Saturday, September 19, 2015

accommodations, wheelchairs, food, and pesos

My six-day stay in a Manzanillo hospital now seems like ancient history.  And, for a blog essay, it is.

But I wanted to share some of my observations with my second major contact with the Mexican medical system.  The first, of course, was in 2009 when I broke my right ankle while ziplining outside of Puerto Vallarta -- where I learned that Mexican medical care is first rate and inexpensive (the price is perfecto).

Rather than keep you in suspense, I will tell you I have re-learned the same lesson on this hospital stay.  But, this time, with my left leg.

You may recall I was not inclined to head off to a hospital for my swollen left foot.  It took a few well-intentioned readers to convince me I needed to drive to Manzanillo, get off of my feet, and allow medical experts to do for my foot what needed doing.

My choice of hospital was not universally acclaimed.  Several readers gave me rave reviews for the place.  Two others were far less than praiseworthy in their assessment.

Overall, I give the place high marks.  I had a private room with all of the electronic conveniences (most of them provided by me) I would ever need.  It turned out I took far too many diversions with me.  By the second day, I was so bored I found reading to be a chore.

But what would a hospital stay be without a wheelchair tale?  I have two.

When I checked in, I was first taken to an examination room where I exchanged my Steve Irwin-wear for the standard bare-butt hospital gown.  I retained my boxers out of a sense of propriety.

I was then enthroned in a wheelchair with my clothes in my lap, an overnight bag on top of them, and topped off with my electronic gear backpack.  I could barely see over the traveling arrangement.

My impression was we were headed to my room.  I was wrong.  We had one important stop -- at the admissions desk.

I was handed a stack of forms to fill out.  But with no clipboard.  Of course, the pencil kept poking through the paper when I tried answering the questions.  I felt like one of the applicants in MIB

But that was not the worst of it.  Most of the required information was in my wallet at the bottom of the pile stacked on my lap.

My brother's voice kept repeating in the background -- "everything has a sequence."  And the admissions process simply did not.  With the passing of ten thousand pesos, as a deposit, I was on my way to my room.

That is wheelchair story number one.  Here is the second.

It only took two days for me to go stir crazy in my room.  My doctor asked if I would like the nurse to take me for a "stroll" in a wheelchair.  Sure, I said.  I had visions of being pushed along the Champs-Élysées.

Instead, she pushed me out into the waiting room -- perhaps the most tense room in the entire hospital.  Where she abandoned me for an hour.  At least, in my room I had air conditioning and the semblance of services being provided.

I pointedly avoided wheelchairs for the remainder of my stay.

The first question most hospital residents are asked is: "How was the food?"  I have never understood why people ask the question.  I know of no one who enters a hospital for the food.

But, here is my answer.  It was fine.  Plain.  But, well-balanced.  It was always filling, and I actually lost weight while confined to my bed.

And the second most popular question is: "What did it cost?"  Before I answer that, I need to let you know all of the services I received were top drawer.  

With one caveat.  The hospital has its own pharmacy attached.  I suspect several of the drugs I was prescribed were more expensive than other alternatives.  But each of them seemed to do their assigned duties.  As did the doctors and nurses.

For six days in the hospital -- and an incredible number of drugs that were pumped into me -- I left behind about $2,800 (US).  That included the medical fees, as well.

I would have preferred not seeing a doctor or being in a hospital.  But my foot refused to give me that option.

And I have no regrets in choosing the hospital I did.  For me, the price was affordable, and I appear to be far better off for taking the plunge.

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