akumal beach

Going To The Doctor In Mexico, Because Of Goggles

Dag nab it, I dun broke my neck again! It’s not like I wasn’t being cautious, I wasn’t running down the beach doing handstands or partaking in Mexican Dwarf throwing competitions. Do you want to know what it took to throw my neck out? At the ripe old age of thirty one, I tried to put my snorkel goggles on and Kablooie. Jimminy Cricket am I irked.

A friend of ours is traveling and came over to Playa del Carmen a few days ago. Deciding we wanted to show her some of the things we love so much about the place, we rented a car and took her out for the day. The idea was to go snorkeling at Akumal beach at around 08:30 and watch the turtles having a feed. Then to find random little restaurant in an as yet unknown but quaint little village. And then to head out to a few cenotes for some fresh water swimming and fish ogling.

That was the plan, unfortunately though things did not quite work out that way. We rented the car in the morning for about $40. We picked up our friend from her hostel, we grabbed a coffee on the road and before long were renting a life jacket for me (I like to float above the turtles with very little effort, but I have heavy legs and they tend to sink) and flippers for Sarah ($5 each). I strapped myself in to the very little crop top styled life jacket and with a smile on my face waded into the water, excited to be trying out my new snorkel and searching for turtles.

akumal beach

akumal beach

akumal beach

That’s where it all went wrong, standing stomach deep after having acclimated to the fresh cool water buffeting my undercarriage. I raised the goggles to my head, lenses to the fore, and attempted to pulled the straps down. Somehow the strain of keeping my head still was more than my previously injured neck could bear, and BLAMMO! Pain wrenched through me, my arms froze in position and I couldn’t move without waves of pain through my upper body. So close to the turtles and yet so far.

As the girls went off swimming I headed back to the beach muttering angry hurtful things to my goggles. A part of me thought it might get better after a few minutes and that I could go swimming again. What actually happened is that after a few minutes it got worse and I could barely stand up or move. I perched in a chair staring out at the horizon and the stupid people having fun, and craved a cigarette so bad (luckily there were no stores nearby, and I couldn’t move). Stupid snorkel goggle straps.

We were forced to accept that the day was done and that we had to head home. Neither Sarah or our friend were too keen on driving a right hand manual, so they propped me up in the drivers seat and acted as my side mirrors. I managed to get us back to Playa del Carmen in one piece, albeit with a fair bit of pain (bloody Mexican speed bumps everywhere).

We dropped our friend off and then it was straight to the International Doctors Clinic for me. I didn’t know much about Doctors in Mexico, but they couldn’t be less effective than my experiences in Australia, surely? They poked and prodded for a bit and then shot me up with a steroid infused anti inflammatory, one in each perfectly formed glute. They gave me a handful of “the strongest pain killers we have”, then it was off down the road for x-rays. A quick dose of radiation from a machine that looked like it may have come from a cold war Russian submarine and then back to the Doctor for a final analysis.

doctor in Mexico playa del carmen

doctor in Mexico xray playa del carmen

“You see your spine here? We see this kind of trauma in car accident patients.” Right that’s a relief, thanks Doc.

I was told to come back the following day after my Doctor had spoken to a trauma specialist and headed home to let the anti inflammatory do its work.

I have not had great luck with doctors. In fact about 90% of the doctors I have seen are more interested in getting me out of the way and plying me with meds than an actual diagnosis. I hoped this would be different, it wasn’t. The Doctor wasn’t worse than I have had before, but she wasn’t much better either.

I have had this neck issue in various stages of severity for six months now. I am pretty damn sure I don’t just keep pulling a muscle! But the following day I went back to the clinic where my doctor wasn’t. Another doctor called her up and I was informed on the phone that the trauma specialist thought there was nothing wrong and that I need to go to a physiotherapist because it was probably a pulled muscle.

“You fuckin’ what? Yesterday you said it looked like I had been in a car accident, now I should go see a physio because it looks like I pulled a muscle? So what? For six months I have been pulling muscles all around my neck in different places, the last time when I tried to put goggles on my head!?!”

“Deep breaths, it’s not their fault they are stupid.”

So short story long, I just wanted to look at some stupid turtles eating stupid sea grass, and now I gotta drop $40 on a back and neck guy. Stupid paradise with its stupid water based activities…

If anyone knows anything about x-rays or neck injuries, please let me know. The hope is that I can just kinda whack it a certain way and it will be fixed!

17 Comments
  • Carmel
    Posted at 17:04h, 23 April Reply

    Ow. If it makes you feel any better, I would pay about that much here WITH insurance. Ah, good ole ‘Merica.
    Carmel recently posted…Thai Curry with Sweet Potatoes and TofuMy Profile

    • Tyrhone
      Posted at 17:07h, 23 April Reply

      That’s true. I have to keep reminding myself how much cheaper things are here. It’s easy to forget after traveling in Thailand where stuff is almost free!

  • Montecristo Travels (Sonja)
    Posted at 18:58h, 23 April Reply

    OH ouch!! but … I don’t see broken BONE. So, I am going to guess it’s a pulled muscle or two … or three. Hurts like hell but if your neck was broken you’d be paralysed and not moving at all. You’ll need one of those neck rest things to wrap around to hold your head up while your muscles heal. (As a Canadian … “free” health care and all … I feel for you… but better that than the alternative… NO care would suck)
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    • Tyrhone
      Posted at 19:34h, 23 April Reply

      I think I was kind of hoping for a straight up “It’s a slipped disk” or something definitive so that I would know how to deal with it. I suppose if it is just muscle that’s probably a good thing right. Yeah cheap health care shouldn’t be scoffed at for sure, even if its not that good.

  • Bruvver
    Posted at 22:57h, 23 April Reply

    Well…..the answer is pretty clear right? Stop using goggles. Those things are dangerous.

    In all seriousness, you remember when I pinched that nerve in my neck and I was immobilised? Felt like a shock had run down my whole arm. Took about a week to settle. Happens suddenly and is aggravated when you turn your neck a certain way, you can almost feel it pinch. It happens to me on a regular(ish) basis, once a year or so.

    If I’m susceptible to them, chances are you may be too. Same gene pool and that. Anti-inflams. Not on an empty stomach though, that gave me an ulcer.

    • Tyrhone
      Posted at 16:27h, 24 April Reply

      It’s gonna be hard to cut back on the goggles…

      Sounds about right with the pinched nerve. I went to the gym today and I can do weights and most exercises, but I can still feel that if I move the wrong way it is going to go again.

      • Bruv
        Posted at 22:38h, 24 April Reply

        Yep, sounds like it might be that. I get them in various places round my back and neck. Combo of knotted muscle and “aggravated nerves” was what my doc said. Pinched is apparently way worse.
        The way I manage it is with anti inflammmatories and a day or two of rest.
        It’s horrible right, you turn your head a certain way, and you can almost feel vertebrae or whatever, threatening to “aggravate” it again.

        You’ll be aight man, I reckon it’s the same thing I have.

        • Tyrhone
          Posted at 14:07h, 25 April Reply

          That sounds like it, but its real bad man. I cant work chest at all because that tdiggers it, and I wake jp most mornings with pain. 6 months later it shouldn’t be this bad surely.

          • Bruv
            Posted at 23:06h, 25 April Reply

            Sadly it is matey. Nerves are the worst because they’re the actual things that register pain, so when they are directly aggravated/pinched etc, it’s terrible. 6 months later isn’t the same instance, but it’s probably the same nerve getting aggravated again. I’ve had it for 15 years now. Proper management makes it less anoying and elss frequent.

            You have to take at least a week, preferably 2 off all exercise (just do it!). Take anti inflammatories and look after it. The nerve pinches, and then all the muscle or whatever is around it gets inflamed, making it worse. When I do it, even turning my head to look at something feels like it’ll fire it up again. I find neurofen the best (not on an empty stomach), and heat doesn’t help this one, putting heat on something inflamed isn’t good.

            When you are ok to exercise, build the stabilising muscles around it starting with lighter weights.

            Let’s skype tonight I(my time) if you like.

  • Jill Miller
    Posted at 04:33h, 24 April Reply

    I don’t know who to feel for more sorry for – you or the goggles. I think it’s the goggles.
    Maybe a second review is required of your X-ray? Good luck & rest up
    Jill Miller recently posted…Healthy LivingMy Profile

    • Tyrhone
      Posted at 16:27h, 24 April Reply

      Don’t feel sorry for the goggles, they got what was coming to them 🙂 Thanks Jill

  • Sacha
    Posted at 12:02h, 24 April Reply

    Looking at your X-ray I can’t really see any obvious fractures and bony segments that aren’t in the right place. But usually X-rays only show a certain level of detail. You might need a more detailed scan like a CT or MRI scan which would show a lot more clearly if there is disc involvement or something pressing the nerve. But those scans tend to be heaps more expensive. Usually if the pain isn’t resolving on its own after so many months, then having these more detailed scans to try and find a cause is what your doctor might recommend. And then if there is something showing, then surgery could be something to consider. But hey physios are great. The physio should show you good techniques for simple things like how to get out of bed without aggravating your neck, stretches and exercises to do, and whether you do need a collar for support. Hope that helps! But as a nurse I do recommend taking pain relief regularly and take it easy for a couple of days. Massage (altho not right on top of the spine, just on either side) and heat can be good too
    Sacha recently posted…Farewell DinnerMy Profile

    • Tyrhone
      Posted at 16:32h, 24 April Reply

      Thanks for the tips Sacha. I think what irks me is that it has been six months already. It’s weird because I can lift weights and do most things I did previously (albeit at a reduced level), but then I will turn my head too fast or take my shirt off the wrong way and it’s gone again. Which is why I am thinking it is not just that I keep pulling muscles.

  • Adrienne Elliott
    Posted at 16:31h, 24 April Reply

    Be careful with this injury, even with physiotherapists. It sounds to me that it may be a herniated or slipped disc, which is pinching nerves, and treatment needs to be determined carefully to not make things worse. A MRI should be done.

    • Tyrhone
      Posted at 16:37h, 24 April Reply

      Hi Adrienne, I went to see a physio yesterday and he said I should relax more, which did not fill me with confidence in his diagnosis. I am kind of leaning towards the mri but not keen on the expense. But if it is gonna fix it it has to be done!

  • Paul Farrugia (globalhelpswap)
    Posted at 11:05h, 25 April Reply

    Shit man, I feel for you. Karen has the ame thing with doctors and her arm. Every time she writes it hurts which is pretty shit for a writer! Doctors keep fobbing her off with the usual crap.

    Take care and kill the goggles!!!
    Paul
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    • Tyrhone
      Posted at 13:58h, 25 April Reply

      Thanks man, my dream is that one day I come across a doctor like House and he prescribes me something which actually works. If I find him I’ll be sure to let Karen know. Us disgruntled injured need to stick together.

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