Over the last 6 months I have had reason to spend time in hospital here in Pattaya. I arrived at the hospital about 9 AM one morning asking to see a urologist. Asked why, I described my symptoms and was given an almost immediate appointment.
Try that in Australia. Maybe you will have to see the General Practitioner first, get some sort of investigation and then be referred to the specialist when he has time to make an appointment for you.
A quick chat with the urologist and brief examination and I was sent for an immediate CT scan in the same hospital. The results were available almost as soon as I got back to the urology department.
As I suspected, kidney stones were the problem and so an operation for laser treatment was arranged for later the same week.
Again, try that in Australia. I had a the same problem there about 20 years ago and it took 3 weeks before I was treated and I have no reason to think it has changed since then. <Kidney stones for the second time?! Change your diet, dude! Dr. Stick recommends more fruit & vegetables, less animal products and go heavy on watermelon while incorporating it in to your diet long-term – Stick>
I was in hospital for 3 days recovering.
Hospital treatment here was excellent. The nurses were attentive and answered any calls for assistance promptly. They were all local girls and spoke English very well. The accommodation was a little dated but clean and comfortable. I have stayed in worse 5-star hotels.
Hospital food. YUK. I have since had reason for 3 more visits there and the food has always been almost inedible. At least I could get room service if I wanted and my wife would bring in food from outside.
The hospitals here encourage family to stay in the hospital, even overnight. My wife was with me nearly every night I stayed , was a great help and no doubt made it easier for the nurses. When I thanked my wife for always being there for me and looking after me at the hospital, she said it was the normal way it is done here and that Thai people always look after family. I guess I have progressed from farang husband and I am now “family”.
While the doctor was blasting the kidney stones he detected some small cancerous cells and treated them as well as sending them for a biopsy. This meant 3 monthly check-ups with visual internal inspection to see if any more cancerous cells were seen. Unfortunately, cancer was detected in one kidney which resulted in a major operation to remove said kidney.
I was referred to an oncologist there and have had a full CT scan which showed there were no other cancerous cells detected. I have to undergo chemotherapy for the next 3 months to make sure there is no repeat.
I got married (officially) last year to my beautiful Thai partner. We were married in the village about 3 years ago and finally did the deed here. We seem to have got things backwards this time. Usually when a couple plans to marry, they get married, buy a house and then have kids. Not for us. We had kids, bought a house and then got married.
We have been together for nearly 6 years. We have had our ups and downs at times but with patience and understanding and a bit of compromise on both our parts, we have survived and have a very good relationship. We have a house in an older area and most of the neighbours are Thai. We both get on well with them all and as usual, food is shared between families when they have excess. We distribute excess food from my wife’s parents' farm whenever we go there.
My wife’s parents are not well-off. They have occasionally asked for small amounts of money. I know what you are thinking that I will never to get it back. NO! They always pay it back.
They have about 8 rai of land up country and rent other small plots in the district to get enough land to produce income.
Last year while we were there I was looking at the land adjoining the farm and said to wife that if the land was for sale at the right price, I would buy it. 30 minutes later, wife says it is for sale and later still gives me the cost. Checking on the internet showed that it was good value and so I purchased the 13 rai for the parents' use. Mama had always wanted this block of land but could never afford to buy it. Now she has it under her control she is a changed woman. She has renewed interest in the farm and a chance of a better life and increased prestige within the community. They have agreed to pay nominal rent for the land and have already improved it with the addition of a dam which is deep enough to tap in to the water table for irrigation.
The land was purchased in my wife’s name and I consider this to be an investment for her and also security for our family in the event something happens to me.
In Stick’s columns and readers' submissions there are never ending submissions about how Thai women have “done them wrong”. I have never had any problems with my Thai wife. She is just about the best person I know, is very loyal and has even defied her mother on occasion in support of me.
The extended Thai family are all friendly and visit from time to time. Occasionally we have to accommodate immediate family for overnight stays and my wife’s parents for a few weeks at a time, but this has never been a problem for me.
When I compare the Thai family here and the way they look after each other and the way everything is shared and then compare it to the way things were back in Australia, I much prefer to be here.
I divorced my Australian wife 7 years ago. It was an amicable divorce and while we do not communicate in any way other than to say hello at family events when I go back there on holiday, I still maintain good relations with children there.
I learned shortly after the divorce that my ex was diagnosed as having a passive aggressive personality. Combine that with her obsessive compulsive tendencies and you can imagine what life was like at times. When the obsessive and aggressive tendencies coincided, life was hell.
I have seen Australia change over the years and sometimes for the better. I do not want to live in such a nanny state any more if I can help it, and that is what Australia seems to be now. No longer is anyone responsible for their own acts of stupidity. It is always someone else’s fault.
Here in Thailand, kids’ playground equipment is usually installed on concrete. Parents are expected to supervise them and be responsible for their care and if not, then it is up to them to suffer the consequences.
In the 8 years since I first came here and 7 years of living here, I have seen Thailand change. Sometimes for the worse and sometimes for the better. This is evolution. Obey the rules, abide by the laws and you can live here easily as long as you are prepared to respect Thai customs.
I have had no troubles with Immigration and visas. I had double entry tourist visas for a couple of years and went back to Australia to get a new visa at least once every year. I have also had a legitimate ED visa (not for studying Thai language), a business visa to try to start up a small business which did not proceed and also an O visa due to having children here.
Now I have a marriage visa. I recently went to Immigration in Jomtien for the 90-day reporting. I arrived late in the morning with all the paperwork that is said to be required on various websites. A queue ticket was issued and by the time I found where the queue was and took a seat, my number came up. I handed in the documents and the officer gave me back everything except the original notification form and my passport. “Not needed”, was his comment. He proceeded to tap away on his computer for about 1 minute and then retrieved a sheet of paper from the printer, stapled it in the passport and handed it back. All told, from the time I entered the building to exiting was less than 5 minutes.
Ok, I don’t like the corruption here but I live with it. I have driver’s licenses for both bike and car, I keep the bike and car properly registered and insured and have no problems with police stops.
I don’t frequent bars except for when I have friends from home come to visit and I don’t play with the bargirls. I am happy to have a beer at home and look after the family.
I am sure that there are very many expats like me that live here quietly and enjoy the privilege. Most of these expats are happy to remain anonymous so we never hear from them or how much they like it here.
Am I happy here? Yes.
Will I stay here? Yes.
Excellent to hear you're happy. You're right, those who are genuinely happy probably don't feel that there is any reason to write in but nonetheless, it would be nice to hear from such people. Perhaps explain why you like it so much, or perhaps what the key to happiness in Thailand is when so many Westerners aren't that happy or, at the very least, are intent on complaining about how things are!