I was turning into one of those side effect warnings you hear at the end of drug commercials.
You know the ones I mean. Always delivered in a Gilbert and Sullivan patter song tempo.
Headache. Nausea. Fatigue. Drowsiness. Swollen feet.
Just before I moved to Mexico, my health had taken a severe downturn. My blood pressure was high. I had put on an incredible amount of weight. And I had just been diagnosed as diabetic (even though I was in the category formerly known as “pre-diabetic”).
Three months in Mexico with a new diet (or rather the inaccessibility of not-so-healthy foods) and lots of walking had an amazing effect. I lost 30 pounds. My blood sugar levels were the envy of a 22 year-old. And my blood pressure was well within normal limits -- normal enough that my doctor reduced my medication dosage.
That was 2009. While I was in the highlands this summer, I ran out of my usual medication. I stopped to see a doctor, who prescribed something different. I researched it on the internet -- and it was in the same category as my old medication.
When I returned to Melaque in September, the heat seemed to be harder to bear than when I left. I attributed it to a lack of acclimation. But things did not get better over the next two months. I started getting severe headaches. And I slept. Often 12 hours a night. But I was still exhausted during the day.
My doctor also works with the Indian school -- a project I support. I needed to talk with her yesterday about some donations. While I was there, I told her I was not feeling as well as I usually do.
Her first instinct was to check my blood pressure. But I wanted her to check my blood sugar. I had convinced myself that the diabetes had returned.
Out came the needle and the little testing machine. It was fine.
I wish I could have said the same for the blood pressure test result. I am a mediocre bowler. But I would have been happy with both readings if they were projected above a lane. But they were a bit distressing as blood pressure results.
That was easily resolved. She put me back on my old medication -- with the proviso that I buy it that afternoon.
Oh, and there was one additional complaint. In July, I awoke with fresh blood in my left ear. Even though it felt as if there might be an infection in the ear canal, I ignored it. (I must confess, though, I imagined the leaf cutter ants seeking revenge by setting up a nest in my ear.) I also ignored another smaller discharge about three weeks later.
OK. I am not a very good patient.
It turns out there is still an infection in the ear canal -- that could have contributed to the headaches. Another pill and some ear drops are destined to clear it up.
The result? Oddly, I could not sleep last night. I fell asleep for about an hour and stayed up reading until about 7 AM -- and then slept until 10.
But I feel great. And my feet slip easily into my sandals.
I had hoped to get off of all medications while living here in Mexico. Even though the doctor fees are quite reasonable (less than $15 USD), my prescriptions cost more here than they do in The States. (That is not always the case. Most prescription drugs cost less here than they do above the Rio Bravo.)
The hope of going drug-free is probably not to be.
I am just glad that I had other business with my doctor. She has made me a new man.
It is still hot here. But I no longer feel like I am a walking side effect warning.