The saga continues.
But it ends here (I think).
So I shared with you guys a minor health affliction that I developed, and I explored that via an article a number of months ago that was also designed to give insight into what it’s like to interact with the healthcare system here in Chiang Mai, Thailand (service, cost, etc.).
Since I explored all of that before with quite a bit of depth, I’ll keep things rather brief today.
I’m sharing some of this information again in order to give you guys further insight on healthcare in Thailand.
One big reason, in my opinion, to relocate abroad is the messy, complicated, and expensive healthcare system in the USA. As such, it’s nice to know what things look like and cost somewhere else.
Furthermore, many people moving abroad are older, meaning they may be more likely to encounter a healthcare system in a foreign country.
It’s my hope that sharing these intimate details of my life are helpful to some of you readers in that regard.
Let’s dig in…
I decided to visit Chiang Mai Ram Hospital yet again, last week, in order to get a second opinion on the varicocele that I’m dealing with.
The reason I did that is, the pain I’m experiencing in my left flank area, which is supposedly referred pain, seems to be excessive.
The process I followed was very similar to what I laid out last time (discussed in the article linked to above).
I walked into the hospital, with no appointment, and asked to speak to a urologist, except I asked for a different urologist this time.
This urologist, fortunately, was far more fluent in English (he basically spoke perfect English) than the last one, and he also seemed to be a bit more concerned with what’s going on (especially seeing as how this was my second visit in a short period of time for this issue).
Whereas the first physical examination was extremely brief, this one was not.
He felt all over my abdominal and groin area, looking for abnormalities, softness, hernias, etc.
We then discussed the possibility of something else causing my flank pain, like a kidney stone.
There’s also the possibility that I might have something called Nutcracker Syndrome, which is a compression of the left renal vein.
All in all, further tests seemed to be warranted since this flank pain is causing me a slight decrease in my quality of life.
He scheduled me for an ultrasound during the morning of the upcoming Saturday (July 28).
I came in, on time, for my appointment at 10:15 a.m.
There was a 10 minute wait, and then they checked my vitals.
I was then quickly sent over to the imaging area, where the ultrasound would be performed.
The ultrasound scan started with my lower stomach area, then slowly moved toward my right flank area, before coming back around to my left flank area. Best I can tell, they scanned my entire lower area from flank to flank.
I was in and out of the imaging area in about 15 minutes flat.
The technician performing the ultrasound was efficient and communicative.
He indicated no abnormalities throughout the procedure, but he said a full report would be issued on my behalf giving me all the details of the scan. He cleaned me up and sent me on my way.
A nurse checked my contact information (phone number, address, and email address) for the report. Cool.
They then shuffled me toward the cashier area, where I paid my bill for the ultrasound:
So the total cost of the ultrasound was 2,060 baht. That’s approximately $60.00 at the current exchange rate. And the entire process lasted about 45 minutes.
This doesn’t, however, include the cost of my second visit with a urologist, which ran another 620 baht (same price as last time).
I received an email from the hospital on Monday morning, which included seven separate images and a full report in PDF.
The report goes into technicalities regarding numerous organs (I’ll spare you guys that), but the final result was that the impression was an unremarkable study.
The good news?
I don’t seem to have anything wrong (other than the varicocele).
The bad news?
It looks like I kind of just have to deal with this pain, as there’s nothing else apparently causing it. It would seem likely at this point that the pain is, indeed, referred pain, especially since it seems have a high correlation with sitting or standing (pain is on when standing and off when sitting).
Surgery is still an option, but that carries costs, risks, and no guarantee that the varicocele won’t return.
I’m probably just going to move on at this point, but I did think it was worthwhile to get the scan done and make sure I didn’t have some kind of internal problem.
And this entire exercise was pretty interesting from the standpoint of getting a feel for what the healthcare system is like over here. Since I’m insuring myself, it’s great to be educated on potential costs. This episode has further reinforced the idea that health insurance is unnecessary for me in my situation.
Things are actually pretty good, all in all.
I invested very little time and money into this, especially relative to what kind of time and money would be necessary for this same process in the States.
And I’m very healthy, other than an issue that occurs in approximately 15% of all men.
I’m a little lighter in the wallet, but I’m fuller in confidence that my health is still relatively great. And that’s priceless.
What do you think? Is it nice to know what the healthcare system is like in another country?
Thanks for reading.
P.S. If you’re interested in becoming financially independent, which could allow you to retire abroad, check out some fantastic resources that I personally used to become financially free at 33!