About ten days ago, on a Wednesday evening, I got sick. I mean, really sick. There wasn’t a place in or on my body that didn’t seem to hurt. Headache, sore throat, fever, chills, muscle aches and pains. My vision was blurry. I could hardly turn my neck. I was nauseous. I was coughing and occasionally sneezing. My teeth even hurt.
Although I hadn’t eaten all day, I had no appetite. Heck, I didn’t even want a vodka and Kermato or to play games on the computer. That’s how sick I was. So I did what anybody in their achy right mind would do…..I took to my bed and dosed myself with cold meds and anti-inflammatory drugs.
And then I tossed and turned all night. Pulled up the covers and then kicked them off. Turned on the overhead fan and then shut it down. [Bless you, Nonie and David, for a remote-controlled overhead fan!] Moaned and groaned and commiserated with my poor, poor pitiful self. Didn’t sleep. Couldn’t sleep. Just sounded like a fretful child for hours on end.
And, finally, convinced myself that I had dengue fever. This self-diagnosis was not quite as far-fetched as it seems. Cases of dengue really do exist around Lake Chapala and I HAD been bitten by mosquitoes and heaven knows what else in the past week or so. While Ric was visiting, something had bitten me just above the elbow on my left arm and left me with the equivalent of tiny boils in an area about an inch and a half across.
Once the boils had “popped” and the fluid had drained out, a large leathery looking scab formed on the area. So during that long, dark night of the painful body, I determined that whatever had bitten me then was causing all my problems two weeks later.
Yes, yes, I know that I said I thought I had dengue fever, which is mosquito-borne, but I was pretty convinced that I had brown recluse spider bite disease, too. Hey, it’s possible!
By dawn’s early light, I still didn’t feel any better so I crept out of bed to get on the internet to research dengue and brown recluse spider bites and, oh, by the way, to drop an email to my friends to tell them of my plight. One of the best things about having female friends is that they actually feel bad for you when you are sick. For most of my life, the majority of my friends have been male and they’re more likely to ignore whining or just say, “Suck it up, Hopkins, and quit your bitching.” [That’s how it transpired that all my surgeries have been emergency ones, but that’s another story.]
But my friends here were concerned enough about me that they insisted that I go to the doctor. I just couldn’t do that, however. I don’t like doctors [they’re always making you have emergency surgeries or charging you an arm and a leg to tell you what you already knew]. So I kept putting Kathi, Sher, and Jonnie off with vague promises to go to the doctor “tomorrow.” [See, I really am becoming more Mexican the longer I live here.]
However, I did keep answering my phone when it rang. [I’m notoriously bad about that because, as with doctors, I neither like nor trust telephones.] And that was probably what tipped them off that I really WAS sick. Not only was I answering the phone, I was not totally poo-pooing the idea of visiting a doctor.
I did explain to them, however, that I truly did not know if I could make it to a doctor’s office. Because of my blurry vision and aches and pains, I didn’t think I could drive myself, and because of my nausea and overall weakness, I didn’t think I could even ride with them and then sit in a waiting room.
But you know what I forgot about, my friends? I forgot about something that pretty much disappeared 30 or 40 years ago in the US…..the house call! Yes, mis amigos, doctors in Mexico [at least around Lake Chapala] still make house calls!
So Kathi and Sher went into Joco, found a doctor who was willing to come out and see me, and brought him over about 7pm on Thursday evening. [Just because doctors down here make house calls doesn’t mean they all have transportation, you understand. The medical professional, while highly respected, doesn’t make a lot of money in a small pueblo down Mexico way.]
So there I was, laying in my sweat-drenched bed, when this big, strapping, handsome young man in blue jeans and a white jacket came striding in. While my blurry vision and high fever was sending messages to my brain along the lines of “Holy crap, you’ve died and gone to heaven and it’s St. Pedro at the gate!”, in the distance I heard the rather non-angelic voices of Kathi and Sher saying “Barb, the doctor is here to see you.” [Thank me for having the foresight to give them a key to my front gate!]
Jump ahead 25 minute later. I’ve been pushed and probed and poked and diagnosed with a “throat infection,” among other things, received a major dose of antibiotics and painkillers via a needle four inches long [I’m just guessing; I didn’t actually see it], and been left with a bottle of more antibiotics and a blister pack of meds for my cough, my fever, and my aches and pains.
Total cost to me? House call, doctor “inspection,” shot, meds: about $50US.
Worth it? Totally. And I suspect that if I had not happened to have the money on me to pay Dr. Olmeda, my friends would have come up with it. And, yeah, it’s a cliche, but that is totally priceless!
Here’s your video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJKVYwjDahQ&feature=related