Chiang Mai, Thailand (Part 2)

November 18 – 26, 2019

When we got back from the mountains of Chiang Mai, we moved out of the Old Town to our new accommodations right next to the Chiang Mai University. This is where Petra played Ultimate twice a week. We really wanted to stay in an Airbnb so that we could cook our own meals for a bit because we were getting tired of Thai food. We looked for western grocery stores and what we learned is that there are not many of them around, either Thai or western and a couple that we did find were quite expensive. Also, our Airbnb kitchen was lacking basic equipment, had only two small pots and no pans, etc. Still, space itself was beautiful, really comfortable and spacious and even though the kitchen was not as well equipped, it didn’t stop us from making our favorite homemade stews and even more elaborate feasts.

Petra played Ultimate a couple of times during that week. Small world moment – she got to meet a guy that now lives in Belgium but is originally from Argentina and he played Ultimate against the Hammers, the team that Petra trained with when we were in Buenos Aires back in March. This experience was a great reminder of how amazing the Ultimate community is, all around the world, as well as, how small the world is when you have seen as much as we have in the past 10 months.

Petra and Pedja took an all-day Thai cooking class and came back with 10 new dishes they can now cook for us. They were full of praise about this particular class, how well it was organized and how tasty the food was. One fun fact is that there is almost no peanut sauce in Thai cooking, only with chicken satay and Panang curry but definitely not even close to the creamy, super-rich peanut sauces Americans are used to in the US.

I hear also that the butterfly pea tea has been a bit of a teenage crazy lately. It’s all over Thailand and it was Petra’s most interesting drink. It changes color when you add lime to it, from beautiful bright blue to even prettier bright purple. It doesn’t have much of a taste so with the addition of lime, it just tastes like lemonade. Great homeschooling moment – teenager got interested in the chemical reactions behind this color change so she looked it up and actually learned more about it.

Did you know that Thai take good care of their cats? We have come across a ton of beautiful cats, all in great shape. We were (probably ignorantly) expecting to see a lot of street animals in sad situations but actually saw none. All the animals we encountered seemed healthy, and cats especially looked pampered.

Over the years, Nina has been talking less and less. I mean he talks all the time, jibber-jabber, he repeats the same things over and over again but overall, his range of topics, his choice of words, his ability to say words he perceives as ‘sensitive’ has considerably decreased. I recently saw a video of him from 6 years ago when he was having prolonged episodes of seizures and even then, he talked a lot more. Not sure what we can do about it at this point. This might be a result of him being a teenager (and all teenagers talk less) or it might be years’ worth of constant epileptic activity attacks. It is what it is but it is really sad to see these videos of him when he was younger. While in Thailand, he has been practicing introducing himself to folks he approaches for random conversations. He has succeeded (again) at saying “Nini” when asked what his name is. For the longest time, he would just shy away from such a question or attempt to spell out Nini but now, he says a quick “Nini”. We’ll take any progress we can get. He is the light of our life and he will continue to shine with his brilliance.

I was dealing with my hip pain. I’m, all of a sudden, feeling like a super old person dealing with this crazy chronic pain. I searched for an osteopath in Chiang Mai and was lucky to come across contact info of a young MD that attended the most prestigious British institutions and received all sorts of high-level degrees (beyond MD). He practiced western medicine in the UK for 10 years before returning to Thailand recently. In Thailand, he does the work of an osteopath and in my case, he used dry needling techniques to help me with my pain. Google says that dry needling is also known as myofascial trigger point dry needling and that it is an alternative medicine technique similar to acupuncture. The needle of considerable length (2-3 inches/6-7cm) was inserted into leg muscles. It did not really hurt (even though I was really anxious about the pain of the needle itself), but somehow it released the tension in my muscles and got rid of the pain.

Supposedly, the efficiency of this technique is not scientifically confirmed but I will tell you from my personal experience that this young doctor saved my sanity. He got rid of my excruciating pain that for a while felt like I was stepping on a raw nerve. Coming across this doctor has been a real blessing. Since Chiang Mai, I can walk with no immediate issues, have not had a single incident of that stepping on that raw pain and I’m finally feeling like I can relax a bit.

I regress for a moment.

In the past 10 months, we have seen several doctors, had over a dozen PT therapy and osteopathy sessions and all of us have had lab work done.

This occurred across 6 different countries – Colombia, Portugal, Spain, Serbia, Montenegro, Thailand. These visits resulted in 49 individual medical charges for the 5 of us. They included items such as:
• Hospital visit for head stitches in Columbia
• Blood work in Portugal and Serbia (for all of us)
• Consultation with an orthopedic surgent in Spain
• Multiple osteopath visits in Spain and Thailand (at least a dozen)
• Physical therapy sessions in Serbia (over a dozen)
• Fixing a broken tooth in Spain
• 7 months-worth of epilepsy medication for Nikola (that cost $3,200/month in the US)!!!!!
• One hospital visit for suspected appendicitis that turned out to be traveler’s stomach bug (including few blood tests)
• One episode of cellulitis that required antibiotics

There are more details that are included in these 49 individual expenses but this is the gist of it. All of these expenses were paid out of pocket with no insurance. It didn’t make sense to claim some of them with the travel insurance company (not emergencies) and some were just too small to deal with all the paperwork. We paid a full, listed price for all these services, as if, we were uninsured locals.

All of these expenses together, for the whole 10 months of travel, 6 countries, 49 individual charges, added up to $2, 438. Let that sink in – a family of 5, 49 individual medical charges for a wide range of medical services by a wide range of medical providers and our total bill was TWO THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED THIRTY-EIGHT DOLLARS!!!

Our US medical system is broken and people are brainwashed that it has to be this way. I hear all sorts of excuses why it is the way it is but unfortunately, they are all ignorant statements not based on facts. When you get out of the US, you get to see a whole different picture of lies we are told within our borders.

All these medical services we received, in every single one of these locations, were comparable if not better than in the US.

The point of this regression, vote!!!

All of our futures depend on you getting out and voting. If there is an FB friend of mine here that is not registered to vote, please go register right now (not tomorrow, not next week, do it now!!!!!).

If you don’t think it makes a difference, then please unfriend me! I cannot fathom that in this day and age, there is an adult amongst my friends that ignores his/her voting privilege.

With that, I finish the Chiang Mai series of posts as we move to Bangkok next.

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