Vietnam #1: It’s a Long Ass Flight to Vietnam
Vietnam #2: The Best Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam #3: A Lesson in History and Propaganda
Vietnam #4: The Streets of HCMC
Vietnam #5: Is the Mekong Delta Worth It?
The ominous title of this blog post notwithstanding, my first overseas trip to the doctor turned out to be a productive and even enjoyable experience.
One day into our Vietnam trip, I experienced severe blockage in my ears to the point where I could barely hear Lisa. Lisa argued this was to my benefit because I couldn’t hear the overwhelming HCMC traffic, but I was inclined to disagree.
A day later, a not-so-lovely rash broke out on my legs, and proceeded to spread to my arms, my neck, and the rest of my body. After an unsuccessful trip to the local pharmacy, I asked the hotel concierge how to find an English-speaking doctor. Concierge referred me to the Family Medical Practice – barely a five minute walk from our hotel.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised. As we sat in the waiting room, it became clear that the Family Medical Practice is geared toward expats with a steady stream of English-speaking and other foreign doctors, though we saw several locals there as well. My doctor turned out to be an American Israeli woman who was extremely kind and helpful.
According to its website, Family Medical Practice is “the first foreign-operated, multi-disciplinary medical provider in Vietnam, opened in Hanoi in 1994 and owns and operates five modern clinics based in Hanoi, Danang and HCMC. FMP is the only Private Medical Provider in Vietnam with such national coverage.”
I am lucky that my ailments were not dangerous or life threatening in the slightest – just a nuisance. But even this nuisance turned out to be an eye-opening (and mildly comical) experience.
Travel has taught me many things about the world and myself – and one of those lessons is that human beings are adaptable. Sure, I missed my doctor and the local CVS where I don’t have to engage in a game of charades to find the medication I’m looking for. But even half-way across the globe, I was able to get the treatment I needed. I am also awed by the doctors who leave the comfort of their home countries to work in hospitals and clinics across Vietnam.
The moral of this story is that shit happens – especially when you’re on vacation 8,900 miles from home. And more often than not, there is a solution if you’re willing to ask a bunch of questions, roll with the punches, and laugh a little.