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Charlie B  
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Charlie B
Bay St. Louis, Mississippi
My trip to Mumbai, India was a great adventure.  It was a great opportunity to experience a new country and to assist my friend and be there with her during her time of need.

This was not my first time going abroad, but it was my first time going to India.  It was quite an experience, not only the hospital and medical sphere, but also the touring we got to do.  We were in Mumbai, a city with 19 million people.  The traffic was astounding—that's a lot of people to fit in one city!  Norma's medical tourism provider, MedTrava, arranged for us to get a chauffeured car, so we were able to tour the city and see both ends of the spectrum contained within the city.  On one end, there were a lot of beggars and people living on the streets. On the other end of the spectrum, we got to see the old downtown area of the peninsula that the British had colonized, and some of the fancy, newer areas of the city as well.  It was a fascinating dichotomy.

Our experiences at the hospital were very positive overall; the hospital was better than I had expected going in.  The staff was extremely helpful and competent, and I feel the doctors were just as well educated and experienced as any American doctor would be. The doctor Norma had, Dr. Malhan, was absolutely first rate.  After the surgery, he stopped by the room every day to see how Norma was doing and took a personal interest in her care.  I have seen many American doctors that don't take as much time as Dr. Malhan did for patient care.

I was very happy to be able to accompany Norma to India.  This was actually Norma's second medical trip to India—the first was to get a knee replacement done.  The first time she went, she didn't bring a companion, and I was on the phone with her every day while she was in India to provide moral support.  This time, if she needed something in the middle of the night and didn't want to bother the nurses, all she had to do was throw a magazine at me to wake me up and I could help her.  One bad night, I just sat and rubbed her back for 2 hours until she fell asleep.

My accommodations at the hospital were quite comfortable.  I slept in Norma's room in a separate bed, and had no problems sleeping.  The hospital provided us with a key to a locked drawer in the room where we could store our valuables.  The room had a TV and a DVD player, so we were able to watch the movies we had brought along to India with us.  The room also had a computer with internet access which allowed me to stay in touch with friends in the U.S.  The medical tourism provider Norma went with, MedTrava, also sent out frequent updates to her family and friends to keep them abreast of her progress.

The cleaning crew was friendly and efficient; our bathroom was cleaned every day and the hospital was spotless.  I knew before I left that the amenities at the particular hospital Norma chose in Mumbai were not as opulent as in other hospitals in India or the U.S. (Norma chose based on the quality of the doctor). For example, the patient beds had to be raised or lowered by hand and there was painted dry wall instead of tiles on the floor of the hospital room. However, these were little things that did not impact the overall positive view of the journey—especially when you consider the $60,000 Norma saved by going to India!

After Norma was discharged from the hospital, her medical tourism provider, MedTrava, arranged for us to stay in a four star-hotel in the nicest part of town until Norma was ready to fly home.  This was a wonderful way to end such an interesting adventure.
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