Mexican life

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.)

22 thoughts on “Good and bad

    1. Steve: Sincere Christians should say otherwise, but when the pedal is to the proverbial metal, I imagine they agree with you. And I too prefer to hold on for a spell longer, girly affliction and all.

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  1. Yep. Happens to the best of us old folks. It’s one thing or several. None particularly predictable, it seems.
    I wish you both the best. Had five teeth pulled in one setting years back in a MX border pueblo. Worked out well, except for the part where the guy left a big piece of one wisdom tooth still deep in the jaw (maybe that’s why). Cost was good @ $240 (Gringo dollars). Still, that gives me great pleasure every time I see my Gringo dentist these days, and he asks if I’m ready to “deal with that piece of tooth.” My standard response: “I am dealing with it. You deal with it.” Don’t think he sees the same level of humor in that response that I do.

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    1. Señor Marsh: When the doctor first said what the problem was, I had visions of surgery. To my mind, that’s still not out of the question. The bottle thing kind of threw me, but now that I’ve tried it a couple of days, and things are feeling pretty much normal again, I have to wonder. Of course, that could all be due to the anti-inflammatory stuff I’m using. Time will tell. The doctor also mentioned a place near the Basilica (yes, we have a real Basilica) where they offer “traditional” medicine. You know what that means, shamans and Indian mumbo-jumbo.

      But if the problem returns, I may go all mumbo-jumbo before turning to surgery. In other words, the jury is still out. But I feel good.

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  2. Sorry about your wife and the implants. One is a bitch, four are, well, four bitches. I’ve had three and one had to be done twice because the bone implant didn’t “catch”.
    As far as your foot—I’m not a doctor—but osteoporosis sounds kinda weird. To me it sounds like it might be a heel spur, which is not great but not as ominous as osteoporosis.
    You keep mentioning the low cost of medical care here in Mexico and indeed it is. And half the time it is also very competent. The rest of the time, not so great. So when in doubt it pays to use the savings to get a second opinion. Check this out:
    http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/heel-spurs-pain-causes-symptoms-treatments#1
    Get well.

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    1. Señor Lanier: Thanks for the link. Who knows? It mentions nine risk factors for heel spurs, and none apply to me except for advanced age. The others, not even a little bit. Of course, risk factors for osteoporosis hardly apply to me either. I’ll continue with the recommendations of the doctor for now. The problem is almost gone.

      My wife is quite looking forward to the implants. With luck, all will turn out well. My fingers are crossed. As for Mexican healthcare, I have found it far more positive than just 50 percent. I’d put it at about 100 percent.

      I have no evidence to back this up, but I cannot help but suspect that San Miguel with its mobs of Gringos and accompanying money might be a magnet for doctors of questionable ethics and talent. I could be wrong. But my experience with Mexican healthcare, almost 18 years now, has been spectacularly positive.

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        1. Ray: I am optimistic. It’s really not bothering me now, but that could be due to the anti-inflammatory drugs I’m taking. We’ll see what happens when I stop that. Online research tells me that surgery is a last resort and fairly rare. Usually, it’s not necessary. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

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          1. I ran 5-6 days a week back then, so I knew I had one. The pain would eventually go away after a mile or two.

            Mine was half way through my Achilles tendon when I finally had the surgery. Thus the complications.

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  3. I have been on a soft diet for four years because of my incompetent dentist and his poor knowledge about implants. He was murdered last year, presumably by another dissatisfied customer.

    Men have osteoporotic fractures about 10 years later in life than women. Owing to increasing life expectancy, more fractures are predicted.

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    1. Andrés: You should have asked me for a dental recommendation in the state capital. My dentist is superlative. Your living in the backwater town you live in likely does not provide many options for good medical care.

      As for my problem, further research, plus having my foot X-ray, has convinced me that I have a heel spur, not osteoporosis. My doctor guessed wrong. The good news is that treatment for the two problems is basically the same.

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  4. I have a friend who at 76 is simultaneously suffering from shingles, a very bad case even though she had a vaccination, and from the collapse of her spine from the osteoporosis. She didn’t live healthy as a younger person but there is a wide span of years between then and now. A bone spur on your foot isn’t too bad if pain can be managed but don’t get shingles.

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  5. I forgot to set up a “go fund me account” when Al had his $7200 worth of dental work done. Problem was, I did not like it, when it was finished. He loves them, because they bite well. Oh well.

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    1. Beverly: Yipes, $7,200. I’m assuming you don’t like the way it looks, but biting well from his perspective is important. With my one implant, I have a full mouthful. I bite well.

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  6. To Carole: I’ve had a father and an aunt suffering from shingles. My Dad reluctantly let me put (very gingerly) the juice from an Aloe Vera leaf from a plant I had growing in my yard. He wouldn’t let me put it over the whole length of the “rash”, and let some of it untreated. I’d applied it right after breakfast and went out to work on his farm. When I came in for lunch, I asked him how it was doing. He’d forgotten all about the pain . When I pulled up his pajama top, the area with the aloe vera was as pink as a baby’s butt, while the untreated part was still fiery red. My aunt would not use the aloe and suffered through the pain. If your friend has access to an aloe plant, she might want to pluck a leaf, peel back the skin, and apply the gel (gingerly) to the shingles.

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  7. If you’ve got a spur on your heel, the next step is obvious: get a horse!

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Redding, Ca
    Where we haven’t ridden a horse in decades.

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    1. Kim: Well, ain’t you the funny one? I had already thought of something similar, the fact that I moved here from Texas.

      I haven’t ridden a horse since I was about 15. Horses didn’t take a shine to me, or vice-versa either.

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