|Today we have a special treat for all you avid readers, a Bonus Edition if you will. I thought the attached was too classic, too reflective of Mexico, to not share.
By way of introduction, the author is Bill Bell, a fellow I have played golf with once or twice, but I’m sure he doesn’t even know my name. Bill is a retired political columnist for the Vancouver Sun newspaper (I think). He and his wife Dorothy (Dot) live down here in Mexico pretty much full time. They supplement their pensions by producing an online newspaper (www.jaltembasol.com) for the Jaltemba Bay area, and by driving all over Mexico as tourists. So how do they make any money being tourists, you ask? That would be by operating a website (www.ontheroadin.com) with Mexico camping and hotel info, and by creating and selling road logs to help gringo drivers find their way around the country.
One other thing that Bill does (that I don’t think generates income, but certainly awareness) is the development and maintenance of a Facebook group called “On The Road In Mexico” in which anyone with a question or comment relative to traveling in Mexico can throw it out to hundreds of viewers for input or just for informational purposes. I’ve used this Facebook group to look for travel partners from USA to Los Ayala, to find good Pemex stations to possibly stay at on the way down, to get ideas of what to do in the area with grandkids etc. Among many other uses, Facebook folks also use this group to share funny or informative stories of the “only in Mexico” type. The posts that I’m sharing below are clearly of that type, and come directly from Bill and the “On The Road In” Facebook posting - thus no copyright.
A couple of other points before I share. Bill apparently suffers from bleeding ulcers or some other area that can hemorhage. He acts like it is no big deal - I’d be scared s___less. Apparently this is the first Bill has shared these stories in writing, though they occurred perhaps 5 years ago. As far as I know, he’s in quite good health at present. So with no further ado, here’s my cut and paste from Bill Bell:
Ok so, the last two times we have traveled to the Baja in the winter to see whales, disaster hit me. first time we make a stop at Bahia de los angles and I go for a spin on our motor cycle, Spill it and dislocate my shoulder, break my collar bone and put a nice little crack in my back...won't be able to ride a boat or anything for a month or two...Dorothy gets some award winning photographs of the whales while i sit in the RV with a soft body cast.
Second time, four years later and we are again at Bahia de Los Angles when I start to to hemorrhage, we continue on and while Dorothy, Maureen my cousin and daughter head out to see the whales I go to the emergency clinic...they send me to the hospital in Santa Rosalia. Dorothy once again gets spectacular whale pictures while I got a few litres of blood. Ok so this is 8 years later and Dorothy and i have decided to see the whales once again...any bets on whether I get to see them or not? Wish me luck as we continue to head south.
A few people have asked me to describe what is like to be in a Mexican Hospital. Those stories will have to wait. What I can tell you is what it was like to be transferred 400 miles by ambulance through Baja deserts from Santa Rosalia to La Paz.
As I said in the previous post I was bleeding out fast due to an internal hemorrhage while I was in Santa Rosalia. They had run out of my blood type and they decided to move me in the middle of the night by ambulance to La Paz where there was a greater population.
I am put into the ambulance with two IV units hanging off of me from both arms. I am in the traditional hospital garment wearing no underwear so my white fanny is sticking out, but they put a blanket around me to keep me warm against the cold desert air.
About half way through the trip the continual bouncing around gets my bladder a working and thinking the male nurse who is accompanying me, would pass me one of those blue bottles with extended spout to relieve myself. I tell him that I need to go.
He bangs on the window and tells the driver to pull over. The back door swings open and the nurse and driver lift me out of the back of the ambulance with the two IV poles. We walk over to the side of the road and with them standing at my side holding me and my two poles up they say “go ahead.”
Well with the desert wind blowing my back flaps all over the place, and the cold wind causing me to shiver, I hear the nurse in Spanish ask the driver. “Did you lock the back door? The driver says “Si”
The nurse says “You got the keys?” “No” Says the driver and asks rather redundantly but with fair amount of excitement “You got the keys?”
Nope not only are we locked out of the ambulance, standing in the cold desert, but we find out that both the front driving compartment is locked and the back is also locked. They decide to brake a window to the back, no keys there…oops! They are on the seat in the front compartment. One more broken window and I am put back into the now well ventilated ambulance for the remainder of the trip.
Next story…a Mexican purge…not for the squeamish.
The following story is not for the timid or squeamish, it has descriptions of medical procedures that some may find …well…not nice.
Part 2 of Mexican Hospital Experiences
The IMMS Hospital in La Paz
I was taken to the IMMS Hospital in La Paz…it was not the best hospital in La Paz and it certainly was not a private hospital. At the time I did not have IMMS insurance but they took me anyway and put me in a shared room. Four beds and a washroom for the room. Still I was grateful for the medical care.
Dorothy was to follow the next day, so I was alone, and very sick, having lost over a third of my blood. I had been through this before in my life on numerous occasions, but it was in Canadian hospitals. Standard procedure was to; 1. Put me on an iv, 2. Give me blood and 3. Give me lots of tranquilizers…lots of tranquilizers to calm me down. The Mexican doctors got the first two parts right but did not want to give any tranquilizers. Strange hospital, no English speaking doctors, no Dorothy and still bleeding, equals a very agitated patient.
That’s when I met Jesus, the male nurse, who came in with an English Spanish dictionary. Jesus was a big hombre, with a grin that did not stop. “Enma nessescito” Jesus said grinning. “What? “Enma” he said again. “No comprende” I said.
I looked over at the other patients to see them laughing. Then one pointed at his rear end and puffed out his facial cheeks just like one of those puffer fish on National Geographic. I thought I realized what they were saying but at the same time praying that it was a miscommunication. “Enema?” I said hoping I was wrong.
In unison, the entire room confirmed my fear repeating what I said with a great deal of merriment…”SI! ENNNN-EEEEEE….MA!”
I had known for while that in Mexico, that privacy is not a big thing. Coming from huge families, I guess there just wasn’t any secrets and certainly to this foreigner in a strange hospital, I was not going to be afforded any gringo traditions. Still nothing was going to prepare me for what was about to be the strangest experience I ever had.
Jesus, left the room and I prepared myself mentally for the invasive treatment. Jesus returned with an IV holder, with a large container and soapy water hanging from it and tubing, a very long piece of tubing. Another nurse got me up from the bed and started me out of the room.
Ah I thought, they must be taking me to a private room for the procedure, a bit of privacy for a nasty job. Down the hall we trudged, Jesus with his IV holder and bucket of warm soapy water. Me with my two IVs and hospital garment that refused to tie up at the back.
I t was then as I walked past the men’s room and they called me back and pointed to the door. “Men’s washroom? Did they want me to relieve myself first? “No nessesito” I said.
Despite my protest, into the restroom we shuffled, and I was directed to a stall. The other nurse left and it was I and Jesus. I looked at Jesus, still with his huge grin. He was preparing his tools of trade.
“OH! MY! GOD!” I’ve never had an enema in a public washroom and I’ve never had an enema standing up!
There we were in the stall, Jesus with his back to the opened door of the stall. Me with no dignity left standing there. Hoping it would end quickly.
To add to my horror, I could hear people enter and leave the room, passing by the stall on their way to the urinals.
Finally I had enough! “No Mas!” I cried out like the defeated Latino boxer Roberto Duran. “No Mas!”
It too must have been very strange for everyone who entered the washroom to hear me yell on several occasions “NO Mas! Only to be followed by Jesus’s refrain “un poco mas!”
Finally it was over and I was taken back to the room where I was greeted by cheers from my fellow patients. Only in Mexico!
Next story A private Catholic hospital, Mother Anna and confessions of sinner.
OK, its Murph again. That’s all for now. I’ll produce some of my own stuff here shortly, but I will clearly never outdo Bill - at least I hope I never get the occasion to. Hasta luego amigos.
PS Despite what the map shows, we didn't go to La Paz. Only Bill did, God bless him.