Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Through The Maze Darkly

I have been having some health issues lately that are causing me to spend more than my fair share of time at our local hospital/clinic. I read on other people's blogs, especially those coming out of Merida, about what fine health care is available and how nice, efficient and thorough all the providers are. Let me tell you, that is not the case here. For example.....

Yesterday I had to have some blood drawn and give up a pee sample. Sounds easy enough. I knew from various people that before anything could happen, I had to go to the main window in the clinic and first pay for the procedures and produce a receipt. So here's how it went.

I handed the guy behind the window my paperwork. One piece for blood work, another for an x-ray I needed. He handed me back the x-ray and said I should pay later when the x-ray technician was there. "When will that be?" I asked. "He is here everyday at 9:00 am" he replied. (Lies, lies, all lies!)

I then paid 450 pesos ($34.60) for the blood work needed and headed over to the lab to give them some pee and blood. They asked me for my pee sample.

Me: I'm ready to give it to you. Where should I go?

Them: You need a cup.

Me: Ok.

Blank stares all around. Then finally they broke the silence.

Them: You need a cup.

Me: Ok. I don't have one.

Them: You have to go buy one.

Me: WTF! Then, out loud, Where do I buy a cup?

Them: In the hospital where you paid for the test.

Me: Really?

Them: Yes.

So my inner question was, why didn't this dude either give me or sell me a cup when he charged me for a urine test? He certainly knew that I was going to need one and that I didn't have one. So I trudge back next door and wait my turn for the window.

Me: I need a cup for a urine sample.

Him: We don't have any.

Me: You don't have any?!

Him: You have to go to the pharmacy in the grocery store and buy one.

Me: Ok. (internally seething by this point)

So I go to the grocery store, purchase my cup and return to the lab with it.

Them: You have to fill it.

Me: Ok.

Them: We don't have a bathroom here.

Me. That's ok. Just turn around. (they did not find this as highly amusing as I did!)

Them: You have to go back to the hospital and use their bathroom.

Me: Ok. (I say that a lot)

So back over to the hospital, locate the Men's room, pee in the cup, almost spill contents trying to get the lid back on, return to lab with it. They motion for me to put it on a table with about 18 other cups of pee. The table was starting to look like a piss buffet. They did not write on it or in anyway make an indication of who's pee it was. They motioned for me to take a seat at the blood removal table.

Them: Did you eat last night?

Me: Yes.

Them: What did you have?

Me: Cheeseburger.

Them: We can't take your blood today. You have to have a cholesterol test and you can't eat the night before. You have to come back tomorrow. And your pee sample today is no good either.

Me: *&%)jd#&%^!!!!!

Them: Don't eat tonight and take a sample cup home with you. We have to have the first pee of the morning.

So, why had my doctor, or anybody else I encountered along the way, not told me any of this? Needless to say, the pee sample that I had managed to give them was not the first one of the morning so if they had tested it, would the results have been valid? I think I was most angry about having to buy my own pee sample cup.

So this morning I diligently peed in the cup at home and took it with me. I went back to the lab and it took all of 3.5 minutes to get everything done. Knowing the proper procedure certainly speeds up the process.

By the way, it took me two days to get the x-ray done. I won't even go into what a drama that was!


Anonymous said...

Well that urine sample sounds really sterile!! I don't know how you ex-pats deal with medical care down there...good luck.

KfromMichigan said...

I'm laughing (sorry). When you are a tourist, medical help is so easy. As I have experienced several times. Wishing you good health!

jeanie said...

Sorry you're having health issues and I hope it will be resolved soon.

I'm ROFLMAO about the Piss Buffet.

Leah Flinn said...

We went through similar circus acts here in Veracruz when my husband was hospitalized for a month with a heart infection and later had heart surgery. While the care is good, it's understanding the process (which no one will actively divulge to you) that drives you crazy.

Tom said...

You don't suppose someone has a side business of recycling the pee cups do ya?

Anonymous said...

i think we are all glad you didnt have to leave a stool sample!!
carl/debbie-to better health!!

Sam and Bob said...

I agree with K from Michigan. Thanks for the great laugh...I can definitely visualize everything! Hope you're feeling beter.

Babs said...

Once you learn the system, it's a snap. I'll take the health system in Mexico any day to the USA where they nearly killed me last year when they wanted to remove my gall bladder instead of correctly diagnosing I had whooping cough!

Funny incident yesterday after having the stitches removed. They gave me some sterile strips. When I went to pay the woman who was in that office last week when I arrived, said, "Come with me". We walked to the pharmacy where she said "If you pay for this here, there will not be a markup!" I nearly fainted. Can you imagine that happening in the USA?????

Islagringo said...

anon: my thoughts exactly. I tried to keep it as clean as possible but I did think about all the contaminints that could find there way into that little cup.

KfromMichigan: are you kidding me? Maybe you mean emergency care. That is a different story.

Jeanie: thanks for the good wishes and appreciating my buffet joke!

Leah: you hit the nail on the head. If only somebody would explain the procedures to you, it would be so much easier.

Tom: I'm not sure. But I can tell you I never take any of the sample food in cups at CostCo!

carl'debbie: been there, done that, almost printed up a t-shirt. I actually wrote about the experience. Search archives if you really want to know!

Sam and Bob: thanks for the well wishes. Glad you enjoyed the story. It might not have been written with so much humor had I written it yesterday!

Babs: a person could die waiting to find out what the procedure is! I had to show proof of residency to get the lower rate on my tests.

ronnie said...

Sounds like urine luck!!!

Nancy said...

It is strange to me that things seem so different there... than other parts of Mexico...hard to get gas, bad healthcare, issues with immigracion, etc. I wonder why. Any guesses? Could be a blog topic!

Jackie said...

I am sorry to hear you are having health issues. But I am not sorry that your story was so ridiculous it made me laugh out loud!

Carl, I remember Wayne's stol sample post. It was pretty funny too. :>)

Merida Mikey said...

Hey Wayne -

It would be worth a trip to Merida to have your health issues addressed here. The more I read your blog about Isla Mujeres, the more I'm glad I don't live there! Actually I was going to go there not too long ago for a diversion excursion, but because of all the good info you provided on your blogs, I opted for another location.

Come on over to Merida! I think we're a a bit more civilized here!

Life's a Beach! said...

Wayne, sorry to hear about the health issues. That's no fun. Piss buffet! Ha! Enjoyed meeting you, and I did buy those little paper cards at the novelty store. They're the exact size for those dominos! Can't wait to see what they look like!

Hope everything turns out okay with the tests.

2beachbums said...

You should try going to a VA hospital in the USA...not fun!

Billie said...

Wayne, I'm sorry you have been feeling puny but this is a great story. I'm still laughing as only a Mexican ex-pat can cause I understand.

jmove said...

While i don't pay directly for lab tests, Medic-Care pays, I have read the charges. My last Urine test and lab fees $329.00. When you put it in perspective $34.60 + lab cup + time sound pretty good specially when we retired folks like us have plenty of time. jose

Islagringo said...

ronnie: you're killing me!

nancy: I have said it many times before. Isla is not Mexico. It is totally different and lives by its' own rules. Or lack thereof.

jackie: glad to have entertained you.

mickey: don't stay away because of anything I have said. Isla is actually a nice place to visit.

Beck: post some pictures when you have made a few.

2beachbums: I bet that they are at least rude to you in English!

Billie: as you know, have to have been there. And we all have!

jose: it's not about the cost or the time. It's about the way one is treated.

Anonymous said...

TIM....This Is Mexico....that is how I explain lots of stuff....I had a similar experience with trying to leave a pee sample for the lab at the local cheap clinic. I must say that using the private clinics does work more efficiently. Kathe

IslaZina said...

I never got caught in the piss buffet! Knowing the first void drill, I have escaped the drill by using a baby food jar and taking it with me. Assured that it's sterile, everyone seems relieved that I do this. Now I know why!

AnilĂș said...

Ha! I am a Mexican living in Scotland and too used to this kind of things that yesterday when I made an appointment at my local clinic for a blood test, I immediately asked how many hours I needed to fast before it and they looked at me like I was nuts. Glad it went better the second time.

Calypso said...

Mexico medical around here certainly includes one being more of an active participant in the process (Read less pampering).

That said I trust the process being more involved and costing 10 to 100's of time less is a bright spot in spite of having to learn your part in all of it.

I have only seen the service as it relates to others so far - but I know where to get the pee cups (and they are sterile here - sold in sealed plastic bags and they include a lid (no straw hole however ;-)