Som Boon is fine. Shortly before midnight I set out toward the vet hospital, following the voices that were encouraging Som Boon to walk. It was pitch dark so I felt my way along the dusty road, following the vibrations radiating from an occasional trunk thump mixed with the low rumbling coming from Som Boon.
When I caught up to her I found that her vet, vet tech and mahout were all engaged in encouraging her to keep walking. They were very patient and kind, which I was so pleased to see.
Dr. Samat had given Som Boon a pint of mineral oil via an extra large syringe, an oral remedy to encourage her bowels to imitate normal contracting movement and stimulate her to defecate, and they were all keeping her on her feet and moving.
About the time I arrived, Som Boon appeared to be searching for vegetation along the roadside. That interest led to her eating a couple dozen ripe bananas and passing gas. As you might expect, we complimented her on both functions, laughing at the silliness of telling her what a good girl she was for passing gas. But we knew this to be a good sign, an indication that her gut might be returning to a healthy state.
Som Boon started feeling much better around midnight. After finishing her bananas and being offered water she was tethered for the night under the watchful eye of Dr. Samat, the vet tech and her mahout.
In the morning I learned that Som Boon had defecated during the night. As suspected, she had been suffering from an intestinal blockage, a repeat condition for her. Many elephants in Thailand suffer from this condition, some even dying as result. There are many things that contribute to this condition, including sudden change in food type — banana plant, sugar cane and corn stock — reduced water intake and poorly worn or missing teeth that may result in the fodder not being chewed adequately.
The good news is that Som Boon no longer has an intestinal blockage. From the moment her condition was reported to the vet, her team remained attentive and effective. Very likely their quick action saved her life.