Traveling brings about
lots of challenges in daily living, and
flexibility is the key to going with the flow.
My last physical was in
Chiang Mai, Thailand
where, as they say, “everything OK.” But it had been two years ago, so I was
feeling the need for having blood work done.
Now living in
Panajachel, Guatemala, I did the required fasting for 12 hours and gave my
samples at the local lab, La Asuncion, around 8:00 AM. The cost
was about $25USD. By three in the afternoon the lab emailed my results to me.
All tests were within the normal range, and that was good news.
The following day I walked into the local
health clinic, not far from our hotel, and had them check my blood pressure.
Unexpectedly, I was high… I told myself not to worry as
I had been drinking coffee, but I decided to go to a doctor the following morning
just to check again. This reading was also high… Not off the charts, but enough
that my doctor put me on
This was a first for me.
I followed up 12 days
later with my doctor and my pressure was close to normal. However, to be on the
safe side, he recommended that I have an EKG to check my heart. The issue was
that I had travel plans to go to
Oaxaca, Mexico in two days and didn’t want to have this
medical information worrying me throughout that
trip. So I told him I would do this procedure when I returned to
Pana in a month.
Years ago a good friend
of mine told me he would rather not know about his health issues as he felt
great and played tennis. He has since died, so I figure it’s better to know.
Once we got settled
Oaxaca I decided to buy a blood pressure machine at a local
pharmacy which cost 535 Pesos, or $29 USDollars. The readings were all
over the place not giving me the peace of mind I was looking for, so
I took it to a nearby clinic and asked them to check me once with
their cuff and once with my own machine. Both readings were close
enough for me to know the accuracy of the device; however the nurse
noted that my blood pressure was still elevated. I inquired if they
could perform an EKG and
she told me that around the corner was a cardiologist office, and
that I should go there.
Don’t try this in the
I easily found the
place and went inside where maybe 15 people were waiting. I asked the lady at
the desk if they did Echo-Cardiograms and she responded yes, gave me a rough
estimate of the cost and told me to return at 5:00 PM.
I did return later in
the day and didn’t sit for two minutes when the doctor called me into his
office. His English skills were quite good and we find this to be the case
worldwide with doctors. After a series of questions and me explaining my history
and why I am there, he examines me and does, in fact, do an Echo-Cardiogram which
includes an EKG.
Everything is normal he tells me, which is a relief, but my blood
pressure needs adjusting.
He recommends increasing
my meds a bit and to continue enjoying
Mexico. His cost for the office visit and
the procedure was $54 USDollars and I was
back at our hotel 50 minutes later.
Where else can you walk
into a specialist’s office - in this case a cardiologist - and receive treatment
and results in the same day with minimal expense and hassle? Actually, this can
be done in many places including
Mexico, and Thailand.
I have since emailed the
results of my Echo-Cardio exam to the doctor in
Panajachel so that he is informed of my progress.
Many of our readers are
concerned about leaving the comfort of the States and the familiarity of their doctors. Let me
assure you 99% of your health needs can be taken care of regardless of where you
travel, most of the time with less hassle, expense and better care.
more information on Medical Tourism,