Telling it like it is...

Of course I hoped I wouldn't need to go to the doctor here, but life happens and last month our 2 year old came down with what I thought was "hand, foot and mouth disease", as we so lengthily call it in the United States. Normally I would not take my kids to the doctor for this - they have had it before and the doctors in the United States have only ever prescribed over the counter pain relief to ease the discomfort until it can go away on it's own.

(Plus I had brought all my essential oils in hopes of treating things as naturally as possible while we are here.)

However, my super sweet and helpful neighbor who has lived here in Mazatlan her whole life and has two little girls of her own, insisted that I take him and even found an English speaking pediatrician for us AND drove me there (she has truly been a Godsend to us!).

Also, it only cost 200 pesos, which is the equivalent to about $10 USD so I figured what the heck? It would be a good learning experience and an opportunity to compare the health care system in the United States to the health care system here in Mexico.

In my opinion, the care we received was impeccable. The front office staff was friendly and treated my neighbor like she was family. The practice was run by a husband and wife, both pediatricians, as well as their daughter - who is also a pediatrician and had spent some time working in Canada so was able to communicate with me in English.

We did wait a bit in the waiting room to see the doctor, but not any longer than in the US, and the time was filled with friendly chatter between the secretary and the people waiting. One of the doctors even came out and sat down with us to visit while she waited for some test results to come back.

When we were called back to see the pediatrician, we sat in a chair across from her and had a casual conversation about my son's medical history and the reason for our visit that day. (Oh, side note... the only paperwork I had to fill out when we arrived consisted of writing down is full name and date of birth on a sticky note.)

Then she had Kenton lay on the exam table and took a look in his mouth. She confirmed what my neighbor had already said to me. My son had herpes. Why can't we just call it what it is in the United States instead of making up all these ridiculous names? How did herpes as a sexually transmitted disease gain so much publicity that now we can't call the herpes simplex virus what it is with out fearing the stigma that will come with the diagnosis. Okay... end rant.

After confirming what he had, she wrote me two prescriptions, one for an antiviral medicine that has been proven successful in decreasing the length of viral outbreaks, and another for a prescription strength mouth spray that would help alleviate the pain and allow him to eat and drink. She also recommended that I purchase children's Motrin and administer 3 times a day. So off to the pharmacy we went....

Oh wait.... we didn't have to go to the pharmacy and wait for the prescriptions to be filled because all the pharmacies here offer home delivery service, many free of charge! The total for both prescriptions, as well as the BIG bottle of children's Motrin, came to another 270 pesos (about $13.50 USD)

So I was able to bring my sick, uncomfortable boy straight home and rest until the medicine arrived. The mouth spray was amazing! Once he realized how much it helped take away the pain, he would ask for a spray before attempting to eat anything. Within a few days he was doing much better and the sores in his mouth had decreased significantly. I should note that I was also using essential oils, so it is impossible to say what caused the duration of the virus to be shorter than the usual 7 - 10 days - but whatever the reason, overall, I was happy to have taken him to see the doctor.

And the cost for everything without any health insurance here was less than we would have paid in just our co-pays in the United States. I've said it before, but now I'm starting to have first hand experience in how absolutely absurd the price of health care has become in the United States. I am appalled at what we would have to pay for our "mandatory" health insurance if my husband's employer did not generously provide that as a benefit of employment. I would venture to guess it would be upwards of $2000 per month to insure our family of 5. I don't know anyone in my circle of influence who would call that price "affordable".

I hesitated to write this post, but I feel it's important for everyone to have a glimpse into what life (and health care) is really like outside the United States. The care was good. The doctors were educated. They might not have all the technological advancements available in the United States - but do we really need everything that our health care system offers? Here in Mazatlan, if you need an x-ray or lab work, you go to a separate office that specializes in that. Every single doctors office doesn't need to buy all the fancy equipment needed to provide advanced services. I believe this probably contributes to keeping costs down, but I believe the single most contributing factor to the outrageously expensive health care system in our country is the amount of bureaucracy and bullshit (pardon my language) surrounding the administration and implementation of a system controlled by the government.

Oh, and on a more positive side note.... I LOVE the Motrin bottles here. Check it out! It comes with a built in syringe that you can screw onto the cap instead of a lid. The measurements for how much of the medicine to administer are based on the child's weight, which they made sure to take when we were at the pediatricians office. So since Kenton is currently 15kg, I just fill the syringe up to the 15kg mark instead of having to consult a table on the box or under the label that may or may not be easy to locate and understand.

Thanks for reading! Stay tune for more health care related posts in the future. I've decided to get braces while I'm here!


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