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Let's Get Physical In Chiang Mai
By Matt Rice
19 January 2011

Lets get physical in Chiang Mai


I quickly stride past the opulent and lavish breakfast buffet, inhale the signature aromatherapy scents wafting the hotel lobby , focussed I head straight to the door man, I am on a mission this morning... 

"Sawasdee Krup, could you please instruct the driver to take me directly to the Ram hospital''

"Oh sir are you feeling unwell" , "no, I have an appointment for a check up", "very well, very good hospital sir",

Feeling reassured by that comment, my tuk tuk lurched on to the road, with the wind in my face, there was no turning back now.
You know you are in Thailand, when you travel on 3 wheels, seeing the grin of the driver as we hurdle full throttle away from the green light,  we followed the walled old city perimeter road, passing the single file monks receiving their morning alms, Chiang Mai old city is very intriguing, almost mystic hiding behind the ruined brick walls, the old moat  banked with clipped green grass, you will pass a city gate on each side, and a quick peak inside reveals old charming shop houses, the glint of a golden stupa in the distance, cyclo's being peddled by grandpa's of which a face could tell a thousand stories.

Jolted to a halt, I'm at the hospital entrance, the butterfly's return to my fasted empty stomach which is cruel when you are on holidays. The entrance and lobby to the hospital is so clean, linoleum polished to a mirror finish, I register quickly at the reception, and promptly receive my hospital card and am reassured I may visit the hospital again as I am now registered, thanks but that's a rain check.
The lift door opens and I am greeted with a delightful waft of fragrant food from the staff canteen, again very cruel on an empty growling tummy. I press level 3 , and the doors reveal a waiting room, a smiling face greets me and I proceed to fill in a test paper of questions. You know you are in Thailand when confronted with paper work, duplicates all to be stamped and separated to a myriad of departments, but strangely it's reassuring to know you are on file, to be archived away in a brown box, somewhere.
Mr Rice, please come with me, a nurse immaculately dressed in a uniform from the 50's leads me to room 1, enchanted by this time warp, and the thought I would hate her to soil her whiter than white starched dress, I didn't even feel the prick as my blood is extracted into vials, and I am presented with a specimen jar for a wee wee sample, all done, I am taken to room 2.
Plugged into a machine via wire tentacles attached to a beep beep machine, I felt moe like I was on the set of general hospital, no sooner I am unattached and the nurse smiled and said thats fine my cardiogram was normal, I am escorted to room 3.
Now I have been on holidays for a week so cut me some slack !, as I face the scales and body fat test, a slight frown from the nurse, she shows me the ratio scale and politely giggles I am approaching obese, obese ! how very dare you ! I think, oh well I am on holidays and I guess all those coconut curries and G & T's have finally come home to roost.
Tail between my leg, I am escorted to radiology, instructed to change into a blue karate outfit, kachunk ! as the x-ray is taken of my chest, wow! I didnt think old fashioned x-ray plates still existed, down the corridor to the scan room for a full bone density scan. Panic!, as they ask me to take of my ring, now you know you are in Thailand when its excruciating painful to remove a ring from a swollen digit. Prostate on the scan table,finger aching, actually this machine was very relaxing, as the whirl of the mechanics hypnotically sent me to sleep.
Awoken my the beeps of the finished scan, a smile greets and I am taken back upstairs, and asked please come back at 3pm to see the Doctor for my results, gee finished already, I bounced back out the entrance, hailed a tuk tuk, and we swayed into the building morning peak traffic. As I left the sweet hygienic smell of antiseptic floor wash and awoken by puff's of diesel truck exhaust, my journey back was longer in the traffic, following the city moat, the fountains were on now and the fine spray cooled and refreshed my face, showing a smile of achievement, I had survived a full medical check up and quite enjoyed the whole experience.
Back at the hotel, the door man greets me, "all well sir, yes thanks, please enjoy breakfast" Oh yes breakfast, reflecting on my concerned nurse, just fruit and yoghurt I think, oh,  perhaps a little fried rice, and just a corner of a fresh croissant, after all, I am on holidays.

And in case you're wondering, all was aok, my results were ready at 3pm, and I was presented with a souvenir folder with impressive print outs, images and medical terms, fully explained by the doctor ,all for the cost a gp visit back home, yes well worth the fasting and initial butterflies. 

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