Gazette – Something to share after the LA Marathon

On March 17th last month, I participated in the LA Marathon. As usual, I didn’t have high expectations, just hoping not to perform worse than before and not to exert myself too much during the run. So, for the three months leading up to the race, I made efforts to run 7-10 kilometers every day. Then, in the two weeks before the race, I did some long-distance training to allow my body to adapt, hoping to make the race less strenuous. However, halfway through the event, I began to feel discomfort in my lower left abdomen. Hoping a restroom break would resolve it, but unfortunately, the situation didn’t improve, so I had to pick up the pace and to finish the race with determining efforts. I completed the entire course in 6 hours and 10 minutes, but it was a struggle. For me, participating in a marathon is a personal challenge, with no pressure whether I come in second or last. Of course, everyone has different goals.




When I got home, I described my symptoms online and organized all the data, and concluded that it was a hernia. I immediately contacted my friend in Thailand, who helped me arrange an examination at an International Hospital on April 2nd, which conveniently fit into my schedule. At the end of March, I participated the Plastic Recycling Show in Dallas, followed by business trips to Malaysia, Thailand, and Pakistan. During this time, I dared not exercise recklessly, and to maintain my condition, I also had to pay attention to my diet, avoiding smoking and drinking.




Arriving at Bumrungrad Hospital In Bangkok on April 2nd felt like stepping into a five-star hotel. They offered translation services in Chinese, English, Japanese, French, German, and languages covering almost all Southeast Asian, Indian, and Arabic  . The hospital seemed truly international, with all medical staff speaking fluent English, and patients coming from all over the world, like a small United Nations. Apart from those who specifically come to Thailand for check-ups and surgeries, many foreigners already reside in Thailand. I have many friends of different nationalities who own vacation homes and apartments in Thailand, and Bangkok is one of the most visited cities in the world.




After completing the registration procedures, I met with the doctor. The friendly female doctor, who spoke English fluently and without a Thai accent, understood my condition, conducted examinations, and assessed my health before scheduling the surgery. The entire process, from registration to surgery completion, took only 36 hours. During this time, I met with many doctors specializing in ultrasound, cardiology, gastroenterology, anesthesiology, and many nurses who constantly monitored blood pressure, heart rate, blood oxygen, etc. After the surgery, with the doctor checking the wound, I was able to fly the next day, allowed to drink alcohol and engage in some light exercises after seven days, and resume normal exercise after four weeks.




Besides Americans and hospital staff, others may not understand why I went abroad for medical treatment and surgery. Foreign friends may not realize how advanced American technology and medical facilities are, or why I chose to seek medical treatment abroad. The last time I sought a doctor’s examination in the United States, it took several weeks to get an appointment, and then several more weeks to get the results, followed by another appointment to interpret the reports. If further examinations were needed, it would take over a year. This is commonplace in the United States.


Original by Dr. Steve Wong       

April 11, 2024

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