After lining up a nice job teaching at a private language center with great people, I had a hiccup in my plans. I started feeling very full and uncomfortable. Within an hour the uncomfortable feeling progressed to severe pain. I started to worry and think about getting help. My Thai trainer had indicated the Chiang Mai Ram Hospital was the best place for medical help as they had English-speaking staff. I packed my electronics, a change or two of underwear and headed down to the street. A tuk-tuk was available to flag down and it only took 10 minutes and 200 baht to get to the ER door. I was seen with just a short wait, still 15 minutes feels like days when you are in pain.
After consultation with the ER doctor on duty, it was determined to be pancreatitis and I was checked into a very lovely private room around midnight. The room was nicer than my apartment and had satellite TV, a microwave, bathroom with shower and a small frig. Nurses set me up with IV fluids and most importantly PAIN Meds and left me to rest. For the next 2 days I was on water only and gradually added in simple broth. On my fifth day I had a CT Scan and was well enough to be released. A nursing assistant took me to the desk for checkout where my bill was $1863. While I was looking it over, they said I could buy a VIP card for 100 baht ($3) that would reduce my hospital bill by 20%. Such a deal.
I was very impressed with the doctors and nursing staff there. Care was equal to and in some ways exceeded care I had received in the US.