Monday, September 23, 2013

I'm Taking This Vacation Lying Down

I'm trying to write this while lying flat on my back, a typing position I am not used to. I'm also feeling a bit loopy from the new cocktail of pain meds the doctor has me on. I'm at home, on the couch, following doctor's orders. Yesterday, I went back for my follow up visit with the doctor a week into the treatment for my bulging disc.

I've been feeling better, but not a whole lot better. Getting up, sitting down, walking, any of these basic movements still cause me a lot of pain, particularly in my lower back. It's not the agony it was a week ago, but if I had to quantify my improvement, I'd say I am about 20% better. I reported this to the doctor.

He frowned and told me I should consider physical therapy. He warned me that if a bulging disc becomes a chronic issue, it can lead to bone degeneration. Unfortunately, my medical insurance only covers treatment for injuries, not conditions, and although I think this was all brought on by a basketball injury, the doctor didn't write it up that way. Even though health care is very reasonably priced in Thailand, I can't afford daily physical therapy right now.

So, it's back to couch! The doctor ordered me to stay home from work too. Now, this last week of the term is a do-nothing week. We English teachers have no responsibilities save grading our finals and turning in the final marks. I took care of all that on Monday, and so I'm finished. I'm not going in this week to just sit in an uncomfortable desk chair and watch movies on my computer. For all intents and purposes, I am now on break, although for the next week, my vacation will consist of me lying on the couch watching DVD's. I'm halfway through season three of Breaking Bad, and have season four already purchased.

Since some people asked before, I get half pay for the holiday month, plus normal pay for the last week of October. School starts again October 23rd, so it ends up about 3/4th's of a normal monthly wage.

My goals for this break are twofold. First, I want to spend as much time as possible studying and practicing my Thai language skills. I recently purchased (here in the land of incredibly cheap software *ahem* the Rosetta Stone language learning software, and although it's been challenging, I'm already learning a lot. For example I can now say useful things like “The horse is jumping,” and “There are four windows”. Seriously, I think the software is effective and is helping. I did just get off the phone with my building's engineer and I told him: “there is no air conditioning, I am being at home” and when he responded (he just fixed the AC over the weekend after it had been out for 4 days last week), I asked “when?”. I don't know what he said back to me, but I am hoping he'll knock on my door any minute now.

Bangkok without air conditioning is a different experience. In some ways, it feels more authentic, more like I'm actually living here. The real Thailand. That said, I hope he shows up soon.

The second thing I want to do on my vacation is take a trip to a place called Koh Phayam. The link is to it's WikiTravel page. From what I've read, it's a little piece of paradise. It's not easy to get to there is very little touristy development, but enough to satisfy the basics. I've heard it's a lot like what Thailand's big tourist islands of Phuket and Koh Samui used to be like before they became so popular. There are no cars on the island, but I am hoping I can bring my motorcycle onto the ferry. That said, I may not even drive there if the back doesn't get better. It's probably about a 10 hour trip by motorcycle, and that can't be good for my back. We'll see; I'd certainly like to have it with me, but I can always rent one too. 


Sorry I have no new 'Joko in Thailand' video this week, as I said, I've spent most of the last week lying down. I did find time to record a ukulele song. This upload is remarkable in another way: this is my 1000th public video on YouTube.



  1. So sorry you are in pain. This may take a long time to heal. Ice!

  2. When our doxies have back problems we put them in a crate and don't let them out for six to eight weeks. Just saying. You do need to do nothing and let the back heal. And no, riding that motorcycle for ten hours is NOT a good idea. Sorry - I slip into mother mode real easily and my sons tells me I have a tendency to lecture. lol But I am sorry you don't feel good.

  3. Best wishes for speedy healing - J. , Seattle

  4. How are you now? I hope you were able to do the vacation you were planning, Joko. Aside from going out of the country, you can also look for places like hotels that offers amenities and activities that will surely brighten up your experience.

    Marci Deegan @ Twin Pine


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