I have been in Panama visiting my mother. It’s a pattern I repeat several times a year. This time, I have been taking care of myself as well. Last few days, visits to the dentist have kept me occupied. As many other countries in the world, Panama has jumped into the medical tourism bandwagon. This is big business, so why not.
In Panama, most medical professionals at least have a post-graduate degree from an American university, or were educated in the States. English is widely spoken and the facilities are first-class. Costs are about one third of those one would pay in the States. It was a matter of time, until I decided to try one of these services.
So far, I am very pleased. The clinic is state-of-the-art, equipped with the latest technology, the service is impeccable, the doctors are knowledgeable and competent. Everything is discussed with the patient and then the doctor will consult with other professionals before deciding on the best treatment.
This is something I would not have even considered a few years back. Living in Miami, I always thought I could get the best treatment there. Besides it is easier to just go home after a dentist appointment or a medical procedure, isn’t it? Well, even staying at a fine hotel and renting a car, here you can get more for less without sacrificing quality. Another advantage for me is the fact that I travel here so often. It was an easy decision.
After reading about this new global phenomenon, watching documentaries and movies such as The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, this idea sounded like an adventure. Of course, this is not exotic India or casual Cayman Islands, and is not as popular yet. Still I have found it has the potential of becoming a very popular destination for medical tourism.
Feeling better about my decision and pleased with the results, I am going back to my mother’s house for an extra week. Panama City is buzzing with the coming of the VII Summit of the Americas. Presidents from every country in the Americas, their entourages, press representatives and regular citizens with the intention of having their concerns heard have descended on this city. It is not the time to be here.
Traffic, always chaotic and slow, will be impossible. The government, in its infinite wisdom, has given four days off to everyone. People that can afford it are leaving in troves. The main bridge that spans the canal was closed at noon on Friday, making it almost impossible to travel to the rest of the country.
I have welcomed the peace and quiet of the small city where my mother lives. Here I can be absolutely sure of staying out of the way of an event that would yield little. It has never before come up with anything important to make a difference in the lives of the people of this continent. Sad but true, this has only cost money, deepen differences and promote antagonism and hate. Very sad, reasons why I stay away from politics.
Now, my experiences with this medical tourism that is developing here would stay with me. I am sure to try something else if need be. Life has a way to bring you around…….I never expected to come back here to do anything but visit family and enjoy my friends. Glad I was wrong!!!