Monday, December 1, 2014

Thanksgiving in Thailand, Year Two: Same Same, but Different

Our Friendsgiving celebration this year began much like last year's celebration -- dinner on Thanksgiving night with the same group of friends at the same restaurant we went to last year, It was another year with good food and good company. This year was a little different, though, knowing that this was to be our last Thanksgiving with these good friends, at least for a while. We all talked about how we would visit each other (they are all from the West Coast, but staying on for at least one more year, and one of them actually has relatives living in the small town in Connecticut where my husband grew up!), and our hopes that we will all be reunited someday in yet another part of the world. It was bittersweet, to say the least, and really underscored for me how little time we have left with these friends.

That dinner was where similarities with last year ended, however. We had been invited to Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday by a family that we had met a couple of months ago while out at dinner with friends, but due to unforeseen circumstances, we weren't able to make it to the dinner. [We met this family because they had been seated at the table next to ours at the restaurant, and the mom of the little boy at their table struck up a conversation with me when she overheard that my son has the same name as hers. It turned out that her husband is the son of someone who used to work at our school (though he himself never attended our school)! They had been living in Saudi Arabia for the last seven years, and had just moved to Thailand to be closer to her family (she's half Thai and half Welsh, and grew up in Scotland).]

Here's what happened: On Friday morning, before school began, my son hurt his arm after his hands slipped on the monkey bars at school. His teacher found him sitting alone on a chair crying quietly (there were no other adults around, which was unusual) and took him to the school clinic. Then she found me and my husband, who went to check on him. He soon realized that my son wasn't really able to move his left arm, which was the arm he fell on. The nurse advised us to take him to the hospital for an X-ray. One of my son's P.E. teachers offered to alert one of the school's van drivers to take us, and one of the school nurses offered to accompany us. Other teachers, parents of his classmates, and school administrators came to check on him. It's in these moments, when we need it most, that the school community comes together and is at its best, and makes me feel nostalgic about leaving it. If only it could be like that at other times as well.

So it turned out that my son had a small fracture near his elbow. The doctor put a splint on him and made an appointment for the next weekend for a cast to be put on. Throughout all this, my son was very brave and only cried out when the radiology technicians moved his arm to X-ray it. He was curious about his injury, looking at the X-rays intently along with me, the doctor, and nurses, and asking questions. He watched closely as the splint was placed on his arm. It was a whole new experience for him. He had watched with curiosity when friends at school with casts had gotten people to write on their casts, and he relished the thought of being able to do the same.

We went home after going to the hospital, and we hung out, played, had lunch together, and read stories together. He figured out how to do things with just one hand, and joked about how dirty his left hand will be after weeks of being left unwashed. He was in a great mood that entire day, despite the discomfort of the splint. That night, however, was a different story. He, being a belly sleeper, was unable to get comfortable with his left arm in such an awkward position. We tried everything -- different positions, with different numbers of pillows, etc. etc. I ended up sleeping with him that night, which meant that I didn't get much sleep either. To make matters worse, my husband and I became afflicted with some stomach virus within half an hour of each other during the night, and took turns visiting the bathroom multiple times that night.

When we woke up Saturday morning, I felt like I had been hit by a truck. I was exhausted and sick. We had had an appointment downtown later that day that we had to reschedule. And we certainly didn't feel like socializing or spreading whatever we had to anyone else, so we also had to cancel the Thanksgiving dinner with our new friends. The only one who was chipper as usual was my son, despite his lack of sleep. He was his usual energetic self, playing and talking non-stop. Meanwhile, my husband and I sat limply on the couch, seemingly half dead and unable to muster up enough energy to even blink. It was really quite pathetic.

Luckily, we all began to feel better later on Saturday, and I figured out a solution for my son to sleep a little better that night, so Sunday was a better day. We were able to go to lunch with a friend and enjoy a little dessert. Still, I hope his arm heals quickly, so we can all get back to our normal routine, and he can participate in physical activities again!

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