October 27, 2012 –
We are often asked about medical care here in Mexico. Most ask out of curiosity or concern for our well-being. Some ask out of disbelief – as in “Really ,they have doctors in Mexico?”. The truth is yes, there are a lot of doctors here. Many have studied not only here in Mexico, but in the US, Canada and even Europe in some cases. It is also true that just like home, some are better than others and it is our job as a patient to find a doctor that works for us.
After 4 years of living here, I had an opportunity to experience Mexican medical care first hand. That is not to say it is the first time I have seen a doctor here, we do have our annual physicals and blood tests; but my first experience with the Mexican “drop-in” health care system because I had a health issue that needed a doctor’s care.
I had an earache.
I think I can best describe the set up as a version of a Canadian Medi-centre. The idea is the same, people drop in to see the doctor on call. The difference is that these “drop-in” places, called Consultorias, are attached to a drug store. Actually, ina drug store attached to the medi-centre, so in actual fact, there really is no difference.
The doctor is either in or out, and he or she will take patients on a first come first served basis. Just like Canada, one could wait a long time in that hot little room while waiting to see the doctor. But, here, happily, that does not have to be the case. There is, literally, a drug store on nearly every corner, and most have a Consultoria. So, if the waiting room in one is too busy, we can simply drive down the street to the next one.
We do have a favourite doctor we see, but he is a whole 10 minutes away in Mezcales, so we decided today, to take our chances in Valle Dorado, which is much closer to us. The waiting room at the Farmacias Medism was empty when we pulled up! What a stroke of luck. NO waiting at all today!! Within 2 minutes of getting out of the car, I was ushered into the examining room by the doctor himself. The good doctor also invited Kevin to sit in on the consultation.
I speak some Spanish, the doctor spoke some English, so between us, we were able to communicate very well.
I told him I had an earache and he promptly plopped me on the examining table and told me to open my mouth. Whaaat?? He was very happy to tell me that my ear problem was related to a throat infection I did not know I had. He continued to explain that the ear, nose and throat were all related. . . . and did I want meds or a shot?
A shot? For a throat infection? I have not had a shot since I was vaccinated in high school! My efforts at asking questions to determine if this was a better option than 5 days of pills were totally drowned out by my ever loving husband, Kevin. It was as if he had suddenly turned into a contestant on a game show, and be began yelling out “Shot! Take the shot? Just take the shot!” I could barely hear the doctors answers over Kevin’s’ encouragement to opt for the needle instead of the pills. Naturally, the doctor was very amused by all of this, and though he tried to remain as professional as possible, I could see he was siding with my husband. Must be a male thing. How bad could it be, I thought. One shot or a weeks worth of meds. Really, the shot did sound like the better option.
Then the medication came out. 3 vials of stuff, all mixed together, my “shot” turned out to be 5 cc’s of meds. if you are not sure what 5 cc’s looks like, it pretty much filled the needle. The old joke about horse tranquilizers leapt to mind. In my arm, right? Oh, no, lie on the table, face down. Oops, I forgot to ask, can you inch your waistband down just a little.
I don’t think I need to mention that as I hopped off the table to undo my pants and peel them down far enough to reveal the target for the needle that my loving husband and best friend, Kevin, was doubled over with laughter and would have suffered serious injury from falling on the floor laughing had he not already been sitting down.
I hopped back up onto the table, target side facing the ceiling. By now, the doctor, being egged on by my husband, was also laughing. Lucky for me, his mirth did not affect his steady hand, so he hit the “target” on the first attempt.
Slightly embarrassing, but nothing I would not live thru. Then he said “this is a series of 3 shots”. I need to find looser pants to wear to his office tomorrow.
I should also mention that the cost of this afternoons entertainment, aside from my eternal embarrassment was $211 pesos and my ear ache will be gone in a day or 2. We shall see…..