Yesterday I went for an MRI on my neck. It has been a long time coming, but I hate to spend money, and so I have been putting off what I knew would be a costly procedure for as long as possible. Unfortunately the day before yesterday I stood up and in the process of doing nothing but stand up, hurt my neck again. It got me thinking that unless I did something I could spend the rest of my life hurting my neck every time I stood up. So I decided to lump it and go to the doctor.
We went to a hospital in Playa del Carmen called Hospiten. Which I believe is a hospital for posh Mexicans and tourists, so I knew it wasn’t going to be cheap, and my miser glands started swelling up like crazy. The lady on the phone said about $50 US which is not so bad, but things rarely work out as you expect in Mexico.
The good thing is you seldom have to wait for doctors or procedures in Mexico and so I had an appointment for a couple hours later. We got to the hospital, which lies on the highway, at 6pm and waited our turn. I went into the doctor and after less than 5 minutes he told me I should see a traumatologist and not him. He called the receptionist and let her know what was going on and then requested we sit outside in the waiting room for half an hour while he finished with a patient.
Me putting on my brave face
Long story short, we ended up waiting for 2 hours because the receptionist forgot to tell the Traumatologist (who’s office we were unknowingly sitting outside of the whole time with his door open and no one in there). Another long story also made short is that after doing a few tests he said I likely have a pinched nerve in my neck, or a slipped disk. Which thanks to the marvels of the internet I had already self diagnosed a few months earlier. I was just here to get the MRI. As it turns out they don’t have an MRI in Playa del Carmen, but they do have one at the Hospiten in Cancun, which I don’t like.
The doctor wrote out the medications I needed and said “I do not know why they are not prescription because they should be”. And then when explaining them to me said “This one is used for seizures but also works for nerve pain, it is not approved for use in America but I have used it here many times and so far there have been no problems”. Which at first probably sounds a bit dodgy, but he explained that the final procedures for approval in the US are often no more than clerical or time wasting nonentities, which I am very inclined to believe when reading anything to do with their medical system and government in general (I like Obama, but mainly because he is black and left wing, I don’t actually know a lot about the ins and outs of American politics, only that most of it seems really really stupid, especially the right wing, which seems to have a lot of douches). Either way I didn’t get the medicine because the pain was not so bad and it would have cost $90 US, and I don’t like spending money, not mine anyway.
We went to pay and had another unexpected shock, the bill was $150 US. Deciding that we didn’t want to pay that we discussed the situation and our status as locals with the receptionist, and after a bit of backwards and forward-sing, we got our unexpected $150 US bill down from that tourist rate to the $50 local rate. Remember, sometimes you have to question these things.
The following morning I called up the Cancun hospital and booked an MRI for a few hours later. We all drove out there and despite getting lost (careful with Google maps location on this one, go by what the website says) managed to show up just 5 minutes late.
This was one of those costs I had been worried about, on the phone they had told us about $700 US which although a lot of money, is not bad for an MRI, and at least I had a figure to go on (P.S. Taunee, remember I told you, something always comes up). As it turned out we only had to pay $500 US which made it feel like I had actually saved money! By the by these are local prices, and although we live here we don’t have much proof, and have never been asked to show proof that we live here, just saying so is enough to get us local price a lot of the time.
I went into the MRI waiting area and got a really quick heads up from the MRI fella, “Don’t move, no metal”, and then he popped me in this big machine which by its slightly discolored exterior, awkward bulk and faded Phillips logo may have been a pre-computing relic from Marie Curies own collection of radioactive machinery. I have seen so many movies where people freak out in these things, but I kinda liked it, and despite the noise had to stop myself falling asleep in case I moved. There was something about not being able to move or see anything which was very relaxing. About 20 minutes later he popped me out and we were on our way. We stopped at a big Mall in Cancun and had a wander around before heading back to what after the big smoke of Cancun felt like sleepy little Playa del Carmen.
Setting up my MRI
The mall in Cancun, or as I call it, the big Yuck
I should find out the results of the MRI on Wednesday and am looking forward to hopefully having an answer to this very annoying neck conundrum, surgical or otherwise, I would just like to get it fixed now. As it stands the stiffness has mostly gone away again, and I am able to move somewhat freely, but I never know when it might hit. Luckily there is very little I have to do, and nothing I have to do which requires me to leave the house or even put on a pair of pants. So I should be alright.
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