Been Missing Me????

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.

About Barbara

in april of 2008, i moved from the united states to mexico. during my working days, i held lots and lots of jobs....almost all chosen because they were fun or interesting instead of how much they paid. when i started thinking about retirement (in my 40s), i realized that i would never be able to retire to a country where english was the native language. and although i had traveled to every state in the US -- and lived in lots of them -- i had never been outside the country with the exception of canada and mexico. and since you now know that i could never afford to retire in canada (even to the french-speaking area), mexico won by default.
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9 Responses to Been Missing Me????

  1. harkerjk says:

    IMSS is nothing at all like Medicare. I think you possibly meant Medicaid.

    • Barbara says:

      Jojo, you and Mike O. are both right, of course, that I should have compared IMSS to Medicaid rather than Medicare. Thanks!

  2. Mike Osborn says:

    So good to hear from you!!!
    Got to agree with harkerjk about Medicaid. Dealing with IMSS is so much for like welfare than Medicare/Medical Insurance.
    Been there, done that and bought the tee-shirt when it comes to Dr’s/Clerks ignoring you when you’re speaking to them in Spanish. It’s like they’re got a switch that gets turned off when they see pale skin and blue eyes, “he/she can’t be speaking Spanish. They’re a gringo.” I canceled my IMSS after a minor day surgery turned into a 6 month ordeal followed by a night at the Tlajomulco hospital. It might look like a hospital on the surface, but …
    Keep up the good fight!! So many of us have beaten the Big “C” and we know you’ll be joining the club soon.

  3. Joe Jensen says:

    Glad to here you’re not takin’ a dirt nap. It’s good to hear how things are proceedein’.

  4. kathi says:

    Yep, that’s the whole truth and nothing but the truth!

  5. Judy says:

    As a fellow survivor – so glad to hear your doing well – I was worried about you!

  6. vsvevg says:

    so good to have you back 🙂 !!!!! a

  7. Sandy Gottmer says:

    Barb, I am keeping you in my thoughts and prayers for a quick & speedy recovery! Please continue to keep us informed of your progress. God bless and be with you on this journey!!

  8. Karen says:

    So glad you’re getting positive reports. So glad your’e back.

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