Our “Medical in Mexico” Experiences continue to impress and inspire,- especially with short wait times.
“IT´S NOT BRAIN SURGERY “- But YES, actually- it was!
There has been a lot written, and an excellent movie made on Concussions, and the importance of proper, rapid diagnostics and treatment. Most, as we, never thought too much about it because it happens to other people.
Linda, my wife, is big on fitness and healthy eating and has been fairly consistently leading our family in the Fitbit challenges with more than 10,000 steps per day. We previously had driven to the nearest grocery store or breakfast café. Now she (and sometimes we) would walk- to get in more steps, and improve our health.
Then- a little over a month ago, as I was waking, I heard noises in the bathroom. Linda was looking for bandages etc. She had wakened early- walked and ran to the store and tripped during a run spurt on the way back- hit her head on concrete and received a gash above her left eye that took 3 butterfly stitches when we got to the Doctor L., within the hour.
He also cleaned and bandaged the 2“ gash on her left arm. No headaches, no dizziness, no vomiting, — or any other symptoms associated with a concussion, and within 2 weeks, the eyebrow looked like new, and the family Fitbit queen was still normally leading the pack.
THEN- after about a month, Linda was walking back home from Ajijic, and fell again, this time backwards, did not hit her head but had been a bit unsure of her steps. She called, and we had her into see our Doctor L. within half an hour. Knowing she had fallen a month earlier, he ordered an MRI at Tolsa Labs (about a one hour drive), for 11am on July 19th. the next day, allowing us to miss any morning rush hour traffic.
We thought she would have the MRI, get the results (which would also be instantly sent by email to our Doctor), and be on our way back to Ajijic to buy some prescribed medication to reduce any swelling if there was any.
You see, several months earlier one of our friends had a severe fall , down stairs, hit her head on a tile floor, went about 3 days with headaches, dizziness etc. until I took her to the Doctor L. After a CT Scan, she took medication and that is all that was required. However, she was just a bit more than ½ Linda’s age.
On July 19th.-about 12:30pm, when the MRI results were available, Dr. L. said Linda should take them to a Neurosurgeon (Dr C.) in Guadalajara before returning to Ajijic. He was at the Santa Maria Hospital in Chapalita (Guadalajara) rather than his office. July 19th, 2016- about 1:30 pm, we saw Dr. C. He did physical strength tests on Linda, then reviewed the MRI results. (We were thinking, and hoping, that drugs might correct any problem.) Unfortunately NO.
He reviewed the results and explained with a drawing, what had happened. It was evident from the current size of the two Hematomas (one on the left and one on the right side of her brain) that operations were really required and time was critical. This was confirmed by both Dr. L. and Dr. C. Asking when this could be done- Dr. C. said 9:pm on the 19th – (ie in about 7 hours) or the following morning, or the following week. (The 3 hour operation was performed between 10pm , July 19th. to 1am. on the 20th. I received a call from the Neurosurgeon at 1:02 am on the 20th. saying the operation had gone well-no bleeding, good pulse, heart etc. and Linda was awake and would be brought down to her room in about ½ hour.
She arrived, sleepy but talking and lucid. The drainage tubes, from both sides of the brain would remain for about 3 days, and she would be released on Monday, July 25th. with some follow-ups- probably bi-weekly, some CT Scans etc. – further action depending on the results. (The top photo is of the left side of her head. There are 2 smaller incisions on the right side.) Everything went as planned.
What Linda had not mentioned that a few days before her 2nd fall was, her steps were not as sure as usual and she was careful how she walked. One day she was walking with Don and leaned toward him a few times. He wondered why she was in his space. What Linda learned was the slow steps would not go away as most other aliments like her planter faciaitis, carpal tunnel and cramped fingers had previously. She learned to listen to her body and see the doctor.
The Hospital, the care, were all superb. And of course, from MRI results, to visit with Neurosurgeon, to getting a room, pre-op, work-ups, and successfully completing a 3 hour brain surgery, all in less than 12 hours, we think is pretty amazing. All of the above with a 6 night stay and a reasonable cost. Wow.
and the private rooms
Obviously, the whole incident was most unexpected, and we feel very fortunate to have had such rapid, accommodating and excellent care.
Bed Rash on Back and Communications:
While performing Linda’s final checkout, she mentioned to Dr.C. that her back was bothering her- probably from the cleaning material in the sheets. He had a quick look at her pimply back and said. “I have a dermatologist friend- I’ll check.” He picked up his cell phone- made a call-his friend said “send a picture”- He snapped one of Linda’s back with his phone- sent it, his dermatologist friend (from another town), examined it, and relayed a prescription- all within 3 minutes. It seems to be working well.
Interesting- we went out for a light dinner last night after returning home and Judy- a former client said “hi Linda. How are you?” Linda, replied, “I just got back from brain surgery”. Judy lifted her hair. “Oh, I had the same thing, after a fall and hit my head. My husband was away- I checked Google and found I had 5 of 7 symptoms of a concussion. That was 7 years ago.” “I’m as good as new.” Very Encouraging!
Linda says- the moral of the story is – IF YOU FALL AND HIT YOUR HEAD- GET CHECKED OUT. (Linda had NO symptoms for 3 ½ weeks).
Other Mexican Medical Thoughts: We hear from some Canadians and Americans that they think the medical system in Mexico leaves much to be desired. Linda will tell you that she would not leave Mexico to be treated north of the border. Many friends have similar testimonies. Excellent care seems to be the norm.
Less than a year ago my Cardiologist (after an EKG) informed me, at 1pm, that I needed a Pace Maker. As we were planning to leave for Canada in 4 days for 5 weeks, I asked him when it could be done. “At 6 o’clock tonight (ie. in 5 hours) or when you come back”. I chose the “same day service”, and had a great trip, without fretting about a lagging heart beat or suffering from tiredness. It was in a different Guadalajara hospital and Doctor, but also excellent, timely care.
Over our 20 years in Mexico, I have also had excellent Cataract surgery, at another of the 2 dozen plus Guadalajara hospitals and a Hernia fixed in Ajijic. Many friends, also are continually impressed with the rapid accessibility to excellent medical, and dental services at very reasonable costs. Much of the World could (and does) learn a lot from “Medical in Mexico”. From the above one can that Medical in Mexico is impressive, efficient through the use of technology and has short wait times.
Another difference from North of the Border, is that it is common practice for Doctors to give you their card with at least cell # and email and some with Social Medias addresses also.
PS: I am Linda Wright and I endorse this message!