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Winston

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It's a long and sad story, but the short answer is that he died of complications from a motorcycle crash.

 

Jack

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The Last Prowl

 

                                               John Nalak

 

        “I’m gonna die in Thailand Doc.” The man that many Pattaya enthusiasts have come to know as

        Winston said those words to his close friend Doc almost one year ago. He came to Pattaya as

        much to get away from the cold, real world out there as to become part of the dreamland that some

        of us refer to as “Bizarro World”. Everyone that comes here manages at some point to reinvent

        themselves, even those who come for short holidays. Since it is likely that no one knows you here,

        you can take on another identity or even personality. The shy can be bold and the average man

        can be handsome even if he never was before. There are few rules to speak of and time is

        suspended in a permanent warp. Everything relating to time is compressed. Even on a two week

        holiday you can fall in love more than once, have your heart broken and mended again, and leave

        your “true love” behind, compounding the depression that is sure to hit when you have to leave

        Dreamland.

 

        For the expatriate residents of Dreamland the experience is slightly different. You can fall in love 3

        or 4 times a month actually becoming the character you invented, the one that you always wished

        was really you. I think that this is what Winston had realized when he told Doc that he would die

        here. He had become his own invention and he knew that going back to the real world would

        destroy the new man, cutting off his oxygen. He came here with some money in the bank but no

        income of any kind, planning to open a web site from which he could get some income eventually.

        Thailand is stinking with frustrated writers and web designers chasing the dream of making a living

        and staying here. Winston was one more. What separated him from the others was his insatiable

        lust for life.

 

        It was this lust for life that compelled him to be a regular at all the better Go gos, buy drinks for all

        his buddies, ring the bell at his favorite bars, go through three new motorcycles in less than a year

        and display a generosity far beyond his means. He wrote about his nightlife escapades in some of

        the Pattaya web boards like FLB, Misty’s, Cambodia Connection and Pattaya Lovers to the delight

        and encouragement of his friends and fans. All the while his declared plan was to open the web site

        and stock it with his own writings, generating some income to make it possible for him to stay and

        keep on being Winston. A catastrophic traffic accident changed all that.

 

        He never saw the baht bus on Sukhumvit until it was too late. He tried to stop the 400cc Honda

        Phantom but succumbed to the forces of destiny. When he awoke he knew he was in trouble. The

        excruciating pain was not alleviated by the sight of his mangled leg, its contents clearly visible. As

        he cried out in agony, several Thais picked him up and loaded him on the back of a pickup truck

        that was also laden with greasy machinery. He was fortunate to have been tended to at all. After

        what must have been an eternity later, he watched as one of the nurses at Pattaya Memorial

        Hospital enclosed all his possessions in a zip lock bag. It was the last time he would see his money

        and jewelry.

 

        For all his extravagant spending, Winston did not have health insurance. The hospital would treat

        him until they busted all his credit cards. A large man of over 200 kilos, he spent most of the next

        day in surgery. Already having breathing problems when lying down due to his girth, the long hours

        on the operating table would not go well for him. He emerged from this first surgery with lung and

        kidney problems, 11 titanium screws and some steel plates in his leg, internal bleeding and no

        circulation. Needless to say, he did not look good when I went to see him, although his complaints

        were mostly about the lack of Western food. This was classic Winston. For all his serious medical

        problems, his view was that the worst thing about it was the food or lack thereof. He thought he

        would be back in his condo in several days and pick up where he left off.

 

        Doc, myself and Pukky (a former foe of his) had Winston at the top of our agendas every day after

        that. The big guy needed help and did not seem to appreciate the gravity of his situation. I was

        amazed at the lengths that Doc went to in helping his friend. He consulted with the Doctors to make

        sure that they did the right thing by Winston. He broke the news to him that there was to be a

        second surgery to repair a severed artery in his leg that was either missed in the first surgery, or

        perhaps cut by one of the 11 screws possibly having gone in too far. After this surgery, he was

        transferred to Sirikit Hospital in Sattahip where more surgery was performed to remove dead tissue

        and alleviate pressure in the hopes of restoring proper circulation. It was then that amputation was

        first discussed.

 

        As his prognosis deteriorated, Doc made every effort to help Winston understand the hard choices

        that would have to be made. His credit cards were busted, he had precious little cash in the bank

        and he was facing a probable amputation of his leg. There were all sorts of problems with

        paperwork (this being Thailand) and Doc tackled them all. Copies of the motorcycle ownership, the

        police report, stuff from Pattaya Memorial, passport and visa problems were all dealt with. Pukky’s

        fluent use of the Thai language made all these things possible. Winston was starting to realize that

        keeping his leg might be possible in America but could not happen in Thailand, given the existing

        conditions and his dwindling funds. We hastily started getting his local affairs in order and making

        arrangements to get him home to his distraught mother.

 

        His fourth surgery did little to restore circulation or better his chances of keeping the leg. FLB

        initiated a fund drive to raise money to get Winston home. Pattaya Lovers threw their weight behind

        this effort. Enough was raised for the airfare but it would not be enough to transport him on a

        stretcher which would have been very expensive. Pete at FLB put the entire airfare on his own

        credit card to speed things along. Pattaya Lovers continued raising money with generous

        donations coming in via personal delivery, wire transfers and Western Union. Winston had no

        health insurance in America either and would have gone back with his hat in hand. He was

        scheduled to leave on Northwest Airlines on December 27, 2001 at 6:00 AM. He almost made it.

 

        We decided that an ambulance was needed to transport him from the hospital to the airport in

        Bangkok, a 3 hour ride. This way he would be on a stretcher and hopefully relaxed at least until

        boarding time. Doc and 2 male nurses left Sirikit Hospital in Sattahip at midnight for the 3 hour haul

        to the airport. I spoke to Winston in transit and he sounded better than he had in recent times:

 

        “I think I’m gonna be OK John.”

 

        “We never had any doubt, Winston.”

 

        That was the last time I spoke to him.

 

        At 5:38 AM, December 27, 2001, Winston collapsed inside the passenger compartment of a

        Northwest 747 airliner. Asthma shock they called it. Great difficulty breathing.

 

        The last thing he said was: “I’m goin’ Doc.”

 

        Doc worked on him for 20 minutes before being relieved by an emergency medical team from the

        airport who later pronounced him dead.

 

        For our friend Winston, this was the last prowl.

 

 

        John Nalak

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John, thanks for the information you posted about Winston.  I never met the man but enjoyed his writings and exploits a great deal.  He will surely be missed by all that knew him.

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I'm shocked and sad to hear this news. I took a 3 month break from the board mainly because of work commitments. I must admit I was surprised not to see any postings from Winston when I returned.                  I thought he was taking a break from it all, as he sometimes did from time to time. I always enjoyed reading his prowls, which i'm sure we all lived with him, even though we were not there.    :(                                  

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I'm sorry to hear about Winston.  I Laughed and Laughed at his post on 9/21/2001 regarding the "three-legged soi dog hobbling along Soi Chaylabune" and the old lady.  That first paragraph was nice work.

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Thanks John.

 

This is the first complete story I have seen on Winston.  I will be there next month.  I will miss not seeing Winston holding court on his bar stool.

Ray

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Guest

:'( :'( :'( :'( :'( //  To Winston; I never had the opportunity to meet you, but, always saddens my soul to know you were called before our Lord when you were in foreign land and away from your love ones. May you have a wonderful time in God's garden. you'll be sorely missed.///        

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Thank you Darkstar for the message about Winston.  I never met but like many enjoyed the life he gave to the board.  Certainly he stirred up emotions in many, but his humor was always keen.  Thanks to Doc and Pukky and others that helped at the end....

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I'm truely sorry to hear Winston's death few months

back.  I can say, I thoroughly enjoy his prowl.  It was

honest and direct personal viewpoint.  We lost

a man who contributed greatly to this board.

Thanks again, Winston.

Peace in your next life.

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I used to read his Prowls religiously.  He had such a way with words and it really made me sad to hear of his passing.  I hope to make it to Thailand in the near future.  I only hope my adventures there can be half as fun as his sounded.  You will be missed Winston.

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After having been away from this board for a number of months, I was terribly distressed to read the above story about Winston.

 

Doc, John, Pukky, and Pete (and maybe others) certainly went to great efforts to help him.  Of these, I have only met Doc.  He is a fine fellow.  All of Winston’s friends that helped him certainly deserve great praise.  I have read that a man’s wealth is best measured by the quality of his friends.  

 

If that is true, Winston died a rich man.

 

Rick

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