When my dad and I made it to the French Hospital in Hanoi at 11pm, there were only three people there: a nurse, a Vietnamese doctor who didn’t speak a word of English, and a French orthopedic surgeon. We’d spent an entire day getting to the end of the world and back, and were more than exhausted. Nobody was thinking clearly.
After just a few minutes of lackluster care they took some X-rays to confirm what we already knew: my dad’s ankle was badly broken. It would require surgery, metal plates, and months of recovery before he could even think about walking again. The surgeon suggested he operate in the morning, but his vibe was a bit strange – pushy, unprofessional, and not clearly not the kind of guy you want cutting you opened. We told him we needed the night to think it over.
Luckily my dad happens to be dating a doctor back home, so we got in touch with her and she promptly contacted the head orthopedic surgeon at Cedars Sinai (one of the top hospitals on the West Coast). He took one look at the X-Ray and told us to get our asses home. This is not the kind of surgery to have done so far away, especially by an unknown doctor in a developing country, and especially considering the complication of my dad’s replacement hip and knee.
So just like that, our trip comes to an end. We stabilized the ankle, left the hospital, checked into a hotel, and tried to get some sleep.
There’s a long road ahead of us.
Note: These posts are behind realtime; the above took place on Tuesday, May 3rd.