Today's change was very sad. I went over to my landlady's house and found her daughter-in-law and another relative helping her to sit in a chair. Mae Thao's face was blank and slack and she couldn't move her legs. What happened?
Mae Thao has always been an active person, talking to herself while she sweeps the yard in the morning, and riding off to the market on her clanky one-gear bicycle. In the early mornings, she goes early to the Wat by our compound of houses. When she returns, she pours water, which has been blessed by the Buddhist chanting in the Wat, on one of the flower bushes in the yard. She always hassles me about my cats, but she takes good care of them, feeding them while she sits in the sun at a table.
So this isn't the Mae Thao I know. Mae Waew explained that she had a tooth ache so they brought her to the dentist. He injected medicine before pulling the tooth and they're convinced that the medicine traveled through her nerves throughout her whole body, paralyzing her. The place where the tooth was also got infected and she developed a big abscess in her jaw; after ten days in the hospital where they gave her IV antibiotics, they released her home. Now, she's very week and can't walk. Poor woman.
I'm not sure about the sequences of events so I'm not sure if the dentist might have injected the lidocaine into a vein, which can cause heart problems. Or whether she had some reaction to the medicine or the time in bed made her week. She's so old, about 80 now, and a serious illness can really affect older people.
I've had this dread of some day returning from the field and not finding her at her home - well, it's happened before where I was afraid to ask... and turned out she was sleeping in her fruit garden so she could plant new trees and prune the old ones.