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keyman

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keyman last won the day on July 4

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About keyman

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  • Birthday 08/05/1958

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  1. Cheques? (Checks) - Do people still use those? I haven't used a cheque for nearly ten years!!
  2. There's a money changer near the Second road traffic lights going towards Jomtien. On the left about 200 metres from the junction with Pattaya Tai. You go inside what looks like a tourist tat shop but also signposted as a money changer. The rate last week for me was 3 satang better than TT and you're not stood on the road for all and sundry see what you've got. I had my passport with me but wasn't asked for. KM
  3. And that’s where I am now, safely ensconced in my apartment. My vision has already improved to the point that I’m typing this (the next day) without the need for my glasses, something that was impossible before. I have to wear sunglasses whenever I’m out to keep dust and dirt out and stick to my timetable of eye drops until at least next week. Vision isn’t perfect but getting better each day as the healing process progresses. I was told at the beginning it would be like this and I would also see like a ‘halo’ effect around lights, which does happen. Again, not something that overly concerns me as he did tell me this would ease as your brain gets used to the new signals its receiving. I get a bit of a strobing effect occasionally and also feel there is something on my peripheral, but again, it’s expected and not uncomfortable or annoying. Was it worth it? I think so. It was a lot of money to cough up and it may not suit everyone. I don’t have deep pockets, but I’m still working and can therefore replenish. I will no longer need new glasses every 12-24 months, although may still need regular check ups. As I’ve had my lenses replaced, I also won’t get cataracts in the future. I know someone who had them and the problems he had to suffer with until the NHS replaced them, but he had a long wait each time and still has to wear glasses. That sort of inconvenience I can do without and I think that is what probably pushed me to have it done. At this point I would just say thanks for taking the time to read this unusual trip report, but don’t think of it as the end. As my journey continues I’ll give further updates as to how my eyes develop and any problems I may get. Off to try out if I really can play golf now! Keyman
  4. Post Op – not that kind! They wheeled me from the room into a recovery area where they just wanted me to sit for 30 minutes or so, to make sure I felt ok. They gave me a large pair of ‘Roy Orbisons’ to wear to protect my eyes from the light, which were to become my companion for the rest of my stay. If anyone doesn’t get the ‘Roy Orbison’ reference, you’re far too young and should leave the forums immediately. Dr Somchai came along to check how I was doing and have the proverbial picture taken again – it made me think either he has a very creepy scrapbook or I’m his first patient to survive!! Anyway, I was soon wheeled back to my private room and my concerned ‘live in’. Whilst I had been away, they had brought lunch – it was luke warm and horrible. This became a recurring theme with the evening meal and the breakfast. I should have picked up on this when I was shown the badly photocopied menu originally, as I suspect I wasn’t given anything special, just the bog standard crap they serve on the wards. I can see why the onsite shops do so well! From this point on, I was given a battery of eye drops on a very regular basis, probably every 30-40 minutes, as well as having my blood pressure, blood oxygen level and my pulse rate checked. It seemed that we were forever being interrupted by one nurse or another, until one said she would not be back until 10pm – result! Time for a little ‘doctor and patient’ roleplay with yours truly in the starring rol as the handsome doctor (still in my scrubs) and my ‘live in’ willing volunteering to have her temperature checked with an, err, unorthodox thermometer. True trooper as she is, she played the role admirably and we settled into the afterglow – only for a different nurse come in to check my vitals again! I think my heart rate was up a bit this time, but we at least had a laugh about it, realizing just how close we were to being caught out. The other nurse returned at 10pm only to inform me she would also be returning at 2am – bloody hell, they’re thorough! Another nurse also arrived at stupid o’clock so sleep wasn’t the best, especially as I had to keep the Roy Orbisons on in case I accidentally rubbed my eyes in the night. Suffice to say I had a rather disturbed sleep and awoke only when they came to tell me Dr Somchai needed another picture, sorry, to give me a final check prior to release. I was wheeled back to the original reception area where my eyesight was checked again and enquiries made as to how I felt. To be fair, the treatment had been pretty good and I was pleased with how everything had progressed so far. Dr Somchai told me what I was and was not to do over the coming weeks. I am not to drink alcohol for a month (that might not work!), I was not to do any exercise, but I was able to walk and to play golf. I was quite surprised at this as before the operation, I couldn’t play golf, so a bit of a bonus, really. It was explained how many different eye drops I had to take and how often, that if I had any problems, headaches and the like, I should call them immediately. A follow up appointment was also booked for the following Monday and also they will see me again before I leave the following week. After what I hoped was my final picture being taken I was wheeled back to my room to get changed and collect my medication. Unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to keep my scrubs, but I was allowed to keep my Roy Orbison’s. My breakfast had also been delivered whilst I was away and true to form, was shit.
  5. The Op Sometime previously I had been prepped and a catheter inserted into my right arm. They had explained that I would have my face covered, other than for each eye in turn to be revealed. They began to tape the covers to my face with what I presumed to be some form of surgical tape, but when it came time for them to remove it, felt like Gorilla Tape!! They joked that it was probably the most painful part of the procedure, but I said no, the paying for it was the most painful! Oh, how we laughed! They said that anesthetic drops would be placed in my eye and I would see lights moving and feel a little pressure at times (remember the cotton bud?) but should feel no pain. They also injected via the catheter something to help me relax, but I wasn’t aware of that at the time. I think most people have a dominant eye, mine is my left, so they operate on the other eye first. As they were going to do both eyes they had told me previously (and told me again) that once completed, they wouldn’t start on the second eye unless I could confirm I could see from the first eye. The operation commenced on my right eye and just as they had said, I could see lights moving, the odd bit of pressure, but no pain. I believe they had placed something in my eye to prevent me blinking, but I neither felt it being inserted nor removed at the end. Within 30 minutes (maybe 20?) it was all done. They removed the covers from my face (fucking tape!!) and checked that I could see with my right eye and was I happy for them to start on my left eye? I confirmed yes to both and it all started again. Soon it was Gorilla Tape time and it was over. As I sat up and looked around, albeit a bit hazy, I watched a guy with a clutch of white sticks walk glumly out of the room – no sale for you today, mate!!
  6. Pre Op We soon arrived where the operation was to take place and was met by another lady, who would be assisting with the procedure. She spoke very good English and was quite chatty. She took me into another room and gave me a pair of operating ‘scrubs’ to wear. She then showed me to a waiting area with a couple of leather couches and offered me a seat. She said someone else was already being operated on, so I would be waiting about 40 minutes. I made myself comfortable and closed my eyes as there was nothing else to do! She returned a little later with a pillow for my head and told me to put my feet up! I think she was surprised at how relaxed I was. At the allotted time everything began to step up a gear. A porter appeared with a wheelchair and the nurse/doctor placed a large white towel over me. We set off along the corridor until we reached what looked like a vending machine. She opened the glass door and removed another large white towel, only this one had been warmed up – clever, I thought, but was soon to realize why as she wheeled me into the operating theatre which was surprisingly cold! As I laid down on the operating table I thought to myself, this is it. It’s actually going to happen! Someone is going to cut my eyeballs open!!!
  7. This is a story of my experience of the process, guys. nothing more, nothing less. It's not a sales blurb to encourage you to do the same. If you want full tech specs, perhaps Dr Somchai is the guy you need to speak to. I've tried to keep this as a light hearted story of events, not a technical manual of all and sundry. As such I'll post the whole thing instead of piecemeal. Pattaya Time I arrived on the Saturday and was soon ensconced in my apartment with my holiday ‘live-in’. She’s someone who has been with me for over a year as my ‘holiday girl’ and it’s an arrangement that suits us both very well. She was aware of my forthcoming operation and wanted to come to the hospital with me. Although I said she would be sat around a lot and I would have to stay in overnight, she was ok with this. Monday soon arrived and I had to be there by 8.30. As per normal this trip, it was drizzling so we got a taxi. Originally he wanted 250 baht, but very quickly dropped it to 200. I only mention this as when we returned the next day, the taxi at the hospital wanted 250 and when we told him we only paid 200 the day before he said they had to pay the hospital to operate from there. They do have a dedicated taxi point there so fair enough and having paid out what I did, I could hardly quibble over 50 baht! As expected, Thai efficiency had me checked in and up to the eye surgery department, where a nurse was soon getting me documented, before taking me into a side room for some eye tests. Funnily enough she also asked if I minded being photographed during the process. Being a ‘hansum man’ it would have been rude to refuse – perhaps this might come back to bite me!! Back out to the reception area, where a few other people had arrived and appeared to be going through the same processing. I was then called in by the infamous Doctor Somchai, the very chappy in whose hands I would be placing my trust (and eyeballs) in. Again, more tests before he explained what the procedure entailed and a few other things. Whilst this was going on, a young nurse was busy snapping away with her smartphone – well, I did agree to it! The doctor was at pains to explain how painless it would be whilst administering some drops into my eye. He then demonstrated just how painless it would be by asking me to hold a mirror so I could see my eye. He then took a cotton bud stick and poked it into the white of my eye! The odd thing is I could see my eyeball depress as he pushed it, but felt nothing – how cool was that? A bit more chit chat, then he was posing next to me as nursey snapped away. I half expected him to do that silly Thai ‘V’ finger thing, but fortunately he didn’t. Back out to reception and another nurse administered some eye drops, which was soon to be the common theme for my stay. If she administered them once, she did them a dozen times. As I looked around I could see that the others were getting the same. Weird! My ‘live-in’ checked and found out it wouldn’t be a problem for her to stay the night with me as I would have a private room. I’ve never stayed overnight in a hospital, other than due to work, so I was a little surprised, but pleased as well. The next event was probably the most painful of all – the payment. I was taken to see a very officious looking young lady – the sort that when you see them in a porn film they whip off the glasses, undo their topknot letting her hair stream out behind her before she leaps across the desk, revealing stocking tops and high heels, and ravish your body to the point of no return. Alas, not in this case – she just took my money, counted it all out and issued a receipt. Well, it’s the thought that counts!! We were taken to my room and told when the surgery would take place (about 1.30 that afternoon) and not to eat anything after 12, so since it was only about 10.30, we had a wander downstairs for a coffee. They have a Starbucks and a 7/11 and another shop in the hospital itself, so we stocked up on a few cakes and ‘healthy options’ before returning to the room. But now the main event is about to begin as a nurse comes to the room with one of those stupid ‘tie up the back’ gowns for me to put on. I put it on and a few minutes later she returns with a porter and wheelchair to whisk me away. I say my farewells to my ‘live-in’ and I’m away, en route to an adventure that could go either way - a white stick or freedom from glasses!
  8. The Decision A few months ago I looked into the possibility of laser eye surgery. I’ve been wearing glasses for a long time, mainly for short distance as my long sight was fine. It used to piss me off always having to take a pair of specs with me even when just popping down the pub or going out for a meal as I couldn’t read a menu. Even more annoying was going somewhere and forgetting them! I googled laser eye surgery and a company in the UK called Optical Express (OE) appeared as a likely candidate for my hard earned cash. They offer a free 3 hour consultation at a nearby location, and along with the consultation to discuss the best option, they also email you a document of the results, including full colour scans of your eyes. It was a very, very thorough examination and although the sales pitch was there, it wasn’t the hard sell ‘you must sign before you leave’ type. I had hoped I would be suitable for the least expensive option of £595 per eye. Unfortunately, due to my age and what was required, the only option open for me was the most expensive at £3495 per eye, which is lens replacement surgery. As any sane person would say, “I’ll think about it”. So I left and went home. By the time I arrived the emailed document was already there. It gave a hell of a lot of information and having now had the operation in Thailand, I’m sure the checks they carried out here were thorough, but not as thorough as OE. They did test that I was right for what was required and explained the procedures, but they certainly didn’t supply all the info that OE did. Perhaps they had it but don’t present it the same way, I don’t know. Perhaps from the information I supplied them already, they didn’t feel the need to give me anything else. Anyway, over the next few days and weeks OE contacted me to discuss if I was taking it forward and offered different payment options. I explained it was not a problem with the repayments, only that the capital sum was high. This led them to offer me a discount, but only a few hundred quid. By this time I had emailed my file to Bangkok Pattaya Hospital to see if they could do it and at what cost. Their response was yes, they can do it and it would cost 200,000 baht for both eyes, plus 3,000 baht for an initial assessment. However, if I had a cataract it could cost another 50,000 baht. I needed clarification on this and they confirmed that, from the information I supplied, my cost would only be the originally quoted price. I decided to take up the Thai option and when OE called again I gave them the news. They took it well, although did try to persuade me to change my mind, even offering a slightly better discount, but sadly not enough to make a difference. Then good old Boris put a spanner in the works with not only making a complete dogs dinner of Brexit and running the country, but also fucking up the exchange rates. Now the savings I would make by having the treatment in Thailand were in jeopardy due to the exchange rates falling, so I contacted BPH to see if they could offer any discounts as the falling pound was making their treatment more expensive. They said they couldn’t alter the price as it was a fixed package but due to a ‘healthy lady’ concession, they offered me 50% off the original consultation fee of 3,000 baht. I’m all for equality and accepted the discount, even though I’m a fully qualified bloke!! With this in mind, I booked my holiday dates, my flight, my accommodation and emailed the hospital to let them know my arrival dates. I soon had my appointment booked for two days after arrival – it was on!! As a footnote - the complete story has been written, but I will post it in sections for ease of reading - enjoy! Keyman
  9. It's because they have nowhere to hang your intravenous wine drip! 😂 I believe the idea is that they don't have children or the infirm in those seats so that an able bodied person can help the cabin crew to open the door should they be required. They've probably decided that on balance it's worth charging as the likelihood of that assistance being required is slight and even so, you won't be in a fit state to claim back the extra charge should your assistance really be required.
  10. I think it was mentioned earlier but Thai Airways now charges for exit row/bulkhead seats. I asked a check in (as I always do) to change to an exit row and she told me they now charge 100$ (I was in Heathrow - our currency is sterling!!) for an exit row. I asked when did it change and she said 1st September. I said I had booked prior to that and wasn't aware and wouldn't pay for a change. She went to chat to her supervisor to see what she could do for me, but was unable to get me a freebie. However she told me that the bulkhead seat in front of mine wasn't booked, so once I was onboard, if no-one was sat there, to just move forward into it - which is precisely what I did. The seat head covers on these seats now say they are 'paid for' seats. They intend to screw you for more money every which way they can nowadays. KM
  11. I always bring £50 notes as it is less to carry. This time I needed to bring several thousand pounds because of something I had to pay for, but didn't have any issues taking it all at the same time to a money changer on 2nd road, just past the traffic lights new the Buddha school. didn't get a better rate because they were fifties although slightly better than TT, however it was better changing them inside the shop rather than outside on the street - it's was a lot of notes to check!! When I get the notes from my UK bank, I always ask them for new or unmarked notes and they give me the opportunity to check them first and change any I'm not happy with. KM
  12. Thanks guys - any specific exchanges in Pattaya?
  13. I notice they give different rates for larger denomination notes for dollars - does anyone if they do the same for sterling anywhere? KM
  14. @Tallguy - no need to remove any posts. This thread has ebbed and flowed, as it is still generally about the cost of a trip to Pattaya, but also about spending patterns whilst here to adjust to coping with the low exchange rates. KM
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