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A Note from My Doctor (Part I)

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Over my lifetime the US Navy and I has spent a fortune on my teeth I can’t speak as to the Navy’s reason but mine was simple; I kinda’ liked them. The pleasure of eating an apple or corn on the cob and a good steak was never a bad thing for me.

Over the past two years nine gold crowns have broken, and none of them were caused by bar room brawls or any good Irish Donnybrooks. So there I was with a nice pile of gold but couldn’t chew steaks. My friends recommended that I see this great dentist who specialized in the issuing of false teeth. Not a choice to be taken lightly but one to explore never the less.

How to Move to the Philippines Manual

I had put it off for over a year, the reason was simple albeit I had a dozen viable reasons and could justify my reasoning to anyone who cared to listen. But the simple truth was I was scared, yes as hard as it is to admit that was my real reason.

Fillings, crowns, and root canals I’ve had it all, and to shuffle of this mortal core with the majority of my teeth firmly in my head was my goal. But it’s time to give up the ghost, bite the bullet, grow a pair and “Git-er-done” The appointment was made, off to see the dentist and do the right thing.

I filled out my medical history and it goes like this. At 21 years old, one broken ankle in my 30’s and 40’s 3 hernias well covered by Workman’s Comp, and no other reason had I ever been to a hospital in my life.

Have I had Physicals, of course, in the Navy one every year, as a Merchant Seaman one before assignment to every ship which would translate to two per year and since retiring, one per year because my wife makes me. And I’ve never been on a permanent medication in my life. The dentist was shocked that a 65 year old Kano was in such great shape; I just took it for granted that it was normal.

He made me feel great when he informed me that there was no way he would extract all my teeth but I did have three to be restored, the nine broken crowns or just roots now have to be pulled out and a upper and lower partial is all I will need in the area of false teeth. The apples and corn on the cob was still in my future. I was happy as a pig in clover.

BUT! Two weeks ago while shopping on Subic Freeport I became dizzy, broke out in a cold sweat and felt like projectile vomiting would be a lot of fun. I stumbled into a restroom, and ten minutes later I felt fine. Not fine enough to drive home but good. Must have been a piece of cheese or something I ate. I learned that from Ebonisa Scrooge …from a Christmas Carol by Dickens (Is it still okay to say Christmas?) But I blew it off as nothing.

The Dentist started clearing my teeth and then restoring a canine tooth when the same symptoms appeared again, he stopped and took my blood pressure which was off the charts, 120 over 80 has been my lifetime norm but not today. It was a lot over, 145-125

He stopped and said he could not go on until I saw a doctor and got checked out. So I’m off to the hospital outpatient section tp get a note for the dentist from a doctor.

Wait Sir Paul you must verify your insurance before we can start. I proceeded to the TriCare Office to show my military retired ID card. A few minutes talking with the young lady there and I was off to get a Doctor’s Appointment. The absolute best part of TriCare Health Insurance is that it exempts me from ObamaCare I could have used my PhilHealth Insurance but they only pay 50% of the bill.

I spoke with the doctor, and I’m now scheduled for a battery of tests the following morning. Why I am going through all of this just to see a dentist, you might ask. First reason is because I’ve never had high blood pressure before and it scared the crap out of me. Me, mister easy going, or take a chill pill Paul had High Blood. For years I gave other people high blood pressure, not myself. And the second reason I just bought a new car and I want to drive it.

Side note, Mister (Hey Joe) Joseph Stuckey Jr. was in town and we had lunch and a cocktail or three together on Saturday and it was a most enjoyable day. We planned on doing it later in the week until all this came up. My sincere apologies Chief, we will do it again.

The Time line: Monday at the dentist. Tuesday at Bay Pointe Hospital on the Subic Free Port (My grandson was born there) I went to the outpatient desk and was sent to the TriCare Insurance Office to check in and become certified. Easy as pie, ten minutes later I’m back at the outpatient desk and holding a ticket for a Doctor’s appointment to be turned in within the next hour. The sphygmomanometer was used and it read 135 over 115, I saw the doctor and am told to report to the lab, x-ray and ECG at 07:00 the following morning (Wednesday). I did and all went quickly and efficiently. So far I’ve not had a stroke.

Here is where Mr. Murphy and his law came into play. The Lab results would not be available until 13:00 and my doctor’s appointment was at 11:30. Major-major scheduling conflict, and my blood pressure was still reading very high 135 over 110 that day.. I can’t imagine why,

Sir Paul can you come back on Thursday to see the doctor. Yes unless I’m in the Emergency tonight with a full blown stroke. Oh and my dentist called and asked where I was, I explained that I was still working on that doctor’s note he needed. If I have the stroke I won’t be needing dental work for awhile.

Wow, the LiP word count is double what Sir Bob asks for so I’ll leave you hanging until next week. I don’t know if this is funny to you, but it sure is to me. Have no fear, I survived, all is well once more.

Posted in

Paul Thompson

Paul Thompson; has resided in the Philippines since 1993, living close to Subic Bay. I’m married to a wonderful girl named Maria (AKA Mayang).Who is from Gordon Heights in Olongapo where she grew up with her Mom & Dad and seven siblings Our two daughters are both grown up and have left the nest, the eldest married to a wonderful guy named Chris, and they have blessed us with our granddaughter Heather Colleen Our youngest daughter and her husband Cecil have blessed us with a grandson named. Jayden Logan. I’m a retired U.S. NAVY Senior Chief after 22 years of active duty. After retirement from the Navy I lived for 7 years in Puerto Rico as a Night Club owner. Then Hurricane Hugo told me to find a new line of work, I was hired by Military Sealift Command and went back to sea in Asia as a Merchant Seaman for 10 years. After 30 plus years at sea I buried my anchor on a mountain in the Philippines and am now residing in Dinalupihan (or DinBat for short), Roosevelt, Bataan where we built our home. And last but not least, anything I writes will be pure "Tongue in Cheek "If anybody is offended, I'll lose no sleep over it, but here's a quick Mea Culpa in advance!

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Edgardo Blancaflor Dominguez

Paul should know the Filipinos are known to use lots of salts on their fatty foods. That might have contributed to some degree his elevated blood pressure.

jeff
jeff
7 years ago

I can guess what the problem was. When a dentist works on your teeth, he always stirs up a bunch of bacteria. Prior to any dentist appointment (in the Philippines or anywhere else), I take a big dose of Amoxicillin.

Hey Joe
7 years ago

Glad to see all is right in the world with you once more Sr. Chief. I had a great time with you during our visit to Subic Bay Freeport and was a little disappointed that you got sick and could not get together again before I had to leave. I had Planned a recon mission through the uncharted waters into the target rich enemy territory,,out to the floating bar at the hotel, in search of the Blue Rock girl. and to estimate the enemy strength. I had to scrub the mission since their was no way I would go without… Read more »

William James
William James
7 years ago

I was in the Marines and spent a little time In the Philippines, but did not stay in long enough. I was in during the Gulf War, but did not partake in it. When I retire early from the State of Wisconsin, is there an affordable health care I can get from the Philippines?

PhilsHealth? Or something? Not sure how living there without Health Insurance would affect me back here with Obama Care. That’s an area I need to get my ducks in a row on. Any info would be appreciated!

Thank you!

Bill

Owen
Owen
7 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

FYI if you live outside the US, you are considered by Obamacare regs to have insurance, even if you do not. Meaning, no fine.

Bill Rosko Jr
Bill Rosko Jr
7 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

For Bill James..here is a list of local HMO’s that I had
requested in an e-mail from St. Luke’s/Global City
Hope this helps!
Bill

http://www.bluecross.com.ph
http://www.intellicare.com.ph
http://www.maxicare.com.ph
http://www.medicardphils.com
http://www.medicareplus.com.ph
http://www.philcare.com.ph
http://www.valucare.com.ph

John Reyes
7 years ago

Paul, the brief spell of dizziness, nausea and breaking out in cold sweat you experienced while shopping at Subic Freeport,, and happened again while you were at the dentist’s office could be something that you and the doctors need to closely watch. What did the doctor tell you on the Thursday you went back, or do we have to wait for the next episode to find out.

John Reyes
7 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

Holy Cow! Is that really Hey Joe with you in the yellow shirt at Texas Joe’s, Paul? What a transformation living in the Philippines with a Pinay wife has done to him physically! I recall the pictures he posted of himself in checkered shorts during his birthday celebration, and I thought this guy really looks “amoy lupa”. LOL Sorry, Joe, I couldn’t resist the comparison. You look so much better today than when you first arrived in the Philippines. Your physical transformation between then and now is like the difference between night and day, if I may add. 🙂

John Reyes
7 years ago
Reply to  John Reyes

And, oh, Hey Joe. I’d take down your old (pun intended) gravatar, if I were you, and replace it with your current photo like the one taken at Texas Joe’s.

Hey Joe
7 years ago
Reply to  John Reyes

John, I still wear my Plaid Shorts, because here it is just too hot to wear long pants or jeans. I like dressing up but the heat is making that a rare occurrence these days. Paul’s wife is a good photographer and makes me look better than I really am. It is easier to smile and have a happy face when you are in good company!

John Reyes
7 years ago
Reply to  Hey Joe

You’re just being modest, Hey Joe. You really do look so much better compared to when you first arrived in the Philippines. Your face is fuller and is reddish in color in the picture taken at Texas Joe’s. During your birthday celebration, you looked undernourished and in need of sunlight. LOL

Scott D
Scott D
7 years ago

Hi Paul, Sorry to hear you are having problems with your blood pressure. Hopefully it can be regulated with a modification in your diet. Lets hope it does not keep you from partaking in Lechon. All I can say is if my blood pressure starts giving me problems I will have to cheat and have some (and suffer the rage of my asawa). LOL And by the way since you do not live in the U.S. or a U.S. territory you are already exempt from Obamacare. We are moving to the Philippines this year because we are actually earning more… Read more »

Scott D
Scott D
7 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

Paul, Even if you were not retired military you would be exempt due to living outside of the US. I posted a response to Bob’s comment. The other stuff I was talking about is Obamacare has killed the employment prospects in the US. Most jobs are now part-time. And other companies are putting hiring on hold or downsizing. I am in the Network installation part of the IT business and it is very slow here. Luckily me and my wife have a couple of rental properties that are pulling in decent money there in the Philippines and our house there… Read more »

MindanaoBob
7 years ago

Anybody who resides outside the USA for at least 330 days with year (double check the exact number, I could be slightly off) is exempt from Obamacare.

Scott D
Scott D
7 years ago
Reply to  MindanaoBob

Hi Bob,
You are correct. This is the requirements to be exempt from Obamacare:
The Bona Fide Residence Test- To qualify through this test you must have been living abroad for at least one year and have no immediate plans to return to the US.
The Physical Presence Test- Most expats will qualify for this test, as you simply need to have foreign earned income and be physically out of the US for 330 days out of a 365 day period.

Edgardo Blancaflor Dominguez

Yes! Paul, I miss Chief mess steaks (2) & Shrimps (all you can eat) every Friday. And end of the quarter Steaks & Lobsters Candlelight dinner. And during the week we would have prime rib, Beef ribs and every food that anyone could imagine, Those days are long gone.

wayne
wayne
7 years ago

I am thinking of moving back to the Subic area and checked on the Obama care web site and it said if you are out of the country for nine months no need to to purchase health care.

John Reyes
7 years ago

Paul, I had the same symptoms (dizziness, nausea, cold sweat) happened to me while sending and receiving work emails to and from Capitol Hill at Gigang Internet Cafe in Iba, Zambales, back in 2000 when I was there for a month’s visit. When I began to feel faint, I knew it wasn’t just the oppressive heat and humidity in the room while typhoon Biring raged outside. I staggered out of the internet cafe and asked my newphew/driver who had been sitting outside in our van waiting for me, “Boy, (he was 40 years old LOL) meron bang malapit na ospital… Read more »

Cordillera Cowboy
7 years ago
Reply to  John Reyes

John, I have an uncle, in his 70’s, who had quadruple bypass surgery a few years ago. He was back to hunting, fishing, and white water rafting shortly afterwards. A few months ago, he was in the emergency room with what he described as the worst chest pain he had ever experienced. The doctors kept him overnight, then told him it was indigestion. You just never know about those things.

Take care,
Pete

John Reyes
7 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

A very useful information about the aspirin, Paul. I had another false alarm when I was still working, years after the Philippine episode. On the way to work to Capitol Hill one morning in the subway, I became ill again with exactly the same symptoms I experienced while at the internet cafe in Zambales in 2000. I remember asking the guy seated next to me in the subway to please take another seat as I was about to vomit. I didn’t, of course, but as soon as I got to work, I went to the nurses’ office. The first thing… Read more »

tito joe
tito joe
7 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

Chief, ASPIRIN is what I carry in my first aid kit at all times. it saved my dad and one other guy I attended to a few years ago. I use the ones in a single dose packets so they dont cost that much and they stay dry. As for the SALT issue, if its unavoidable, as it is most times when eating out, make sure ya eat a share of potassium loaded food to counter act it. Bananas and the easiest to find for sure when in country. I know a LOT about health related issues and managing them… Read more »

Owen
Owen
7 years ago
Reply to  John Reyes

Buddy of mine is a retired anaesthesiologist. I passed this story along to him. He said TIA. Transient ischaemic attack. It presents as a heart attack (it is coronary arteries in spasm, not in blockage, and an EKG machine will say heart attack. Only later will the machine show no damage to the heart muscle and have it be clear there was no heart attack. It will say no damage during the event,too, but at that point there has not been time yet for damage. His conclusion was the Phil’s docs did just what they should have and did not… Read more »

Owen
Owen
7 years ago
Reply to  Owen

I typed that badly. The TIA can result FROM the artery spasm. It is not the label of the artery spasm. The TIA is stroke-like, derived from the coronary arteries having a spasm, causing atrial fib, and a clot that sts off the TIA.

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