Falling Ill In A Foreign Country

Falling Ill In A Foreign Country

If you’re traveling, sooner or later it’s bound to happen. You find yourself falling ill in a foreign country.

To me it’s not quite the same as falling ill in the U.S.


There’s other elements at work here than in the U.S.  Different insects, parasites, variations of disease processes.  Generally some unknowns from a person point of view and in my case a bit of a communication problem.

I have health insurance and an emergency policy in place.  The last healthcare rankings by WHO put Mexico one slot below U.S.  A lot of healthcare people here speak English, and a large number are trained in the U.S.

Where I live, the physician makes house calls!  About $50 U.S. for the visit and prescription.  Not bad.  Plus she’s rather easy on the eyes……   To her, I’m not.

I’ve always had an uneasiness when it came to doctors.  I can’t quite put my finger on it but it must be handed down from my parents and my sheer hate of sitting and waiting in the doctor’s waiting area and then having to wait again in the examination room for at least the equal time.  Getting there early or late didn’t seem to make a difference anyway it went.  I’d still have to wait and wait, and wait.

Falling Ill In A Foreign Country

I remember there was this specialist I was going to and it was regular to wait a good 30 to 45 minutes in the lobby and then….then in an examination room smaller than a 10X10 for an additional 45 minutes (I’d always pay attention to my time in) and I’d have a short pleasant visit and the doctor would be gone.  I’d be sent to another examination room just to get a prescription. The size of that waiting room a good 15X20!!!  WTF!!  It gets better!

On a visit there were these two women with their walkers…..talking to each other (the women were talking not the walkers, although I didn’t pay that close attention) about how they love coming to this doctor even though they have to wait in the lobby so, so long.  But when they get to the examination room she’s there for them and takes her time with them…..so sweet.

Yes these 2 ladies are ill with crippling arthritis, and I’m the newbie with crippling arthritis……. BUT!!!!

WAIT!!!  I’M OFF SUBJECT!!!   That’s in the U.S., here, I don’t have to do that kind of waiting!!  On a recent office visit to the dentist….the schedule was ‘ON TIME’!!

I’m not sure what country but I’ve never been a fan of Emergency Rooms.  I’m acquainted with the Emergency room from both sides.  Being a patient and working for the hospital.  As working for the hospital I coded and charged ER records so my office was right there with these fine folks.

Falling Ill In A Foreign Country

I may have to pay a visit to an Emergency room here the next time I bang my right foot against something…..I think there may be a broken bone there already from the previous time.

Now I have visited a clinic here in a somewhat emergency capacity.  I banged my foot, fell and put a nice size gash in the crown of my head and knocked myself unconscious.  A friend drove me to a clinic about 9ish at night.  The doctor spoke some english, the nurse none.  I felt confident in his assessing me (even though I was a tad out of it!) and thought the whole thing went well.  For the visit, inspected by physician and stitched up by the nurse, plus a months supply of anti-biotic $8.30 (if I recall correct, it may have been $8.50).  The one draw back was trying to tell the nurse that the skin wasn’t numb where she was threading the stitches…..I sucked it up.

Thanks again Nolan!

It seems that the rules for the pharmacy are very fluid here in Mexico.  Let’s say I take Diovan for hypertension.  There are pharmacies everywhere…..and I don’t want to name any (not that the Mexican government is reading my blog, but who knows, right?).  I can get the Diovan (which requires a prescription in the U.S.) right there just by asking.  But!!  I go to the next store and I can’t!!  It’s the same chain store name!  But I caught something in the passing exchange the co-workers had that they thought I wouldn’t hear.  That was that I was an American. I noticed that one pharmacy of a chain store would serve me while another wouldn’t.  Once again, I don’t want to name names.

Then there’s the pharmacies that are in the tourist areas.  STAY AWAY!!!  You can buy anything that’s in there, with good exportation dates…..quality products but the prices are close to 1000 times that of pharmacies (farmacias) away from the tourist areas.

That’s for being desperate.

Falling Ill In A Foreign Country

How about this…..I priced these out.  Cialis 5mg 10 units, roughly $50.  That’s $5 a pill. In the U.S. it’s $15 a pill or $150!  Oh, and that’s without prescription….(see above paragraphs).

So, I’m finding my way with healthcare here in Mexico.  One thing bears mentioning is the food.  Lots of meats and seafoods exposed to every customer that walks by. What I’m saying is that some foods aren’t packaged and aren’t in ‘coolers’.  Yeah, they are packed on ice, but no covering….just exposed to the little sniffles and sneezes that pass by.

Falling ill in a foreign country is a challenge but in some ways there’s better options presented too.

Please take a moment and visit an advertiser.  Thanks, John

Peace, love, and beaches,


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