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These images depict the vigil for a dying man in the mountains above Phitsanulok
This page records 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 due to fear of (terror of) the socialist government hospital, it was removed and he was sewn up and sent home. But as is often the case here in SE Asia, whether good hospital or bad (mostly bad), Peritonitis set in. I personally believe it was fully and completely treatable -- I've dealt with that exact scenario in friends here 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, no cleanings at all (because he was afraid to go to the hospital and couldn't even remotely afford the 120 mile daily trip), saying the hospital ordeal was just too much to repeat and he felt he could recover at home. He felt another trip to the 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(!). There was no protocol or procedure to this, no forms, no meeting -- just a blunt, pragmatic question. Yes or no. 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, agony, sadness 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 Thailand, so go figure. No TV out there, no Internet, no restaurants, and the only "stores" consist of someone's closet or roadside lean-to 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 12 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. There was absolutely nothing to do except snap ridiculous photos. Of the grass. Of a bug. Of a flea-bag dog. Whatever. And I have included absolutely everything here. This exists mostly as a courtesy to the locals who have no central repository for or access to these images.
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 at some risk to the residents). 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, that persisted for months.
These images are not in chronological order. Sorry. These images are just raw takes from the ordeal; virtually no editing, no cropping except a handful, no color corrections, no nothing. 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. There were various photographers on this particular page. I sometimes turned kids loose with cameras to commit 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.
in Jomtien, Chonburi, Thailand!