accident. That definitely took some guts, going through so many injections and medications. And I’m sure none of those took the sting out of the medical bills! Well, a dog bite is one of the more common personal injuries around, and in a country like Thailand where dogs are usually found out and about, dog bites are a risk. I just hope you still enjoyed your stay there!

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  11. I hope what happened did not ruin the trip. Being bitten by dog can be a pain, wherever you are. Still, you were able to turn the tables and continue to enjoy your vacation! And the cab driver was quite charming to help you document what happened. Just be sure to stay safe on your next trip!

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  12. Yeah, I sure hope the woman was not the owner of the dog. It would make her irresponsible for not doing anything. Anyway, I’m glad the attack was no more than just a bite. The fact that you were foreign to the place (the country!) wasn’t helpful at all. I hope you still enjoyed your stay there. :)

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  13. I’m glad to hear that you were alright even after all the things you had to go through, and you still managed to have a good and exciting stay in Thailand! Anyway, there’s always a next time to try and take a dip in the ocean. Hope this incident will not affect your love for dogs. =)

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  14. “My dreams of the warm Thai water were crushed!! So close, but yet so far.”--- Well, that was very unfortunate, but who knows? You may still get another chance to experience it. Someday soon. ;) But then, I think whenever you think of “Thailand” the first thing that’ll pop in your mind would probably your dog bite incident.

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  15. At least you got a tale to tell out of it...there's nothing worse for a blogger than a boring two-week holiday in paradise :D

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