Tag Archives: blood sugar

Watch your step

THERE’S A street project right off the main plaza downtown that’s been going on since last autumn, which is a long time because the renovation is just two lengthy blocks.

This project interests me, and I take a stroll by there almost every weekday after sitting at a sidewalk table with my Kindle and a café Americano negro.

In the United States, it would have been done far faster, and the entire work site would be blocked off so pedestrians and gawkers like me could not walk all over the place.

Around the workmen. Hopping over wet cement.

Here, no effort is made to keep pedestrians out of the work area, and none of the workers sports a hard hat. The main reason the project is taking so long is that there is little mechanized about it. It’s strictly manual labor.

If a passerby trips on something, falls and busts his noodle, he should have watched where he was going. He does not sue the city. We are not litigious that way.

The work started last year with an extensive excavation. New sewer and water lines were buried deep as were electric cables and wires in fat orange conduits.

Part of the reason the project is taking so long is the detail work, primarily on the sidewalks.

I should have photographed some of the detail, but I didn’t. This is fine rock work that will last a century.

There is sunken lighting for a nice nighttime look.

About the only nod to modernity are wheelchair ramps.

This photo shows the area where most of the stone is being worked to make it usable. It was a rose garden outside the church/hospital to the left before the renovation began.

Big stones are cut to size by hammer and chisel.

The scenes of the first two photos are at the end of the block down thataway, the far side.

We don’t have the reams of rules and regulations here that are so prevalent above the Rio Bravo, rules and regs made necessary by lawyers and government meddling. No environmental impact study was required.

Bugs were just squashed.

Here, if you need something done you hire some guys and do it. There are always guys available, plenty of idle hands of men who never grasped the need for schooling.

Just around the corner from the renovation I noticed this sign outside a tiny pharmacy. Look what you can have done. (Excuse the photos’ blurry edges. I had the camera set for that effect, but I did not notice till later.)

You can measure your blood sugar and blood pressure, or get a pap test.

You can get a medical certificate, maybe to get out of class. A problem with your toenails? No sweat.

A wound will be bandaged, and if you need an injection, they’ll stick you with the appropriate needle.

And all will cost next to nothing, and no pricey doctor reference is needed, but a doctor is likely there. Just go in, pay a buck or two if you want some medical advice or a prescription.

Living here is easy. Even if renovating a street takes forever. It will last forever after it’s finished.

Healthy as an old horse

horse

I GET A MEDICAL checkup once a year, self-directed and inexpensive, which is to say about as far from the Obamacare coercion as one can get. Here’s how it goes:

Each December is kicked off by a visit to a private lab where I leave a bit of fresh poop and have blood extracted. The poop test is, of course, an old method to check for colon cancer.

My choice.

I got a colonoscopy once, in 1997 before leaving Houston. Haven’t had one since. In Mexico I’ve twice subjected myself to the barium enema, one step up from the poop test and one step below the colonoscopy. I’ll stick to the poop test in the future.

Also at the private lab, I get results on cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugar. I do not do the PSA (prostate) exam because medical thinking on it has changed radically in recent years, especially the wisdom of doing it after age 70.

I leave that controversial can of worms sealed.

I always arrive at the lab at 8 a.m. when it opens. With rare exception, I’m the first customer.

It’s a small place, an outpost of a larger lab across town, and it’s manned by a nice nurse who takes the blood and accepts the poop sample I scooped up an hour earlier. I pay the peso equivalent of 25 bucks, and leave by 8:20.

The results are ready by 1 p.m., same day. No doctor request/permission is required. It’s my decision, as it should be. This year’s results are all very good.

Next stop: X-rays, and my child bride goes with me. We both get the chest shot to evaluate heart, lungs, spine, etc. This is done in a different lab a few blocks away from the first place.

Again, no doctor’s permission required. No appointment either. We just show up at 6 p.m. one evening.  The wait is about five minutes. I go first. She goes second.

This runs the peso equivalent of about 15 bucks each. For that you get not just the X-ray, but a doctor’s evaluation of the results.  We pick that up the following morning.

Again, everything looks good, especially for this old dog. The next stage is my electrocardiogram. For this I made an appointment with an internist who does the test in his office.

We arrived at his clinic for the 11:30 a.m. appointment, waited about 10 minutes before being ushered into the doctor’s office. The test results were very good. Cost:  20 bucks total.

Summing up: tests for cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, colon, chest X-ray and electrocardiogram totaled 60 dollars out of my pocket. It’s a very basic test but far better than nothing.

And so simple to do.

I think 60 bucks is about what American hospitals charge insurance companies for one aspirin.

Meanwhile, this old horse gallops on through golden fields, a young filly at his side, not with a sunset ahead but a sun rising behind. And strains of Cielito Lindo  soar in the sky.

Good and green

summerSUMMER STARTS on June 21, so we’re still in Springtime or, as my Mexican paisanos call it, Primavera.

We step outside each morning with long pants and a light jacket. It will be about 60 degrees. It’ll soar to the mid-70s at midday. Invariably I think of folks I left behind in the sweat pits of Houston and New Orleans.

We sleep at night with only half of one window open to avoid having to pile blankets atop us. We have no air-conditioning, of course, because that would be downright silly. Not much heating either.

Most of the greenery in the photo was planted by me a decade back, and they were just little tykes. When I planted little tykes in Houston, they usually stayed that way or died. I’ve yet to figure that out.

There is some horticultural magic in the Mexican air. You expect that on the tropical coasts, but it seems less likely here on the cool mountaintop 7,000 feet above sea level.

Most spring and summer mornings are similar. I eat a bagel and Philly cheese. I sweep the terraza and pick up the cursed peaches that have fallen overnight from their tree. I wipe dew or rain off the glass table and web chairs that sit on the yard patio, and I hoist the umbrella like a flag.

I take a deep breath, smile and walk back inside to wash the Philly cheese off the ceramic plates we purchased years ago in Dolores Hidalgo. Maybe do a little laundry. Take a shower, get dressed.

Life doesn’t change much. Nor do I want it to.

* * * *

While the above is a typical morning, I detoured a bit today.

At 8 a.m., I was parked outside the little lab downtown as the young nurse opened for business. It was time for the twice-yearly peek into my blood vessels and veins, to see how the old coot is getting along.

I check my cholesterol, blood sugar and triglycerides.

No appointment is necessary, no doctor’s permission. Just show up, fork over 18 bucks (would have been 10 if I’d waited for the sale next week), step into the adjoining room, roll up my sleeve and wince.

The results will be available this afternoon. I’m feeling fine, but you can put in a positive word with the Goddess on my behalf. It won’t hurt.

Fettucchine and sugar donuts

grub

BIANNUAL CHECKUP yesterday. All numbers were good. There were only three numbers: cholesterol, blood sugar and triglycerides. That’s the July test. In December I add a poop test and sometimes a chest X-ray and cholesterol breakdown. They invariably show me in top form. Knock on wood.

I did what I always do. No coffee or edge of toast at dawn to have the virgin tummy and blood stream. At 7:45, I drive the 15 minutes downtown to the laboratory that opens at 8. It’s really just a branch of the lab, a collection point on a cobblestone street, and it’s manned by a nice young woman, a girl really, in white.

Before taking my $21, she tells me that if I wait two days, there will be a sale, and it will only run me about half. But I’m already there, so I pay the full enchilada. Most Mexicans would have departed and returned two days later. I am more cavalier with cash. And lazy.

No appointment was necessary, of course. No doctor had to refer me. I just showed up, and the results were ready at 1:30 that afternoon. Quick, efficient, painless and intelligent.

I usually watch what I eat which is, of course, the reason my numbers are always good. But yesterday’s report merited a reward. For lunch, I ate fettuchine at a restaurant, plenty of cheese. Later, I gobbled not one, but two, sugar donuts from a bakery. Sometimes you gotta cut loose and howl.

* * * *

July Fourth. It’s just another day in Mexico. Some of the Gringos celebrate, but those are the folks who never make the transition to Mexico. Their bodies are here (at times), but their hearts and minds stay above the Rio Bravo.

There will be no weenies or hamburgers over charcoal at the Hacienda. Instead, my child bride has cooked up a big pot of caldo de res. This morning we took our plaza power walk. At 9 o’clock, it was 60 cool degrees.

Mountain life is lovely.

* * * *

Barry’s descent continues, which is always excellent news. A recent poll conducted by Quinnipiac University (one of the nation’s best, according to U.S. News and World Report) shows than a sizable hunk of America considers Barry the worst president since World War II. Well, duh.

The ineffectual, divisive, wooden “community organizer” parked in the Oval Office polled worse than Dubya, the peanut farmer and Tricky Dick. In a bit over two years, way too long, we’ll be rid of him. He must be a dreadful embarrassment to the bona fide blacks and clueless whites who voted for him en masse due to his skin tone.

No matter, I guess. The fettucchine was great and the sugar donuts were a delight.