I am so sorry that I haven’t written previously. I’m not dead! And that’s the really good news; right? (Although there’s nothing wrong with that….being dead, I mean!)
I just haven’t had much to say or report. I finally got the pathology report back on my lymph nodes (well, I hope they are mine), and things are looking great! I’m hoping to finally see the medical oncologist on 1 April to confirm what is going to happen next….that is, radiology, chemo, nothing, or both. Me? I’m hoping nothing, of course!
I’ve already seen a couple of doctors and they say that, based on the pathology reports, I can probably get away with nothing more for the time being. (Once again, thank you, Virgin of Guadalupe!)
I’m really not a particularly vain person. Lord knows, I don’t have much to be vain about. But I’ve always been kind of proud of my boobs and my hair and suddenly they both got threatened. Way to strike down my vanities, God! But I may get to hang on to my hair, as I have to my boobs (so to speak….although for several weeks after the surgery, when travelling over our cobblestone streets, I literally had to hang onto my boobs, as well). But things are looking up, folks!
Dealing with IMSS (the Mexican equivalent of Medicare) has been horrendous in some senses and fabulous in some others. My friend Phyllis, who has lived hereabouts for 40 years and who is absolutely fluent in Spanish, initially figured I was just not up to the task of dealing with them because of my lack of Spanish. Ja ja ja! I think she’s learned her lesson about that! It’s not so much the lack of Spanish (although that’s a consideration), it’s dealing with the bureaucracy which is the same in ANY language.
She’s been with me numerous times, and it’s just as frustrating for her as it is for me. The know-it-all clerks (who really don’t seem to know anything for the most part) don’t do anything to help us (and by us, I mean patients). Once I finally get to a doctor, things are great. They’re very caring and take all the time I need to explain what’s happening. But, geez, those gatekeepers!
I’ve been a gatekeeper in my life. I was a legal secretary for many years. So I know that you try to keep the “crazies” away from your boss at any cost. But, damn, I was never like these gatekeepers are. I tried to be empathetic and do what I could for them. These people don’t even listen to what you are saying.
At one point, I went to pick up the results of a blood test I had had earlier in the day and without even listening to me, the clerk just looked at my blond hair and white skin and hollered out that I couldn’t speak Spanish and that we needed a translator. Now, mind you, my Spanish is not good, but it was certainly up to saying “Necesito mi resultados de sangre de esta manana.”
Okay, okay, it’s not perfect, but a clerk who gives out results for blood tests should have understood that; right? (And please feel free to correct me if I am wrong about that.)
When Phyllis showed up beside me, the clerk totally ignored what Phyllis was saying (in fluent Spanish) and was still hollering for a translator. Finally, the doctor, whom I assume the clerk was yelling for, showed up and Phyllis started talking to him. The doctor got this “WTF?” look on his face and told the clerk “You know, she speaks Spanish.”
And only then did the clerk turn around to actually look at us and listen to what we had to say. And only then did I get the results of my blood test which were there all along.
So next time you have to deal with somebody who looks different than you, I wish you would actually listen to them and try to understand them before hollering, “We need a translator!” Maybe you do, and maybe you don’t.
And if you’re thinking about moving to Mexico, do yourself and your neighbors a favor and learn to speak Spanish! It will serve you well. Thanks to all who have been on my side throughout this.