Safe and Sound

Access to affordable healthcare is often cited by expatriates in regard to their decision to live in Mexico. It was one of mine reasons as well, though I think with a different bent that most. I very seldom ever go to doctor, and I don’t agree with the obsession with prevention, other than  that which is obvious good sense, exercise, decent diet, low stress lifestyle(yes I consider our life low stress).

our little house

our little house

What I prefer about Mexico’s health care system is that it is easier to avoid. The culture is not built on the necessity of having insurance, mammograms and taking preventive medicines–yet. And if one did have a serious health problem, a broken leg say, it is far less likely to be financially ruinous, though it will likely leave you with a ghastly scar, as thick as athumb and bumpy with scar tissue. I am pretty sure Mexicans surgeons use baling twine for suturing from the look of every operation result I have seen.

Recently, I had reason to go see the medico in La Tigra’s free clinic. Few residents of La Tigra use the free service, it is considered tacky, a way of showing that you don’t have enough money to pay or the good sense to go to a ‘real’ doctor. The doctors at our clinic are doing their residency; they come for one year and then receive their full licensing.

Our doctor’s most frequent patients are mothers who must maintain health standards(weigh ins, inoculations) for their children in order to receive their oportunidades(welfare), Dona’s with aches and pains who receive a lot more care and concern from the doctor that they have likely ever enjoyed from their husband, and occasionally the gringa( that’s me). Continue reading

Survival Techniques


Recent complications have resulted in lag time between my posts this month.   The mayhem, which seems a constant component of our life in Mexico, began with a weirdly unruly signal in my generally consistent “office” location. The day I discovered the capricious connection I also battled biting ants in my  pants(literally), my tree(roofs)  flowers falling into my keyboard jamming the keys, and the stench of my dog Moecha, who insisted  on sitting up wind of me after eating rotten dead thing. I didn’t manage to post that day, and since I was behind schedule I planned a trip to the ‘big’ town (Tehuixtla, population 6,311) to get caught up and program some posts in advance from an internet cafe in the case the return of my signal required a realignment of the planets.

The day I was to make my trek to civilization I crashed in to the wall of peri-menopause like (forgive the cliché but this is really what it felt like), a ten ton truck. This insanity was accompanied by a violent stomach flu, endured alone for 12 hours with no telephone to call for help. (Felipe confiscated mine after he dropped one down a well and destroyed another escaping a charging bull.)

As I lay in the bathroom floor trying to determine which wave of heat was fever and which was hot flash, (the hot flashes come with the sensation of bugs running all over your body) I pondered how I would set up my hand washing station because two days prior we’d lost our electricity and when it returned there was no longer sufficient power to operate our refrigerator, or washing machine. In the blurred floundering of fever it occurred to me I might die on the bathroom floor and with the cumulative effect of adversity I was experiencing, it might be a blessing.

We’ve lived sin luz (without light) before, but to a greater extreme. The last time we were completely without electricity for nine months. I actually feel fortunate this time because we have light so I can read at night; reading by candlelight is not romantic, it’s hard on the eyes and your books fill up with smashed bugs.   Most importantly, I can still charge my computer, writing anything over 500 words with a pen is exasperating. Cut, copy, and paste is my personal sacrament after writing 1000’s of words of my book on paper before my uncle David gave me a laptop, which I fondly( and genuinely) refer to as my soul mate.

In a ‘normal’ life, we’d call the electric company but since our electricity is illegally installed (we live too far out of town for an official hookup) that’s not an option. The amount of time we will live without refrigeration and continue the never-ending toil of hand washing laundry is unknown. But one of Mexico’s many gifts to me has been the understanding; that change is constant, thoroughly rinsing soap from underwear is crucial, and as long as I write, I’ll be all okay.

Humor and writing are my survival mechanisms, what are yours?