Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Return to San Miguel!

My last post came as we were leaving San Miguel de Allende to return to our home in Oregon and a lot has happened since then. To make a long story short, we came home, sold our house and everything in it, and are now living full time in San Miguel! The long story is much more interesting and will be the subject of another bit of writing, but in the meantime I am going to bring you up to speed with some posts on what it is like to move to and live in Mexico.

First though, a bit about our departure from Mexico, which you might say was a bit crazy. I did not get into it at the time, but on our last day here, Kate took a fall on the cobblestones (a common fate unfortunately and it gave rise to the term "The Fallen Women of San Miguel"!) and ended up in the local hospital with a broken wrist.

This was around 2:30 in the afternoon of the day before we were scheduled to leave, and by 7:00 she was in the operating room of a Mexican hospital. Now while we were curious about the quality of the Mexican Health Care System, we were not all that interested in learning about it first hand! What we learned however, is at least at this hospital, the quality of the care is excellent. Less than five minutes after arriving at the emergency room, Kate was in triage, in less than fifteen minutes she was with a doctor headed for x-rays, and in thirty minutes she was scheduled for surgery!

From the look of it, we already suspected she had broken her wrist, so the diagnosis was no surprise. The doctors gave us the option of heading back to the US for surgery with just a splint bandage, but Kate did not look good to travel, so we decided to proceed.

Our experience so far had been very good. Starting with the Mexican nurse that checked Kate in (who spoke no English) and due to the swelling on Kate’s right arm and the drip needle in her left, could not find a place to put her wrist band but laughed out loud when I suggested her big toe even if she wasn’t “muerto” (dead) quite yet. Then we saw the doctor that examined her (more English, great bedside manner), and finally the anesthesiologist (very good English and very reassuring) who explained how he would administer the anesthetics.

By now, my cell phone was beginning to die and I did not have my charger with me. Afraid to be without a phone through all this, I managed to ask the nurse if anyone had a “cargador de tel√©fono androide” only to be told they all used iphones, but she would ask around. After a fruitless search I called a woman we had befriended in town to let her know what had happened and ask her about a charger. She let me know she not only had a charger, but a bottle of tequila she would send along as well. Unfortunately, the nurses did find a charger, and the bottle of tequila was not to be! We were escorted to a private room while Kate waited for the surgery to begin, and before long she was wheeled away. By now I was starving, and with little I could do for the next three hours, I managed to get a bite to eat nearby.

After some anxious time spent watching soap operas on Mexican TV, the phone in the room finally rang and I was informed the doctor “would like to talk to me”. This did not sound all that good and I headed downstairs with a great deal of apprehension. Outside the OR, I could see that the doctors and nurses were clearly cleaning up post-op, but Kate was nowhere to be seen. This went on for what seemed like forever, and I was starting to fear the worst! Finally after enduring this agony for what seemed like forever, the doctor emerged from the OR and told me the operation had been a great success. 

Moments later to my great relief they wheeled Kate out and took her in for another x-ray. When it was finished, the doctor asked me to join him and a small group of other doctors and technicians to examine the x-rays. From the jist of the conversation in his broken English and my massacred Spanish, I realized he was actually just showing off his fine work! The titanium plate he had inserted was perfectly aligned, and the crack in the bones was barely distinguishable. After a couple pats on the back from me and the other doctors, he wandered down the hall beaming!

Up in her room, Kate was clearly in need of some sleep, and with us scheduled to leave for the airport in the morning, I had some packing to do! With assurances from the doctor she would be good to travel in the morning, I headed back to our casita, packed our bags, and got some restless sleep.

The morning came quickly, and I was soon on my way back to the hospital with credit card in hand. As our insurance was no good in Mexico, everything must be paid before leaving, and I was happy that our credit card was in good enough shape to take the hit! In the end, the whole operation complete with ER room, x-rays, surgery, and private room came to just over $500.00 more than our deductible would have been in the US

We scrambled back to the casita just in time for our shuttle, and in just over 20 hours since Kate took her fall, were headed back to the US for my mothers 90th birthday in Albuquerque. All in all, a thoroughly relaxing way to end our vacation.

Coming up in Mexico!


  1. Thanks John!Hope Kate is mending well! Marv

  2. Great story. Good to know about the great health care services at cost.