The skin game

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UV detector from Amazon in the United States. Right to my door.

I USED TO BE a sun worshiper, long ago when I was young.

In those faraway summers, in Georgia, Florida and even later in Puerto Rico, I was mostly naked outdoors and by late June I could have joined Black Lives Matter as an angry soul bro’ had that disreputable band of brothers existed way back then.

But starting when I was about 45, the proverbial chickens started returning to the henhouse with roosting on their pea brains. Skin cancer. In the decades since, I’ve had at least 50 basal-cell carcinomas removed from my flesh.

The most recent five — yes, five — were excised last week, surgically and biopsied.

We now have an opaque glass roof over the entire upstairs terraza that we recently had renovated, an upgrade that continues to this day. Two guys will be here today applying a fresh coat of amarillo villas, which is a fancy way of saying yellow.

A few days ago, two canvas curtains were installed in two sections of the new zone, and more perhaps will follow, depending on how the rainy season behaves. We will also install a sunblock net with a nice design on the bottom of the new glass ceiling.

Recently, I ordered a handheld device that measures the sun’s UV rays. I got it from Amazon. I was pleased to discover the new opaque glass roof reduces UV a lot but not to a 100% safe degree, and that’s why we’ll install the sunblock net.

I want to be able to sit out there worry-free. UV is obscenely high here due to the combination of latitude and altitude.

Basal-cell carcinomas are visible and very slow-growing, giving one lots of time to deal with them. Melanoma, of course, is the Bad Boy of skin cancer. I always knew melanoma was the least common form of skin cancer, but I was surprised to learn this week it makes up only 1 to 2 percent of skin cancers. It’s quite rare. But can be very deadly.

With luck, my skin cancers will continue to be basal-cell carcinomas because they appear to be increasing in number as I age. This is common, I have learned.

Let this be a lesson to you, boys and girls. Don’t walk around bare-assed in the summertime, and if you do, apply sunblock. And don a big sombrero.

But no matter your skin tone, stay out of Black Lives Matter.

Dental adventures

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My child bride gets a root canal.

AS I’VE WRITTEN lately, we’ve been having dental adventures.

The most recent report was just a few days ago in the Good and Bad. And, previous to that, there was A Dental Day. I recently wound up the process of getting a tooth implant, the first of my life, and my child bride will soon start on four implants.

On Monday we dealt with an unrelated problem, one which required a root canal for her. Our regular dentist in the state capital referred us to a dental surgeon, the talented young woman shown in the photo.

Her given name is Nayelli.

While the procedure was under way, I watched from a comfy sofa in the corner, a nice touch you’d be hard pressed to find above the Rio Bravo. I was sipping a strawberry milk shake I’d purchased just down the street.

I tried not to make slurping sounds.

The root canal took less than 45 minutes, and my child bride’s now set to start the implants in two weeks.

The adventures continue.

Watch your step

THERE’S A street project right off the main plaza downtown that’s been going on since last autumn, which is a long time because the renovation is just two lengthy blocks.

This project interests me, and I take a stroll by there almost every weekday after sitting at a sidewalk table with my Kindle and a café Americano negro.

In the United States, it would have been done far faster, and the entire work site would be blocked off so pedestrians and gawkers like me could not walk all over the place.

Around the workmen. Hopping over wet cement.

Here, no effort is made to keep pedestrians out of the work area, and none of the workers sports a hard hat. The main reason the project is taking so long is that there is little mechanized about it. It’s strictly manual labor.

If a passerby trips on something, falls and busts his noodle, he should have watched where he was going. He does not sue the city. We are not litigious that way.

The work started last year with an extensive excavation. New sewer and water lines were buried deep as were electric cables and wires in fat orange conduits.

Part of the reason the project is taking so long is the detail work, primarily on the sidewalks.

I should have photographed some of the detail, but I didn’t. This is fine rock work that will last a century.

There is sunken lighting for a nice nighttime look.

About the only nod to modernity are wheelchair ramps.

This photo shows the area where most of the stone is being worked to make it usable. It was a rose garden outside the church/hospital to the left before the renovation began.

Big stones are cut to size by hammer and chisel.

The scenes of the first two photos are at the end of the block down thataway, the far side.

We don’t have the reams of rules and regulations here that are so prevalent above the Rio Bravo, rules and regs made necessary by lawyers and government meddling. No environmental impact study was required.

Bugs were just squashed.

Here, if you need something done you hire some guys and do it. There are always guys available, plenty of idle hands of men who never grasped the need for schooling.

Just around the corner from the renovation I noticed this sign outside a tiny pharmacy. Look what you can have done. (Excuse the photos’ blurry edges. I had the camera set for that effect, but I did not notice till later.)

You can measure your blood sugar and blood pressure, or get a pap test.

You can get a medical certificate, maybe to get out of class. A problem with your toenails? No sweat.

A wound will be bandaged, and if you need an injection, they’ll stick you with the appropriate needle.

And all will cost next to nothing, and no pricey doctor reference is needed, but a doctor is likely there. Just go in, pay a buck or two if you want some medical advice or a prescription.

Living here is easy. Even if renovating a street takes forever. It will last forever after it’s finished.

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.