Tag Archives: healthcare

A dental case

I MADE IT more than 72 years with the big-boy teeth the Goddess installed in me when I was a kiddie.

Never lost a one, neither to decay, accidents nor bar fights.

I joined the Air Force at 18, and one day early on I was ordered to report to the dentist. I had no idea why. When I got there, he told me that he was going to yank my wisdom teeth.

When I protested, he sent me on my way with my wisdom teeth intact. I still don’t know what that was about.

Keeping my wisdom teeth contributed to the wisdom I possess to this day, the wisdom to move to Mexico, the wisdom to marry a Mexican, the wisdom to vote for Trump.

Well, the long run with my own teeth came to a halt on Friday. One had to be pulled, and I was faced with two options: a bridge or an implant. I chose the implant, of course.

Bridges are for old people like my grandparents.

I sat in my dentist’s chair in the state capital, totally ignorant. I had not even Googled tooth implants. I was flying blind with faith that my good dentist would do me right.

And he did, both on price and service.

I was reclined in the chair, except for a brief break, for two-and-a-half hours. My mouth was deadened, so I felt nothing. Actually, I saw nothing either because a cloth was over my head, executioner-style, leaving just my mouth accessible.

First, my defunct tooth was broken into parts and removed. Then a post (yipes!) was screwed into my jawbone. Then a temporary fake tooth was attached to that post.

The permanent tooth will be installed in three months after the jawbone has firmly grown around the post.

I expected the area to be inflamed and ugly from the abuse when he was finished, and I was worried about what would happen when the anesthetic wore off.

When I walked out of the office almost three hours later and peeked into my mouth with the car mirror, it looked totally normal, as if nothing had been done. Later, the anesthetic wore off, but I never felt any serious discomfort.

I’m writing this 24 hours later, and I feel fine. I am taking a week’s worth of antibiotics. The whole shebang, excluding the antibiotics, cost about $750 U.S.

Like all things medical here, I paid out of pocket.

Life is good, and I can chew.

The abortion thing

Health care? No. Abortion? Yes.

LET’S TALK about abortion.

I’m a fence-straddler on this contentious topic. Not being a Christian, I have no religious issue with it. Like many people, abortion has been a part of my life.

My first wife got pregnant unexpectedly. It was before we married. We were young and shocked. Rather quickly she found an abortion doctor. This was before Roe versus Wade.

It was illegal.

I, however, was troubled and nixed it.

We married, and my life sailed in a direction it would have not sailed otherwise. I still feel the effects.

An unexpected pregnancy for young people is like a 10-ton boulder rolling down the mountain straight at you.

You can dodge it with an abortion. Or you can stand still, wide-eyed, and see what happens.

I support abortion rights when done early, and the fetus is just a nub. Where it gets troubling is when it’s done later and the fetus is a formed child.

Early, yes. Late, no. If you drag your feet making a decision, tough luck. Be decisive.

There’s lots of hubbub about Planned Parenthood, which is an abortion provider, and nothing more. Its supporters say it’s about women’s health. That’s baloney.

A reporter recently phoned Planned Parenthood facilities in various states to ask what prenatal services were provided. The answers were all the same. No prenatal services offered.

Planned Parenthood is an abortion mill, period. And given the strong emotions on the subject in many quarters, it should not be receiving taxpayer money.

Let the customers pay.

If you get pregnant unexpectedly, decide what you want to do with no dilly-dallying, and make an appointment with a doctor who provides the service. It’s legal.

Don’t wait five months and do it. It’s grisly.

Numerous undercover investigations have been done into Planned Parenthood, and what’s been discovered is quite disturbing. You’ll never see these reports in the socialist media like Huffpost, Mother Jones and The New York Times.

Abortion should stay legal for early stage. Illegal in the late stage.* To outlaw it altogether will just return us to the days of blood-soaked butchery in back alleys.

Outlawing all abortions is like outlawing drug use. It just creates worse problems. Use common sense.

* * * *

* Being an anti-government guy, I find even this troubling.

(Note: Later in my first marriage, we had another child, another accident. Ian Lee was born prematurely and with two club feet. He died three days later. After that, I got a vasectomy. I was 24 and out of the procreation game. My daughter recently turned 51 and lives in Athens, Georgia, with her husband. She is thick as thieves with her mother and has little to do with me. Irony.)

The egg sandwich

LUNCH TODAY consisted of two egg sandwiches.

I hadn’t eaten an egg sandwich in years, much less two at a time, but I was hungry. I ate both sandwiches alone.

There were two reasons I made the egg sandwiches. One is that I was cooking for one, and it’s easy to do. The second reason was that I wanted to try out a new frying pan that I bought recently at Bed, Bath & Beyond in the capital city.

cracked-eggThe pan is copper-based, and it requires no oil or butter whatsoever to cook eggs or anything else. It just does not stick, slides right off. Sweet.

I ate alone, and I likely will spend the night alone too, but that’s okay, especially considering the circumstances.

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THE CIRCUMSTANCES

We have a nephew with cancer. It was discovered a year ago, late, and he’s been getting chemo down in the capital city at a government hospital.

Fortunately, he has medical coverage due to a new job he found — driving a wrecker on the autopista — not long before the cancer was discovered.

We’ve been driving him down there almost every week for the past year, waiting for two or three hours, and then bringing him home. The problem began in his testicles, but that was solved rather quickly with surgery.

However, it spread to his lungs where a number of tumors took up residence. The chemo seemed to be helping.

Recently, he began suffering severe headaches. A CT scan last week revealed the lung tumors were all gone. Alas, they had traveled to his brain, six of them.

He will not live. He is 31 years old, married with two children, 6 and 10. He was brought home from the hospital last week in an ambulance, and he’s been bedridden since.

The doctor said he may go blind, talk nonsense and other bad stuff. He seemed to be semi-conscious.

In the middle of last night, he began convulsing. His wife — and brother who lives next door — called an ambulance and returned him to the hospital in the capital city.

That’s about 40 minutes down the mountainside.

This morning at 8:30, we got a phone call, and we drove to the hospital. I left my child bride who expects to spend the night in the hospital. Tests are being done on the nephew.

I drove home alone and got hungry shortly after arrival. It was a good time to test my new copper pan.

The sandwiches were whole-grain bread. I applied Dijon, lettuce, spices and Worcestershire sauce.

I am counting my own blessings. When you’re feeling low, an egg sandwich can be a good thing to lean on.

100-day plan

TRUMP DELIVERED an excellent speech at Gettysburg today. It should be required listening for all voters, especially those who plan to vote for fringe candidates.

The Donald spells out specific actions he will take immediately on becoming president. They are good actions.

Ronnie knew best

I’M ALMOST finished with H. W. Brands’ biography of Ronald Reagan. I recommend it to you.

I invariably voted Democrat during Reagan’s times, and I wasn’t a fan of his due to being duped by the left-wing news media of which I was a card-carrying member. Oh, the shame!

But the dawn of the 21st century, my move to Mexico and my higher tortilla intake caused my intelligence quotient to soar, and Reagan now makes perfect sense.

This is one of those countless things from the past that seem so relevant today. The speech was delivered during Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign. Reagan was simply stumping for Goldwater, but this speech put Reagan on the path that led to his own win of the presidency in 1980.

It is a famous speech with reason.

One wonders what Reagan would make of the tragic societal disintegration occurring in the United States as a result of political correctness and the glorifying of multiculturalism and its resulting and increasing bloodshed.

The Soviet Union did not threaten the United States half as much as “Black Lives Matter,” Weepy Barry and — on the horizon but creeping closer — savage Mohammedans who are endlessly discounted by America’s ruling class.

* * * *

(Note: There is a White House petition under way to formally name “Black Lives Matter” as a terrorist organization. Go sign right here.)

Clueless Bernie-ites

HILLARY FINALLY said a true thing. She said Bernie Sanders is a one-issue candidate, and she’s correct. He’s all about battling “Wall Street,” she rightly observes.

But then there’s also the “free stuff.” Socialism is all about “free stuff,” which isn’t free at all, of course, but it sounds super.

I just read a column by Stephen Moore, an economic consultant with Freedom Works. The headline is Socialism’s Strange Appeal with a subhead Bernie Sanders and socialism are for those who cannot handle reality.

bern
Young Bern

I’ll put a link to the column later, but I know those who disagree will be as disinclined to read it as I am disinclined to read Salon, Mother Jones, and Huffpost, so here are a few key points:

  1. The remarkable thing about the rise of Bernie Sanders is that his popularity runs counter to how socialism is actually working around the world. Bankrupt Greece, just one example, is modern socialism on steroids.
  2.  Leftists enjoy pointing to Sweden and Denmark as socialist success stories while Sweden and Denmark are back-pedaling as fast as they can.
  3. Economic freedom is the opposite of socialism.

Nations that are economically free have free trade, small welfare states, low taxes, a light hand of regulation, private ownership of the means of production, and the rule of law.

Countries that are economically free have five times the average income ($55,000) of countries that are the least economically free ($9,000). Not only that, economic freedom is also highly correlated with better education, improved health, and a cleaner environment.*

The poor do better in nations that are economically free and worse in Bernie Sanders land. You can read Moore’s complete column here. It ain’t that long.

* * * *

* Most of this is lifted verbatim from Moore’s column.

Healthcare in Mexico

New ImageMUCH IS said, especially here, about the differences between Mexican healthcare and the dreadful, pricey, irrational system found above the Rio Bravo.

An online publication named Mexico News Daily published this informative piece on Friday. It deals with the differences in medical training on each side of the border.

Quite interesting.

Sheer convenience

THERE ARE MANY happy reasons to  live in Mexico. One is sheer convenience. It’s usually easy to live here.

Here is a typical example: I had to leave the Honda today at the repair shop, which is about halfway between our hardscrabble neighborhood and downtown.

I drove to the repair shop, explained the problem, and the mechanic got to work immediately. I stepped outside to the street and waved down a minibus, which costs seven pesos, about 40 cents in American money.

New ImageFifteen minutes later, I was deposited directly outside the Hacienda’s front gate. The car will be ready in the afternoon, one imagines.

Another example: The water heater in our downtown casita must be changed. The current heater is too small. We drove to Home Depot in the capital city and purchased a hefty heater, which just fit into the back of the Honda.

On returning home, I called my plumber-electrician, an independent operator. That was Saturday. He said he’ll do it tomorrow. He’ll come on time, and he won’t charge much.

A third example: We’re doing renovations here at the Hacienda. When I decided to do that, I phoned “a guy” in the neighborhood. He came over immediately on his bicycle.

He started the work two days later. His work is incredible. He’s an artist with stone and cement, plus he installed a new toilet. The work is over half done. More on that later.

And the price is quite right.

Example No. 4: Need a doctor appointment? Call and make it for the next day. And the waiting room will not be full of folks. It will be full of just you. You won’t wait long.

Mexico, in most respects, is a far easier place to live than in the United States. And when the problem with the Honda is resolved, I’ll get a call. Then I’ll step out the front gate, hail a minibus and retrace my route of this morning.

Another 40 cents, and I’ll be at the garage’s door.

You can breathe easy down here.

Die-hard habits

MOVING TO another country doesn’t mean you leave your habits behind. Some of those habits are good, others less so.

One example is the American habit of medical insurance. The necessity of having coverage is ingrained into the Gringos, and I was no exception when I moved south in 2000. Almost immediately, I bought coverage from a Mexican government provider that goes by its initials IMSS.

The annual premium for major medical was the peso equivalent of about $350. There is an IMSS clinic/hospital here on the mountaintop. After a year, I had begun to lose the Gringo medical insurance habit because I’d seen how relatively inexpensive private healthcare was, plus I’d noticed the crowded conditions at the IMSS clinic.

I knew I would never use it.

stock-footage-mexico-detail-of-waving-flagDuring that year, I’d had some routine health issues, but I had not gone to the IMSS clinic, which would have been free. I went to private doctors and paid out-of-pocket. When it was time to renew the IMSS coverage, I let it lapse, and I’ve been uninsured since.*

But today’s topic is not the superlative Mexican medical system. It’s die-hard habits. My health-coverage obsession 15 years ago is an example. Another is the U.S. passport. Mine will expire soon.

Coincidentally, both my Mexican passport and U.S. passport expire next year, the former in February, the latter in May. Both were issued for 10 years. There will be no waffling on renewing the Mexican passport. That’s a no-brainer, and it’s not that difficult to do.

A decade ago I got my first Mexican passport in an office in the old Colonial center of the state capital. The system was good, but the offices were cramped and jam-packed with people, most no doubt dreaming of visiting America. That was not my dream. It was my past.

Those offices have moved out of downtown and into a large space in a strip mall, eliminating the previous, cramped conditions. My wife renewed her passport in those new offices a few years ago, and I was impressed with its well-oiled efficiency. You make an appointment online, and you leave after a few hours with fresh passport in hand.

The last time I renewed my U.S. passport, I went to the bunkered Embassy in Mexico City. Once I penetrated the building the process went smoothly. The passport was express-mailed to me weeks later.

us flagThis time, however, I would do it at the U.S. Consulate in San Miguel de Allende about 140 miles away. I don’t know if that option was available 10 years ago. I’ve only been to that office once, to get something notarized, and I had to wait in a long, slow line.

From what I’ve been told, processing takes five weeks (Compare to Mexico’s passport process of one day.) and I’d have to return to San Miguel, or they would express-mail it to me at a higher cost.

But I face a dilemma: Why do I need a U.S. passport? I have not been in the United States since early 2009. I doubt I will ever set foot there again. I have a Mexican passport that will get me anywhere a U.S. passport will — with the sole exception of the United States.

And here we encounter a die-hard habit. I likely will renew it even though I know it’s a total waste of time and money. But I promise one thing. It will be the last renewal, one way or the other.

* * * *

* Not quite true. About three years ago, at my wife’s insistence, we enrolled in another government healthcare system named Seguro Popular (Popular Insurance). It is totally free, zero co-pay, but I cannot imagine ever using it either for the same reasons I balked at IMSS.

We’d have to be dead broke.