Random Thoughts from Joco

The description of our blog says ‘Here be random thoughts.’  That was written by my friend and fellow author, Michael, I believe, but it be true nonetheless.  So here are a few of my own random thoughts from the past few days.

IMSS:  This is the governmental institution through which I get my medical care down here in Mexico.  Every year since I’ve been here, I’ve paid premiums of about $350US a year for this coverage and never had to use it until this year.  In some ways, it’s like an HMO in the US, or, I guess, the socialized medical clinics and hospitals in Canada.  Full-time workers can join, but you’re limited to where you can go or who you can see.  Many gringos keep it as a backup plan to their private insurance and/or Medicare which they may have in the US.  For me, it’s my only health insurance.

During the past 10 days, I had an appointment with the medical oncologist at the IMSS hospital in Tlajomulco, about 30 miles north of me, as well as an appointment at my local IMSS clinic here in Jocotepec.  When I arrived at the hospital at Tlajomulco about 8:45, I checked in with the receptionists’ desk (called ‘Control’) and presented my booklet which showed I had an appointment for 9AM.

The clerk found my folder and I was almost immediately called back to Control and taken into the area to be weighed and have my blood pressure checked.  Weight was about the same as it was the last time I saw the medical oncologist a few months ago and my blood pressure reading was fabulous (128/82).  For that, I thanked the doctora at the Joco clinic since she and I had been working on getting my BP to within normal range for a couple of months.

For whatever reason, there are never enough seats in this waiting room.  Aside from those needing to see the medical oncologist, there are kidney patients to see the nephrologist, as well as those waiting for respiratory therapy.  In other words, a fairly sickly group, most all of whom need to sit down.  As a comparison, there are way more seats in the cancer surgery, ENT, and dermatology area.  Frankly, I find that odd.  But maybe one of you medical people can explain it to me.

Anyhow, as usual I stood  around for a while since all the seats were filled (including those with folks in wheelchairs whom I sometimes, embarrassingly, envy), but eventually snagged one as people were called in for appointments.  And then I sat and sat and sat.  Three and a half hours later,  when the waiting room was all but empty, I knocked on the medical oncologist’s door and told her I was still waiting for my 9am appointment.

She looked flustered, but called me in and then disappeared out to the receptionists’ desk.  Through the open back door into her office, I saw she and one of the receptionists scuttling up and down the hall, obviously looking for my file.  This is now the fourth or fifth time they have lost my file up there, and this time they lost it in the 10 feet between Control and the doctora’s office!

All I really needed from the doctora was another prescription for Tamoxifen, since Joco doesn’t seem to have any in their farmacia (another oddity).  So she gave me a prescription for a four-month supply and sent me on my way to the farmacia….who refused to give me any more than a one month supply and said they would see me next month.  (Guess I’ll be making Costco runs for folks every month since Costco isn’t that far away!)

ON THE OTHER HAND, I had an appointment at 9:15 at the Joco IMSS clinic this past Thursday.  I arrived about 9:00am, only to discover that the receptionist was out sick.  So I checked with some of my fellow patients and was told to just throw my booklet into the cardboard box on the desk.  Fifteen minutes later, right on time, the doctora came out and called me into her office!!

Since she was a doctora I had not previously seen, I went quickly over my history, in my bad Spanish, and told her I was there about my blood pressure.  Not only did she listen and look at all the documentation I handed her, she called up my records ON HER COMPUTER and knew just what to do!

And this is in Joco, my friends!!!  Not at the fancy new hospital in Tlajomulco where they still write notes on scratch paper and give you prescriptions with other people’s information written on the back!  It’s a mystery!  (But I’ll bet it’s one you can figure out if you think about it!)

Hidden Things:  I have a lovely young housekeeper who comes to my house once every two weeks for about six hours.  She does a great job (having been trained by my fabulous Canadian landlady, Nonie), but she hides things.  Not on purpose, I don’t think, but just in the process of cleaning up.

Whenever she leaves, there’s always something missing.  Definitely not in the sense of having  been taken, just in the sense of “it’s not where it was.”  Usually it’s just a matter of things getting buried under other things, or dishes or utensils being put in other shelves or drawers from whence they did not come.  But sometimes it really is a mystery.

For instance, I dislike talking on the phone and hardly ever use it, but I keep a list of phone numbers by the phone so that I can recognize the number of incoming calls.  We get a lot of extortion calls down here (totally random) and I would just as soon not answer those, so I use the caller ID.  But because I make almost no outgoing calls, I don’t recognize the numbers so I have a list that I keep by the phone.  (See the phone on the left side of the TV?  Well, that’s where the list normally stays.  No, no, it wasn’t there the day I took the photo.  This was taken the day the hand-built entertainment system arrived.  You know, during that 24-hour period when things are totally tidy!)

Well, I DID have a list.  Yep, you got it….it disappeared!  Now, I know it’s somewhere in this house…..I just can’t figure out where!  However, in the past I have found my electric bills and the cat food dishes, so I know that the phone list will turn up some day, too.

Slots:  When I lived in Vegas and then Death Valley and then was on the road installing front desk systems at various motels around the US, I loved going to casinos and playing the slots.  (My good friend, Shep, when asked on some random email questionnaire what my favorite form of exercise was, accurately answered “Walking from her truck to the casino.”)

We do have a few casinos down here and they do have slots, but they’re at least five years behind the times as far as what they have in Vegas.  I know that because I haven’t been in Vegas for at least five years and the few times I’ve been in casinos here, I’ve seen the same machines.  But I’m too poor to be gambling these days, so I make do with the slots on Facebook, where I can play for free.

That’s not my random thought, however.  My random laugh out loud comes from one of the emails that I receive almost daily in my Spam file.  You’ll just have to take my word for it that I never go onto porn websites, and yet I constantly get emails from a place called “Loose Sluts”!   Ja ja ja ja!  I’m just guessing that maybe whatever country is sending them out doesn’t realize there is a difference between slots and sluts.  (The primary difference, I guess, is that most of the time, you get something for your money from the latter, but almost never from the former.)

And if you’re wondering why there’s a photo of slot machines at the top of this posting, it’s because all these things I’m writing about seem to deal with luck.  Maybe putting a photo of the craps table would have been more appropriate, because, in particular, dealing with IMSS is always a crap shoot!

And those are my random thoughts for today.


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.
This entry was posted in Bureaucracy, Fun Stuff, Getting Older, Lake Chapala, Medical, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Random Thoughts from Joco

  1. That was some blog Barb! medicine everywhere is apparently a little crazy – bigger isn’t always better. did you look in the bowl on your counter for the list? i think you found something there when I was in Joco.

  2. Miguel de Joco says:

    #1 Get a wheelchair. Then you’ll have chair, where ever you go.
    #2 IMSS; Did the doctor retire or did you just get lucky that day? You know what I mean.
    #3 I’ll never return to one of the local casinos until they have Video Poker.
    Abrazos, Mike

  3. Karen says:

    I love the “loose sluts!”

  4. vsvevg says:

    good to know about the gambling, someone just asked me if it there were casinos in Mexico, of course I had no idea

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