Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Ultrasound: No sure explination

Joslin is napping and we cant go to the park until after shes up so I'm going to put this post out now. So after my blood work was done we decided we should go ahead and get the ultrasound out of the way that morning before Issac went to work. I had already been fasting for the blood work so this would work out fine. As soon as I got home we got the girls dressed and headed down town. As I had said in an earlier post the public hospital didn't have room for an appointment so we had to go through a public clinic. The doctor at Soriana suggested one to us that was downtown. Its a walk int and is very cheap, the clinic we were going to go to we had been told would be like 2,000p but this one was only 500p. We found it easily and a parking place which was close. When we went in around 830 they told us that the doctor wouldn't be in until 9 but that we could pay and therefore would be first in line for him when he came. The told us we could leave and come back a little after 9 and would be ok. They also confirmed that I shouldn't eat until I came back. So we walked downtown and Issac and the girls had breakfast, while my mouth watered over what they ate. ;) We went back about 15 after 9 and waited on the doctor till a little before 10. He was very nice and the first part of the scan went great, he said so far so good and that there were no stones nor slugg or mud so they call it here. He then sent me off to have the greasiest breakfast I could find. We went down town and I ate a bowl of soup that is made from fried goat meat. I don't remember the name but it was soooo good. I also ate a cheese quesadilla and had a soda, all of which are no nos on my diet for my gall bladder. Let me tell you this was the best meal Iv had in a long long time, I enjoyed it and tried not to think of the pain that was sure to come from eating it. The we sat and waited a bit. My husbands worried face turned toward me and said, "how do you feel honey." I stunned him by saying, "great, and full"
Listen I didn't even get the immediate heart burn that I always get. I then went and got a chocomil which is chocolate milk made with prob the fattiest milk you can get. I could only drink half of it because I was so full from my meal and even with only drinking half I was sure to bring on an attach. Get this NOTHING. We walked confused and slightly dazed back to the ultrasound office with my husband constantly asking, "any pain," and me saying "nope". When he did the second part of the ultrasound I didn't know how to feel when I plainly saw my gall bladder contract then open back up and then contract again. Smooth as butter and clear as day my gall bladder was working. The doctor was a little confused at why I wasn't happy but to be honest I didn't know what to think at first. I was almost in tears thinking that now I have a problem that cant even be diagnosed and Ill forever be eating fruit and veggies. My husband asked a few question and he said that sometimes the gall bladder can get infected with a bacteria and if I had taken antibiotics it may have taken care of it. And that he still thinks we should bring the films back to out appointment with the surgeon. After leaving we discussed many things, the last time I had taken ATB was in November and I had had pain in the area of my gall bladder since then. The only other thing I had recently done was to make a natural gall bladder cleanser out of fruit and drank a whole liter of it. This was sometime last week and it made me so sick, but maybe that was because it was cleaning me out. I had tried this once before maybe last year some time and nothing came of it. Really I just did it this time to make Issac feel like we were doing something to make me feel better. Even just two days before the ultrasound appointment, I ate a doughnut and got a lot of pain and had to lay down all day.
Let me tell you something else. Every time we visit Issacs lovely grandma and the surgery comes up she always says to me, "you wont need this surgery, God is going to heal you," Dang it I cant remember exactly how she says it in Spanish but she says it every time. And we were out there this last weekend and she said it again. I'm not sure that I'm healed and I'm scared to be to excited and to not be excited, but after that meal and no pain I also ate Doritos yesterday and drank a glass of milk, and today I ate cereal with milk and at snack time I ate cheese with Alana. And I feel fine, not even indigestion. After a lot of discussing it we have decided I'm just going to eat like a normal person this week and see how it goes. Either way I think we will go to the doctor appointment and discuss with him what we should do if the gastritis or gall bladder symptoms return. For now we are going to praise the Lord that I have had two days now of eating normal with no pain. I do believe that God can heal and that he still does and that it has nothing to do with someones faith or how much they pray. I feel that when God does something like this it is to show his power and glory. So even if its just yesterday and today I want to give him all the glory and say thank you God for healing me. And no matter what happens tomorrow I will continue to thank him. Thanks to all of you for your prayers and we will for sure keep you updated on whats going on. I'm still slightly in shock and not sure what to think but am happy that's for sure.

Seguro Poular: Blood draw

So I'm going to make this post as short and sweet as I can because I'm excited to write the next one. But for those who want to know how the operations of public health care in Mexico go here it is. Oh and I want to be clear because of a comment I got on a previous post. We are going through the Seguro Publico or Popular right now not the Seguro Social which is the one you get through a work place and is basically free after they take a little out of your check. The Publico or Popular is cheep but not free but is accessible to anyone in Mexico regardless of where your from.
My appointment for my blood draw was at 7am and now that we know how things go here I was there by 630 and only the second person there. Yeah for me!!! I went alone because it was just a blood draw and Issac was at home with the girls and had worked it out with his job to go in for an evening shift that day. The lady behind the desk actually showed up promptly at 7 which was a bit of a change from our other experiences. We all lined up in the order we had come (did I mention I was 2nd.) The lady took my paper and wrote a big 2 on it and sent me off to the caja. We were not sure if we would have to pay for the blood draw or how much it would be and so I brought 100p with me just in case. The lady behind the glass at the caja window asked me if I had the Popular. (quick explanation you can basically buy it like an insurance for a year at a time and it will all be even cheaper or free, it looked to me that those who had it were getting there blood work for free) I answered no and she went over to the calculator. "Quatro Quarentados" I mistook this to mean 42p. Because 442p is ridiculous right? Wrong she was charging me 442p for some blood work. "No me alcanza, tango cien es todo." I don't have enough all I have is 100p. She stared at me a min then started speaking very rapidly. "Un momento necisito llame me esposo." she nodded and called for the next person. My husband asked to speak to her and she then explained to him that I could go to the Social Trabajo office inside the hospital and tell them I had no money for my test.
Ok Amanda deep breath you can do this, don't cry, you can do this.
So off I go to the office I walk in and hand the guy my papers and say, "no tango denero para este examino." He looks at me sceptically and looks at the papers, he then asks me where I'm from and I tell him. He gets a very frustrated look on his face and says under his breath, "Que Caro" and his shaking his head no.
Ok Amanda you can do this dont cry, just explain yourself.
So I then said, "mida tango cien pesos es todo y necisito este examino."
He then asks me what my health issue is and I explain it to him while he is looking at me all mean and shaking his head. He also asks if I have the Seguro Social and why we are not using it, and I explain that they wont do the surgery. He asks all types of questions like where does my husband work, what does he do, how many kids do we have, how long have I lived here, am I planning to stay here in Mexico ext. While still looking frustrated he then looks up a bunch of numbers in a book and writes, 10pts on my paper and signs it and sends me back to the caja. This actually went pretty quick but felt like an eternity to me. The side of the caja that I needed to go to thankfully only had one person and when its my turn I hand him my paper and the other lady explains to him what has happened. After adding everything up with the 10pts the guy gave me our total at 94p. So now I know there are Mexicans who feel Americans shouldn't get their cheaper health care system just like there are Americans who feel the same way about any other immigrant group in the states. I use to get really upset at these people when I was there and now that I'm feeling the sting on the other end I still want to go back and give them an ear full. But seriously that morning while I was waiting I was thinking about how I hadn't gotten any kind of grief from any one, not the other patients or the doctors or nurses. So far just this one guy, I then take a deep breath and shrug him off. I go back to the original lab window where the lady put the 2 on my paper. She explains very rapidly something with out looking up and I don't get it. "Dile otra ves por favor" I say please say it again. She says it again while looking at her desk and very fast. "Lo siento pero puedas dile mas despacio." She looks up and you can see the lights come on in her eyes, she obviously says the same thing all day and didn't realize I didn't understand. So she then takes her time explaining to me that before I go to my doctor appointment I need to go back to that window to pick up my results and that someone will call my name. I see many other labeled blood vials and at that point accept the fact that I have lost my place in line, but that's ok I expected this to take awhile. I text my husband with this information and I sit down ready to wait awhile. Not even a min later my name is called, I hadn't lost my place in line and I was out of there very quickly. I walked out with a skip in my walk knowing this was a huge accomplishment for me.
That day I learned that not only are my language skills improving but my ability to take in stride the harsh criticism of others. I'm not even angry at that guy because I know he just doesn't understand and maybe never will. There are a lot of people who will never understand why this gringa moved from the security of her homeland into a whole new world. But I do and I know its what God wanted and still wants from me and I was happy for how I did this day. So although this post is mainly about how things go with health care its also about how a gringa is learning to move about in Mexico. Thanks for reading all and I'm on to my next post. (but not till the girls nap time have to go play and bring them to the park.) ;)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

El Seguro Popular: Surgeon

So we finally had our appointment with the surgeon last week and here is how it went. Our appointment was at 510pm so we got there at 430 knowing we would need to do paperwork. We brought our appointment slip to the nurse who gave us a different piece of paper to bring to the window where all the files were. There we waited for some time for someone to help us and she was very confused as to why an American was living in Mexico and using the public health system. Once we got past all that we finally got to the paperwork. She wasn't rude by the way she was just curious as most people are. We then went to the Caja to pay our 60p for the doctor visit. Now was the fun part. We waited.... and waited ... and finally my name was called about an hour and a half after we arrived. "Not bad," I thought. The nurse took my vitals and told me to wait on my name to be called. Then we waited.......
and waited....
and waited some more....
I meet a girl who had just moved here with her husband from the states and we chated and our kids played. They are both Mexicans but its there first time they are living here since being kids.
Then my hubby went to get us some snacks....waited
Then our new friends went to get snacks.... waited
Then at 815 my name was called, and we got to see the doctor.
It was short and sweet but well done, he did the typical history and examination and about half way realized I was struggling with my Spanish and decided he would struggle with some English. I always see this as very nice because he really was doing well but you could tell it was hard for him. Then he said...
"I know you are sick of your gall bladder but...." and he though for a while meanwhile my heart was sinking thinking he was going to tell me to go drink some juice and eat fruits and veggies the rest of my life.
Well as he went on I realized he was meaning, I know your gall bladder is sick. And the but was that I needed to have some tests done. So he wrote out three scripts one for blood work, one for an ultrasound, and one for me to meet the anesthesiologist. First we went back tot he first window I spoke of and set up the appointment with the anesthesiologist and they said we had to have the other two done within a week of the appointment. Then we went to the lab area and they said they didn't have any openings for the ultrasound between now and then. We asked if it would be ok for us to use a private place and they said no big deal. The other side of the lab where the blood work is done did have an opening for me and we set it for today (this for another post). We then headed home about 840, yes the doctor visit and setting up the appointments only took about 20 min of the 4 hours we were there. Whoo hoo for cheap health care. More to come later on the other trips.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Valintines day

So this will be kind of a short post but there were a few things worth mentioning this year. First off I have started making and selling home made cards. Its something I love to do and when a few people received them from me well it kinda caught on and people wanted them to give away. So of course Valentines day was a big day for me with that. The funny thing is that when my neighbor asked for a couple cards for El dia de Valentin at first I mistook that to be Valentina. Valentina is an excellent hot sauce that is sold even in the states and is made right here in my state of Jalisco. The drawing on the bottle is of Jalisco as a matter of fact. And when I repeated what I thought I heard and she explained that she meant February 14 and we both had a good laugh (as did my husband when I told him about it later).
Also something I noticed here on this day of love is that people as always could care less about litter. More than one car drove past me that day covered in postits saying yo te amo, no rompia mi corazon and so on and so forth. And all week we have been seeing them flying all over town. Although it is quite romantic and festive it makes me sad to see all the litter this week.
As for us my three year old made cards and she requested that she could make three of them specifically for Papi, Abuela, and baby sister. They all turned out so cute and she worked so hard on them. We also talked about love and what it means and how we act it out. And that night after the girls went to bed hubby and I had a romantic date filled with wine and chocolate tasting. I love any reason for that kind of day.
So a happy belated Valentines to all of you and thanks for your ongoing friendship and support.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

El Valle De Guadelupe

I love when others post pictures on there blogs and I plan to make a better effort about it. A friend of mine suggested taking a picture walk and so I did this in a town close to where I live. This is where my husbands grandma and aunt live and every few months his mom stays there also. El Valle is a cute little town with nothing in it. Seriously you cant even find a cup of coffee outside of someones house. And it is for real in the valle at the area of this first picture which is just as you enter town your ears are always popping.

This little town is in the middle of remodeling itself. Most of the roads except the main one that goes through the middle of town are cobble stone. They are now making them half cobble stone and half concrete and the final look is quite nice. They have a great park that you only pay 2pesos a person for. I neglected to take a good picture of the inside of the park but in one of the pictures you can see some of the toys in the background.

And of course my husband always gets some classic Abuela cooking. Actually thats why we were there, this was his birthday wish was to have his grandma cook for him that day.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Anwering Questions

So I recently asked some of my friends what they might want to read
. Particularly, I want to ask you about people complaining about getting dysentery in Mexico.
Yesterday my Tia was here (Issacs Aunt) and she brought up Montezuma II, I think we had been talking about how sick Joslin got a month ago. What she was telling me was that this only happens to those who are not Mexican or family of Mexicans. What she was speaking of was Montezuma revenge, aka Travelers diarrhea aka dysentery. I have to disagree with her on the family not getting this. When my first daughter was 10mo old we visited my husband in Monclova. She drank some water out of a small pool that we filled with water from a tap. After getting home she had runny stool for three months. I had to give her lactobacillas the whole time and lots of pedialite. Thankfully she never got dehydrated although I got a little concerned and brought her to the ER once and to the DR a different time during the 3 months. To be honest we could have given her antibiotics to make this not last as long but her doctor and I agreed that with frequent trips to Mexico and possible move in the future it would be best for her body to take care of it on its own.
The reason this travelers diarrhea is refered to as Montezumas revenge by Americans and Mexicans alike is due to an Aztec King. According to wickapedia Moctezuma (c. 1466 – June 1520), also known by a number of variant spellings including Montezuma, Moteuczoma, Motecuhzoma and referred to in full by early Nahuatl texts as Motecuhzoma Xocoyotzin[nb 1] and similar, was the ninth tlatoani or ruler of Tenochtitlan, reigning from 1502 to 1520. It was during Moctezuma's reign that the episode known as the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire began. His relations with the Spanish Conquistadors went well only for a short while. He ended up like many other Mexican rulers of the time a prisoner in his own realm. Depending on where your information comes from depends on who killed him but according to legend Montezuma vowed to return and defend his people after his death. Although we know that this horrible case of diarrhea is from some sort of bacteria or virus I found this interesting fact on a website: Pathogen isolation rates among TD studies vary from 30 percent to 60 percent. Most cases in which no pathogen is identified still respond to antibiotics, suggesting that most cases are bacterial in origin. The point being that at times the pathogen is not found who know maybe Montezuma is getting his revenge.
But in reality what has "defended" his people is the fact that a humans immune system adapts, bottled water, and disinfectant drops, oh and deworming medications twice a year. Let me explain this statement a bit. First of all when it comes to bacteria as many of you know your immune system can create and maintain antibodies to fight those bacterias that it has fought in the past. And so if as a baby who always has loose stools gets a bit of the bacteria from his or her bottle that has been rinsed in water containing a bacteria you prob wouldn't even notice the infection because babies always cry and always have gross poopy. And so the body is left to defend itself thankfully without the aid of antibiotics and the baby creates and immunity to this bacteria. And vowala Mexicans get stomachs made of nails therefore not catching this revenge of Montezuma. But in reality they don't drink the water and when they use it to clean things such as lettuce they put disinfectant drops in it. Everyone has a large bottle of water in the home. Its amusing to me that its kind of the "in" thing in the states to drink water from bottles that have the purest of water. My gosh people you pay taxes and people to purify the water from your taps, drink it!!!! The good news is that here the bottled water is readily available at almost every tienda on almost every block or you can have it delivered to your door.
As far as traveling goes you just need to be as careful as any Mexican really. I have never gotten sick from brushing my teeth, showering, or eating fresh fruits or salads. Just don't get a cup and drink strait from the tap or open your mouth to the drink from the shower (not sure why anyone would but you never know). Which a Mexican wouldn't do either, you may also want to buy some disinfectant drops to wash your fruit in. We wash ours in the tap but by now are immune to anything that may still be on our fruit after a good wash and dry. Also if your stomach is sensitive to grease or chili this may be a cause for loose stools after a visit to Mexico. Much of the food has a lot of both but you can get very healthy meals here to.
I hope this helped a little and if anyone not from here has questions please ask and if anyone from here has some extra input please comment, its always welcome.

El Patio

Sometimes I forget that I live in a place where things are way different than where I'm from. And even though most of my readers are also living in this same place not all are. I recently made a comment on facebook about hanging out on my roof. The American in me still calls it my roof and not mio patio and yet I think of it as my patio and speak of it as one. So this quite confused a friend or mine. At the end of this post is a link to my FB page where I posted some pictures of my current and first patio. The patios here in Mexico are a great thing because in a lot of towns the houses are literally built on top of each other. To the point that they don't even make an extra wall and just use the wall from the house that is already up. And they are built right on the side walk or with just enough room for a small car port. We have even seen car ports so small that when they put their gait up they have to put a little bubble on it that protrudes into the sidewalk in order to fit their car inside. Needless to say many people do not have yards. I should also mention that houses in Mexico are built in square shapes with flat tops. The only people who have yards are those who live in el rancho and its more like a field. Some people in town here have just enough grassy or dirt area out front, out back or actually in the center of their houses to have a small garden of flowers and herbs. In all the places we have lived our roof is our yard. Mind you the landing is not quite as soft when the girls take a tumble but its an area outside that is our own. The roof always has a set of stairs leading up to it and not always with a railing. Iv been in a few houses where the stairway makes me quite nervous. Because ours is an apartment building the stairs run up the middle of the building and has railing on the side with out a wall. In what I think is the first picture of the four you can see the door that goes inside and leads to the stairwell. The majority of Mexicans do not use a dryer for their laundry and so this roof is also used for their laundry and have built in lavaderos which are sinks with wash boards in them. You can see ours right next to the washer in one of the pictures. Before I moved here to be honest Mexico was the only place I had ever seen a washboard aside from old movies. And I swore I would never use it, and I don't to often. But they sure can be helpful when you have food or a stain stuck to a piece of clothing. As you can see from the picture the place you put your washer is open to the outside except on top. this totally freaked me out when I first moved here, I was sure we would be electrocuted after the first rain. But thanks to the outrageous price for electricity if you use over a certain wattage we unplug our washer after each use. And we have a cover on it as can also be seen in the photo. Because laundry is done outside I actually love doing it now. I take my time hanging and taking down he cloths and enjoy the sun on my face while doing it. When the girls are feeling up to it they play around up there with me while I hang and fold. It truly is a stress reliever for me now. During the warmer months we also have a small pool that we fill with water for Alana and I suppose this year Joslin also and we have a nice little table to have picnics at and Issac has a small grill to make us delicious food. So in an odd since our roof is our laundry room/back yard and we love it, I do look forward to the day we get to build our own house and can construct el patio how we want it and by them we will have lived in enough rentals to know exactly what we want. I hope this post was interesting to those of you not living here and maybe for some who do. For those who do if I left anything out please comment.!/album.php?id=1409735761&aid=51383

Thursday, February 4, 2010

My hodgpodg week.

This week has been quite out of the ordinary for us. First off on Tuesday we headed to Guadalajara to drop of the paperwork they requested the last time we were there. My Suegra stayed the night Monday night so she could go with us. The girls were so excited she was here that they both stayed up past their bedtimes. Mi Suegra is a wonderful Christian lady and is so good with my girls. As with any mother in law we have our differences and by the end of our time together I'm usually on edge (a little). Even though both Christian we grew up in totally different worlds and now have completely opposite perspectives. I am always looking for the short cut and she just takes the long way around without even thinking about it. This made it quite interesting when I was holding the baby and she the umbrella. Seriously I'm sure we were a riot to see. Anyway with her help with the girls, immigration went quite smooth. Her, the girls and I waited inside the office for Issac to go pay our fee and make copies of all our papers. (sometimes it must suck being the dad. lol) There was almost no one there so once I got a number we were second in line. The lady asked for all our papers one by one and then stamped them all and gave us our originals back. She didn't ask for the itinerary for my flight so we brought it up to her and she agreed we needed it. This is one of those times you know its a good idea to read your papers yourself to know what you need to turn in. So that is it for now on immigration we are to go back after February 9th and hopefully pick up my book.
Also on Monday something truly wonderful happened. Issac and I were reminded that when God brings friends together few things can break that fellowship. I'm sure I'v mentioned this before but Issac and I are very social. We love to be surrounded by friends and family. When we both lived in the states everyone knew if there was nothing else to do our house was open to them. We also would have friends over for the holidays when we were going to be in town, a lot of our friends at the time didn't have family close and so we would be each others families. With our church, fellowship meant more than saying hi and asking how people were doing on Sundays. We were there for each other when we could be. Everyone tried to help the others with house or yard projects, or just plain old meeting up and hanging out outside of church. We would even get together to pray together is someone was having a hard time. To be honest after we had lived here long enough to realize we were probably not going to find this here we were quite aggravated at God. Why would he give us such a great community and then take it away not to give it back again. We have I think over the last year or so realized that he is trying to show us that there are many types of fellowship and just because we don't live in the same town as someone doesn't mean he has taken them away. A couple who are friends of ours from that church wrote to my husband telling him they want to help us out in their own way. I don't want to go into the details of how they are going to help us because to be honest that's not what this is about. After receiving the e-mail and us discussing it and what I spoke of above we were both in tears. We are in need of assistance and would never have asked for it, but God always knows and will provide when needed. Also although we have been keeping up with them from time to time on facebook I had no idea they read my blog. It is nice to know that friends haven't forgotten you and not only that but that they still care. We pray for and are seeking spiritual fellowship here in Mexico. I have managed to get some through my skype bible studies but as for my husband I am it. We do get to hang out with a couple of our good friends on a weekly basis which is absolutely wonderful but usually this is more to catch up and hang out and nothing spiritual. So in short after that long paragraph we are so thankful to God for showing us more and more what love is and how great it feels.
The only other reason this week has been off is because of the rain. We are on day 5 today of constant rain. It was so nice the day before the rain started that people were wearing shorts and now its getting colder each day. My laundry is like a mountain in my room and apparently its not suppose to let up until after Friday. This is pretty odd for this time of year here in Mexico. Last year it might have rained once or twice all winter. That is why they call it the dry season. Poor Alana is so ready to go out and play. During the summer I let her play in the rain so shes a little confused at why we have stayed inside the whole time. I try to tell her its to cold and she tells me she can put on her boots and rain coat. lol Im thinking this should be good for the farmers or at least I hope so. I hear the coffee production will be low this year because it actually reached freezing in some areas of Mexico in mid January. But around here we survive on the farmers who grow corn and tequila both of which I would think wouldn't be bothered by the freeze and will be helped by all this rain.
Today is the day we go find out when our appointment with the surgeon will be, so hopefully I will know in a few days when we will be getting it done. I'm so ready for it, yesterday we couldn't even figure out what made it hurt so bad. I ended up on the couch while Issac had to cook dinner which we decided would be better off if I didn't eat it. I guess one good side is I have already lost all my baby weight thanks to nights like last night where I only eat carrots for dinner. But for real Id rather be fat. lol Well all thanks for reading and sorry this post went here there and everywhere but I figured I might as well put it all in one post since it all happened within a few days.
Rain Rain go away come again another day...
Rain Rain go away, We want to go out and play. (and do laundry)