Hospitalized at the Full Moon Party

“You’re lucky you’re not unconscious right now” the doctor said to me. Although I was shocked, I knew something was wrong when I had finally decided to get medical attention. I had the feeling of ‘pins-and-needles’ coming up through my body as walking became more difficult. Stephanie was there to hold onto me and to get me to the clinic. Luckily, this beach has dozens of clinics spread out all within walking distance making it quite easy to find one.

What other place on the planet sells buckets of alcohol, nonstop partying, and has over forty clinics in one beach area? This is unique to Haadrin Beach, Koh Phangan, Thailand.

This is how it all started: It was the night of the Full Moon Party; known globally as being one of the biggest parties in the world. I had dinner and followed it quickly with a bucket with a friend of mine. The partying began and the night went on with body painting, more drinking, and dancing. Seems like a normal night, right? That is until I woke up the next day not remembering much of the night.

I slightly remember the night – just random flash’s, the rest of the details I’ve heard through stories. This had never happened to me and it was frightening. I thought perhaps I may have drank too much but it seemed so unlikely since I really don’t recall drinking all that much. Naturally, I had a hangover. Symptoms included pain in my stomach, the feeling of wanting to vomit but couldn’t, headache, weakness, tiredness, couldn’t eat, confusion, and best of all – aggravation. Everything seemed to be pissing me off. Looking back at it, I’m not sure how Stephanie was able to kept her cool long enough to have dealt with me till I felt better. I have a pretty amazing girlfriend. I kept repeating to myself throughout the day, “What the hell happened to me? Why does nothing add up? I’m so confused!”

Hospital in Koh Phangan, Thailand - Full Moon Party

Hours had passed and I still felt horrible. It didn’t seem right that so many hours were passing by and I was feeling worse each hour. I had to puke again so I ran outside since the restroom was occupied. Since I hadn’t and couldn’t eat, there was nothing to puke. My head started to feel lighter and things started to get more confusing. I immediately yelled for Stephanie to help me get to the clinic as fast as possible.

It was a small clinic with just one room that seemed to have all the necessities for basic care. Considering the location, I kept imagining this doctor must have some crazy stories. He draws some blood and puts it into a small handheld machine. As he reads the numbers on his device, his eyes widen and he puts on a serious look, that’s when he said I was lucky. He tells me my blood sugar levels were at 33 while normally should be between 70 and 150.

I was injected with a ton of glucose and I had to wait till the IV bag was empty. Since I had to stay for the next 5 hours, I had to be transferred to another location that had a private room for me to rest in. I was in a wheel chair on the streets the day after one of the most popular parties in the world. People looked and I bet they were thinking I must’ve partied pretty hard. I wish I had a camera to capture that.

Hospital in Koh Phangan, Thailand - Full Moon Party

I concluded I must’ve been really dehydrated before I started drinking. Drinking simply water wasn’t enough because my body wasn’t retaining the water as it should have been. The solution at the time should have been to drink more things like Gatorade and juices before I went out partying. All the symptoms that occurred were all reactions to fatally low blood sugar levels. The medical term for what I had was Hypoglycemia.

Today’s lesson? Stay hydrated.

I went to Southland Clinic. The bill came out to 10,700baht($350usd), an unexpectedly large bill even for Thailand. It would have been MUCH cheaper in other areas like Bangkok but because of the location of the small island, it is what it is. They take advantage of the situation of being on a large party area and I totally understand. I’m just glad to be feeling better. They took great care of me and recovered me quickly. I even had Mexican food delivered to my room. The doctor and staff were informative and helpful.

I do feel lucky. While this was a stupid move on my part, I mustn’t let it get me down. I will keep my head up high and continue on traveling. Whether we are abroad or at home, we must remember to keep ourselves healthy. In the rush and excitement of travel, it can be easy to forget the importance of our health.

I’m currently in Koh Samui relaxing for a few days before heading to Vietnam.

Michael Tieso

Michael Tieso travels around the world writing, photographing, and filming his adventures. He is the Editor-in-chief of Art of Adventuring.

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