December means medical checkup

lab
This is my wonderful lab.

WHEN I WINGED south over the Rio Bravo way back in the Dark Ages, I had the hysterical healthcare mentality of a typical Gringo.

Live without health insurance? Why, that would be sheer madness, so I purchased coverage with a system called IMSS. If memory serves, it was the peso equivalent of about 300 U.S. bucks for a year of full coverage. But after that first year, I knew better and did not renew.

One must go to an IMSS clinic, and I didn’t want to. They’re dicey.

Health insurance? Who needs health insurance? Pick your own excellent doctor and pay cash or yank out your debit or credit card.

After marrying in 2002, my child bride talked me into getting a complete checkup in 2004 at the Star Medica Hospital in the state capital. I repeated the process in 2007. In 2013, I decided on a simpler approach.

Every December I pick a day and head to the outpost of a lab downtown at 8 a.m., and I get my cholesterol, blood sugar, triglycerides and poop tested. The last I hand over with some cute comment. On some years — not all — I get an EKG and chest X-rays. I do those elsewhere. The first in a doctor’s office ($25 U.S.), and the second ($16 U.S.) in a different lab.

I skipped those this year because I did them last year.

After the pretty nurse takes my blood and poop sample, I head home where I arrive by 8:30 — there’s rarely any wait at the lab because I get there when it opens — and I dine on a nice, warm croissant accompanied by hot café Americano negro and a beautiful woman.

In the afternoon of the same day, I return to the lab to pick up the results. Yes, same-day service and, of course, there was no physician’s referral required. Charge: $27. Now that’s healthcare for you.

That all took place yesterday.

How you folks lovin’ that ObamaCare?

This year’s results: I’m in tiptop condition.

Good and green

summerSUMMER STARTS on June 21, so we’re still in Springtime or, as my Mexican paisanos call it, Primavera.

We step outside each morning with long pants and a light jacket. It will be about 60 degrees. It’ll soar to the mid-70s at midday. Invariably I think of folks I left behind in the sweat pits of Houston and New Orleans.

We sleep at night with only half of one window open to avoid having to pile blankets atop us. We have no air-conditioning, of course, because that would be downright silly. Not much heating either.

Most of the greenery in the photo was planted by me a decade back, and they were just little tykes. When I planted little tykes in Houston, they usually stayed that way or died. I’ve yet to figure that out.

There is some horticultural magic in the Mexican air. You expect that on the tropical coasts, but it seems less likely here on the cool mountaintop 7,000 feet above sea level.

Most spring and summer mornings are similar. I eat a bagel and Philly cheese. I sweep the terraza and pick up the cursed peaches that have fallen overnight from their tree. I wipe dew or rain off the glass table and web chairs that sit on the yard patio, and I hoist the umbrella like a flag.

I take a deep breath, smile and walk back inside to wash the Philly cheese off the ceramic plates we purchased years ago in Dolores Hidalgo. Maybe do a little laundry. Take a shower, get dressed.

Life doesn’t change much. Nor do I want it to.

* * * *

While the above is a typical morning, I detoured a bit today.

At 8 a.m., I was parked outside the little lab downtown as the young nurse opened for business. It was time for the twice-yearly peek into my blood vessels and veins, to see how the old coot is getting along.

I check my cholesterol, blood sugar and triglycerides.

No appointment is necessary, no doctor’s permission. Just show up, fork over 18 bucks (would have been 10 if I’d waited for the sale next week), step into the adjoining room, roll up my sleeve and wince.

The results will be available this afternoon. I’m feeling fine, but you can put in a positive word with the Goddess on my behalf. It won’t hurt.

Fettucchine and sugar donuts

grub

BIANNUAL CHECKUP yesterday. All numbers were good. There were only three numbers: cholesterol, blood sugar and triglycerides. That’s the July test. In December I add a poop test and sometimes a chest X-ray and cholesterol breakdown. They invariably show me in top form. Knock on wood.

I did what I always do. No coffee or edge of toast at dawn to have the virgin tummy and blood stream. At 7:45, I drive the 15 minutes downtown to the laboratory that opens at 8. It’s really just a branch of the lab, a collection point on a cobblestone street, and it’s manned by a nice young woman, a girl really, in white.

Before taking my $21, she tells me that if I wait two days, there will be a sale, and it will only run me about half. But I’m already there, so I pay the full enchilada. Most Mexicans would have departed and returned two days later. I am more cavalier with cash. And lazy.

No appointment was necessary, of course. No doctor had to refer me. I just showed up, and the results were ready at 1:30 that afternoon. Quick, efficient, painless and intelligent.

I usually watch what I eat which is, of course, the reason my numbers are always good. But yesterday’s report merited a reward. For lunch, I ate fettuchine at a restaurant, plenty of cheese. Later, I gobbled not one, but two, sugar donuts from a bakery. Sometimes you gotta cut loose and howl.

* * * *

July Fourth. It’s just another day in Mexico. Some of the Gringos celebrate, but those are the folks who never make the transition to Mexico. Their bodies are here (at times), but their hearts and minds stay above the Rio Bravo.

There will be no weenies or hamburgers over charcoal at the Hacienda. Instead, my child bride has cooked up a big pot of caldo de res. This morning we took our plaza power walk. At 9 o’clock, it was 60 cool degrees.

Mountain life is lovely.

* * * *

Barry’s descent continues, which is always excellent news. A recent poll conducted by Quinnipiac University (one of the nation’s best, according to U.S. News and World Report) shows than a sizable hunk of America considers Barry the worst president since World War II. Well, duh.

The ineffectual, divisive, wooden “community organizer” parked in the Oval Office polled worse than Dubya, the peanut farmer and Tricky Dick. In a bit over two years, way too long, we’ll be rid of him. He must be a dreadful embarrassment to the bona fide blacks and clueless whites who voted for him en masse due to his skin tone.

No matter, I guess. The fettucchine was great and the sugar donuts were a delight.