Occasionally, when we go to the Capital, we will get a pedicure or get a shampoo and blow dry. It’s a little luxury that we allot for ourselves, a way for us to experience a little of our past lives in the States. To get a pedicure that includes that most fabulous foot massage ever is only 500 pesos…the equivalent to about $11 US. A shampoo and blow dry is only 250 pesos…the equivalent to about $5.50 US.
I was just thinking the other day how this country has that figured out. Every woman feels better when she is able to pamper herself occasionally. These prices are affordable for most all social economic groups, which I think is genius! In the states, we pay 3 or 4 X the cost for these same services.
Do you know what they don’t have figured out? Health care for women. I know that most could agree that the US struggles in this area as well. I haven’t had a mammogram since I moved here 2.5 years ago, and am at high risk for breast cancer due to family history. I knew it was time to be responsible and get this done. I am sure that I could have found a doctor in the Capital that would charge a little more and possibly offered a better service. However, I wanted to understand what my girlfriends had to experience in order to get health care.
She knew of a clinic in a community about 20 minutes away that offers mammograms, and it only cost 1000 pesos, which is equivalent to a little over $22 US. I was blown away by this! In the US, I think that I still had to pay over $200 AFTER my insurance had paid a large amount of it!
We made a plan to leave early on Thursday morning to beat the crowd. Unfortunately, they don’t take appointments. It’s a “first come, first serve” basis. We left at 7:30 because the clinic opens at 8:00. When we got there, we only had to wait for about 5 people to fill out their paperwork ahead of us. Maybe I should stop for a second and explain that this clinic offers numerous services, like echocardiograms, sonograms, dental care, and braces, as well as mammograms. Yes, that all makes sense! Now, if they could only offer veterinarian care for my goats, and mechanical care for my truck, I could totally get into this. One stop shopping, baby!
Once we got up to the front desk, the lady said “We only do mammograms on Fridays from 9:00-12:00”. Ok, then…
Morena decides that she is going to call that afternoon to make sure they are doing mammograms the following day and to try to get an appointment. They “don’t take appointments but are doing mammograms tomorrow”, they say.
We left today at 8:00 because the clinic starts taking patients at 9:00 for mammograms. When we get to the front desk, the lady says, “La doctora no viene”, which means “The doctor did not come.” That’s all…no other explanation! She did tell us that we could come back tomorrow…that they are going to do mammograms on Saturday…
I don’t even know what to think about all of this. I think about all the times that I have complained about having to wait 15-30 minutes for my doctor in the States…in a plush, air conditioned, carpeted waiting area with magazines and television. If the doctor “no viene”, I got a phone call. When you have an appointment, then they have your number to call you. That luxury does not exist for this clinic. It’s so hard for me to wrap my brain around it. These ladies have to pay a lot of money just to get to the clinic…only to be turned away…and return again…and possibly again, but they do it because they need health care.
For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.~~ 2 Timothy 1:7
Not one time did I see anyone get angry or share a cross word. These women teach me everyday how to be strong in spirit, trust in the Lord, and show His love even in difficult situations. I have so much more to learn from them!
I am not able to go tomorrow or next week, so we are going to try again in 2 weeks. Cross your fingers, throw salt over your shoulder, and pray that we will be seen and that “la doctora viene”!