BLOG

Maybe You’ve Heard, But I Was In An Accident 😮. Part 1

March 1st, 2023

I did a quick visa run to Cambodia. I came back to Thailand and was traveling back home from the airport. I got in a taxi and we sat for 1:07 on the highway without moving. The traffic in Bangkok is next level.

I was so impatient that I paid the driver, got out of the taxi in the middle of the highway, and jumped over the wall. I was only traveling with a small backpack.

I walked to my favorite taco shop for some lunch, and then called a Bolt (rideshare app) motorbike to take me back to our apartment.

The driver pulled up in the wrong spot. I ran over to him. As I was running, he realized his error and drove down the street to the correct spot, so I then changed direction and ran to him there. When we connected, we had a laugh about it as he saw me running over to him laughing.

I got on his motorbike and he put up the kickstand and was ready to go, but then he paused. He turned around and looked at me, then put the kickstand back down and got off the motorbike. He took a helmet out from his front basket and put it on my head, smiled, and tightened it up. 

I couldn’t believe it. After 12 years of being in Thailand, the only time a motorcycle taxi had given me a helmet was when they knew there was a police checkpoint. 

I was really thankful and grateful at that moment and respected the driver a lot for doing that.

The Accident

We took off, and the driver drove right through a red light. We had just gotten on the motorbike. It was instant after pulling out of the taco shop driveway. 

The police gave me the CCTV. Here it is:

The Intersection

The intersection is incredibly confusing. It’s the intersection of Sukhumvit and Chidlom. It’s really poorly designed traffic routing here in Bangkok. There are three lanes going one direction, the Sky Train platform is in the middle creating the median, and on the other side of the Sky Train median, the innermost lane goes the same direction as the lanes on the other side, and the other 2 lanes go a different direction.

Here is a diagram:

One would assume three lanes on one side go the same direction, and three lanes on the other side go the same direction.

The first time I was in Bangkok, I remember being in a car taxi that drove through this intersection and I panicked because I thought he was on the wrong side of the road. 

The Difference Between Bolt Rideshare App and Real Motorcycle Taxis in Bangkok

In Bangkok, there are licensed motorcycle drivers in taxi stands everywhere. They wear orange vests. They typically work in the same location everyday, and are intimately familiar with roads, routes, and traffic patterns. It’s not easy for them to get an orange vest, it costs a lot for licensing fees. Not to mention, they are subject to quite a bit of government regulation.

I had made a habit of calling Bolt. Bolt is a rideshare app that operates in Thailand. Apparently, anyone can download Bolt and become a driver. Many Bolt drivers from other places, from outside Bangkok, from the countryside, etc, come into Bangkok to offer rides in the city to earn money, so Bolt drivers may not be as familiar with the roads and routes as taxi drivers.

Bolt is typically much cheaper than the traditional motorcycle taxis, and you input your destination on a map so the drivers already know where to go. This is why I used Bolt. Explaining to the motorbike taxi drivers where to take you is very difficult with the language barrier.

So What Actually Happened?

My driver pulled across the street and as you can see in the video, many other drivers were purposely running through the red light, so my driver decided to follow them. He clearly was only looking to his left (thinking traffic could only come from that direction), but at the same time, a delivery truck full of water was speeding excessively in the singular lane going the other direction on the other side of the median.

It was a perfect recipe for a nasty collision. 

The truck smashed us. We both flew in the air. I was unconscious immediately.

My head hit the ground so hard that the helmet exploded and flew off my head. Thank God I was wearing that helmet or I believe I’d be dead. Helmets are designed to break like that as they absorb the impact.

I was unconscious in the middle of Sukhumvit. According to witnesses, the taxi driver immediately tried to stand up to run over to check on me, but his foot was completely mangled, possibly backward on his leg. He fell down and passed out.

As can be seen in the video, many drivers just drove away, drove around the body, and sort of left me there in the middle of the street. 

The German Tourist

Thankfully a German tourist was there to help. He heard the accident, saw me unconscious on the ground, and sprinted over to me. He braced my head between his knees so I didn’t move my spine. He woke me up; “Hey, wake up. Wake up. You’re going to be ok. You had an accident. My name is Lenny and I’m a medic from Germany. I’m not going to let anyone move you until the ambulance arrives. What hurts?”

Thank God for Lenny. I was fading in and out of consciousness and he called my wife alerting her to the accident and she came immediately.

I asked Lenny “What about the driver? Is he ok?” It was my only concern at that time. I was well aware of my own injuries. I told Lenny that I knew my leg was broken, my arm was broken, and that I had a possible brain injury. But all I could think about was the young kid driving the motorbike. I was worried he was dead. 

After I asked about him, Lenny said “Let’s just focus on you.” I knew Lenny thought he was dead. I asked the ambulance drivers about the taxi drivers status, they also were quiet and did not want to tell me. I had a sinking feeling in my heart that the kid had died. He was totally unconscious when they loaded me into the ambulance. 

As the ambulance was taking me away they closed the door and I yelled; “Open the fucking door! Stop! Where is the German guy?” Lenny popped his head and said “I’m here, I’m here”. I said “Add me on Instagram right now. I know I’m going to want to thank you later.”

I later connected with Lenny sending him some gifts in Germany and thanking him for what he did. He was the only voice I can remember and he said all the right things to me.

He sent me some pictures of the truck that hit me. He said he thought I’d want to know more so he snapped these at the scene. 

My Immediate Injuries

As I got to the hospital, I was fading in and out of consciousness. I have a history of brain injuries, so I knew the drill. I was terrified.

  • My head was badly swollen and bleeding.
  • My had was swollen and bleeding.
  • My entire hip felt like it was crushed into powder. I was sure my femur was broken. I could move my toes, but there was some missing connection.
  • My shoulder was clicking and popping. 

I had cuts all over and a lot of pain and swelling, but I know the difference between “something hurts” and “something is wrong”. I attribute that to years of training through painful injuries in BJJ.

I was taking to Theptarin Hospital in Bangkok. They did a Cat Scan, X-Rays, and some other tests, but no MRI.

Here’s a few snapshots:

Initial Diagnosis

-Broken Wrist

-Fibula Broken in Two Places – One not so bad (clean line), The other one was displaced (bones done line up)

-Shoulder was fine according to X-ray

-Cat Scan showed no brain bleeding or swelling (again, thank you God). It was a severe concussion. I have had more than 10 concussions now in my life, so I knew what I was in for.

I stayed in the hospital one night. They put my leg in an immobility splint. The Ortho told me that I’d have to have a steel plate put in my fibula. 

They wanted to keep me for three nights to observe my brain function, but I declined and left after the first night. My wife was not happy about that, but I wanted to go home badly.

My Shorts

This is a sideline thought. But I hadn’t been shopping for clothes in years. I was sick of feeling like a scrub, so I finally bought an expensive ($75) pair of new shorts. This was the first time wearing them. The ambulance technician pulled out some scissors and I said “DON’T CUT MY FUCKING SHORTS!”. 

I was fading in and out of consciousness. So when I passed out again, they cut my shorts. Off of me to see my hip. I’m still angry about that.

Follow-Up Visit to Theptharin

I went home for one week and could not move. Everything was so swollen and painful I couldn’t shower. I was on a lot of pain meds. My leg was immobilized in a brace/splint thing.

My adoptive family in Colorado called me very worried. My adoptive Mom, Sherrye looked at me on the video and said “Jason, you have a blood clot. I know it. Please check. Sherrye had often had some kinds of “visions” and is said to have some sort of gift that I’ve never understood.

I didn’t blow her off, but I knew what a blood clot was and I had no symptoms.

I saw the Ortho and the General doc in charge of my case at Theptarin. My leg felt “disconnected” but it was so swollen it was hard to pinpoint. I asked for an MRI but they said I didn’t need one and that it was just soft tissue trauma from the impact.

They did new X-rays now that some of the swelling and pain had receded. I was elated to hear the doc say that I didn’t need to have surgery. The bone was aligned close enough that it was within the margin of error, so it would heal on its own in 3-4 months. 

This felt like a massive win for me and I went home again. 

I was instructed to go back home and rest for 2 weeks then come back for another followup.

My wife never left my side. I woke up on the sofa and she was sleeping on the hardwood floor next to me.

Unexpected Visit to Theptarin

About 3-4 days afterward, my whole leg started swelling badly, turning red, and veins started popping out all over. My entire leg became EXTREMELY painful. I was screaming and crying at night. Thanks to Sherrye, I had done a lot of blood clot research and knew exactly what it was.

I knew it was potentially fatal. I went to the Emergency Room at Theptarin. I told them I thought I had a blood clot. At first the doctor said that it wasn’t a blood clot because blood clots aren’t that painful. 

I asked him what test diagnoses a blood clot and he said it was an Ultrasound. So I demanded one of those immediately. The Ultrasound doc says “You have two DVT. This very dangerous.” And he sent me back down to the same ER doc.

The ER doc saw the results of the Ultrasound and immediately admitted me to the hospital for 5 days. They do emergency injections of blood thinners twice a day in the stomach and monitor levels by daily blood testing.

They explained to me I had two Deep Vein Thrombosis. One was potentially fatal as it was large and in a very bad place (the major vein to my heart).

Hospital Time

I was admitted and stayed for 5 days at Theptarin. It was not a good experience. No one spoke English except one doctor, and it was very hard to understand. All of the workers there were apparently students at a nearby school, so none of them could really answer any questions or help me understand anything.

During this time the pain grew indescribably. I have had a lot of injuries and broken bones before, and blood clots were not supposed to be this painful.

I was having morphine injections every few hours, along with a trove of other pain management medications. Morphine IV did not reduce the pain by even 1%. It was untouchable.

I found myself YELLING in the hospital. Screaming in pain. No sleep. No rest. Relentless pain.

More than once I was so upset with the lack of care and their inability to deal with pain, that I tore out my hand IV and tried to leave. Thank God my wife was there. She never left the hospital. She brought me food every day and slept there on the sofa at night. 

The way they deal with blood clots, is they give you injectable medicine twice a day in your stomach and monitor blood levels so they can adjust the dose perfectly. This process continues for 5 days, then you switch to a one-a-day pill to thin your blood.

After the 5 days, I was fed up with Theptarin and checked out. I knew I was never going back there.

Story Continued in Part 2!

Thanks for Reading!

Jason

Connect with Jason

Contact Jason