December means medical checkup

This is my wonderful lab.

WHEN I WINGED south over the Rio Bravo way back in the Dark Ages, I had the hysterical healthcare mentality of a typical Gringo.

Live without health insurance? Why, that would be sheer madness, so I purchased coverage with a system called IMSS. If memory serves, it was the peso equivalent of about 300 U.S. bucks for a year of full coverage. But after that first year, I knew better and did not renew.

One must go to an IMSS clinic, and I didn’t want to. They’re dicey.

Health insurance? Who needs health insurance? Pick your own excellent doctor and pay cash or yank out your debit or credit card.

After marrying in 2002, my child bride talked me into getting a complete checkup in 2004 at the Star Medica Hospital in the state capital. I repeated the process in 2007. In 2013, I decided on a simpler approach.

Every December I pick a day and head to the outpost of a lab downtown at 8 a.m., and I get my cholesterol, blood sugar, triglycerides and poop tested. The last I hand over with some cute comment. On some years — not all — I get an EKG and chest X-rays. I do those elsewhere. The first in a doctor’s office ($25 U.S.), and the second ($16 U.S.) in a different lab.

I skipped those this year because I did them last year.

After the pretty nurse takes my blood and poop sample, I head home where I arrive by 8:30 — there’s rarely any wait at the lab because I get there when it opens — and I dine on a nice, warm croissant accompanied by hot café Americano negro and a beautiful woman.

In the afternoon of the same day, I return to the lab to pick up the results. Yes, same-day service and, of course, there was no physician’s referral required. Charge: $27. Now that’s healthcare for you.

That all took place yesterday.

How you folks lovin’ that ObamaCare?

This year’s results: I’m in tiptop condition.

30 thoughts on “December means medical checkup

  1. I love it!! Very similar over here, but Gringolandia has driven up some of the costs. I still use my same doctor I used 17 years ago. He has raised his prices from around $7.00 US to $15.00 US ($250 pesos). Even with these low prices he has put his three children through Medical School. He will bring a specialist in from the big city if you need, and that appointment is $500 pesos. Lab tests have gone sky high even though there are as many as gas stations. Glad your tests are todo bien.


    1. Peggy: I never weary of pointing out how much better we have it down here than up there. If your primary doctor now charges 250 pesos, that’s still lower than I usually pay here, about 300-500 pesos. But lab prices are amazingly low. And yes, my results this year are excellent, actually a bit better than recent years. I improve with age. Like a bottle of Gallo jug wine.


  2. Unbelievable, if I didn’t have similar experiences I would find that story difficult to fathom. Yeah, Obumstead Care is truly a train wreck for the working class and a golden egg-laying goose for the insurance industry. Try meeting your $8,000 deductible before you get any help from that Pelosi-juiced $500-per-month plan ya got suckered into. Ugh.


  3. Yessirredude, you are a man of detail. And healthy at that. Saludo, señor.

    Would trade my Medicare in a minute for what you have down there. Some of us are not blessed with the good health genes and pay the price accordingly.


    1. Ricardo: I am 73. At my age, my father had gone through bouts with both colon and prostate cancer. That was not what killed him at 75, however. A big heart attack did that. My mother had knee replacements and a pacemaker in her 60s. And yet, I just chug along, amazingly.


  4. Why am I in Louisiana? I don’t know somedays. It’s likely going to be freezing and wet the next several days. The prospect of a few snowflakes tomorrow doesn’t make it more enticing. It’s just wet and miserable. And then, health care costs???? One day, and it’s not an idle promise, I will escape southward for good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YaYa Girl: As I mentioned in a response to another commenter earlier, I don’t understand how people make ends meet in the United States these days. I read about these astronomical medical insurance premiums, for instance. The mind boggles. Surely, average salaries must have skyrocketed since I left the Gringo workforce in 1999. If not, how do Americans live?

      As for your moving south one day, I recommend Mexico, not Central America, not even Costa Rica.


      1. Since you’ve left the U.S., many things that the middle class enjoyed are no longer certainties, mainly because of healthcare costs. Most people do not buy new cars, and they keep the old ones for longer periods. Parents and children do not go to the dentist for regular checkups and cleaning, nor do they receive eye exams regularly. Of course, salaries are rising for some, but many people have less earning power than their parents did a generation ago.


        1. YaYa Girl: As Trump would say: Sad. I read recently that the Obama Administration oversaw one of the weakest economies in decades. On top of that, you stir in the economic horror of ObamaCare.

          Again: Sad.


          1. As fashionable as it is in conservative circles to slam Obamacare, that’s not really the problem. Obamacare is an insurance scheme, pure and simple. But the real problem is that the underlying cost of healthcare is out of control in the USA. Since Obamacare was implemented, the actual rate of medical inflation has slowed, though it’s still well above the CPI. But it spent many many years skyrocketing, and now we have the result. I pay about $610 per month for an individual plan, and I’m frankly itching to move SOB and ditch that cost, which is my second biggest after my mortgage.

            But if we could get the underlying medical costs down to the OECD level, O-care would work fine.


              1. Andrés: A niece of ours told me a few years back about a friend of hers who underwent brain surgery. The operation was done by a skilled surgeon in Mexico, and the cost was the peso equivalent of about 10,000 U.S. bucks. That is not chump change, of course, but it is not anything approaching what such a procedure would cost in the United States. It’s the price of a good used car. Few surgeries, I’m guessing, would cost more than a brain operation. I could easily buy a used car if needed. Just one more reason I don’t throw away cash on insurance policies here.

                Liked by 1 person

              2. Yes, I think I saw that. I read a lot of ZeroHedge. And my retirement plans are counting on cheap Mexican healthcare. At the rate Obamacare premium increases are going, it’s going to be only a few years before my premium exceeds my mortgage.


  5. How we suffer here in Canada! I go to my doctor…free
    I get blood tests, xrays, any other tests…free
    I have a knee replacement scheduled…free
    I have a $16 copay for prescriptions.
    I pay $135 for a dental cleaning and checkup. No problem.
    I go to the southern US to escape winter with a $400 full coverage medical insurance for 3 months.
    I do not think there is any reason for a normal person to own a gun.

    Those crazy Canadians.


    1. Kris: Just noticed your comment in the trash file. Don’t why it was there. I didn’t do it. Apologies on the part of WordPress.

      As for all that “free” healthcare, there is nothing free about it, of course. Your taxes underwrite that. You’re paying quite a bit for your healthcare system, old bean. It’s just disguised. Are you channeling Bernie Sanders? As for your not thinking any normal person should own a gun, lots of normal folks would disagree with you on that. Different strokes, as they say.


  6. Congratulations. I just got my clean bill of health yesterday. Problem is, I have had friends get that same clean bill of health and fall over Dead the next day. That is why you never buy green bananas past 70 years old.😁


    1. Beverly: Good to hear that you too are in good shape, although your recent stay in Puerto Vallarta that I observed online seems to put some doubt in that. You were always running out of steam. Of course, in Puerto Vallarta, who wouldn’t? Godawful climate.

      But you are quite right. At our elevation of age, anything can happen without warning. Actually, that’s what happened to my father. Lots of health issues over the years, none of which had any apparent relationship to his heart. Then one day, boom, it up and explodes. He’s gone. Life happens.


  7. Glad to hear your remain in good health despite your advanced years. Stew and I are too.
    In our experience in Mexico, medical care is very uneven. Just had cataract surgery and received better care than Stew did when he had it done in San Antonio. Also have a very good internist. That said we’ve run into a bunch of alarmingly inept docs; must be the bottom twenty percent of their graduating classes. Folks who just didn’t know what they were doing.
    And if, God forbid, we run into a major crisis—cancers, stroke, etc—which are sadly quite common among our circle of aging friends, I would grab my Medicare card and head for the States. Pronto. Mexico can’t compete with oncologists in Houston or other big American cities, and prolonged care here can quickly add up into the tens of thousands of dollars at places like Star Medica, Hospital + and Tech100 and other for private providers, despite lower costs in the States.
    As far as medical costs in the U.S. and Obamacare: give me a break. Medical costs are astronomically high compared to other countries and it has nothing to do with Obamacare. It has more to do with a private, for-profit cartel of insurance companies, private hospital and clinics, medical equipment manufacturers, drug companies and doctors, all yanking on the same teat, with no controls from anyone. If you want to get an idea of the problem, try getting international health insurance. You’ll find that they’ll insure you now matter where you go EXCEPT the U.S. where costs are off-the-scale.

    To your good health.



    1. Señor Lanier: Certainly, medical care here is uneven. That is why you have to find good, reliable doctors, which are quite available. Recommendations from others are very useful and advisable. My doctors are great, and I’d put them up against their U.S. brethren in a heartbeat, talent-wise, and superior, service-wise and caring-wise. I still suspect that due to the Gringo infestation in your area, the medical situation is questionable there in many ways. It’s just a hunch I have. Got no proof whatsoever.

      As for your take on the medical mess in the U.S., that it’s not all about Obamacare, our amigo, Kim, in a comment above, says the same thing. I believe it. But I’ll continue dissing Obamacare for no more reason than it’s got Obama’s name on it.

      But Hell will freeze over before I will cross the Rio Bravo for medical care. Absolutely not necessary, among other things.


    1. Thanks, Ray. For some reason I’m thinking of something my father once told me when he was about my age: “At this age, you never know if you’re going to wake up dead one morning.”

      My father was quite the optimist.


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