The Kindness of Vietnamese

I continued yesterday being the brunt of typical Vietnamese kindness.

They generally won’t suffer affronts, but many or most Vietnamese will go out of their way to help out.

A case in point was yesterday’s visits to hospital to get my ankle patched up after the latest bike accident.

First of all, my good friend Henry continued his long track record of helping me out by giving up most of his day to ferry me to and from the hospital, and to translate the doctors for me.

After the usual long dither I decided on the plaster option ( ~2 million VND vs. ~50 million VND for surgery ) , after the doctors told me I could make a full recovery that way – it would just take longer.

By mid-afternoon the nurse was ready, again with Henry in attendance.

Her first move had been some artful editing of my condition, to save me 600,000 VND, reducing the fee from $2 million.

Then, I made sure to get my bleating in about how UNcomfortable the ‘half plaster’ had been, and my recommended improvements for the full plaster.

I was vindicated, sort of, when she removed the old plaster, to reveal a wound which wasn’t healing, and bruising on my shin, and upper calf muscle from an ill-fitting first cast.

Then she patiently ignored my whimperings and complaints, to produce a cast which – at a stretch – qualifies as a work of art.

First, it has a breathing hole on the top of the instep, so the wound can be dressed and re-bandaged, if necessary.

Then she made ample room at the top of the cast to allow some movement and avoid bruising. And there’s plenty of toe wiggle room, which will help avoid total atrophy.

Then. via Henry, she has offered to come to my digs in a day or three to check, and re-dress, the wound. Henry also told me I’d gotten special treatment, because hospital staff are keen to make a good impression on foreigners.

For a fee, of course, but that’s all hunkydory, as was the entire caper. I wish I’d dithered less, and gone for the cast earlier.

I’ll be wearing it for around 8 weeks, by all accounts.

So it’s back to a version of lock-down. The school year, and job, ended June 29, so no full-time work. So, it’s lots of Netflix, and some online teaching to keep my hand in, and for some pocket money.

All going very well, I may in a week or five make a long-awaited trip to Dalat, the inland, high-elevation holiday spot.

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