Medical tourism is where people fly to other countries to get cheaper/better medical treatment, and often also use that cost saving to fund a whole holiday. If getting your three kid’s braces and vaccines etc. done in your home country will cost $7k but only say $2k in some country abroad… You spend the extra $5k doing whatever the fuck you want over there on an awesome holiday.
Some of the more obvious examples of people doing this are women going to Thailand to get a much cheaper boob-job. Many men might be doing the same thing to get their penises enlarged, but I don’t suppose they’re incline to tell anyone.
The main problem is… How do you know it won’t be dodgy?
I needed to get my wisdom tooth out because it was ruining my fucking life for the past few days and did some research to see what Vietnam had to offer. One of the experiences I read about described the participant going into the surgery area and noticing the tools still had someone else’s blood on them. Not a good look. As much as like self-experiments… Contracting HIV on purpose is a bit beyond my comfort zone.
I ended up settling on Starlight Dental a Clinic, up-market one in Saigon for $250 USD and it was pretty good. I’d have thought I was in Australia if everyone there wasn’t Asian and spoke with an accent.
I asked my travel insurer if they would cover it and they said no because getting your wisdom teeth out isn’t an emergency dental expense, it’s a normal dental expense. Bastards. I’ll try claim it anyway. When my friends and I went to Japan, one of them, who hadn’t gone to a dentist in years and had a habit of opening beer bottles with his teeth, had developed… Horrible cavities. He used to show us with a fork how deep the holes in his teeth were. He came up with the idea that we should just smash his teeth out with a bat and use the travel insurance to cover getting new teeth. We didn’t end up doing it… But that actually would have worked, travel insurance totally covers stuff like that.
I’m yet to see a trend of people showing off their sexy X-Ray photos… But we might not be far off. Check out those teeth. Brilliant. The gums were over the top of my bottom left wisdom tooth though and was painful as fuck.
In Vietnam you can buy basically whatever you want from a pharmacy, no questions asked. So I didn’t need a prescription or anything for heavy pain medication. I once walked into a pharmacy to see an old couple interrogating the staff about getting Viagra, they left satisfied with the “generic one”, a happy ending.
The actual surgery itself was fine… But I can understand why people are afraid of dentists. Having your teeth worked on feels like a movie scene where NAZI scientists are doing experiments on the protagonist whilst he’s just sort of uncomfortably moaning.
I spoke to another expat who said that his dental experience in Vietnam was much nicer, mainly because the Dental assistants were quite attractive and would brush up against him as they leaned over him and such. In a country where it’s not unheard of to be offered a blow-job whilst getting a haircut perhaps there is a whole new style of dentistry that is waiting to be uncovered by an enterprising capitalist. Maybe that would cure people’s fear of dentists and lead to a much healthier society.
When they finally yanked my tooth out I actually didn’t realise they’d gotten it until my dentist showed me. Then when he asked “do you want to keep it?” I felt like he was offering me a puppy. Yes I wanted to keep it. I am still considering making a necklace out of it and seeing if anyone notices, might be a hell of a peacock. Perhaps I can claim that wearing a wisdom tooth around my neck is an expression of my spirituality. We shall see.