Sensible healthcare

I LOVE OUR healthcare system, one of the many positive aspects of Mexican life.

My child bride developed a stomach ailment yesterday. It kept her up much of last night, so we decided on a doctor visit today, which was easy as pie.

medThere is a privately owned clinic in town that’s about five or six years old. It’s a modern, two-story affair with a small hospital upstairs and doctors’ offices and a lab downstairs. The doctors include an internist, a family doctor, a dermatologist, an ear-nose-throat man, a traumatologist, a gynecologist and a pneumologist, whatever that is.

I imagine most are also surgeons because in Mexico many doctors are surgeons even though their specialty is something else. This is a major difference from how doctors are developed in the United States where if one is a surgeon that’s what he is, period.

Here it’s common to encounter an internist who’s a surgeon too. Same for family doctors, dentists, etc. My father-in-law was a small-town doc and a surgeon to boot.

You can also go into medical school straight from high school. No intermediary degrees are necessary. This means you can encounter some very young doctors.

Back to this morning. Keep in mind that it’s Saturday. We phoned the clinic. The doctor was in, the main one who’s also the owner of the clinic. We drove there. A nurse took my wife’s vital signs and within five minutes she was in the doctor’s office. I waited in the lobby with my mask on. A few minutes later, she exited with a treatment plan.

The doctor visit cost the peso equivalent of $18 U.S. Medical insurance did not enter the picture at all. We paid cash.

I stopped at a nearby drugstore for medicine on the way home.

We decided to visit the doctor around 9 a.m. We departed the clinic around 11, treatment in hand. The patient is resting comfortably as I write this.

The X-ray routine

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WE USUALLY get chest X-rays once a year. It’s easy to do and cheap to boot.

This is where we do it. You need neither a doctor’s referral nor an appointment. You just go inside and request it. It can be a bit crowded in the morning, so we always show up after 5 p.m. when there is little chance of waiting.

The place is open till 8 p.m.

You tell the receptionist what you want, pay 250 pesos (about $13 U.S. nowadays), wait a few minutes and get ushered into the X-ray room. The technician does his thing, and you return to the waiting room for a brief sit.

Ten minutes later, you get the results that have been interpreted by a radiologist. Yep, for that $13, you get not only the X-ray, but a doctor who tells you what it shows.

Our relatively new socialist president, he who shall go unnamed, has said he’s gonna give us a healthcare system like Canada’s, i.e. “free.” Let us pray not.

And we sure don’t want the type of system that plagues Americans.

We both got X-rays on Thursday, and we are free of problems. Good to go.

The skin game

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UV detector from Amazon in the United States. Right to my door.

I USED TO BE a sun worshiper, long ago when I was young.

In those faraway summers, in Georgia, Florida and even later in Puerto Rico, I was mostly naked outdoors and by late June I could have joined Black Lives Matter as an angry soul bro’ had that disreputable band of brothers existed way back then.

But starting when I was about 45, the proverbial chickens started returning to the henhouse with roosting on their pea brains. Skin cancer. In the decades since, I’ve had at least 50 basal-cell carcinomas removed from my flesh.

The most recent five — yes, five — were excised last week, surgically and biopsied.

We now have an opaque glass roof over the entire upstairs terraza that we recently had renovated, an upgrade that continues to this day. Two guys will be here today applying a fresh coat of amarillo villas, which is a fancy way of saying yellow.

A few days ago, two canvas curtains were installed in two sections of the new zone, and more perhaps will follow, depending on how the rainy season behaves. We will also install a sunblock net with a nice design on the bottom of the new glass ceiling.

Recently, I ordered a handheld device that measures the sun’s UV rays. I got it from Amazon. I was pleased to discover the new opaque glass roof reduces UV a lot but not to a 100% safe degree, and that’s why we’ll install the sunblock net.

I want to be able to sit out there worry-free. UV is obscenely high here due to the combination of latitude and altitude.

Basal-cell carcinomas are visible and very slow-growing, giving one lots of time to deal with them. Melanoma, of course, is the Bad Boy of skin cancer. I always knew melanoma was the least common form of skin cancer, but I was surprised to learn this week it makes up only 1 to 2 percent of skin cancers. It’s quite rare. But can be very deadly.

With luck, my skin cancers will continue to be basal-cell carcinomas because they appear to be increasing in number as I age. This is common, I have learned.

Let this be a lesson to you, boys and girls. Don’t walk around bare-assed in the summertime, and if you do, apply sunblock. And don a big sombrero.

But no matter your skin tone, stay out of Black Lives Matter.

Dental adventures

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My child bride gets a root canal.

AS I’VE WRITTEN lately, we’ve been having dental adventures.

The most recent report was just a few days ago in the Good and Bad. And, previous to that, there was A Dental Day. I recently wound up the process of getting a tooth implant, the first of my life, and my child bride will soon start on four implants.

On Monday we dealt with an unrelated problem, one which required a root canal for her. Our regular dentist in the state capital referred us to a dental surgeon, the talented young woman shown in the photo.

Her given name is Nayelli.

While the procedure was under way, I watched from a comfy sofa in the corner, a nice touch you’d be hard pressed to find above the Rio Bravo. I was sipping a strawberry milk shake I’d purchased just down the street.

I tried not to make slurping sounds.

The root canal took less than 45 minutes, and my child bride’s now set to start the implants in two weeks.

The adventures continue.