The one-eyed Mexican

Photo taken yesterday shortly after returning home.

We must stop meeting like this. Bandaged up, I mean. Just last November I posted this photo from a hospital bed with much of my nose covered in bandages, which was mostly unnecessary, I later learned. And now it’s the eye.

But this was necessary. At least I hope so. Yesterday morning at 9:30 I arrived at the Clínica David in the nearby capital city for laser cataract surgery, not knowing exactly what to expect, but from what I had heard and read it didn’t seem to be a very big deal, procedure-wise. I did hope the outcome would be a very big deal, however, because I had developed serious problems with night vision, which is perilous for night driving.

Right on time I was taken near the operating room where I doffed all my duds minus my skivvies and socks and donned one of those hospital gowns. In the operating room I lay down on the surgical table, and I was covered with a warm blanket. It was chilly.

There were six other people there, including the anestheologist and my ophthamologist, Dr. Adolfo Chacón Lara, whose photo you can see on their website. Dr. Chacón has been my eye doctor for years.

The actual procedure lasted less than 10 minutes and was not uncomfortable in the slightest. I don’t know what sort of anesthesia I was given, but it did not seem to put me to sleep, but I think it did. Dr. Chacón told me to close my eyes, which I did, and I had the impression my eyes were closed during the entire procedure, which is impossible, of course.

I could lightly feel the work being done and the bandage being put in place. He then said everything had gone fine. The next thing I remember I opened my other eye, and a nurse helped me stand up. The doctor was nowhere in sight, pun intended.

I have another appointment today at noon to have the bandage removed. This is being written yesterday a couple of hours after we got home. When I return home today, with both eyes working, I’ll have a better idea of the results. If all goes well, and I imagine it will, I’ll repeat the procedure as soon as possible because I suspect my eyes won’t be in sync.

The work yesterday cost the peso equivalent of $1,400 U.S., as will the other eye. I imagine alterations will be needed for my glasses, both those I use daily and my prescription sunglasses, so the jury is still out cost-wise.


Related to this is my decision, after two decades in Mexico, to purchase medical coverage before my luck runs out. At age 76, I have long passed the point of any insurance company wanting to roll the dice on me, so I am enrolling in IMSS, one of the government plans, and my child bride, at the tender age of just 60, is signing up with MetLife.

The Metlife policy will cost the peso equivalent of $800 U.S. for the first year and will, I am told, go up every year. There is a deductible of about $5,000 U.S. and after that a copay of 10 percent. The policy pays up to approximately $568,000 U.S. or over 11 million pesos. You’d have to be very unlucky to reach that limit in Mexico.

In the United States, of course, it would be easy.

The IMSS coverage, on the other hand, has no deductible or peak. You’re in the caring arms of Uncle José. The annual cost at my age and up to 80 is about 14,000 pesos or $700 U.S. After age 80, it goes up somewhat but not much, and you’re at the last payment level.

Why don’t we both enroll in IMSS, which seems the far better deal? Because IMSS clinics and hospitals can be dicey, to put it mildly. It’s the government, for Pete’s sake. You might get great service, and you might get lousy service. With MetLife, you get private hospitals, many of which are excellent, and you get to choose where you go.

You get what you pay for. Were I under age 70, I would go with MetLife too. I do not anticipate using my IMSS coverage except in the most dire circumstances, finance-wise. I’ll continue with private physicians, paying out of my own pocket. But it’s good to have a safety net.

The two of us have completed the enrollment process, and my coverage starts on March 1. Her coverage does not have a specific date, but it’s about a month from now. Her application is in the paperwork pipeline.

Take note, Obama and Biden: Mexico does not force everyone into the government system. It is an option, nothing more, and it exists alongside an excellent private system.

(Note: Any typos you spot in this post are due to my writing it with just one eye.)

17 thoughts on “The one-eyed Mexican

  1. I’m glad everything went well, as I knew it would. Here’s to a great recovery. The cost in Canada is very much higher than that. Our son had it done. It was 150,000 pesos or so.

    When we looked at private health insurance, and we are both older than your young bride, it was considerably higher for us, so we set up our self-insurance account, and we are confident it will serve our needs. Nothing is guaranteed in life.


    1. Kirk: Self-insurance is the approach we have used the last 20 years, and it’s worked fine so far. Probably would continue to work, but we’ve decided to shell out some money for more certainty. But you are right. Nothing is guaranteed in life.


  2. You have the distinct look of Van Gogh with a bad aim. I hope all goes well with this eye — and the other. So far, I have avoided the dreaded cataracts. Or so I think. Those conditions just seem to sneak up on us.


    1. Señor Cotton: Dr. Chacón told me just six months ago that the cataract situation did not require action at that point. And I see can see well enough during the daytime. It was when the night issue raised its ugly head that I went back to see him, and this is where I ended up. As I write this, we are preparing to head back to his office to remove the eye bandage which is REALLY a bother. Driving me nuts.


  3. Mexico does force people into IMSS. Employers must enroll their employees and they pay a sum equal to a percentage of their salary. Employees earning less than a certain monthly salary do not contribute. The others must. And all new construction is required to pay an amount into IMSS based on several criteria. All workers on the job receive numerous benefits and their families receive medical coverage.


    1. Antonio: Oh, okay. Not quite the same as the strong-arm tactics one sees above the border, however. Though I believe Trump managed to wind that situation down a few notches. At the beginning of ObamaCare, pretty much all Americans were forced to buy medical insurance on their own even if they did not want it. It was mainly young adults who did not want it. Due to still being a U.S. citizen — something of questionable value to me these days — I would have been forced into the deal except for the fact that I live outside the U.S., thank the Goddess.

      As for Mexican employers having to enroll their employees in IMSS, being Mexicans, we have lots of ways to dodge that, as you surely know.


  4. I believe I had told you about a year ago about my multifocal implants for cataracts. I no longer need glasses for any reason. That is, given proper lighting after dark or even in shadowed light. The procedure was a breeze. You’ll do well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Carole: I am optimistic. I did not request anything in particular aside from dealing with the night vision. If I continue to wear glasses, fine by me. I actually like glasses. I have the bandage off now, which is a major relief.


  5. Your IMSS policy covers cataract surgery. You could have gotten your money back several times using their services.


    1. Antonio, P.S.; Even had I known that, I would have gone to my eye doctor whom I am familiar with. I would not have gone to an unknown doctor to start lasering my eyeballs. I intend to have the IMSS coverage strictly for the unlucky event that something befalls me that would cost a fortune in the private sector. Till that happens, and I hope it never does, I will continue with my regular doctors, paying out of my own pocket.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow! La Guapa Señora gets by with $800 per friggin’ year! What a score. Yes, there’s a high deductible, but here in Boston, that would be about a monthly payment for someone her age, though the deductible would certainly be lower. I’d love to have such a policy, but sadly, Obamacare outlawed such things, so we are literally in an all-or-nothing situation.

    Let’s just pray that neither of you get sick hereabouts. Apparently, the hospitals in Mexico are now full of covid patients. And oddly, while covid is declining in most parts of the world, it doesn’t look like Mexico has seen much of a drop. Hopefully, that changes fast.

    As for cataract surgery, everything I’ve ever heard suggests you will recover rapidly and will enjoy much better vision rapidly.


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where one feels positively trapped by a combination of covid and snowy, cold winter weather.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kim: Yes, we are happy with the MetLife coverage, everything about it. Of course, the premiums will increase yearly, but nothing like what would happen above the Rio Bravo.

      The hospitals in Mexico are not full of Kung Flu patients in the slightest. At least not in my area because most private hospitals do not accept Kung Flu patients. Some do, but on a very limited basis. Kung Flu cases are channeled into government facilities. From what I have seen and read, private hospitals hereabouts are running as normal.

      Liked by 1 person

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