Great Plague of 2017

We first want to apologize for not writing any recent posts. As you can guess from the title, we have been sick! And this has given us a whole new perspective on healthcare. I remember Juan Carrillo telling me about how healthcare is done in Mexico, but living it when your sick really made it apparent.

First: The Symptoms
Brandi had it the worst.
Most likely the influenza. I think she prayed for a swift end on more than one occasion. It lasted about two and half weeks!!! High temperature, sore throat, nasty cough, severe body aches were just a few of the symptoms.

I on the other had, was having some, shall we say, gastrointestinal issues. Loss of appetite and severe pain. For a while I was pretty sure appendicitis was the cause.

Sadly as soon Brandi’s worst symptoms started to ease, she started getting the same problems I was having.

Trust me, it was a rough couple of weeks!

It was a little frustrating when you have an illness and you know what medicine usually works best, and you can’t find it. Or should I say explain clearly what I want in Spanish. So in a manner that would of probably lead to my arrest in the US, I started visiting ALL the pharmacy’s I could find to ask about medicines and buy ones that i thought might help. It all went downhill from there….

The very first visit I explained all of Brandi’s symptoms and the pharmacist recommended a liquid. So I purchased it, went home and read the label only to realize that it was basically just honey. I am all about the amazing health properties of honey, but I don’t think its appropriate to take home to my wife as she lays on her death bed. “I know you can’t move, breath or eat as your fever rages, but here, have some HONEY”??? So back I go again, and again, and again for about 2 weeks. Trying various medicines. Some helped, others didn’t. Here is just a sample of what we had. I would say this is about half of what we purchased and used.

Brandi was not improving after about a week and a half, I thought she should go the doctor or hospital or something. But she was so sick there was no leaving the house. I thought it best to just consult a Doctor myself and maybe he can help out. This is where things are very different! Here in Cozumel, the Doctor is attached to the pharmacy. Not the other way around as we’re used to in the US. And its only 45 pesos to see the doctor. Thats like $3.00 USD!

And often that is waived if you purchase the medicine at the attached pharmacy.
Here is what the pharmacy looked like that I visited….

There is a small waiting room with a few chairs. You knock on the door and wait for him to finish up with the current patients. Then he brings you into the office. Its really small. Maybe 8ft by 5ft. But it has everything he needs.
I was VERY happy to find out that the Doctor here just happened to speak english, so it was a bit easier to explain the symptoms and the situation. He was really nice! He worked at a hospital in texas for while and then started volunteering here in Mexico for programs to help sick children and eventually settled in Cozumel. (He even has a very famous uncle who is an actor in US) But he wrote a prescription for an antibiotic and Brandi was starting to feel better within a few days. He explained that in Cozumel hospitals and large Doctor offices are for emergencies, severe infirmities, or rich people. And for an average person, its affordable to visit these small doctor offices when they are sick.

As to “gastrointestinal issues”. After talking with our neighbor Morgan, I guess parasites are common here and cause these types of issues. The symptoms were rather odd. I was kinda hungry, but didn’t feel like eating because of the nausea, together with sharp abdominal pain. But there was an upside….I lost a lot of weight! I wasn’t 100% sure it’s what I had, so I named my potential parasite Norton, and waited a few more days to see if got any better. After a few days, I am sad to report that while Norton was well fed and cared for, and helped me trim about 20 pounds off of me, he had to go. We both took the Vermox and evicted our parasites from their cozy homes. We are supposed to take this medicine twice a year to keep the pipes clean. (Or skip it as a way for rapid weight-loss)

We are thinking that Brandi’s flu was picked up at the assembly we had in July. We met a bunch of new people and shook a lot of hands. It was really unusual going to the assembly because we really stood out! Everyone wanted to know why we were there, do we speak spanish, where are we from, how long are we here for, etc. 3 days packed with conversation and making new friends. It was a funny feeling to see people stare at us as we walked around. And since we are much taller than most people it was clear to see. We have never been to an assembly without knowing hardly anybody so we were a little nervous walking in that Friday morning but our nerves quickly diminished. We were shown so much love and met so many new people it was overwhelming. It was an incredible 3 days.

Other than the plague, we are still really enjoying it here. The heat at times gets to be a little much, but its well worth it!

Blog Credits: Author- Johnathan Paxton;  Photography- Brandi Paxton & Johnathan Paxton