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Zung was taken to a room and I checked in with the Admissions dude. I had to fill out paperwork and he explained that we would have to pay any charges and ask our insurance for reimbursement.
Lesson # 6 – FIND OUT IF YOUR INSURANCE COVERS INCIDENTS IN MEXICO. Some do, some do not. It is a good idea to get travel insurance in any case. As the story progresses I will explain how this benefited us. I had gotten travel insurance because I wanted the option to cancel or change for any reason. If your health insurance doesn’t cover you in Mexico it is imperative to have travel insurance. We had a medical experience the year before when Nicholas had an ear problem and had to go to Hospiten Cancun. That was only $300, but I knew from that experience that our insurance would cover anything that happened in Mexico.
Lesson # 7 – Get travel insurance. You may read this and think, “Well, Zung was in his 60’s, so there are all kinds of things that can happen to someone who age.” That is true. But I have flown back from Mexico on two flights where people were on crutches from falls. Young people. Accidents can happen to anyone. And they can be expensive.
At that point, when we first arrived I was not asked for any money. He did ask about insurance and when I showed him my card he explained they did not work with that insurance company. You cans say whatever you want about this, but the cold, hard reality is if you need medical care in Mexico you will probably have to pay for it out-of-pocket.
I joined Zung in the room he was put in. The nurse was able to tell him what she needed him to do. She would say, “It is necessary for you to…” They must learn English the way I learn Spanish. Master a sentence and hope someone doesn’t try to start a conversation with you. I was very grateful for their ability to speak as much English as they did.
The nurse took his vital signs. The dr came in and asked the usual questions. The one that the dr at the hotel asked, and the ER dr asked, “Have you been eating and drinking more than normal?” I explained the vomiting was highly unusual and they looked at me like I had grown a third eye. I’m sure they were thinking, “Everyone vomits at some time or other.” I really didn’t want them to blow this off as just another tourist eating and drinking too much at an all-inclusive.
They did not blow it off. They did everything they needed to do.
They did an EKG with what looked like an antique. It was normal. The dr showed me, it said it right on there on the EKG print-out that it was normal.
Zung vomited again and this time there was blood in it. With the “normal” EKG and this I figured for sure something was going on GI-wise. I was reassured that it was not his heart (proven by the “normal” EKG), but why the hell was he vomiting blood?
The nurse came in and gave him a boatload of meds through his IV. I asked what she was giving him and she told me a bunch of things, most of which I didn’t understand.
Lessons # 8 & 9 – Ask about every medication they are giving you. (I’m a nurse. Mistakes are made ALL the time). Pretend you know what you’re asking about. They give you more information if they think you have knowledge about medical stuff.
One of the meds was for pain and he became more comfortable. His vital signs remained normal. WTF? Normal vital signs when you are having a heart attack? There ought to be a rule about that.
The dr said he wanted to admit him for observation so I called the kids and updated them. I told them not to worry and just try to enjoy the day.
He was taken for x-rays and they came and drew blood for labs. They were very thorough.
Once the decision was made by the dr to admit him I was then required to pay $2000. I had also been required to pay the $500 ambulance fee before they left. Thank god for Visa. It is the way they do things there. If you are going to travel to Mexico, know it and be prepared for it.
Soon he was being moved to a regular room. The regular rooms are on the second floor. The unit is built in a circle around a courtyard. The doors are big, made of wood and painted dark green. The floors are marble. I had put on my flattest shoes when leaving the hotel. They didn’t have good traction though (it’s not like they are common flip flops – you all know I don’t own anything like that) and I almost ate it a few times.
Lesson #10 – Wear footwear with good traction if you have to accompany someone to the hospital. I would switch to a sandal that had a 1 1/2 inch heel but didn’t slip. It’s really bad form to twist your ankle when you are visiting someone at the hospital.
The room was private, large, had a sofa bed and HUGE flowers made out of tissues all over the place. There was bottled water and I could see the hotel zone from the window.
I actually took a picture of him because I had our camera. I’m not one of those people who feels like you need to photograph everything that happens in your life, but I had grabbed it as we left our hotel room. It was sitting on the table and I didn’t have time to put it in the safe and I never leave anything of value out.
Note the large tissue flower on the bedside table.
The floor nurse came in to get report and introduced herself to us. Her name was Yeraldine. She was very cheerful and spoke very good English. She got him settled and then left. I went to get some tea. There was a coffee shop down on the first floor. As I walked back to his room, I thought to myself, “This is so surreal.”
Zung rested. I drank my tea. We waited. Zung then said the pain in his chest was getting bad again. I put on his call light and a nurse came in and introduced herself as Veronica, the nursing supervisor. She smiled a lot. I explained that his pain was returning. She left and soon after Dr. Gomez came in. He was the Gastroenterologist. He asked what was going on, asked if Zung had been eating and drinking more that usual. I expressed how unusual the vomiting was. He examined Zung, shrugged his shoulders and said he was going to go check the labs.
He returned soon after. That is when things basically hit the fan.