How Grateful Do You Think Natalie and Dan Are to Be Out of the Hospital in Thailand?

Spirit House Thailand
Image by Pix of Stuff via Flickr

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a month since Natalie and Dan’s accident. The best thing about this is that Dan is a month closer to walking again.

Another good thing is that when tragic events occur, it gives people the chance to show how much they care.  Natalie and Dan’s accident is no exception.

At the hospital Natalie got to spend nights in Dan’s room on the little vinyl couch instead of alone somewhere else. And when Dan’s meals arrived, there always seemed to be extra for Natalie.

Dan had no health insurance because he had too many expenses already with huge student loans to pay while he was trying to build up his acupuncture practice. So he and Natalie were surprised and grateful at how low the hospital bill was.

No wonder so many Americans go to Thailand for surgery! As my brother, Robert, says “A passport is the best health insurance.”

Travel can be rewarding in other ways. You never know who you’ll meet and how. Sometimes you make new and wonderful friends.

When Natalie and Dan flipped off the motorbike, a French couple behind them stopped to help.  Several days later this very nice couple rode for two and a half  hours each way on a motor bike to the hospital to visit with Natalie and Dan for 30 minutes. And they brought Dan a gift!

In the Thai hospital the nurses were so cheerful and friendly. Because they liked Natalie and Dan so much, the nurses invited them to dine with them on their last full day in the hospital. Each nurse brought delicious homemade Thai food.  What a treat that was for Natalie and Dan!

More treats followed  as they traveled the next day. With Dan’s leg needing to be kept straight and elevated, his mom bought business class seats for them. That meant much more comfortable seats than coach class and also the use of special lounges in the airports. In the lounges they got lots of good food and beverages for free.

The day before they were to arrive at the airport in Los Angeles, my friend, Debbie, called me. She had been keeping Dan’s car at her home until they returned to drive back to San Diego. Debbie felt moved to buy almost all of an air ticket for me to Los Angeles so that I would be there for Natalie.

Given such a heartfelt offer, how could I say no?

About 18 hours later Brian drove me to the airport. When I arrived in Los Angeles, Debbie and I had a few hours to visit and plan how to surprise Natalie and Dan.

Finally Natalie called, and I was glad she called my cell phone rather than our home phone. She wanted me to let Debbie know that she would call her when they were finished in customs. Of course, I didn’t let Natalie know that I was sitting right by Debbie.

When we drove to the airport terminal, Debbie was in the wrong lane, so she dropped me off while she drove around again. As I crossed the busy street, I spotted Natalie and Dan. Then I circled behind them to avoid their seeing me.

As I got right behind Natalie, I called her name. When she turned around, she stared at me in bewilderment.  Her look was a result of the 24 hours of travel time and all the stress she’d been through for about 9 days. But she was definitely happy and surprised that I was there. She was too exhausted to cry the tears I was expecting.

Dan sat nearby in a wheelchair with a crutch under his right hip and leg to elevate his injured leg straightened in a cast. He was also happy and surprised to see me.

I watched for Debbie to pull up in the grand old Lincoln Town car she borrowed from her nice neighbor to transport Dan. His tall body needed plenty of room to outstretch his legs across the back seat. No way would he be able to get into his 2-door car until he can once again bend his right knee.

We spent the night at Debbie’s house, and the next day she drove Dan to San Diego in the Town Car while Natalie drove me in Dan’s car.

Isn’t Debbie a friend to treasure?


And so are all the other friends and family members who have been helping in their own ways because of Natalie and Dan’s accident. For all of them we are grateful.

Everything happens for a reason. As I told Dan when he was in the hospital, feeling down, if Natalie hadn’t received a broken femur when she was hit and then run over her abdomen by a pickup truck and then experienced faster recovery with the help of acupuncture, she probably would not have chosen to attend acupuncture school. It was at acupuncture school that Natalie and Dan became acquainted.

They’ve just celebrated the third anniversary of their first date. And they get along so well with each other, even during this very stressful time.

How do you think Natalie feels about her accident?

Are you feeling that life has treated you unfairly?

What other way you could look at your situation?

With regard to that, here are some lyrics from my song, ‘The Gift of the Present:’

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Things happen for a reason.
Sometimes we don’t understand.
Someday may we be grateful
it was all in the plan.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Even More to Be Grateful For

When Natalie and Dan visited an orthopedic surgeon several days after their return to San Diego, the surgeon’s negativity almost brought Natalie to tears. But after the surgeon saw all the X-rays, he said that the Thai surgeon did a good job. And instead of being bedridden for 3 months, as he was told in Thailand, the San Diego surgeon told Dan to be up on the crutches a lot. That was really good news!

And the good news continues. Rather than a cast, Dan received a brace with Velcro. This is much more comfortable for him, and he’s sleeping much better.

Before going to that surgeon, Natalie and Dan dropped me off at the train station so I could get back to Los Angeles to be picked up by Debbie and driven to the airport for my return flight home. Many hours later while Brian was driving me to our home, I called Natalie.

She sounded very weak and sick. From the symptoms she described, I thought she had the flu. Had I known she would get sick, I would have stayed longer.

I felt so bad for her, knowing how much care Dan required. It took 2 of us each day for the procedure of dressing his wounds. Caring for Dan was a fulltime job. Imagine having to care for him alone while being as sick as Natalie was… Not to mention getting meals prepared and washing the dishes.

Natalie’s illness continued for days. When she developed a red rash and swollen hands, I couldn’t imagine what caused it. But when she and Dan checked the U.S. government site,, they felt pretty certain that Natalie’s symptoms of fever, chills, headaches, joint pain, nausea, fatigue, red rash and swollen hands were from Chikungunya fever.  This is carried by mosquitoes in Thailand, and Natalie received numerous mosquito bites while in the Thailand hospital.

The good thing about this fever is that it’s not contagious, so Natalie was able to be around Dan and her friends without worrying about passing her illness to them. Unfortunately, the fatigue can continue for weeks. But she’s been feeling good now, with less and less fatigue.

And keeping her feeling even better is the surprise she received from Dan on the third anniversary of their first date.

Want to guess what the surprise was?

He gave her the engagement ring she had recently seen and loved when they visited an antique store a few days earlier!

They’ve been through some of the “in sickness and in health” part already. My guess is that they’ll be happy together for many years to come.

But they still have many more challenges to face.  Dan’s injuries have been life-changing for both of them since he’s disabled for maybe a year, unable to practice as an acupuncturist. Lots of physical therapy lies ahead.

Here’s what Natalie wrote in her email to family and friends: “Please continue to send strong, healing positive energy to Dan’s right leg, tendon and bones!  It’s a long road to recovery for this injury.”

Till next time…

Wishing you peace, love and happiness,

Joyce Marie
Songwriter and singer

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5 Responses to “How Grateful Do You Think Natalie and Dan Are to Be Out of the Hospital in Thailand?”

  1. Isabel Says:

    Thanks Joyce. I do really believe suffering has a lot of knowledge hidden in it. If we are patient and wait we will find learning and joy!
    .-= Isabel´s last blog ..Arnaud Maitland =-.

  2. Joyce Says:

    Hi Isabel! So nice to hear from you again. Thank you for your insightful comments.

  3. Games Blog Says:

    Very helpful content. I appreciated reading it and will come by again to see any new posts you might have composed. How often do you try to refresh your website?

  4. Steve@Electric Cig Says:

    I think suffering is important in our lives. It’s a way to appreciate the people around you and appreciate life right after the suffering. It what makes life!
    Steve@Electric Cig´s last blog post ..Vapor King Electric Cigarette

  5. Joyce Says:

    You’re so right, Steve. Without suffering how would we truly appreciate when suffering is gone?

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