Don’t tread on slick ceramic

Central courtyard of the hospital.

MY CHILD BRIDE stepped into the kitchen from the service patio yesterday morning. It had been raining, and she was wearing old Crocs sandals.

The kitchen has a smooth ceramic floor. Her soles were wet. This is a very bad combination. She took a swan dive, landing on her left arm.

It really, really hurt, she said.

We hoped it would calm down after an hour or two, but it didn’t, so we drove downtown to a hospital connected to a church — Catholic, of course.

Someone saw us rapidly, and an X-ray was taken. No broken bones. Whew! Because, like me, she has never broken a bone in her life.

The arm is inflamed, the doctor said, as he wrote a prescription for a pain reliever. He said she might want to return Monday afternoon when the traumatologist is available. We’re hoping that won’t be necessary.

armOnce again, the Mexican healthcare system makes a mockery of what Gringos endure north of the Rio Bravo.

Here’s what happened. We walked to the hospital reception where there was no line. We paid 70 pesos to see a doctor. That’s about $3.60 U.S. A doctor is on duty 24-7. From the reception we walked nearby where a nurse took her blood pressure, which was okay.

We immediately walked next door where the doctor was waiting. He felt her arm, asked a few questions and decided on an X-ray. We stepped back into the passageway and took a few steps to the right to the X-ray room.

The X-ray was taken immediately, and the doctor reviewed it. No broken bones. That’s when he gave us the OTC, pain-reliever prescription. As we left, we passed by the reception again and paid 400 pesos for the X-ray. That’s about $21 U.S.

The doctor had suggested that an arm sling would be a good idea. Out on the street, we walked to the first corner, turned right, and there sits a small business that sells such things. We bought the sling you see in the photo. It cost 90 pesos. That’s about $4.70 U.S.

A nearby pharmacy sold us the pain reliever for 120 pesos, about $6.30 U.S. Total time for all of this: about an hour. Total cost: about $35.60 U.S.

The hospital is neither a government bureaucracy nor an appendage of the church. It’s a local charity run and funded by citizens.

How’s that Obamacare working out for you? Or if you’re Canadian, how are you liking that high-tax-injected “free” socialized medicine? Chortle.

40 thoughts on “Don’t tread on slick ceramic

  1. Sorry to hear of your child bride’s misfortune with the slick floor. Now had that been you, I could have understood better why it happened.

    Your points are well made regarding NOB medicos and what you go through to get their services up here.

    Best wishes to you both.


    1. Ricardo: I fell flat on the ceramic floor upstairs about a week ago while putting on a pair of pants while standing up. Got right up. No damage at all. From now on, I’ll sit on the bed’s edge.


  2. I’m happy your wife is OK. Things like that can be very painful.

    I have recently had a lot of experience with the Canadian healthcare system, which, by the way, is controlled by each province, so coverage varies, although if I need care anywhere in Canada we are covered.

    I had a total knee replacement in May. Three days in the hospital, a little longer than usual due to foot swelling. Started physiotherapy the next day. I continued that twice a week for the first month, then cut back to bi-weekly. Three follow-up visits with the surgeon. I don’t know what that would cost in Mexico, I know it would be a fortune in the U.S. I can tell you what it cost me in Canada in any form of currency. Nothing. Two weeks ago, my ex-army GP cut a skin cancer off the top of my head in the clinic. Most GPs would refer that to a dermatologist, but mine is a versatile guy. Oh, yeah, the cost, nothing. Any prescriptions I need cost the dispensing fee, health care pays the rest.

    My free socialized medicine is just hunky-dory thanks. Mind you, the cost in Mexico is also good. During my time there, I had great experiences with doctors and dentists. I felt sad during my winters in the US, to talk to people older than myself who worked in grocery stores and other retail stores, because they needed health insurance, but couldn’t afford it.

    We pay for our health care through our taxes, and the system isn’t perfect, but nobody up here is dying because they can’t afford to go to the doctor.


    1. Kris: Canucks I know have varying opinions of your healthcare. It can work very well, and it can be a mess. One thing I do know is that it darn sure ain’t free. You pay in higher taxes. This roundabout route makes it seem free when you use it, but it’s not. There’s no free lunch.


    1. Ms. Shoes: There’s a Skechers store at Plaza Las Americas, I have noticed. Do they have easy-on/easy-off sandals? Crocs are wonderful 99 percent of the time, but they ain’t worth spit on a wet floor. And there is a rug at the kitchen entrance, but she had walked a couple of steps beyond it. The Crocs were still wet from outside. As for the RICE, should we serve BEANS with that? Rest? Telling her to rest is like telling a 2-year-old to rest.


        1. Ms. Shoes: I don’t think it’s wise to buy shoes without trying them on first, so online would be a last resort. Thanks anyway. Yeah, I guess some sources would permit returns, but I still prefer going directly to the shoe.


  3. Interesting that your hospital is a charity. We used to have that here, we still have a “Presbyterian” hospital and a “St. Joseph’s” hospital, although I don’t think the Presbyterians or Catholics have much to do with either any more. So how did our healthcare system get so screwed up? Much blame to go around, but I think primarily the insurance companies. Since they take a percentage off the top, the more costs go up the more they profit. A big problem with Obamacare is that it didn’t get rid of the insurance companies. Obamacare did try to do something about costs, but that’s tough sledding politically, given the corruption of political campaign funding here.


    1. Creigh: Whoever is to blame up there, what you have is far less than ideal to state it mildly. What we have down here works pretty darn good, and there’s no strong-arming involved.


      1. Sr. Zapata, as you point out below, prices here are crazy. We pay twice as much as anyone else and get worse results. In the end, I gotta believe that it’s because the people who run the system (not the patients, obviously) want it that way.


        1. Also, you say you “don’t need socialized medicine (down there)”. Everything in the public sphere is socialized, one way or another. It’s just a matter of how.


  4. On flat and slick surfaces, one must be sure that the soles of the shoes have a firm grip. Driving moccasins and Crocs don’t. And bare feet don’t either. As we age we must make sure our feet are right under our upright selves when walking.


  5. I suspect there are more myths associated with “free” healthcare than there are with the Our Lady of Guadalupe’s portrait. Most of my fellow employees saw their employer-provided healthcare as free — even though it meant their wages were depressed as a result of a benefit most of them would never fully use.

    Like you, I prefer the honesty of the Mexican health system. It is not ideal, but it seems to work far better than the systems I have been involved in up north and in Europe.


    1. Señor Cotton: Amazingly, a sizable slice of the population still thinks their healthcare system is FREE. Above the border, that is. Down here, it actually is free sometimes. But most people pay, often not very much, which is what we did yesterday.


  6. If I would have had to pay to have a portion of my lung and bronchial tubes removed my family would still be living under a bridge. I’m very happy to live with the Canadian healthcare system, thank you, very much.


    1. Rob: I know the system works well in some cases. Clearly in yours. Congrats. I also know some Canadians have many complaints about it, especially long waits for specialists and/or non-urgent surgery. There is no perfect world. And, of course, you did not get that free.


    2. P.S. Rob: Another way to look at it is the chicken-egg approach. Which came first? Were healthcare costs not so spectacularly high above the Rio Bravo — I’m assuming Canada is not so different from the U.S., price-wise — would insurance be so vital? Of course, above the border, you absolutely need insurance due to the ridiculous prices you’re charged. That situation does not exist in Mexico to any significant degree, so you can get by without insurance, paying out of pocket. Certainly, many people here don’t have deep pockets. For that we have government plans, some cheap, some free. And nowhere are you strong-armed to participate in anything. Our way is superior.


  7. Lucky is what I would call that, got to be careful the older we get, especially you. I used to try and put on my pants while standing and jumping around on one leg, but no more, got to sit on the bed to do that. It’s the smarter thing to do. I am disheartened daily in that I know longer can do stuff that I think I should be capable of doing. That old-age thing keeps on rearing its ugly head again, oh well. At our age the majority of downhill spirals are started with a fall, bone no longer heals as fast, and complications occur pronto. Be careful, amigo!

    I hope la señora recovers quickly, glad to hear there was nothing broken. That would not have be too much fun.


  8. Saludos to your beautiful wife. Hope she mends quickly. Socialized medicine, I like it. Yes, we pay a little more ’cause maybe my neighbor doesn’t have the resources I do, and I am okay with that. Not that way in the U.S.A, I’m afraid. Every man for himself down there, and greed is King. I use the Mexican dentists and have nothing but praise for the service and professionalism.


    1. Bob: Yeah, sure, greed, greed, greed. Hoo-boy. You sound like Bernie Sanders, though I know you were a Hillary man.

      But aside from that, if you spend lots of time down here, aside from the lengthy visits you’ve customarily done, you will see how superior our system is. We don’t need socialized medicine like you have in Canada. We do it right.


  9. I see that crocs are closing their manufacturing plant, but not going out of business. Now, where will they be made in the future? China, Malaysia, or some other Asian country?

    I have a problem with Asian-made shoes. They all seem to be small and narrow.


  10. I have been through various brands of chancla, mainly looking for some arch support. You end up with Chaco’s, Birkenstocks and a new one I have found, Okabashi, all of which are probably hard to get in Mexico except for Amazon if they deliver where you live. Anyway, secondary to arch support is non-slip. Both the Chaco’s and the Okabashi have good grip on wet tile. Okabashi are less than half the price of Chaco’s. Both of these brands also have good grip when wet between the foot and the footbed. If arch support is not an issue, it seems to me like the harder, less spongy soles are more grippy, surprisingly. Very important. It happens so fast and can be so damn serious for something so easily prevented.


    1. Migrant: Thanks for the info. I looked up both of those brands, neither of which did I know, and found websites. I’ll do more investigating later. Arch support is not an issue, so that simplifies things. Just don’t want to go airborne with no warning.


  11. Wishing your Child Bride a speedy and less painful recovery. How quickly we can hit the turf when slipping on wet floors OR gravel; which I did just a week ago. I’m wearing a stylish medical boot for the coming weeks now. BTW, I “paid” $350 for that boot three years ago when I fractured the same ankle. Lucky I hung onto it, ehh? The Affordable Care Act became unaffordable for me two years ago when my monthly premium skyrocketed to $1,300 a month. This is no lie. I could find NOTHING in an affordable range of under $700 a month, which was close to what I was paying at that time. Doesn’t it take your breath away? It sure did mine. And the coverage was poor at best. The next best thing was a Christian-based Health Sharing Program. There are several out there. I studied them all and signed up for the one that fit my needs best. $250 a month. No, it’s not state-controlled health insurance but a Faith-based, sharing-of-funds program. Last Fall was the first time I used it, for a yearly physical which included the usual pokes and probes. Total came to about $500. I paid my provider up front, sent the bill to the Health Sharing group and they reimbursed me 100%. A bit slow, but they apologized that they had been swamped with new applications. Their monthly newsletter said they had signed up 68% increase of new subscribers, both single plans, such as what I needed, and family plans for others. How do I feel about not having traditional coverage? I feel free of that monster on my back. There was never a guarantee they’d pay 100% of a catastrophic claim, and they proved it when I submitted a simple lab fee prior to telling them adios. They declined to pay for it ($350) due to new rulings from the CDC that females over the age of 60 only have routine lab work done every other year, hence no benefit was paid out. I was never notified of this. Anyway, long story short, we parted ways. Your south-of-the-border healthcare has done well for you from what you’ve written in the past as has other sources I read of, for more major procedures. You are most fortunate. I’m looking forward to Medicare someday.


    1. Leisa: Affordable Care Act takes the case for colossal misuse of the English language. Your previous sky-high premium is not the first I’ve heard of from people who live up there. How do normal people pay those things, or have U.S. salaries skyrocketed since I lived in your woebegone land? And your private-sector solution seems to be something that’s really catching on. Not yours specifically, but I’ve read of a number of innovative solutions people and doctors are coming up with in order to separate themselves from Obamacare.

      Sorry about your recent fall. Take care.


  12. Felipe,

    First, glad to hear the child bride is OK.

    Second, it was good to hear about your positive interaction with the Mexican healthcare system.

    Third, I’ll be posting a link to this blog post on my FB page so my NOB friends can better appreciate that we’re not living in a backward, Third World country.

    Lastly, a comment about the state of healthcare NOB. That is one of the biggest reasons I chose to move to Mexico. My private health insurance was costing me $1900 a month. I could not afford to pay that in retirement. Just got the annual premium notice this past week for my private health insurance down here in Mexico. It is $2600 for the year, i.e. about $220 per month! Being in good health and not having had the misfortune thus far to slip on a slick tile we have yet had to personally experience the Mexican healthcare system or use our insurance but purely from a cost perspective it is far, far better.



    1. Troy: Every one of my interactions with the Mexican healthcare system over the past 18 years has been positive. It’s the proverbial night and day, compared to that mess above the border. I hope neither of you has to interact with the healthcare system here anytime soon, but when you do you’ll be quite pleasantly surprised. Do get recommendations, however, from people who’ve lived here a good spell. And it’s better to get them from Gringos than locals, I think.


  13. Ouch. Wish your wife a speedy recovery.

    Obamacare was one of the reasons I retired sooner than planned. I had Medicare, but my wife was only 60 when she had to get the “affordable” coverage. Of course, her insurance company dropped her with 30 days notice. The Obamacare website crashed. My wife lost her doctor because she would not accept Obamacare. It was very difficult to find a new doctor who would accept Obamacare and take on new patients. Her premiums went from $500/mo. to the more “affordable” $825 (and since has gone higher). Her deductible went up 40%. Those who have low income had this care for free or at a discounted rate.

    Obamacare only created a new bureaucracy that has the middle class (and later the states) pay for coverage for the poor. It did little to address insurance reform. It did nothing to address malpractice claims or big Pharm. Big Pharm is really on a roll. They keep producing new “studies” that “prove” you should start their meds earlier and earlier. For example, my doctor said I should be on statins since I turned 65 despite no family history or signs or symptoms showing need for the drug. I declined and was told to sign a waiver to release the doctor from lawsuits since the “studies” showed it was now the standard of care for someone my age to take statins.

    Enjoying Mexican healthcare for all the reasons you state. May your wife have a speedy recovery.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Patzman: None of what you say matters! The poor folks now have insurance … that you’re buying for them! You ingrate capitalist!

      Just kidding. But, of course, that was the Democrat Party’s intention all along.

      That stuff about statins is a new one for me. Freaking incredible.


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