Nothing ruins a perfectly good dinner party quite like blood curdling screaming and thrashing about in the sand.
It’s become somewhat of a twice weekly habit, meeting a few of our traveling friends, usually at Phen’s, the best seafood place on the beach: white umbrellas, red candles inside gleaming glass globes, the quiet slosh of the sea as dinner music, stars echoing our laughter overhead, sand between our toes.
The children run the beach like wildlings: capturing crabs, building sand creations, chasing the paper lantern sellers in hopes of watching one be lit and released on the night breeze, doing the things I remember doing with other traveling kids, on beaches on the other side of the world. They yell, they laugh, they scream; but this was another sort of scream.
You know the one: in which there is imminent death or dismemberment threatened. The one in which the child is shrieking in that uncivilized way that lets even the most relaxed mama know that she ought to pull herself out of her beer glass and see who is chopping her child to bits. That scream.
Would you like four guesses as to the screamer?
I bet it won’t take you more than one. 😉
There are moments in life when I’m glad we spent many hours working on our kids trusting us when we told them to do something, looking us in the eyes when we gave an instruction, and developing self control over emotions. This was one of them.
Ezra was mid-wild-eyed shriek, rolling in the sand like he’d been attacked by bees, when I pinned his leg to the ground and grabbed his face in my free hand. Tony was right behind me (as were the entire Thai staff of the restaurant, all of our friends and the children. I got his eye balls and firmly but quietly started to talk him down off of the cliff. Beyond the fear and the pain he managed to managed to find his breath, stop thrashing and get control of his mind long enough to say, “I don’t know what it was! Maybe a jelly fish? Or something bit me!”
None of the above. Tony had the flashlight and was grim faced over a fishhook set deep in the top of Ezra’s right foot. He was carefully picking several others from where they were lodged in the folds of his pants and near his leg. It was a cluster of rusty hooks on multiple lines that must have washed ashore.
This is not our first fishhook. Hannah cast one hard and set it into the back of Gabe’s hand a couple of years back. Tony extracted that one with the aid of a godfather, a pair of pliers and a needle.
Our friends flew into action, looking for pliers or cutters of some sort.
- Scissors appeared and we cut away the line and other hooks.
- I held Ezra’s leg and his attention.
- Amy rubbed his back.
- Our little friends stood around, wide-eyed, watching their big buddy breathe through it.
- A fellow diner handed us peroxide and cotton out of her purse to clean the wound.
- Cutters appeared from a worksite nearby and Tony nipped off the eye-end of the hook, planning to push it on through as we have before.
- Mike lent us his bike and we headed home to attempt to do so without the “help” of an entire restaurant full of onlookers.
I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say that Tony could not push the hook on through and Ezra was a total trooper in letting us try.
It’s an hour’s ride to the medical facility that we prefer on the island (there is a lesser one, but we’re already registered with Bangkok Hospital and are impressed by their level of care.)
Ez rode, sandwiched between us like cheese between toast and didn’t complain a bit.
“You know, Mom,” he sniffed as we bundled him onto the motorbike, “I’m glad it was me who got the hooks and not the little kids (referring to his 3 friends 6 and under) because this hurts too much.”
As usual there was no wait at Bangkok Hospital.
- We were in and out in under an hour.
- The staff was kind and competent.
- The hook had to be surgically removed, which was definitely harder on Dad than on the boy.
- Three stitches and an impressive bandaid.
- A prescription for antibiotics, pain meds and special “sauce” for treating the wound later.
- Total cost $250 USD.
While we were repackaging the boy for the long ride home, near midnight, I commented to Tony, on the eve of the election that, “My vote goes to whoever can provide this level of healthcare and service at this cost in the good ol’ US of A.”
And yes, he’s up to date on his tetanus shot.
** And a big thank you to Worldschool Adventures for lending us your bike, and your helmet and walking Elisha home, and to the Kirk family for picking up dinner and sorting out the restaurant, we’ll settle up when the dust settles!**