I like to call this the lamest cool story. I got stitches in Vietnam, in by no way an exciting story. Just letting you know, images and description may be a bit graphic and gross for some. Sorry in advance, but it’s still a great and hilarious story!
Jack and I went out in Hoi An, Vietnam, doing the whole $5 all you can drink thing – which looking back was 100% a bad idea. Not because of the stitches (because it had nothing to do with it) but because of the hangover and liver damage I incurred the next day. (And seriously, throwing up with stitches where you frow your brow, SUCKS).
Anyway, we went out and polluted our livers with all you can drink Hanoi Vodka, aka rubbing alcohol. As for those who have traveled Vietnam, Vietnam is very hot. So drunk and hot is never a good mix.
We finally drunkenly headed back to the hotel at an early 4 am. We get into our room and realized it was hot as f**k. Like 115 F at 4am. We thought maybe a cold shower would cool us down. Nope- only for about 15 seconds did it help. I climbed to bed and just told Jack to crank the AC.
I hopped into bed fanning myself, and Jack turns the AC on high. So high, it ends up blowing the AC plastic panel out and it nails me right in between the eyes. I got lucky that it missed my eyes, like seriously, a few centimeters away and it would have been a bad story.
Jack, in panic mode, went to the concierge to ask for band-aids or wipes or anything to help this accident. We obviously woke up the lady who was kind enough to bring me some bandaids and some alcohol wipes. Not to mention, she brought a buttload of compliments. “ it’s ok, you still look sexy.” Thanks, lady!
In our drunken stooper, I managed to bleed everywhere, Jack patched me up (poorly) and the woman took me to the nearest hospital. And by hospital, I mean a woman she knew who happened to have stitching equipment.
We walked into this woman’s house, as her husband was watching some sort of telemundo Vietnam and making (what smelled) a delicious breakfast. She props me onto her counter, lays me down, yells at me in Vietnamese, and starts stitching me up. Since it was in between my eyes, I got front row seats to watch all the stitching cross-eyed.
She patched me up gracefully, and marked my entire face by making a big X with medical tape to keep the stitches protected. Nice. I look hot. I kept telling Jack that I’m his treasure because X marks the spot where the treasure is.
Basically, from here on out, I ruined every picture with my bandaid mark. I called my mom 4 days later and told her “Mom, I got stitches.” And she’s yelling at me. “ I TOLD YOU NOT TO DO ANYTHING ADVENTUROUS OR STUPID!!!” “ BUT, BUT MOM, I WAS IN BED!!”
Stitches from an aircon panel. Not skydiving, not bungee jumping, not swimming with the sharks. From bed. Ugh, how lame.
However, throughout traveling Asia, people would come up to me and be like…“you’re bandaid girl. We know your story!” I was a Southeast Asian Backpacker Legend. And regardless, I ROCKED it!
I still have a scar, but I like to call it my permanent memory!
If this ever happens to you, please be aware of a few things:
– I was really lucky. The hotel offered to pay for my stitches, check ups, and my hotel stay. (No, I didn’t threaten to sue. There’s no point.) However, not all people are as kind and caring as they were. Make sure you have travel insurance to claim back all expenses. My travel insurance reimbursed us for all creams, bandaids and ointments I purchased on further travels. I can’t recommend travel insurance enough.
– Note where the closest good hospital is where you are traveling. Since we were in third world countries, healthcare is not the greatest. Although it happened in Hoi An, we got the inspection and stitches removal at an international hospital in Da Lat. International hospitals also help for less miscommunication in regards on how to clean and maintain the wound.
– We brought an excellent medical kit in case anything happened filled with bandaids, disinfectant, alcohol wipes, and cotton swabs. Mind you, I brought a bunch of Spongebob and Barbie bandaids because I thought it would be hilarious if Jack got hurt and had to wear one of these. Well, guess who had to wear Cinderella and Patrick smack in the middle of her face? This guy. Just be smart when creating your medical kit.
– Ask the hospital for replacement bandages and things to sterilize your wound. You want to take proper care and avoid any risk of infection. No one wants to go to the hospital twice on a vacation.
– Stay out of fresh water, dirt, or dust to avoid infection. Clean it every day to clear out any bacteria and dirt that may have gone into the wound.
– Make sure the equipment the doctors use are new and sterilized. After this incident, I was having a lot of stomach pain and mouth ulcers. Going back and forth to the hospital, a doctor noted it could possibly be HIV from unsterilized needles used in the stitching. Terrified, I obviously did every test possible right away. Waiting a whole week to hear back the results was one of the most stressful and scary weeks of my life. It turns out it was not HIV (Fun fact, it was Crohn’s not caused by this incident but a story for later), I felt very lucky because it honestly could have been since I was not aware of the quality of the equipment.