On Staying Healthy in Thailand 2018-02-14T09:53:20+00:00

On Staying Healthy in Thailand

A Weighty Problem
Originally appeared in Chiang Mai City Life magazine

I recently returned from a short visit to the U.S.  During my brief visits back I like to observe the differences between my old home and my new one, just to see if I have made the correct choice of moving here permanently.

When I am in Thailand, one of my favorite pastimes is people-watching.  I like to count how many men and women who walk by that could be in the super model category (it’s an esthetic activity). They are beautiful in face and figure and if not for their

Dr. Hugh’s Miracle Weight Loss Program
Originally posted on September 19, 2010

It all started when my wife and I were at the local vegetable market.  I was standing off to the side when I saw my wife and the market lady in a serious discussion – pointing over at me.  Later I asked my wife what that was all about.

“She thought that you might be a retired Thai soap opera star” my wife said (which is not that farfetched since I am Eurasian and just about 50% of all Thai soap opera stars are half-Thai and half western).  “She said that

Gastrointestinal Anecdotes
Originally posted on Mar 1, 2017

If you are going to pull up stakes and move to a different country then you’ll have to deal with lots of changes. Language, food, and climate differences will put you under lots of stress.  Culture shock will occur and you’ll have to deal with that too. But probably the first big change will happen deep inside you. No, I’m not talking about the psychological effects of leaving home and living in a strange land. I’m referring to your bowels.
Remember long ago, after a visit to Mexico, President Jimmy Carter caused an international

Getting Sick and Getting Better in Thailand
Originally posted on March 31, 2011
A few weeks ago a friend went to Chiang Mai Ram Hospital for a simple procedure and dropped me an email about it. He complained about how the prices at the hospital and gone up considerably and how he opted to go to the government hospital for his treatment. He was very happy with his treatment there and with the cost.

Now it’s my turn.

I mentioned in an earlier post that Thailand was a good place to stay healthy. But sometimes our health just seems to want to remind us how

Go Ask Alice – Mushrooms and Me in Thailand
Originally posted on May 1, 2017

And you just had some kind of mushroom
And your mind is moving low
Go ask Alice
I think she’ll know
The White Rabbit, Jefferson Airplane

Thailand is a good place for mushroom lovers. Normally when we think of mushrooms we think of the edible kind. My two favorites are the shiitake, in Thai called “fragrant mushrooms”, a basic ingredient of lots of Chinese stir fries and soups, and the wonderful rice-straw mushrooms (also called paddy-straw mushrooms), named for the rice straw they are grown in. These are often found in

Insurance in Thailand
Originally appeared in Chiang Mai City Life magazine

I get a lot of questions about insurance in Thailand.  We typically think of life and health and maybe auto insurance.  But that’s just scratching the surface. There’s property, house, condo, accident, travel, rental, and marine insurance, just to name a few.
In fact there is even a golf insurance policy that will cover you if you are hit by an errant golf ball or, more likely on my part, if you hit someone else with your golf ball.  They also pay you up to ฿10,000 if you get a hole

Internal Heat and a Broken Stomach
Originally appeared in Chiang Mai City Life magazine

Buddhism teaches us that if we are going to be born then we must also accept that we will grow old, get sick and eventually die.  If you are retiring here then getting born and getting old you have already achieved.  Hopefully we can put off that last one for a while.  That just leaves getting sick.
Getting sick is part of the romance of traveling and living in a foreign country.  Thailand has some unique ailments and the Thai language has some very colorful words used to

Living in Thailand and Having Skin in the Game
Originally posted on September 1, 2015

I have a condition called pityrosorum folliculitis. No it isn’t that Walking Dead viral infection so I don’t believe I’ll turn into a zombie anytime soon, nor is it anything like that terminal disease from Love Story where Ali MacGraw dies in Ryan O’Neal’s arms.  Boy did I hate that movie.  In fact pityrosorum folliculitis, although a tongue twister, is pretty mundane, but it is the focal point of a good story about the quality of medical care here in Thailand.
So, let’s start at the beginning.
About 15 years

Medical Tourism
Originally appeared in Chiang Mai City Life magazine

Youth is wasted on the young.
- George Bernard Shaw

One way you know that you’ve left your youth behind and reached retirement age is when every time you get up from a chair you make strange grunting noises.  And your thoughts more often than you would like center on your health, or lack of it.

If you live all or part of your time in Thailand you may have just lucked out.  The Thai government has decided to market Thailand as a “Medical Tourism” destination.  With its hotel-like hospitals and numerous western

My Other Car is a Motorcycle
Originally posted on October 20, 2010
If you are considering living in Thailand, it is probably a good idea to begin thinking about what you will do about transportation. Mass transit, outside of Bangkok, is basically non-existent. Most towns have converted pickup trucks that act as taxis and pick up people for short rides for a few baht (thus the name “baht buses”), or you might wind up riding in a motorcycle side car which do the same, and there is a pretty extensive bus system between towns. Lately Uber is a convenient and inexpensive way to

Originally posted on Jun 1, 2017

I’ve written about health care here in Thailand a number of times before, but since this topic is in the forefront of the news back home I thought maybe an update might prove useful. Also, I just had a physical checkup so it is pretty fresh in my mind.

I know I am supposed to get an “Annual Checkup” annually, but it has been about 4 years since my last one. Since my birthday is this month Pikun thought that we should begin doing this annual thing on a yearly basis, and when would it be

Not Going Gentle into That Good Night
Originally posted on October 1, 2014

Do not go gentle into that good night, 
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
-Dylan Thomas

I was talking with a friend who is a few years older than I and we were comparing our physical exercise regimes. Our goal is to die healthy.
Seems that we both take care to keep our bodies healthy and strong. Besides daily exercise we both eat well, and neither of us drinks or smokes. I do have to admit though that my friend is

Power Napping
Originally appeared in Chiang Mai City Life magazine

"Sir, if you'll not be needing me, I'll close down for a while." With that, the droid C3PO (Star Wars IV, A New Hope) shuts down and re-energizes himself. That always intrigued me. I wondered if I could do the same thing. Then I learned about Power Napping.
Thailand, especially on a stifling hot season afternoon, can be a rather enervating place. There is a Thai word “chee-wit-chee-wa” meaning animated and lively. Well, a hot Thai afternoon will suck the “chee-wit-chee-wa” right out of you. But a power nap might just be

Retiring in Thailand Can Be Good for One’s Health
Originally posted on February 9, 2011

I am just getting over a cold. I could call it the flu so people will feel sorrier for me but it was probably just a head cold. That’s not such a big deal, at least not something to post about – except for the fact that it is the first cold I have had in about 10 years. This made me think about how healthful my retirement to Thailand has been. I just don’t get sick here.
For most prospective retirees to Thailand, one of their first

Originally appeared in Chiang Mai City Life magazine

I had put off going to the dentist for about a year and a half. It isn’t only the exorbitant amount American dentists charge. It is the way they are always putting me down for not flossing correctly or for brushing too hard.  But that lower molar was crying out for attention so I got a recommendation for a good Chiang Mai dentist and I went to check it out.

The first thing I had to do before walking into the office was to take my shoes off.  Instead of my crusty old

Smog – Chiang Mai’s Angel of Death
Originally posted on March 25, 2013

It is appropriate that Passover happens at this time every year. Another thing that happens in March and April, here in Chiang Mai, is the yearly smog invasion.
It’s like that scene in The Ten Commandments, you know, the one with Charlton Heston.  After Moses has tried everything to make the Pharaoh let his people go, one night this smoke creeps into the town covering everything and entering all the houses, killing all the first born sons except in those houses that have lambs blood painted around its doors. It

Staying Alive
Originally appeared in Chiang Mai City Life magazine

For a nice musical interlude Check out this Bee Gees video “Staying Alive”

I have found that staying young has much more to do with your mind than with your body. The body, as Buddhist philosophy, and the laws of physics, tells us is impermanent, constantly undergoing change, and breaking down.  Anyone who is past their 40th birthday is well aware of that.  But too many retirees enjoying the “Sabai”, or comfortable life in Thailand, grow old faster than they should because their minds have shut down.

Look around and you will

The Age of Gold
Originally posted on June 3, 2011

I just looked at my passport and it says that today is my 65th birthday. That can’t be right. Seems like just yesterday I was 22 years old and stepping off that Pam Am 707, Round-The-World Flight #001, at Don Muang Airport in Bangkok for my first time. It was Durian season and the aroma was deadly, and I swear the temperature was 150 degrees. I almost got right back on the plane and kept going to the next stop (Katmandu I believe).
But they must have been some pretty good years, as

The Cost of Alcohol in Thailand
Originally posted on July 15, 2010

I usually work in my garden early in the mornings before it gets too hot.  Often a Scotsman who lives nearby, rides by on his bicycle.  While I am hoeing away in the increasingly hot sun, he tells me bicycle riding is the only exercise he gets.  But today he has to cut it short and hurry back, he says, since today is his “drinking day”.  “What’s a drinking day” I naively ask.  “Four or five days a week I set aside for drinking”, he says, “and the other days

The Fattening of Thailand
Originally posted on October 1, 2013

A Tourist Authority of Thailand’s marketing slogan directed at attracting tourists here is “Thailand Land of Smiles”. This is often shortened to the nickname “LOS”.  Besides being famous for their smiles Thais used to be well-known for being so thin and slim that the TAT slogan could have been “Thailand Land of the Svelte”. But not anymore. Lately, “LOS” could just as easily stand for “Land of the Stout”.  Thailand is getting fat.
I saw one of the reasons up close recently at the supermarket.
Occasionally I like to go on a quest. Today

To Sleep, Perchance to Wake at 3 am – Ay, There’s The Rub
Originally posted on April 1, 2017

Apologies to Hamlet. But really, I think Hamlet was talking about doing himself in, or in his words, “shuffled off this mortal coil”.
Me, I just want to sleep through the night.

When we get older our sleep patterns change, not usually for the better. My sleep patterns currently suck.
Is it normal to wake at 3 am just so I can fall asleep reading, or watching TV, or listening to my wife talk about her day at 8 pm? So I turned on my Android

What We Men Don’t Like to Think About
Originally posted on November 30, 2014

In these posts I usually don’t share too much of what personally goes on with me since I want to spend as much time talking about general retirement and retiring to Thailand as I can. But for this post I wanted to share some personal stuff that might be important for my many retiring readers, especially men, and women who have men in their lives, to know about.
The National Football League has a week each season to increase awareness of breast cancer. All the players and coaches and

When the Time Comes
Originally posted on April 30, 2011

A story for all of us who have been accumulating the years.
What to do when we can’t care for ourselves.

A couple of weeks ago a Thai friend called saying that she had a serious problem and maybe we could help. It seems that she has been helping out an 80 year old American man who is suffering from dementia. He has no family and doesn’t seem to have any close friends here and when he began having memory problems, and was becoming increasingly feeble and unable to care for himself,

Who You Gonna Call? (In Case of Emergency)
Originally appeared in Chiang Mai City Life magazine

Part I
I wake up to lots of forwarded emails in my inbox.  I almost never forward them on, but the other day I got one that I thought might be appropriate for others to read.  So I forwarded this email on to all the “mature” (read “older”) people on my email list.
A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke... totally.
Four Signs Of A Stroke:  Remember the 1st Three