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Adventures in Thailand include measles and a military coup - by Stacey Seelig
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Adventures in Thailand include measles and a military coup
By Stacey Seelig

The following is a report from a 24-year-old Church of God member who traveled to the International Leadership Training Center, operated by Legacy Institute in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Miss Seelig serves there with the aid of a scholarship from the Church of God Cincinnati and the Church of God Big Sandy.

CHIANG MAI, Thailand--Thursday, Sept. 7: Sa bai dee. I think I said something about thinking August was going to be eventful the last time I wrote. I must be a prophet, because eventful is putting it mildly.

Many of you already know that I was very ill. For the rest of you, this is still news. So I will apologize here for taking so long to write last month's E-mail, and also for the length that this one will be, but you will soon find out why.

Brian and Stephanie left for their anniversary trip to Bai on Friday the 4th and I was left to take care of Noah and Isaak.

Also, James (the fourth teacher) was constantly getting "kidnapped" by a widow and her 9-year-old son whose house James was looking at for his parents, so I was also holding down the fort at the school most of the time.

The students are really not difficult, but they do need to ask me when they want to leave the compound or need help with homework. They were keeping a close eye on me because they considered my watching the children as "mommy training." They were quite amused.

As luck would have it, while the parents were away Noah came down with the scarlet fever that Isaak had had. Let's just say that didn't make my job easier. It was a true test of how far I could stretch.

So now I was being nurse and nanny, running the school compound and teaching (I have a Sunday art class now). Boy, was I glad when Brian and Stephanie returned Sunday evening.

Did I mention that the boys liked to wake up between 6 and 7 a.m.? That's a good three hours before I want to get up!

Pushing 103

Noah stayed sick for most of the week and was kept away from everyone else to prevent spreading it further.

But a week and a half later I began running a high fever. I hardly remember the last time I had a fever over 101 degrees, but I was pushing 103. It would come on at night and then break during the day. It made it nearly impossible to sleep, and finally I kind of joked with Brian (as Brian and Stephanie were bringing me food to my apartment) about the state of delirium I was in every night.

Better eye

The fever started on Tuesday night. On Friday night Stephanie collected me and brought me to their house to help keep a better eye on me.

That night my fever was terrible, my throat was very sore, and my cough wouldn't stop.

Saturday I broke out into a rash that continually worsened; my face was like a swollen tomato. I decided I might need to go to the doctor and agreed to let them take me to Lana Hospital.

You have to go through this odd routine of "sit here, stand up, talk to this person, sit there, get up and talk to another person, walk over here, sit down, etc.," at the hospital.

After I had seen a doctor and had a blood test, the diagnosis was not scarlet fever. It was measles!

The doctor then informed us that I needed to be sequestered in the hospital for four days. So off I went to make my "reservations."

The thing to note here is that I am a foreigner, and, even though it felt like forever to get this all done, they had really put me in front of everyone else who was waiting.

The hospital staff treated me very well the entire time, and the doctors spoke to me like I had a brain and would even ask if I agreed with them. I was treated with dignity and respect the whole time.

I didn't even have to show any more skin than my stomach. How different from American hospitals!

I stayed pretty sick for a couple more days. The second day I finally agreed to IV fluids because I was unable to keep food down anymore.

My poor parents. They called me and I was so weak I could barely talk. I could hear my mom start to cry as they said good-bye and I felt awful for making them worry.

Turning around

But by the third day things started to turn around. My fever didn't go away until the fourth day, and I didn't get to go home until the fifth as a result.

I was worried about the hospital bill I must have been racking up because I had at least three doctors working on me and numerous blood tests and a ridiculous amount of medication (that I discontinued using as soon as I got home).

When I was finally released, we got the bill. Guess what all of that amounted to. About 500 U.S. dollars. And the final diagnosis was . . . German measles. So now if I ever have children I'm all set!

I was still not 100 percent when I got home, and I got only one day of teaching done before I had to leave for my visa run, so now my classes are about a month behind. That is frustrating.

The hardest part of the whole thing is that the one time in my life I thought I would have plenty of people to be there to comfort me, I could be visited only once (because I was hospitalized). The loneliness of that situation was difficult, and I wasn't quite myself for a few days after coming home.

Student help

The remedy to this was the kindness and concern of everyone, but especially the students. They took, and are still taking, good care of me, and some even empathized, understanding the difficulty of being sick so far from home.

So now I am set and ready for more adventure, especially after experiencing my first visa run, but, since that happened in September and not August, I guess you'll have to wait until next time to hear about Luang Prabang, Laos. (Laos is why the greeting to this message was Sa bai dee this time, not Sa wa dee.)

Political coup last night

Wednesday, Sept. 20: Yes, there was a political coup last night. I think it best to quiet any fears that might be out there for our safety.

The coup was the military taking over the government--temporarily, they are saying--and getting rid of the prime minister.

The people have called for the PM to resign before, and so far we are hearing that they are supportive of this coup. The problem is that it does not support democracy.

As far as our safety goes, the country and the military are known to be very loyal to the king of Thailand, who has always been a good leader. No blood has been shed or any opposition made.

The PM is at a UN address and has been told not to return. The banks and shops have closed today as if it were a holiday, and everyone seems to be going on with life as usual.

No fears. We feel perfectly safe. In fact, it is really hard to believe that we woke up today to find a coup had taken place!

Your prayers that it will continue to be a peaceful takeover will, of course, be appreciated.

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