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.)

The Odd Pot

Healthy as an old horse

horse

I GET A MEDICAL checkup once a year, self-directed and inexpensive, which is to say about as far from the Obamacare coercion as one can get. Here’s how it goes:

Each December is kicked off by a visit to a private lab where I leave a bit of fresh poop and have blood extracted. The poop test is, of course, an old method to check for colon cancer.

My choice.

I got a colonoscopy once, in 1997 before leaving Houston. Haven’t had one since. In Mexico I’ve twice subjected myself to the barium enema, one step up from the poop test and one step below the colonoscopy. I’ll stick to the poop test in the future.

Also at the private lab, I get results on cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugar. I do not do the PSA (prostate) exam because medical thinking on it has changed radically in recent years, especially the wisdom of doing it after age 70.

I leave that controversial can of worms sealed.

I always arrive at the lab at 8 a.m. when it opens. With rare exception, I’m the first customer.

It’s a small place, an outpost of a larger lab across town, and it’s manned by a nice nurse who takes the blood and accepts the poop sample I scooped up an hour earlier. I pay the peso equivalent of 25 bucks, and leave by 8:20.

The results are ready by 1 p.m., same day. No doctor request/permission is required. It’s my decision, as it should be. This year’s results are all very good.

Next stop: X-rays, and my child bride goes with me. We both get the chest shot to evaluate heart, lungs, spine, etc. This is done in a different lab a few blocks away from the first place.

Again, no doctor’s permission required. No appointment either. We just show up at 6 p.m. one evening.  The wait is about five minutes. I go first. She goes second.

This runs the peso equivalent of about 15 bucks each. For that you get not just the X-ray, but a doctor’s evaluation of the results.  We pick that up the following morning.

Again, everything looks good, especially for this old dog. The next stage is my electrocardiogram. For this I made an appointment with an internist who does the test in his office.

We arrived at his clinic for the 11:30 a.m. appointment, waited about 10 minutes before being ushered into the doctor’s office. The test results were very good. Cost:  20 bucks total.

Summing up: tests for cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, colon, chest X-ray and electrocardiogram totaled 60 dollars out of my pocket. It’s a very basic test but far better than nothing.

And so simple to do.

I think 60 bucks is about what American hospitals charge insurance companies for one aspirin.

Meanwhile, this old horse gallops on through golden fields, a young filly at his side, not with a sunset ahead but a sun rising behind. And strains of Cielito Lindo  soar in the sky.