Phu Wiang to Udon Thani, Tues 18/02/14, 138km
Proper early start to the day and some nice rural cycling as I skirted a ridge that defines the national park and then was passing verdant rice paddies and sugar cane fields. Unfortunately I was more preoccupied thinking about jabs and rabies.
I arrived in Udon Thani soon after lunch time, grabbed a hotel and made for the Aek Udon International hospital for my second shot of vaccine. They were terribly efficient and soon I was in front of a virologist who emphasised how dangerous rabies is and that given my circumstances and the circumstances of the bite I had to have the full course of treatment. Great, that was why I was there. Ah. He then told me that the hospital didn't use the Speeda vaccine I'd had for my first shot and that I shouldn't switch from one type to another as no trials had been done. He got one of his team to ring round local hospitals and they found one with Speeda. Back on the bike and across town we go.
When I arrived at the Wattana hospital I was in luck as there was a nursing orderly there with excellent English (he's a paramedic on the oil rigs on a month on, month off contract working in the hospital in his off time to boost his skills). So I went through explaining what had happened again, and why I needed a full course of treatment not an abbreviated course and then it was off to see the doctor and get the injection.
The doctor, however, whilst OK with giving me shot two, refused to amend my vaccination card to the full five shots. We had quite a heated discussion on this point. I told her my nurse in the UK said my vaccination was five years ago and only valid for two to three years: it was spent. That didn't matter said the doctor. I told her about my conversation at the Aek Udon. She said I *had* been vaccinated in the past so I only needed two shots. We argued in circles via the nursing orderly. The doctor showed me the flowchart from the Speeda company which said, in Thai, the course of action to take (apparently roughly translated it reads "if previously vaccinated" for one of the branches). We reached an impasse so I asked for a second opinion from a more senior doctor...
Once he arrived I went through it again, from the top. He asked a few questions and said (I paraphrase) "OK, it's going to cost you more but no problem". *Thank* you. The injection was duly given, a new card issued and I went away happy (ish)!
Well quite. One wouldn't want an un-PC cowboy ranch that just wouldn't be cricket