Category: 2022 – Bangkok

Stopping The Support

In early July, I emailed five of the Thai ladies I had been helping, telling them the August money would be the last. There was no easy way of doing this. Though the country was now “open”, the economy remained in the doldrums and Omicron was still making the rounds — as I was to discover all too soon. I simply felt that after over two years, it was time to wrap this up.

The reactions were mixed. My favorite barmaids, Sumontha and Sirada, already having jobs, seemed OK with my decision. However Porn, my former masseuse, came down with Covid in September. I extended her another month.

That left Bia and Gae, both of whom have three kids. I managed to meet with Bia and heard that things remained bad for her (though she did not ask for more help). So, I ended up paying four more months, to the end of the year, plus some extra money for New Year’s. Will things ever turn around here?

Gae was a harder case. Once my “program” ended, she would send emails at the beginning of each month attempting to keep my interest. Sensing a measure of desperation, I also put her on an end-of-the-year plan, complete with the New Year’s gift. But I was not comfortable with the situation, feeling the beginnings of a long term commitment. When she explained that without my payments she and her children would be forced to return to Myanmar, I understood her persistence.

What to do? Obviously I am concerned about Gae’s plight, but also feel it is beyond the scope of my mission. A second “no more money” email has been sent – just to officially notify her. Come early January, she will no doubt be after me to keep things going. This may not turn out well. I have no interest in being her boyfriend, as she so clearly wants. I am just someone who got some Thai women through a very difficult time.

A final word – from Porn:

Hi Monte 
Thank you so much for money you will give me for one more 
month and for everything you had done for me 
Thank you very much again for helping me out all this time 
You are still my good man and if you come back to Thailand 
and then if you like I do some thing for you and then you still 
can tell me all the time and if I can do for you and then I 
will do that 
You are still my good man and my good friend always 
Take good care of yourself 
You are always in my mind 
Big hug big kiss 

I Come Down With It

Sunday, July 17. I awoke with a load of “solid” congestion, usually a harbinger of bad things. Not quite convinced I was sick, I decided to wait and see what, if anything, would happen.

The answer came the following day, a day of endless sneezing. Using one of the Covid test kits I had brought from America (involving a seven step process), I was soon looking at the dreaded “red” reading, making my illness official.

I had gotten the Omicron.

My first thought was how I could have caught it. I’d diligently worn my mask when going out and had had minimal contact with anyone outside of my cleaning lady. Later I realized all it would have taken was for me to touch a contaminated surface and not properly wash my hands when I got home — something I’d stopped doing.

Whenever I end up with a cold or flu, the first order of business is getting stocked up on supplies. That night I did FaceTime with one of my special friends and explained what had happened and what I needed. The next day she delivered the provisions: milk, plenty of water, fruit, Tylenol, a thermometer (her idea), and a few other items. Kindness. By this time I was enduring the usual flu miseries of coughing, a plugged nose and loss of taste. My Vitamin ‘C’ and NyQuil were being put to good use.

But then a funny thing happened. Three days after the first symptoms, the congestion and sneezing were more or less gone. Come evening I felt well enough to exercise. This was not a fluke — my condition continued to improve. Towards the end of the week I had recovered my sense of smell and taste (not major concerns considering what a lousy cook I am) with only scattered coughing spells. Best yet, I no longer was running a fever!

Unfortunately, the Omicron was not through with me. For the rest of the month I was still on occasion coughing and a-chooing. In fact, it was three weeks before the cough finally broke. More of an annoyance than anything. Next time I will stick with the extra water and Vitamin ‘C’ longer.

So why was this attack so mild? Obviously the Omicron variant is not the killer its predecessors had been. But I ended up suffering less than the usual colds I’ve caught here in Thailand. The answer is that while in the U.S., I had gotten an initial shot, then two boosters. Just as the health experts recommended. Being sixty-five years old, it would have been plain stupid to do anything less.

And the truth shall quarantine