Three in the morning comes early for old people like me. Early works fine if you're going to the airport and headed to a bucket list destination for some wild adventures touring historical ruins and downing bottles of rare wines. But, considering this bucket list destination includes poking, surgery and lots of money, well, I'm not thrilled. But I'm committed so, in the words of Len, we go.
I first started researching Meza Dental last year when the first of my crowned teeth popped. I knew the inevitability of my unending exodus to a dentist office would be imminent, so I began the research to find a dentist or facility that could offer a permanent solution with a cost that would not include selling body parts! I had heard of medical tourism and the droves of people heading to various parts of the world to have procedures, both mandatory and elective. I wanted a price that wouldn't jeopardize all the other dreams and plans we have for the future.
I chose Meza because of their high rating, their timely communication and the reviews of their patients. Then, I chickened out. I would have more time.
Time gave out about three weeks ago when a front crown popped during Wednesday pizza night. No, the pizza didn't do it; time did. Reaching back into my inbox to prior communication with Meza, I reached out again. Since Hurricane Harvey had disrupted many of the schedules of their patients, I had an in. I took it. We began planning and here we are.
Last minute airline tickets are never a good idea, so we used miles. Keeping the cost down was a priority; we knew exactly how much we could spend. Our first week in travel would cost around $2,000 if we had to pay full price for airline tickets and hotel. By using points, we saved $1,600 and a week at the Suites Cristina comes in at $450 (that is, if you pay with cash). Only other expenditures will be food; all transportation is covered by Meza.
We chose Delta because of the points and the non-stop flight. Plus, booking was in between hurricanes (Imma and Harvey) and we didn't know what airports would be effected. Routing through Miami and Houston was dicey, so that proved non-stop was the sure choice.
The four-hour flight from Atlanta to San Jose was bumpy but non-eventful. Len handles bumpy much better than I. Add turbulence notices from the captain and two flight attendants (one in really fast Spanish which seems to be most urgent) to frayed nerves and well, you get a woman who looks at her fit bit and watches her heart rate numbers rise. Len rather enjoys watching me squirm. Then, I squeeze his fingers and he goes silent.
After a hour long immigration line (people from all over the world are definitely traveling to Costa Rica), we are met by Jose, our driver for the week. Prompt and polite, I can tell he is going to calm me. We share the ride with a couple from Atlanta. Jay is back for his six-month follow up and the completion the process. It was exciting to see his excitement as the process comes to a conclusion. He will be here for two weeks, just as I will be in March. I'm sure we'll see him during our week at the clinic.
As we leave the airport area, the normal signs for hotels and attractions are augmented by those that read dental services. We are in the right place.
We're staying at Suites Cristina, a residence hotel that works very closely with many dental groups in San Jose. As we said earlier, this is big business, and a number of companies are benefiting from the economic impact. "If you build it, they will come" -
After a walk to the nearest market (it's an allusive Wal Mart), load up on water, Coke Zero (no sign of Diet Coke anywhere), chips and salsa and yogurt (Jay said it's a necessity after surgery), we are in for the night.
It's 6:15 p.m.; we're exhausted. We've lost two hours in our day and it feels like we've been up for days. We walked next door to Subway (yes, forgive us for not eating local, but we did order sandwiches from someone who spoke no English so we we're really sure of the outcome - but, we got it done and they smiled), ordered carry-out and walked the block back to the hotel. Our two-bedroom suite is home for the week, and tonight, it feels like it's a perfect fit.
We meet Dr. Meza tomorrow at 1 p.m. We begin with a consultation and from what I understand, he'll jump right in. I exhale deeply and realize this thing is about to get very real.
I have horrible teeth. Always have and always will if I don't make changes now.