Things may be looking up

Sawadee Khrap

Just got back from Sriphat Hospital visiting 3 doctors, Cardio, Kidney, and Physical Health and all gave me good grades.  BP  120/50 and appears stable so far,  kidney function stabilized, muscle spasms in lower back eliminated by stretching exercises, ED appears under control, Plavix stopped and hip pain gone, acid reflux much lower since using coconut oil for cooking. and the glaucoma problem seems to be getting better using the latest drops Azopt – side-effects almost all gone – vision becoming much clearer – next month will actually tell when I go see the ophthalmologist again. 

One problem is still there but greatly reduce and that’s the mild aching in my legs especially in the evening that can sometimes wake me up.  For that I have been told to start drinking more milk to raise the calcium levels and do more stretching exercises along with increased walking.  I am using the elliptical machine again and can do more walking since eliminating the pain in my hips from the Plavix.       Soooo   milk it is.

It was quite a trip to get here and I feel sorry for many that suffer with similar medical problems and just stick to the first or same medicine prescribed without carefully questioning everything, doing their own research (internet is excellent) and developing a mutually agreed plan with their doctors concerning their health.   I had to work with my doctors, giving them the best feedback I could about any and all side-effects and not just accept the first results to get where I am now.  And believe me we tested several combinations –  I thought the doctors were going to give up before I did, but they worked with me all along.

The doctors at Sriphat Hospital, Chiang Mai and Siriraj Hospital, Bangkok are excellent – and I don’t think you can find better hospitals anywhere – and considering the cost I am sure you can’t.  Today’s visits with all three specialists, totals 1200 Baht   $35


Coconut Oil

Sawadee Khrap

My latest discovery – cooking with coconut oil – 2 weeks ago I started cooking everything , eggs, stir-fried dishes, black bean with pork, pork chops, etc. using coconut oil instead of my normal olive oil.   What a difference so far, my acid-reflux problem that has plagued me for several years has all but disappeared.  The food tastes great, so even if this is just a passing fad there is no reason to change back.  I never liked palm or corn oils, which is so commonly used here, and I have read many articles that olive oil should not be heated but only used on things like salads – cold.

I’m never the first one to try anything, I’d rather wait and see if good results from others are there before I venture in.  And although for years I have been using only coconut oil for my massages, cooking with it was not considered – I really thought the taste would be too much.  It’s not  – the food is delicious.   I had switched to olive from the normal corn or palm cooking oils when I started having my BP problems – blocked arteries.

I have read several articles that in the past coconut oil was the preferred oil for cooking – but in the wisdom of the food industry they shot it down for polyunsaturated vegetable oils claiming they were better for the fight against heart disease.  Coconut was way too expensive to compete against these cheap oils and lost out.  Actually the populous lost out – coconut, with its anti-inflammatory properties and healthy saturated fats is far better – heart disease from sugars and polyunsaturated oils is far more common. .  Butter is better than margarine.

So there, if your not using coconut oil and still using the common artery-choking cooking oils – stop and try coconut.


Keep your BP under control

Sawadee Khrap

Amazing, about Sept 7th I was told about having glaucoma and was prescribed eye drops to reduce the pressure in my eyes.  Did that ever start a chain of events that a month would finally lead me to being single again.  Prior to that my BP was stable about 110-122 and I felt very calm and happy – I think our relationship was too, I did have some apprehension about how close we were but I think that we were getting closer – I have to admit that I did rush into the affair, which I shouldn’t have have done and really taken it slower with him.  But that being said, as I look back now I think we were on a path to possibly making it work. Then came the eye drops!!

The first drops, when sleeping,  caused terrible pain in my legs and knees and real vivid bad paranoiac dreams. So we went to the next trial, the dreams became less but the pain continued and my BP started to climb. By the time we got to the third medicine, my BP was back to pre-stent time 160-200 and my composure and temperament had started to go through the roof.   I could notice it in my driving but didn’t think I was also projection it toward my relationship.  I had also started to develop paranoia about our relationship being true.  Little things would really had become large problems.  It’s always a task to make a multi-culture relationship work but with this added influence it would become impossible.

I had started lashing about about little things that I saw that I thought were undermining our relations, especially at night, trying to get to sleep,  I would see all the possible infractions that was leading to the conclusion that he didn’t love me.  Well the rest is history, we broke up after a big fight.   Can’t use hind sight here.

For the past several days I have stopped all eye drops and my BP is slowly dropping with my mood and temperament becoming more calm.  It’s really a remarkable change that I can feel, I don’t know what the glaucoma status is – too late for the relationship but possibly some help to others that are fighting high BP and glaucoma.

All I can say is be careful of what drugs you take – I am going back first to the Cardiologist tomorrow and go over the whole series of events and the BP drug interactions with the glaucoma medicine.  And then get the two doctors in concert before trying any new drugs again.  Hopefully there is a better way to control the eye pressure, short of Laser Surgery, that doesn’t effect my BP or personality.   As for the relationship, I really hope he finds the Bear he was always looking for.


Drug Interactions !!!

Sawadee Khrap

My God, do you have to watch out for drug interactions.  I have been fairly stable on my regime of drugs so far  – valsartan, Madiplot, aspirin, folic acid, Fish Oil, turmeric, black pepper, and Cialis.

Getting off the Plavix took most of the pain from my hips and I can finally walk again – but weak from no exercise  – I did increase the Turmeric to 1000mg daily to fight any inflammation – seems to be working.

but when I was told about having mild Glaucoma – they first prescribed some drops called Taflotan – a prostaglandin analog – one drop each eye in the evening.  I could put up with all the sided effects except the pain in my knees – yes, eye drops causing pain in my knees. amazing.  So now they switched to Alphagan – a Adrenergic agonists – knee pain gone and my vision seems clearer – but probably just from the drops moisture  – not the medicine itself..  This stuff supposedly can cause higher blood pressure so I just have to wait and see if it makes mine climb too high.   Both  lower the fluid in the eye reducing pressure but also can react with or against BP medicines – I.e. Valsartan – and one of the side effects (which I haven’t had before ) is pain in knees and joints.

I think that there was a reaction with the valsartan to cause the knee pain – anyway seems to be getting better so far on the new stuff – but I will be monitoring the BP more closely.  My home situation doesn’t help – stress is not a good thing to constantly have – need to clear this up fast and get back to a stress-free life or at lest the best I can do.


Off the Plavix – eye problems

Sawadee Khrap

Today I stopped taking the Plavix – I really think this is the culprit responsible for the pain I get in my hips and legs when walking – we will see.   Both my Cardiologist here and the Surgeon who put in the stents said it was ok to stop after 30 days  and it’s been 2 months so far.

I have heard some bad reports about Plavix and particularly when used in combination with aspirin.  Very bad for the heart – so I am glad to hear I can stop using it.  Having no heart problems just blockage in the renal arteries I guess I am not as susceptible to strokes or major blood clotting.

I was given 2 – Express SD Renal stents.  Stainless steel balloon expandable Non-drug-eluting peripheral stents.   In their literature they state 30 day for Plavix needed. In the past I had a reaction to “metals” and could not wear bracelets or rings for over 20 years with out mild allergic reactions.  However for the past 3-4 years this has not been a problem and it seems that the stents caused no problems either- at least not so far.  I wear 2 rings now with no side effects either.

So now I am down to taking:

Madiplot, Valsartan, baby aspirin, Folic acid – along with Cialis, Turmeric and black peppercorns.

BUT, lasts week I had a eye exam and they found I have started to develop Glaucoma in both eyes – so I am now started on “Taflotan”  – one drop each eye in the evening – hopefully this will control this problem. — getting to that age where everything is bucking up against the warranty and starting to fail.  Doctor tells me there could be side effects – could be he states ?  haha – red eyes and black around the area – we will see.   I do see a little bloodshot started but mild so far and haven’t noticed any darkling around the eyes – don’t want a clown appearance.

It never ends.


Physical Therapy – not disc problem

Sawadee Khrap

Just got back from Sriphat Physical Therapy Center for the second  ultra-sound and lumbar traction session.  Both shoulders and lower back received 7 minuets each of ultra-sound deep massage and then in for 20 min of lumbar traction = total cost  300 Baht    $9.    I was at Tao Gardens 2 weeks ago for just lower back ultra-sound and was charged 1700 Baht.    Quite a savings. 

What I thought was a flair up of the herniated disc, turned out to be a case of aggressive muscle spasm.  The doctor at Sriphat spotted this right away and set me up for physical therapy to cure the problem.   I’ve scheduled 2 sessions a week for the next 2 weeks to bring everything back to normal.  Along with stretching exercises at home I should be discomfort free soon. 

I also bought a pair of new shoes and this really helped too – I tend to wear them down in the lower outside area which causes me to walk off center and aggravates the back muscles and this in turn causes the vertebras in the back to pop out of position causing more muscle spasm.  I don’t usually notice it until the spasms get so bad that they start to affect the sciatic nerve and I get sever pain down both legs.   I’ll be more observant as to how the shoes are wearing down and make sure to get new ones when needed.  

However, at 300 Baht a session,  I definitely can afford a once week, or at least every other week, visit to the Therapy Center in addition to my normal weekly 2-hour Oil massages to keep my back in good shape.  That amounts to 4600 Baht/Mo or  $130/Mo.  And I tip well – you could do the same here for half the price.  Think about it – that’s 4 private (young men) massages in my condo + 2 therapy sessions.  Try that somewhere else.

Thailand retirement is affordable and pampers me like a baby.  Gay heaven with affordable health care and living expenses so that I can exist in style on my US retirement pension. 


Speaking of Turmeric

Sawadee Khrap

Thanks Kevin for this info – I haven’t tried it yet but I will try it later and see what I think – love to have some of the readers try it and leave their comments too.turmeric Latti          Turmeric Latte

I have definitely noticed that the Turmeric and Black Peppercorns  I take in the mornings is helping reduce the inflammation in my back and coupled with ice packs and minimal exercise,  most of the soreness, stiffness and pain has diminished.  


Tao Gardens–Team’s school –

Today is Team’s first full day at University for his Masters.  Left this morning at 7:30 and don’t expect him back till about 4:30.  Apparently there are only 5 students in the Toxicology class for Master Degree this year – one is a ladyboy and they have become friends and will be having lunch today  – I’ll show photos later.

Yesterday, I went to Tao Gardens Spa and got a Ultra Sound massage for my back – 1500 Baht – I felt the heat all the way home – 20 KM – and then put on the ice-pack again.   Getting better  – 113937today I walked to Kad Suan Kaew Shopping Center and the exercise really helped  – I hope I will be somewhat back to normal in a week. 

Wednesday I will see the Cardiologist at Sriphat Hospital for a BP and stent check up and will ask about their Physical Rehabilitation Center – Ultra Sound treatments and therapy.   I think,  if I can, schedule a monthly session just for insurance to keep my back strong – of course I will have to develop a real daily plan of exercise for the back and using the Elliptical machine for Cardio..  Now that Team is in school I will take on most of the household duties and that will provide something to do and a start on a basic form of exercise.

Everything else seems to be going well –


Turmeric – Does it have value ?

Sawadee Khrap

Over the last few days I have had a very strong and painful flair-up of my herniated disk that got me early retirement.  Pinching the Sciatic nerve, causing pain down both legs and growing ED problems.   Actually I think I caused the flair-up by improper setting while watching TV and not doing my exercises to strengthen the back muscles. Getting lazy and paying for it.

Usually I would apply ice cold packs to the area and take some Naproxen to reduce the inflammation.   But, with my present medicine after the stents – I can’t take Naproxen as a anti-inflammatory. so I tried Turmeric as an alternative.  I have now increased my intake of Turmeric ,until the back problem is gone, to twice a day – 1000 mg with Black Peppercorns (used to increase the absorption of the Turmeric) with great success.   Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory and may be even better than Naproxen, at least it is compatible with my other meds.       WOW it works.

After one day – most of the pain and soreness is gone.  I am wearing a elastic belt to offer more support but the healing effects are really noticeable.  Indeed Turmeric is doing the job. Of course I have to do better about exercise and watching that I don’t compound the problem any more. But when I do have a flair up – Turmeric appears to be the best anti-inflammatory medicine to take and hopefully a daily dosage of 1000mg will prevent any recurrence in the future.

I have also eliminated the Bestatin – as I believe that it was causing increased pain in my hips – I’ll let you know if this is correct – but I don’t think I really need it and all I can read is how bad it is and how over used this drug is.   We’ll see.      So now my morning meds are:

  • 160 mg Valsartan 
  • 5 mg Madiplot
  • 5 mg  Folic Acid
  • 75 mg  Plavix
  • 83 mg Aspirin
  • 10 mg  Cialis
  • 1000 mg Turmeric (Curcuma Longa Linn)
  • 5  raw whole Black Peppercorns

I will see the Cardiologist next week for a full check up and blood test and will post the results – but I seem to be having steady BP at 115/58 average and reduced pain in my hips.


Present Meds Update

Sawadee Khrap

Well I hope I don’t jinx the progress but so far I have had very stable blood pressure and feeling pretty good – no  ED to really complain about either.  The two stents seem to have done the trick – coupled with the new pill regime of:

  • 160 mg Valsartan     main blood pressure med
  • 5 mg Madiplot          extra control – BP
  • 10 Bestatian             Cholesterol control  LDL
  • 10-20 Cialis              ED aid – alternating 10/20mg
  • 5 mg Folic acid          Kidney
  • 75 mg Plavix              Blood thinner for stent
  • 83 mg Aspirin            Anti-clotting

This combination seems to be holding everything steady now – last check kidneys have stabilized and BP average 119/60  – getting strength back and will start a daily 20 min. workout on Elliptical machine in addition to daily walking – that should really help the blood flow. As always have to wait and check next month to see if it is still holding – hope so – would be nice to be able to relax now and enjoy my old age.

If you are having problems and looking for a Medical Vacation – I would highly recommend you look at Thailand  – Let me know if you have any questions and I will see if I can find the answer for you –


Almost moved in – taken over

Sawadee Khrap

20160702_140641There he is – first thing was to set up his office – it’s complete now and holds a primary spot in the living room – once the teddy bears were in it was designated officially finished.  University starts on Aug 3rd so everything is ready in this area – housework for me but I don’t mind if he is working or in school.  Got’ta brush up, not used to doing cleaning  – usually just hired a cleaning woman – may still have to do that later – but for the beginning I will consider it needed exercise.

Operations seen to be very successful, stents in both the Renal Arteries appears to have stabilized the kidneys – changed the medicines to be:

  • 10 mg  Madiplot       BP control
  • 150 mg  Irbesartan    BP control
  • 20 mg   BeStatin        Cholesterol levels
  • 75 mg Plavix             Anti clotting for stents
  • 81 mg  Aspirin                 “”     “”
  • 5 mg  Folic Acid        Kidney support

Blood Pressure holding within the 100 – 130 range – average about 120    Monitoring every 2 weeks until we are sure that this combination is perfect.  Looking like this will be my regular meds from now on or for at least the next year.

Team’s off for 5 days to go home and visit the family and break the news, show off his ring and then back to finish moving in and settling down   –   I hope, school starts soon.   Just renewed the lease  –  and it’s an easy, short walk or bike ride from here to his classes  (Master Degree in Toxicology)  at Suan Dok Hospital (Sriphat).

All for now


2nd Operation successful

Sawadee Khrap

Just got back from BKK and the second operation for the blocked left kidney artery – 74,000 Baht this time – so far the total bill for 2 stents comes to   169,000 Baht  =  $4694.    Feeling great – scheduled for check up and blood tests to see if everything is going OK next week, should know how well the kidneys are doing then. 

Remember that BKK Hospital in Pattaya wanted 1,000,000 Baht for the same thing. —— Please, if you come to Thailand for a medical vacation be sure and check out the Gov’t teaching and training hospitals first – Sriphat in Chiang Mai and Sririaj in BKK .   Great service, pricing and quality.  

I’ll post more and some photos taken on the trip later.


Back Pattaya– 1 st Operation done

Sawadee Khrap

Just got back to Chiang Mai from Bangkok and Pattaya – 1st operation at Siriraj Hospital completed – placed a stent in the right kidney artery and scheduled the operation for the left side on June 4th.   After getting on the table it was discovered that both kidney arteries were blocked and the medicine I was taking was actually making things worse.  In addition, because of the deterioration of the kidneys, the doctor decided the safest thing to do was one side at a time thereby reducing the use of the defining dye as it is not good for the kidneys either.  So we did just the right side this time.

  • Private hospital room and operation  ( 1 stent)                 
  • Air fare return trip from Chiang Mai to Bangkok
  • Longstay hotel – Pattaya  – 5 days  (included breakfast)
  • 4 – taxi trips from Pattaya Longstay hotel to Siriraj hospital 

Total cost 106,000 Baht       roughly $ 3,000

Next month I’ll have the left side done and the total cost will still be within the 250,000 Baht estimate the hospital gave me.   Remember when this all started Bangkok Hospital wanted 800,00 Baht for just one stent and 200,00 for each additional if needed.  I will also discuss with the doctor if it would be necessary to stent the artery to my left side which has resulted in different BP readings in both arms – maybe not needed – I hope so – but even if it is recommended the total cost will hover near 300,000 Baht     $8,300    3 – STENTS

I have already noticed a great improvement – As I mentioned above we did have to change the BP medicine but it has really dropped now and I feel normal again.  My right groin area is really heavily bruised right now – really black. but little or no pain – just a little sore.   The operation was painless and quick – 20 min. But I had to lay with my leg straight for 12 hours after the operation to make sure the artery was closed properly.   My back hurt more than my groin area –  All in all – great success so far and it should be a piece of cake to get the left side done in June.

Something’s fucked up with my phone and I can’t get the photos to d/l  – I’ll figure this out later and post them.


Back from Pattaya–Operation set

Sawadee Khrap

Took a trip to Pattaya with a Chiang Mai friend  – Jack  –  so I could go to the doctor in BKK  Siriraj Hospital and see about setting up the  dual stent operation. – I thought I would have at least 2-3 months waiting period but they booked it in 2 weeks  – May 7th. not even time for me to get all worked up.    Don, who lives in Pattaya, said he will go with me Saturday and Charlie will visit me in the hospital on Sunday – booked a private room in the hospital for the operation – it has a TV and sleeping room for guests.  Estimated maximum cost expected is only 300,000 Baht.  $8,500

IMG_4453we drove down in the Vitara and it performed beautifully, at IMG_4452Pattaya we booked into the “Longstay Hotel” – in the heart of  the Jomtien Beach area – very nice accommodations – 750 night and extremely convenient to everything here. 

IMG_4444HPIM1858-2We arrived on the last day of Songkran and drove into the thick of the water throwing along the Sukhumvit Hwy.   I did get to show Jack some of the local sites but he had no problem IMG_4448finding his own way and I think he is now planning one moving there – LOL.      The Gay Candy Store.     We took time to visited  Khao Chee Chan and surrounding area and very close  new attraction they are building – some kind of upside down and other cartoonish houses.

On the way back home we stopped at Sukhothai Historical Park and got some new shots of that area. We got there about 9AM and missed the tourist – great to almost have the place to ourselves to walk around.IMG_4470-PanoIMG_4463IMG_4479

Not too many photos – worried about the operation – will post after next week and see how everything is going.


Happy Songkran 2016 – Sawadee Pee Mai

Sawadee Khrap


HAPPY SONGKRAN 2016    HAPPY NEW YEAR       And Chiang Mai’s 720 year birthday.    

  NOT going out to the water fight this year – don’t feel like getting in the fray and particularly getting wet – although the weather has been hovering about 100-106 the last few days – Chiang Mai is the hottest place in Thailand – thank God the humidly is low so its tolerable.    So the above photo,  which was taken several years ago,  but looks very close to what it looked like today at Central Kad Suan Kaew Shopping Center.    

Getting ready to go to Bangkok next week and get everything ready for the stent operation.Might as well get it over as I seem to be hovering right at the edge of being able to control the blood pressure with meds – any little thing right now will set it flying up.  Seem to be OK for  now but that could change next week.  So I’m going to drive down to Pattaya for a week and while there go to Siriraj Mahidol Hospital in BKK where I went several years ago and re-schedule the operation, estimated 2-3 mo. from now..