Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Q & A: Why I'm Stuck In Bangkok For Two More Weeks

Bangkok, Thailand

Where the hell are you?

I'm in Bangkok, Thailand.

What are you doing there??

Waiting for surgery.

WHAT? Are you OK?

More or less. I was told 15 years ago that, if I didn't have my wisdom teeth removed, they would cause a problem one day. That day has arrived.

What happened?

On the flight from Los Angeles to Seoul, the right side of my jaw started to hurt, way in the back of my mouth. Over the next several days (while I was in Singapore), the pain became worse. I was in Bangkok, en route to Cambodia, when the pain became so great that I saw a dentist.

What did he say?

Exactly what I anticipated. The pain was caused by an infection, from food trapped by a partially erupted wisdom tooth (also called a third molar). Plus, the misaligned third molars were creating pressure on the good teeth.

Was the infection treated?

Easily. A week of antibiotics and some low-level pain killers.

So why are you having surgery?

To remove all four wisdom teeth.

You're doing this in Bangkok!?



Not at all. Thailand is a center of "medical tourism." Thailand has some excellent hospitals, and they market their services to Australians, Japanese and others who want to avoid the stratospheric health care costs of their home countries. Dentistry is a significant part of the global business.

As it happens, I've previously been treated in Thai hospitals and was pleased with both the results and the price.

Where will you be going under the knife?

Bumrungrad International Hospital. It's fair to say that Bumrungrad is one of the best hospitals in Asia. Here's a first-person account of a stay.

Why don't you fly back to the United States and have the operation at home?

What's the point? I'm here, I need to (finally) deal with this, and it will cost less than in the United States.

Are you going to blog about this?

In detail. Stay tuned please.

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Anonymous ECS said...

What an interesting time to be stuck in Thailand. Hope the wisdom tooth surgery goes well - a reminder that I should get mine yanked (had one out in China and it was a surprisingly pleasant experience).

Also, I agree with you about Asian airlines. I dread flying in North America. Korean Air also highly recommended.

6:47 PM  
Blogger Travel Channel said...

kGood luck with it, Paul. I was treated for a horrible stomach bug at Bumrungrad a number of years ago. I found it cleaner and better run than any hospital I'd been in here in the United States. The place rocks.

Jim Benning

2:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think you'd find all Asian airlines as accommodating. The Japanese airlines would be more rigid, I think. And I had one experience with Philippine Airlines where nothing was possible until I paid a bribe...

Good luck with the operation! I had all four of my wisdom teeth removed in London before I moved to the US. (Yes. London does have a few good dentists. The best ones all seem to be from South Africa). Like you, it was all a bit last-minute, so I had all four removed in one session.

My dentist asked me if I wanted to listen some music... I wasn't expecting him to choose Carmina Burana as my soundtrack for the procedure. I was shocked and then amused.

Looking forward to hearing more about your experiences with Thai medical care ...

10:43 AM  

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