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.
There 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.
WE WENT TO the dentist yesterday, both of us. Actually, it was two dentists. One for her, and another for me.
My child bride was to get, after three months of waiting for the posts to set in her jaw, her four new implants. She ended up getting three. There was some detail with the fourth, and she’ll be returning in about 10 days to get that last one.
While she was doing that for over three hours, I drove about 10 blocks away to a specialist who does root canals. That went well, if longer than usual, two hours in the chair, and then I returned to the other dentist to pick up my better half.
A friend in Arizona told me yesterday that he needs a root canal, and his dentist’s fee will be $2,500. That’s U.S. dollars. My root canal cost $3,200 pesos, which is about $172 in U.S. dollars. This cost difference is astounding.
We have no dental insurance, but we don’t need it. Unfortunately, my friend in Arizona does not have dental insurance either, and he does need it. Just one more example of how life in Mexico is superior to life above the Rio Bravo.
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THE SEASON OF DUST
This morning, like most mornings, I swept the downstairs veranda and wiped off the shelves. All the shelves were dusty, and some harbored bat turds that had dropped from the roof tiles where bats doze during the day.
We’re heading into full-tilt dry season, which means lots of dust, inside and out. The dust inside drives my child bride nuts. We really should hire a maid, but we never do. The minor reason is that we don’t want another ongoing household expense. The major reason is that we don’t want anyone underfoot here.
In the years we’ve lived here, we’ve had two maids. I forget why we fired the first, but we fired the second because she was unreliable. For months after she departed, we noticed things had been stolen, mostly clothing and music CDs. If we ever hire another maid, we will not leave her here by herself, which is another reason not to hire a maid.
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CARS, CARS, CARS
Unlike so many Gringos who make the wise decision to move over the Rio Bravo, I did not bring a car with me. Delta Airlines provided my transportation.
I bought my first car in September 2000. It was a little Chevy Pop, something that was not sold in the United States. It was almost a clone of the Geo Metro, a very nice little ride. Four years later, we bought a 2004 Chevrolet Meriva, another car that’s not sold in the United States. It was made in Brazil and sold in other nations around the world as a Vauxhall, sometimes an Opel. It too was a very nice car.
A bit over four years later, we bought our 2009 Honda CR-V. Aside from some design flaws that only the driver notices, this is a very nice car, and it’s still serving us well.
About four years later, again, we bought my wife’s 2014 Nissan March, and yet again, it’s a car that is not sold in the United States. It is small and sweet.
The Honda is almost a decade old now. It’s been great. However, a large plastic part where the front bumper should be — why do cars no longer have bumpers? — fell off recently in the state capital. No huge issue, and a mechanic reattached it for free.
Is this a harbinger of things to come? Will we be tooling down the autopista through avocado groves and narco hangouts toward the sands of the Pacific when something else falls off or simply stops functioning? It’s a concern.
I don’t know when I’ll buy it, but I have decided on its replacement: the Kia Soul.
It’s smaller than the Honda CR-V, but it’s far roomier than it looks. We went by the dealership in the capital city recently to see if my tall, lanky, aging self could get into the Soul with no problem. It was a piece of cake.
The front seat is incredibly spacious. The back seat not so much, but we never sit in the back seat. The safety ratings are good, and so are customer reviews.
Inexplicably, when I tried to sit in the significantly larger Kia Sportage, I cracked my skull on the top of the door opening. Kia, a South Korean firm, has been making a big splash in Mexico the last couple of years.
When this change will take place is unknown. Currently, the Honda is working fine. I recently bought new floor mats and had it waxed for the first time. Soon, I’ll need four new tires, no small expense. But when a new car is purchased, I’ll become a Soul Man.
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BEEF AND WALKING
I wrote the above this morning before heading out on my daily exercise march around the neighborhood plaza. The butcher shop in the next block, run by another Felipe, was closed due to its being Friday during Lent.
Semana Santa is just a couple of weeks away, so he’ll soon be able to sell again on Fridays. That won’t affect me, however, because I rarely eat beef, being more of a chicken and salad man. It always amuses me that Catholics think God worries about what they eat.
And Jews think God wants guys to cut off the tip of their dingus.
I’m sure he has more important things on his mind, like how to get the Mohammedans to see the light and put down the scimitars.
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.
The 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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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.