28 January, 2011


I thought I'd do a little follow up piece now that I'm back home.

In the last few days before flying out to Thailand, I kept in communication with Dr. Pichet along the way, making sure that the transportation was all set to pick everyone up as needed. I was grateful for this service, which he provided at no additional charge, as it made planning things a lot easier.  To that end, I asked him for a recommended hotel that he would travel to. He recommended the Atrium Boutique hotel, which was a very short couple of kilometers from his clinic.

The area was easy to get around on both foot and taxi. This was especially nice for K and I, as we both liked to do some walking to get things we needed. Of course, the walking was good for the rehabilitation, as well.

The hotel itself was very contemporary. We arrived at around 04:00 on that first day, and we were greeted with a warm smile. Our names had been passed along from the clinic, and we had a room ready to go. They even had two cold glasses of water waiting for us, free of charge. I thought that was a nice gesture. Arriving at our room, we found a single mounted A/C unit, a mini fridge stocked daily with free bottled waters, TV with a handful of English channels, two twin beds, and a comfortable bath.

The hotel had a buffet breakfast from 6 to 10 every day. Basic, but it was reliable without a lot of headache. The restaurant was also available 24/7, as was room service. We ate at that restaurant several times. It didn't take long to figure out which servers had a decent knowledge of English, and which ones were...well, scared shitless to take our table. But the food was good, and decently priced. They also had mixed drinks, smoothies, and beers. Kind of nice, actually. Until 20:00 came along...

Yes, at 20:00, the pianist would arrive. Now, I'm going to come off like a raging bitch saying this, but I didn't like this guy. He played with no sense of time. Seems like any time he tried to flourish, the time would always scatter -- HORRIBLY. He played various lounge and popular covers, and that's not a bad thing. Except that they were all sped up to the point of having no feeling whatsoever. Imagine "Yesterday" by the Beatles at twice the tempo, and occasionally just plain out of time. Now, imagine every song like that. By the end of the trip, we ended dinner by 20:00 regularly, in part because I couldn't take it! And in part because we figured out that SyFy played Star Trek: The Next Generation (Season 7) in sequence. And K and I like our sci-fi.

For a few days after surgery, of course, my quarters were at the clinic. Very warm, with some traditional touches, but clearly contemporary in design. Yes, there was a lot of modern equipment; I have heard a lot of concern regarding the conditions in Thailand. I couldn't complain in the slightest, however. The building was at least 4 stories tall, I believe. The lobby contained desks for the paperwork and the kitchen, along with a small Buddhist shrine. The 2nd floor was the exam rooms and consultation room. The consultation room had a lot of papers and viewing materials for the procedures, along with a few aids like breast forms and dilators. The exam rooms were well equipped and clean, including privacy screens (while Mom saw a little more as she helped me, K elected to defer to my modesty). The 3rd floor was the operating floor; the OR and recovery rooms, as well as the inpatient rooms. Our room had an extra bed for Mom on top of everything else. We never saw the other floors, but as we understood it, the doctors and nursing staff lived up there so they could be summoned as needed. Which happened once or twice while I was there.

In Pattaya, we had a different hotel, as well. This one was clearly a little different; the style was closer to traditional. It still had a fridge, A/C, and TV, as well. I found the beds a little less comfortable, but they're doable. The wooden elephant-face carved lamps were a cute touch, though.

All in all, I enjoyed my stay there. The Atrium, as well, was very affordable; approximately $40 a night for a deluxe room for two. I would recommend that, if you're considering going to Bangkok for any cosmetic procedure including but not limited to GRS, to consider this for lodging. It helps to have something familiar, after all.

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