Our Vietnam guide training got off to a bumpy start this year. As Brandon pointed out, the positive side was we got to check out the response to an accident at the Siem Reap airport and we got to try out the SOS clinic in Hanoi, the negative side was why we got to try these out.
We arrived at the Siem Reap airport nice and early for our big trip. We loaded up the luggage carts and I checked us in while Narla and Brandon got ice cream with the kids. As I was paying the departure tax Callie came running up, singing her “we’re going to Vietnam” song. She grabbed the back of our luggage cart and swung. With all the luggage now out of it and only hand luggage on the top basket it was top heavy and crashed down on top of her. I was there first and pulled the cart off her, only to see blood everywhere. My heart literally stopped. I grabbed her and immediately put pressure on her eye where most of the blood seemed to be coming from. Narla, was right behind me and had a small towel in his fanny pack which he gave me. I was able to push this on the cut and slow the bleeding, but I had seen how deep the cut was, just above her left eye. In the meantime Callie was screaming, I mean really screaming, she has my low pain tolerance and that, coupled with the blood everywhere, was just too much for her. I sat down in the middle of the airport with her on my lap and held her as tight as I could. Even Brandon, who is always calm in situations like this, looked scared. We started to discuss who was going to stay and who would go, but neither of us wanted to be the one that left her. Meanwhile the airport had called their EMT crew and Narla had gone to get me some ice. The EMT crew was fantastic. They helped stop the bleeding and then put a cleaning solution on the cut (they will forever be known as the mean men with the spicy stuff). Callie had calmed down slightly and the bleeding had stopped so we were able to get a gauze bandage over the cut and Brandon and I decided that a clinic in Siem Reap and one in Hanoi were going to be about the same so we might as well just get on the plane. We were escorted through security and then taken to a private medical room while Narla (on his first trip out of Cambodia) got all our passports through immigration. Poor Callie was still pretty upset, but was pulling herself together. We were able to get on the plane and she seemed to forget about her boo boo for a while.
In Hanoi we were met by Van and Loan, our Vietnam directors and despite it being 8pm they kindly went with us to the SOS clinic. In my years here I have recommended this clinic to a couple of guests who got sick in Vietnam so this time I got to really inspect it! The doctor was great and all the nurses were really kind. They couldn’t give her stitches because the cut was too close to the eye so they said they wanted to glue it. They said she would have to hold still for 2 minutes while they held the cut closed and the glue dried. I tried to explain that under the best of circumstances Callie didn’t hold still for two minutes and that pain actually would make it the worst of circumstances. I asked if there was anything they could give her and they agreed they could give her some valium anally (forever knows as the tickly in my booty). The valium took a while to kick in, but finally she was asleep on the table. They bundled her in a sheet and the doctor leaned over to put the glue on. That first drop hit and Callie was up. It took three nurses and Brandon to hold her down and still the doctor couldn’t hold it for the full 2 minutes. At the end of it the doctor just shook his head and said, “you right, she an active one”. He told me not to get it wet or let her run around…I asked if I could take a tub of valium to go, he didn’t get it.
We went back to our hotel and Callie was like a little drunk person, trying to walk and falling down. She was having so much fun on the valium I finally had to just hold her on my knee, turn all the lights off and not let her go until she was asleep. Inevitably the glue came out, I couldn’t stop her from bouncing and it’s Asia, we all sweat, so it ended up getting wet too. The scar isn’t too bad and as everyone keeps pointing out, at least she’ll have a good story. We went to pick someone up at the airport the other day and she kept her distance from the luggage carts! All in all it was a horrendous experience, but from the EMTs in Cambodia, to SOS in Hanoi we couldn’t have asked for better help so at least I can go on with my recommendations feeling secure that I don’t just know ‘of’ the clinic, I know it well!