Almost crawling

He can lift his head quite high, and he can propel himself forward with great force, but he can’t yet do both at the same time. He has a lot of fun acting like a human bulldozer, though.
We are greatly enjoying these days of limited mobility – he can move to one side on of his crib while sleeping and even roll over occasionally, but he basically stays put. Also, he can cry and sigh and burp and laugh and coo, but he can’t tell us, “no.” All in all, newborn to five months is a pretty great age.

Pimp Ghost Riding (Sky on Fire)

The other day we went to nanny’s village to see the flooded rice fields. The Chi River has overflowed into the fields, and huge invading catfish are happy to feast on drowned field mice and other flood detritus. Unwilling to take Mr. Max out on a flimsy boat, we watched the villagers go spearfishing for dinner.
It sure is a good thing we took the trusty old Crown out on the muddy roads instead of our pretty car.

Thai immigration in Mukdahan

Our university sent us foreign teachers to Mukdahan yesterday for our annual visa renewals. Until now, we had been using th immigration office in Nong Khai, but the last time we visited for 90-day notice, they told us that the Mukdahan office was becoming the top office for the Isan region and that we should go there from now on. So the seven or eight of us rode out on a bus accompanied by 26 Chinese exchange students who are studying Thai in China at various universities and are on a program here for a year. 30+ visa applicants are enough to crowd any immigration office, and it was shocking to see how understaffed the Muk office was. Everything took a long, long time. It’s unreasonable to blame the people (the underlings at least) working there because they’re as trapped by the system as we are… It was hard watching other applicants* come and wonder where to queue up because the waiting room side of the counter looked like the escape scene from The Killing Fields.
What saved the day was my colleague finding a well-run expat cafe (expat customer, not proprietor) a couple doors down from immigration -the name of the place was Good Mook. Good coffee, pate on crispy French bread, and bottles of Beer Lao… It was a great place to relax and wait for all the students to get processed, until the tiny little immigration office closed at 4:30.
We got back to our university at around 9:00 PM. By the time I had a bowl of noodles with another colleague and went home, both wife and baby were sound asleep.
* Some of the other applicants included one of Nam’s Japanese teachers, and my next door neighbor (who also works at Nam’s school, MSU – Mahasarakham University.)

Day 2 Update

Max’s lungs are apparently sounding much better. The blood tests point to a bacterial, rather than viral, infection. This is good news because it means all the antibiotics going into him weren’t just to piss him off (he caught me on the jaw with not one, not two, but three Tiger Uppercuts with his cathetered and bandaged hand when I held the oxygen mask over his face this afternoon).
He is here for a three day course of meds and observation, which seems to be a WHO standard adopted in Thailand.
He is sleeping now and I’m writing my exams outside on a large balcony at the end of the hall.
At around noon, a physical therapist came around with a gaggle of nurses and performed a series of percussive strokes with a cupped hand to Maxie’s back, and then to his chest. This loosened up some phlegm and fluids, so the gaggle of nurses and Nam pinned Max down and the therapist performed suction with a small tube to his mouth and nose. It was hard to watch him choking and sobbing, but the results were immediate and effective. He slept, well, like a baby for a long time after this session. Actually, we’re waiting for them to come around for another one right now.

Maxie’s Hospital Stay Day 2

There’s something hugely wrong about sleeping on a hospital sofa. The body rejects it, the mind rejects it.
The catheter in Max’s arm had to be replaced this morning (to his other arm, actually) because it partly worked it’s way out last night and we had it removed to facilitate ease of motion. He cried a lot less than he did yesterday, because he was still very sleepy. I had to hold him down today, though, and it wasn’t fun. In the end, though, it was all good and he was smiling again five minutes later.
Uh oh it’s time to give him the inhalants via oxygen mask…
UPDATE: OK,he complained a lot but didn’t throw a tantrum like yesterday.
The hardest part about today is going to be when I go home to make some finals for next week. It’s too quiet without the baby.


We just had a blackout. The ceiling AC unit spun down into silence and the hospital was thrust into total blackness except for the dim glow of my trusty laptop’s screen. It was at once surprising and reassuring when the hospital’s generator kicked in ten seconds later – what a remarkable response time for Thailand!
The guy down the hall on the iron lung was even more impressed.

Maxie Update

We are settled into a private room at the private hospital on the street behind Serm Thai shopping center in downtown Mahasarakham. The facilities are better than the VIP room at the provincial hospital where we stayed after Max was born.
Max has an IV in his arm and he’s doing fine. He’s been fine the whole time, actually. This whole week he’s been coughing and getting stuffed up, but never stopped playing or smiling. It was heartbreaking watching him being held down by nurses and getting stuck in the arm with a needle. He cried LOUDLY and shook his head back and forth in pain and frustration. He actually pried his free arm loose of the sheet it was held under and he let loose with a massive backhand that didn’t connect with anything. He looked at me, crying, with a look of shock and incomprehension. It was… hard to watch.
But now we are settled into the room for the night and it’s all playtime and smiles again. Nam had me bring SO MUCH stuff from the house to support the little emperor’s activities here… The security guard at the front door helped me schlep some crap from my car to the room upstairs; it still took three trips, and I’m pretty much a world-class bagboy.
Anyhow. The best thing about this place is that there’s dedicated wireless on each room.
Google chat is ON, biotches.
They are actually saying that he has pneumonia now. So this is kind of serious.
Meanwhile, this next week is finals week and I’m writing tests in between being a boyservant and figuring out how to play Japanese children’s music from my iriver to a pair of USB-powered PC speakers. Simple willpower isn’t cutting it, so I imagine I’ll take apart the inversion pump on the wall for parts and perhaps pump out the jams via venturi effect.
Oh something really weird happened right after my last post, at home. My desktop PC, the one I put together from parts after my White Night died a few weeks ago, well it just up and died, too. I only had a couple minutes to fiddle with it, but it seems totally fuxx0r3d. I wonder what’s up with that. My desktop PC karma is just really crap lately. Anyway, because I was scanning max’s chest x-ray right before the PC died I forgot to take it off the scanner and bring it here for the doctor to see. So after we got here and I unloaded everything from the car, I went back home to get the x-ray. Dude, the house was so empty without my wife and the Max. Damn. No way I want to stay there alone tonight! Plus, I have the boyservant role to fill.
I am being told to go buy dinner. The night market where everyone tried fried cricket and grasshoppers after our wedding 2.6 years ago is just down the street, so I’ll see what non-insect yummies are available there I guess.

Maxie is sick

He has bronchitis (and possibly a bacterial infection) serious enough for treatment at the hospital for at least a few days. The real fear is it turning to pneumonia, so the doctors are insisting a course of inhalants and IV-administered meds. We had him diagnosed first by a pediatrician at a private clinic this afternoon, then at the provincial hospital, where they wanted him to stay. It was too crowded and dirty there, so we are opting to take him to a private hospital nearby instead since he does have to stay for a while. If you need to contact us, call our mobile numbers.
I’m attaching his chest x-ray and diagnosis from an hour ago (important parts are in English) below: I tried but the Internet connection all over town has been sketchy the past few days.
Will update when possible.