I am getting used to Thailand, having been here for two months now. But, I still have two months to go! Tomorrow night, I take a short flight to the capital city, Bangkok, from the offshore island of Koh Samui, and check into my bunk dormitory at the Lub D Bangkok Silom Hostel in the Old City. City life will be quite different from the lush jungle of this tropical island which reminds me so much of Florida where I spent much of my life. The tropics are the tropics.
I will schedule my eye surgery to take place there. It isn’t complicated…. cataract removal and two other simple procedures on the left eye, but it will be the first time in a long time that I have needed any sort of medical attention. By now, I’m a walking phenomenon for the status of my health at age 80. I love the fact that people still mistake me for sixty. When I set out on this journey in October, 2015, it was with the casual philosophy that I would just keep going as long as my body would. There was no such thing as a health insurance policy, since there are none for anyone past the age of 74. Well, they would grudgingly sell me one for $5000 per year and they made me feel lucky to get that.
No thanks! I’ll fly uncovered and pay out of pocket. By now, I would have sunk $15,000 into coverage since my third year has started. The eye surgery will be much less than that or the Medicare supplement back in the States. Sometimes you just have to trust in dumb luck and keep your fingers crossed.
Back in September, I reported on The Scariest Thing that can happen to one on the road: Running out of money! I was in Uganda, Africa, at the lovely Via Via Resort in Entebbe, near Lake Victoria; when my debit card expired. After many phone calls to my daughter in Colorado, we had the bank mail my new card to her address and then she Federal Expressed it on to me. That usually overnight service takes five days, when its to a far off continent. I had no access to cash for at least a week; but managed anyway, by eating all my meals in the resort restaurant and putting everything on the tab.
There’s a funny feeling to being technically broke. I had plenty of money in my checking account. I just couldn’t access it to get any cash from an ATM machine. I thought my troubles were over when the Fed Ex guy arrived. This card is good till 2021.
But, poverty came again for different reasons, just a week ago. I’ve been in Thailand for many weeks, but at the end of December, my brand new debit card froze and no ATM would cough up one Thai Baht. I’m not even sure why it shut down, though I think it was because I exceeded my daily limit and might have not allowed a full 24 hours to pass between withdrawals. Perhaps I entered the wrong password trying to enter the bank website? By then we were deep into the Christmas Holidays and phone calls to the other side of the planet, where day and night are reversed, became very difficult. My dear daughter, Jennifer, rose to the occasion again and stayed on the incredibly difficult task of phoning a bank official who cared. Then, it seemed that my credit card had stopped working as well; when it wouldn’t function at a Food Mart for $10 worth of groceries. Wow! How does one pay the hotel bill or schedule the next ongoing flight? I spent New Years mulling that question.
Now, the two cards have returned to normal and I’m breathing easier; but there is nothing so unnerving as not to have one spendable coin in your purse and I hope my visit to bank card purgatory is over! To achieve that end, I’m liquidating some stock with Edward Jones Investments in order to pay off my credit card debt and to pay for this eye surgery. Thank goodness, I had something on the back burner to draw upon! I always “Trust The Process” and don’t expect the same tragedies to keep on happening. Surely, the money issues will go away now! Meanwhile, here’s me in places all over the world: