My medical trifecta

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, bam, bam, bam! First it was a visit to my dermatologist, second came my ophthalmologist and lastly I saw my dentist.

My dermatologist checked a mole I spotted on my back via a mirror. I’ve had skin cancers over the decades, 40 or 50 eruptions. Yes, really. With one exception, a slightly more serious squamous cell carcinoma, they’ve all been basal cell carcinomas, a manageable form of cancer. You slice it out, and that’s the end of it.

Why do I have this problem so often? It started decades ago, and I imagine my youthful life as an unofficial sun worshiper in the sunny southeast of the United States played a role. If it wasn’t my bareback days on Florida beaches, it was my bareback motorcycle rides in Louisiana. Oh, the lovely suntans I sported. I could have passed for a “person of color” most summers, perhaps gotten into Harvard due to affirmative action. And a scholarship.

If Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren can do it, why not me?

I speak cracker dialect!

I have a good dermatologist here on the mountaintop, a young woman. She took me on time, no wait, concurred with my diagnosis, laid me flat on my stomach, and sliced it off. She asked if I wanted a biopsy, and I said no.

She left me with two stitches. The consultation and minor surgery cost about $90 U.S. I paid cash.


Tuesday afternoon, during our weekly shopping jaunt to the nearby state capital, I visited my ophthalmologist to ask about special glasses for night driving. I have mentioned here previously my failing night vision.

Turns out my problem is cataracts, especially in the right eye. The cataracts are not extreme. It only affects driving at night. I still see fairly well during the day though I have noticed it’s not like the olden days. So Tuesday next week, I’ll get laser surgery on the one eye. The one-eye cost, including an anesthesiologist, is the peso equivalent of $1,400 U.S., and I’ll pay cash.

An internet search reveals that the cost above the Rio Bravo runs about $5,000 to $6,000 and even up to $10,00 per eye. Another example of how Mexico is superior. I’ll report back next week after it’s done. I should see the keyboard better.

I’ll almost certainly do the other eye soon.


And lastly, today was the dental visit. I have a hygienist in the state capital who does the best cleanings I’ve received in my life, and during a visit recently she pointed out a cavity that needed excavating.

Instead of returning another day to the dentist she works with, I opted for my dentist here where I live, both for convenience and cost. Last week, she repaired the cavity, and set another appointment for today when she replaced two aging fillings with new resin, making me look fine because they were on my front teeth.

Price for the complete filling and the two replacements: the peso equivalent of $85 U.S., so again I paid cash. I am considering buying health insurance now, but who knows? I’ve been sailing fine without it for two decades. Maybe I should buy some before I die.

Cultural variances in odd spots

I’VE LONG NOTICED the occasional cultural difference where you wouldn’t normally expect it — in the medical community. Isn’t Science Settled? No, it’s not.

An interesting example popped up in my life this week.

New ImageYesterday, I received a minor dental surgery, two stitches. Before leaving the dentist’s office, he gave me instructions, one of which was to avoid dairy products for three days. No milk, no cheese, no yogurt, no nada.

This struck me as odd, but I decided to obey orders, so last night, instead of my usual small bowl of cereal and milk before bed, I downed a croissant with orange marmalade.

Pretty tasty.

But this morning, I decided to do a little online sleuthing because I like my bedtime cereal and milk, and I eat it again for Second Breakfast.

I typed into my search engine (DuckDuckGo, never Google), “What foods should be avoided after dental surgery?” I phrased the question in English, so I received U.S. medical websites. I read three of them, and nowhere did it say to avoid dairy products. On the contrary, yogurt was one of the recommendations.

I then typed the same question in Spanish, so I got Mexican medical websites. The very first one told me to avoid all dairy products. So what’s happening here? Cultural differences is what. I’ve decided to be a Gringo and enjoy my cereal and milk.

Beneath a cool, blue sky

two
The grass circle behind is where the cursed peach tree lived.

THE PERSONALITY OF Tom Snyder, who hosted the Tomorrow show late nights on NBC from 1973 to 1982, was once likened to a Harley-Davidson with the throttle stuck wide open.

I often remember that line when I think about my child bride because she’s a high-energy sort who almost never relaxes.

I, on the other hand, am an old Vespa stuck on idle.

An obsession she’s resurrected recently is knitting, and she’s very good at it. I took the above photo yesterday while we were enjoying the midday sun on the new yard patio under clear, blue, cool skies.

She’s making a shawl for a niece, Paula Romina, who’s just shy of 2 years old. My bride promises she’ll later knit a sweater for me. I already have two she’s crafted, one a black wool and one a wine acrylic.

Breakfasts have been ratcheted up a notch in recent weeks, emotion-wise, because she watches (on a Samsung tablet) the 7 a.m. press conference given by our doofus, leftist president. That means she arrives at the table around 8 a.m. in a state of high dudgeon. Daily.

She really loathes the prez, who recently compared himself to Benito Júarez, exhibiting an stunning level of hubris. It would be like Trump comparing himself to Abraham Lincoln.

Being an old Vespa, however, I react in a more leisurely fashion.

* * * *

Life goes on

I went to a dentist here in town yesterday at 5. My usual dentist, since 2014, works in the nearby state capital, but I had an issue between Christmas and New Year’s, and he was on vacation.

So I called a young woman dentist here, and she saw me on Christmas Eve day at noon. The issue was resolved, but a small cavity partially below the gum line in the back was discovered. That’s why I saw her yesterday.

She shares a practice with two brothers. The three have different specialties. Their office looks fairly humble from the street, but once you step inside it’s very modern and large. I would recommend them to anyone in town who doesn’t want to drive to the state capital.

Speaking of which, that’s what we’re doing today, driving to the state capital for shopping. Normally, we do that weekly but, due to the gasoline shortage caused by our new doofus president who thinks he’s a reincarnation of Benito Júarez, it’s only the second trip there this month.

The gasoline crisis has vanished for now. Gas stations are open. They either have no line of cars waiting, or the line is very short.

Lord knows what the ding-a-ling is going to pull next.

10-great-white-egret-in-flight-paulette-thomasReturning to the Hacienda about 6:30, I paused at the archway entrance to the veranda.

There was still a good bit of light — the days are getting longer — and I saw a low-altitude, V-formation of white egrets.

Perhaps if I’d returned to the veranda 30 minutes later, I would have seen our bats depart on their nightly bug hunt. Life goes on.

But not for some of those bugs.

Good and bad

sunrise

WITH SO MUCH bad-weather news happening, I thought it would be uplifting to show good weather. This is a photo taken from our upstairs terraza … a few years ago.

There is other good news. Not weather, dental.

Since I recently had a tooth implant inserted in my upper jaw, we revisited the mouth of my child bride. When we met in 2001, her dental history was typical of Mexicans. When a tooth problem appears, you don’t fix it, you remove it.

Yeah, I know. Incredible.

At 41, she had removed five. All were in the back and not visible when she smiled. The situation,  however, created a problem later due to the spaces, so she got two bridges, also not readily apparent, but bridges are a bother, or so I’m told.

So she’ll be getting implants too, four not five. The dentist said she could easily ignore one at the very back. She begins the process in a couple of weeks, and it will take, as mine did, three months total. This will cost a bit over $5,000 U.S.

We’ll pay cash. Donations accepted via PayPal.

I wonder what four implants would cost above the border. Lots more, I am sure. Likely $5,000 each.

* * * *

Bad news

Now the bad news, also in the medical category.

Recently, I had a sharp pain in my left heel whenever I walked. When I was not walking, I felt nothing.

I visited a clinic here, a hospital actually, that’s part of a church complex. I’ve known two people who died in the clinic, but it’s a good option if you’re in a rush, and it’s cheap.

But that’s not the reason I went. I went because my heel was hurting, and my usual doctor wasn’t available.

The clinic’s right off the main plaza downtown. The doctor consultation was $4. He immediately guessed the problem correctly. Osteoporosis! But I am a poster boy for not having osteoporosis in all categories save one: I’m old.

I am not overweight. I do not drink. I do not smoke. I eat healthily, a salad a day and better. I take calcium tablets. And I’m a guy. Mostly, it’s women who get osteoporosis.

I have a girly affliction!

The Goddess has a wicked sense of humor.

To confirm his guess, the doctor pointed me over thataway to get a couple of X-rays of my foot. Cost of the x-rays: $22. That was done immediately while the doctor sat and waited.

Really.

Seems part of the bone in my heel went elsewhere, leaving a little peak that dug into my heel pad on walking.

The doctor prescribed an anti-inflammatory gel plus pills that do much the same.

He told me to get a glass bottle and rub it sideways over the peak twice daily to make it gradually less pointy.

I have done this now for two days, and it’s really helped. I did my daily exercise walk around the neighborhood plaza yesterday with no problem.

And I’m doubling my daily dose of calcium.

Getting old is a bitch.

* * * *

(Update: Online research, plus having my X-rays on hand, has convinced me that my problem is not osteoporosis but a heel spur, a much nicer diagnosis. Tip of the sombrero to Al Lanier for pointing me toward heel spurs in his comment below. This means the clinic doc misdiagnosed. The good news is that treatment for the two separate conditions is basically identical.)