110227 Thaikarl - Blood good, it is


i received some very nice, concerned comments on my last post.  and several kind offers from friends to donate their own blood for mama.  don't think the blood would survive the post getting to thailand however.  i sometimes feel like i'm viewing the world of thailand with fogged glasses and earplugs in.  i can't quite see what's going on clearly, and what i hear is muffled.  i have to try to figure out what is going on.  and i realize that my understanding is filtered through my own experience.

mama's condition has been known for quite a while.  in the past year, as her kidney slowly wears out, it has slowed her down and caused her problems in over-all well-being.  she is normally a self-guided busy machine.  she cooks, processes output from the fields, makes things (she knotted a three foot fishing net by hand), tends to the plants, chops wood, removes the weeds, visits with friends, and relaxes in between.  i asked tok what mama wants to do about her failing health.  they discussed it, and faced with the hassle and complication of home dialysis, mama decided that she didn't' want to mess with that.  she's around 77 years old and has had a full life.  she would rather spend her savings to have a decent funeral than spend it on extra-ordinary medicine that would prolong the length of her life, but not the quality of her life.  the funeral is preparation to go from this life to the next life.  not to some heaven or infinite after-life, but to the next incarnation in this world.  and during that transition you meet your ancestors and the spirits that surround us.  so it is more important to her to have a good send-off than to live her a little longer and  have a poor presentation to the ancestors.  

she is a person that i love and care for, but you know we have never had a conversation?  she speaks no english except for "good morning"  any interaction with mama and i has to be translated thru tok, and i get the readers-digest-condensed version.  i'll ask a question, like "how many relatives does mama have?" tok and mama will talk for 10 minutes, and tok will answer me "many".  that's it.  life without her will be quite different.  tok will have to maintain the house and take care of her daughter all by herself when mama isn't there to help.  i'm fairly useless with the house stuff.  i can't cook - and don't really care to learn how, i can clean but i'm worse than a fifteen year old, i don't know much about caring for plants, except for dumping water on them, and i sure can't knot a fishing net.  my job is to "bring home the bacon" or in this case "bring home the baht"  until i can figure out a way to do that at home, i have to do that from here... which doesn't help take care of the household up-keep.

tok did locate some blood, and she's got a donor list going so next month, or when ever it's needed she won't have to do so much running around.  the hospital may have better supplies on hand by then also.  the notable thing, which was the real subject of my last post, was the idea of running around on your own to find a donor.  i've only heard of that here in the states with people who have very rare blood types.  thailands medical system is quite extensive, but there are some areas lacking of course.  and they pay a tiny fraction of the price we pay, for the same or better general health care.

the weather in seattle is miserable right now. (whine, snivel, whine whine) low thirties, windy, rain.  oh, would i much rather be in the tropics.  77 degrees F and partly cloudy in bangkok right now.

onward! regardless!


110224 Thaikarl - out for blood


my mother-in-law has only one kidney, and it's going downhill.  she has to go to the hospital about once a month to have her blood checked, medications adjusted, diet reviewed.  she's doing okay, mostly.  they told her that at some point her kidney function will be so low that she will need dialysis.  it could be done at home for free, but it would mean putting a "port" in her belly to flush fluids in and out.  mama said "phooey on that".

i talked with tok yesterday, and she was urgently running around trying to find blood for mama.  they occasionally give her whole blood - for reasons i'm not quite clear on.  but there are a lot of sick people right at the moment, and the hospital doesn't have any in stock.  so tok was going all over the place trying to find a relative, friend or volunteer to give a pint of blood for mama.  she said she went to 3 hospitals, and all the near relatives with no luck.  next she was going to the police station, then the army base, then to the jail.  could you imagine that? running yourself around trying to find someone with type "O" blood for your mother?  tok has a thyroid problem, she can't donate.  her daughter doesn't have enough hemoglobin sho she can't either.  when i talked to her today, she said she found the policeman who had the right blood, so they were sending it to the hospital in Pitsanolok to be tested for compatibility. so it looks like things are okay for now.

of course i asked all the "problem solving " questions: "can't you order some blood from a big city like bangkok?", "can they put some donated blood in the fridge to keep untill next time mama needs some" apparently, that's just not the way it works. so i made a few jokes, "is she being a vampire today" and if the hospital in Pitsanalok says the policeman's blood is "Aloi" (tastes good) then they can use it this time.

being so far away, the only thing i can do is be supportive, and try to understand.

mama hanging out in the hospital last month

big sigh...