The day after

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First, I would like to thank all of you for reading. I am truly overwhelmed at how popular this blog has been. I hope this particular trip report has valuable information for everyone.

Second, this will (hopefully) be my last post for a week. I have been frantically tracking Hurricane Paula, who was bearing down on Cancun, due to arrive about the same time we were tomorrow (Wednesday). She changed her mind and seems to be heading east. Safe thoughts to anyone who is in her path. We have decided that we are going to get on that plane tomorrow. If Frontier is going to fly, so are we. I’m turning 50 in Mexico and the weather be damned!

I had to make this last post before I left though about the day after so you weren’t all hanging, wondering what happened next. Fortunately, the story is not nearly as exciting. But still good information I think.

I woke up Sunday morning early, amazed that I had slept as well as I did. I got up and got ready to go to the hospital. I let Susie know I was leaving and told her we may move hotels (I was still thinking along those lines).

I had breakfast at the buffet and then went to get a taxi to go to the hospital. When we arrived at Hospiten Cancun the taxi driver asked me if he should wait for me. I said I didn’t know how long I would be and it would be several hours. He said that was okay, he thought it would be better if he waited. He wouldn’t take any payment, saying I would pay him when he took me back to the Lindo. He waited from 8 am until 2 pm. He just sat outside in the heat, waiting and then gave me one of the best rates for the round trip. I think he charged me $70.

Zung was awake when I got there, but he hadn’t slept well. There was a window in the ICU, but it never really completely quiets down. Monitors are going off and the nurses station is right there. The blood pressure machine went off every hour. I wished he had gotten that private room so he could get some sleep.

He had a tray of food in front of him, but he hadn’t eaten the yucky looking eggs. The food did get better during his 6 day stay.

The nurse said Dr. Basave would be in by noon, since it was Sunday. I stayed until they told me, “the visit is over.”

Between visits I sat in the coffee shop. At some point I walked the two blocks to Starbucks.

“Habla Inglaise?” I almost cried with happiness when he replied, “Yes.” I ordered some iced tea and sat for a while. It was Starbucks, they are the same everywhere. I could almost imagine I was back home.

I will confess, I have a lot of disdain for people who go to Mexico and need to go to Starbucks and McDonald’s and the other places we have back at home. It always seems to me that you are missing the point of being in a foreign country if you’re just looking for the same things you can get at home. But in my crisis, I was enormously comforted for that familiar place that was the same back home. I almost felt “normal.”

I went back to the hospital. It was very quiet, being a Sunday. The doctor still hadn’t arrived and the nurse kind of shrugged and said, “It’s Sunday.” When I asked for a washcloth so he could wipe his face we had one of those communication moments. “Small cloth?” I tried. When she figured it out she came to give him a sponge bath and said I had to leave. Really? I’m his wife, and I have to leave? At that point I decided to go back to the hotel and would come back later with the kids.

Back at the hotel, I stopped at the buffet and had some lunch. I checked in with the kids, who were at the beach. I may have even sat on the beach with them for a while. I met with the concierge to change our reservation time for dinner so we would have time to go to the hospital. He asked how things were and I explained that my husband was in the hospital. “Stomach problems?” (This is what everyone would ask when I said he was in the hospital.) I explained that he’d had a heart attack.  He told me if he came back to the hotel before we went home they could arrange a special diet if needed and transportation around the grounds. he reassured me that Hospiten Cancun was the best hospital.

The four of us took a taxi to the hospital. Tony didn’t go. We would have had to take two taxi’s and the cost was already significant. He just hung out at the hotel when we would go to the hospital in the evening. The taxi driver offered to wait.

I was really hoping Zung would be transferred to a regular room. Dr. Basave had said at least one day in the ICU, so I thought Zung had met his requirement. Dr. Basave however was not satisfied that Zung was ready to be monitored less and he was still in the ICU. They only allowed one of us at a time to go in, so I went in first and then each of the kids went in and then I went in before we left.

He told me that Dr. Basave told him that 50% of people in his situation don’t survive. I am convinced Zung survived because of the skill of Dr. Basave and also the other doctors who saw him doing the right thing at the right time. I have no concerns about medical care in Mexico.

After we left we went back to the Lindo. That taxi driver charged me $90, so I didn’t tip him (since it was so much more than the one earlier had charged me).

We had dinner at the Mexican restaurant, which is technically a Maya restaurant. It is located at the end of the resort by the pool and beach across from the restaurant where we’d had dinner the first night. I ordered some wine and they brought an entire bottle. I even took some pictures of the kids.

Like most of the other restaurants, the appetizers and dessert are buffet and the main course if brought to you. Both the waiter and maitre’d were very friendly. The maitre’d kept pouring more wine in my glass. The kids went back to the room and he came by and poured me yet more wine. When I protested, he said, “Nobody sees, nobody knows.” I asked if I could take the bottle back to my room and he said, “Sure.”  I never did drink much of it though.

Once back to the room I called one of my coworkers because I knew I needed someone to work for me the first day I was supposed to be back, three days after we got back home. It was nice to be able to talk to someone who I didn’t feel like I had to put up the “strong” front for and talk about how scary the whole thing was.

A lot of people have said they don’t know how I was so strong through it. The reality is, no one gave me the choice. It would have been completely unacceptable to keep bursting into tears and curling up in a corner was certainly never offered as an option. The reality is anyone would have done the same thing. You put one foot in front of the other and eventually you get through it.

After I got off the phone, I drank some more wine. I drank too much, but not way too much and felt like I had earned it. It looked like we had dodged a bullet.

Check back in about a week. I’ll finish this story and have a new one to report about. Thanks again for reading.


This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Someone posted a link to your blog on Trip Advisors. I followed the link to see why everyone should take out trip insurance. I live in a little Mayan village west of Tulum on the highway to Coba. I’ve been living in Mexico for most of the last 7 years. I am about to turn 63, am out of shape, and overweight. Your experience was a real eye-opener for me. I appreciate that you took the time to explain the ins and outs of what happened. I was particularly astounded at the $20,000 prepay situation. I would just have to die because there is no way I could likely come up with $2,000 let alone twenty. I want to thank you for waking me up. I could feel your pain, your confusion, your frustration, and your worry. I am happy that this story has a happy ending. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you. Comments like yours are exactly the reason I share this story. Oh and they wouldn’t let you die they would take you to a public hospital. But I hope you’ll commit to getting in shape so you decrease you chances of being put in that situation. And I gotta believe that regular dose of sea air is the fountain of youth.

  2. Really important lesson to be learned, thanks so much for sharing. Very glad all turned out well.

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