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An Expat's Firsthand Covid Story and IMSS


Bisbee Gal
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https://www.leighthelmadatter.com/updates-and-new-articles/covid-and-mexico

Covid and Mexico

This is going to be a brief and very late post.

Both my husband and I have been under the weather for the past two weeks.

Like good little citizens, we went to our local clinics to get check out and treatment in part, to make sure we did or did not have Covid.

Until Tuesday, we were both assured this was not the case.

My husband is 60 years old with mild diabetes. He has been sicker than I. He was initially diagnosed with tonsillitis, given antibiotics and leave from work. He seemed to get better, enough that I went to Guadalajara the following weekend.

I had a fever for a few days and was told I had an upper respiratory infection. I felt better by Wed/Thurs and decided to go. Neither of us got a Covid test that first week.

While in Guadalajara, I felt really run down… no fever just only able to do anything for a few hours at a time, then needing to sleep. When I returned very late on Monday, Alex was most certainly worse, now with a cough. He went back to the clinic the following day. Again, he was told he did not have Covid, most likely bronchitis and given new antibiotics and meds to open his airways. To be fair, his cough was similar to what I do when I have bronchitis. He WAS given a Covid test, but only because he is 60 and diabetic.

He was sick enough to not want to eat (not even his coffee and sweet bread, which is almost a sacred ritual), but started to recover energy and appetite by last Sunday. His permission to be absent from work expired on Tuesday, but he received no notification about his Covid test. He still had a cough and knew he could not work with it. So he went back to the clinic to check on the test and get an extension. He went alone because he was feeling better and the new cleaning person was coming.

An hour and a half later, I get a message that they were transferring him to the hospital and I needed to get over to the clinic. My nice cleaning person was understanding (she stayed, did the work and was understanding about getting her pay late), so I went to get his things, figuring Id be back in a couple of hours.

He and the clinic called me several times while I was in the taxi en route asking when I would be there. I got there as quick as I could. Only to see him briefly, told he does have Covid, had all his stuff tossed at me and told to wait for the ambulance. It would be a while because of the pandemic.

Over FIVE HOURS later, with no information about what was going on either with the ambulance or my husband (for all I knew, he was just sitting there somewhere in the clinic because the doctor repeated several times that they did not have what was needed to treat him at the clinic). I was patient enough for the first 3 hours or so, then I was pissed, hungry (hadn't eaten all day) and cold (no jacket) and had no way to rectify any of the three.

Oh… I asked the doctor if I needed a Covid test. She said I didn't as long as I don't have any symptoms. (I know-ridiculous- but Im glad I haven't had it as you will see).

We finally get to the hospital in the “special transport” which would up being Alex in a plastic tube in a regular ambulance.

Im supposed to be doing all this paperwork and stuff. I speak Spanish better than I can understand it. I have particular trouble with complicated instructions that have lots of assumptions that the person understands how the system works. Not to mention that the Mexican way of explaining stuff is different than the US way. This is why Alex almost always does this kind of stuff. I get confused and frustrated and I was already at the hospital confused and frustrated. Only one family member is allowed, so I cannot have any linguistic or other help. No one at IMSS understands or cares what it is like for a foreigner in a new situation.

He finally is sent upstairs. I get conflicting information about how I am supposed to be kept informed. The only thing that was repeated was to be back at the hospital at 1pm yesterday with toiletries for him in a clear plastic bag (turns out this includes bottles of water and toilet paper if you can believe it… do people in IMSS die of thirst while having no way of wiping their ###?)

The last person I saw was the social worker on Tuesday evening before being able to finally eat at 7pm and go home and try to relax. I do not remember what happened with his carnet (the identifying booklet because it seems that IMSS does not know what computers are for).

Wed I return with the bag, I get to the counter and there are all these signs with the limitations on how to contact and know about patients interred with Covid. The one family member who can enter, can only do so on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. IF they allow communication with the patient (depends on if the doctor says yes AND if “there is enough staff available”, you can talk to them on video call, not on a cell phone but in the hospital proper. On the other days, the ONLY way to know anything is to receive an email that goes out once a day.

The social worker never asked me for my email or my phone number for that matter. So I ask the woman at the counter about this and she looks at me like I'm an :(). I ask her to check if they had contact info for Alex and she asks me for his IMSS number…. his name and room number are not enough. I don't know this. She asks for his carnet which I don't have “Are you trying to tell me he does not have the right to be in this hospital?” immediately putting me on the defensive. When I explain she scoffs at me “You are supposed to have the carnet at all times.” How the hell am I supposed to know this?

Now I'm worried because I'm racking my brain trying remember what happened to the carnet. I don't remember having it when I finally went home Tues evening. It's all a blur.

Now I'm in a dilemma…. I need his number to make sure they can send me an update on Thursday, but if I go home, I miss the chance to talk to Alex. I don't know if they will let anyone on hospital grounds on Thursday to do anything.

My brother-in-law came as well but could not enter because I was already there. I go out to talk to him and he says I need to go home and check for the carnet. I decided to do this because there were a lot of people waiting for the same thing as I, and if I did not get back in time, at least Alex talks to his brother, who can inform me.

We had a tough time getting him into the hospital grounds… to convince security that he was substituting for me and not entering in addition to me. But we finally did.

I get home, and as I feared, the carnet is not here. The last place I remember seeing it is in the social worker’s office. If I got it back, I lost it. I decided not to go back and let Charly talk to Alex because a) I was “upset” (let's leave it at that) and b) I'm sure they wouldn't have let us switch again.

I gave Charly the affiliation number (found it on some paperwork) and he was able to get them to take my email address. I'm not optimistic about getting an email because people mess up my name all the time and my email is based on my last name.

Medically, Alex is as OK as he can be. He is really in only for observation. He was not in crisis when he was admitted. We were told his condition was not that “grave” I don't know what the treatment is.

Oh… to put salt in the wound… Alex’s cell phone (patients are not allowed to have them… don't get me started on this) gets a message Wed morning from the Mexico City govt to tell him is Covid test results are ready.

I understand now why old people don't want to go to doctors and hospitals, so I guess I'm an old person now. I will NOT get a Covid test because I refuse to put anyone else through this shit, nor will I “gift” tiny bureaucratic tyrants with permission to isolate me from the few people who understand me.

I will sign nothing with IMSS from here on in just because they tell me to. My signature means I am in agreement and I will decide what is best for me. The experts can kiss my ###. That goes for in the future… not just in Covid crap.

Luckily, I am not sick, but I am certain I had/have Covid (just not the symptoms Alex does). So I will isolate myself as best I can. I figure once Alex is better… I am too.

Dear reader, if you made it this far… thank you for letting me “desahogarme” Needless to say, my personal blogging is in the toilet ATM. There is some really good writing news (like my book plugged in National Geographic), but I have neither the time or mental energy to go into any detail.

Hopefully, things will be better next week.

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Advice for all.  Anyone with symptoms can make an appointment for the free University UDG drive thru testing.   33 3823 3220  Or you can go to one of many labs that are now offering test for a fee. 

My nephew had mild symptoms, called the hotline and was able to drive thru that afternoon. He was told to self quarantine until he got his results.  3 days later he received a positive diagnosis. Most of his symptoms had abated but he followed instructions and self quarantined for 12 days more. Full recovery and none of his family infected. 

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A doctor can not look at you and say you do not have the CV. Only a test and sometimes te test is not accurate. Therein lies a Big problem. Loss of appetite and sleepiness are big symptoms, as is fever and cough. IT is more out there now than 6 months ago.

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I am confused BisbeeGal. Did this happen to you or the writer of the blog? Was this here, and then to the  hospital in Tajamulco de Zunigas? My sympathies, in any case. It is best to hire a facilitater like Rony to guide through paperwork and find helpers for 24 hour care. This is why the public hospitals are so plugged up. Normally family members or hired helper do all the fetchit work 24 hours per day. With Covid the nurses, doctors, interns have to do this, all the time wearing stuffy protection gear, in toxic work environment due to AMLO's savage cuts to healthcare and wages.

Anyways it shows how you must keep up your defences against these highly contagious viruses. They are supposed to peak in December. MerryChristmas and a whole lost 2020 earthlings.

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4 hours ago, CHILLIN said:

SNIP......   these highly contagious viruses. They are supposed to peak in December..........

I had not heard this at all. Is this for Mexico, North America or ???

Could you give us a source for this information?

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This all over Yahoo news for the U.S.A. I don't follow the epidemidimology of this topic too closely. We just follow quarantine rules. luckily Ms. Chillin has over 43 years as a health care manager and experience setting up infection controls in both care homes and assistant living facilities.

I sorry if Bisbee Gal is annoyed with me. The fine lady who wrote this blog post, seemed to be a different personality than the one who regularly posts here.

I was hoping if you knew what was going on right now in public and IMSS hospitals during this dangerous, seeming unstoppable pandemic would help you understand what is going on. No one is singling you, or your husband out to recieve bad behaviour.d

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22 hours ago, CHILLIN said:

They are supposed to peak in December.

They were supposed to peak in April, then May, then Sept. This is all pure speculation and much depends on whether people listen and heed the masking and distancing directives, what the consequences are if they don't, whether borders are closed, what is considered to be allowed as "essential travel". 

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2 hours ago, pappysmarket said:

To me, the fine lady who wrote the blog post seemed to not give a s### about whether she spread Covid to anyone else, it was all about her.

It struck me that it is the Mexican health care system that doesn't give a s***. 

She and her husband went to the clinic during the week and were told by the doctor that they did not have Covid.  They were not even given a Covid test.  Both diagnosed with NON-Covid conditions and given medication.   

Is the fact she went to GDL that weekend, the reason for your comment?  She went there the weekend after they went to the clinic, where they were told they did not have Covid, didn't even need to be tested for Covid.  They were both feeling better by that weekend.  They assumed the clinic was correct and the meds they were given for their NON-Covid diagnoses were working.  

When they started feeling bad again, they went back to the clinic that (finally) tested them for Covid.  

Why are you blaming her??

 

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4 hours ago, CHILLIN said:

This all over Yahoo news for the U.S.A. 

Well, I live in the U.S.A and read several local and national news sources daily.... but NOT Yahoo..... and I have never seen this mentioned. Not once. I searched Yahoo news and the ONLY mention of Covid and December was about potential vaccine announcements. There is some 'speculation' that the rise will begin to taper off.... if that a peak?.... but that speculation was dependent upon folks adhering to 2 things.... masks and distancing. Good luck with that in many areas. 

This statement seems to be similar to the one which says "we're turning the corner". 

 

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My reaction was similar to Pappys. For example. She was unhappy because they didn't have an English speaker at the check-in. I remember years ago when my husband was admitted to an IMSS hospital, I checked him in and no one spoke English then either. My Spanish is marginal and like her I speak more than I understand. They were kind and patient and we got thru the darn paperwork together.

Healthcare workers are in a frightening, stressful place right now. If they over react they are criticized and if they under react, people can get sicker or die.

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14 hours ago, Bisbee Gal said:

It struck me that it is the Mexican health care system that doesn't give a s***. 

She and her husband went to the clinic during the week and were told by the doctor that they did not have Covid.  They were not even given a Covid test.  Both diagnosed with NON-Covid conditions and given medication.   

Is the fact she went to GDL that weekend, the reason for your comment?  She went there the weekend after they went to the clinic, where they were told they did not have Covid, didn't even need to be tested for Covid.  They were both feeling better by that weekend.  They assumed the clinic was correct and the meds they were given for their NON-Covid diagnoses were working.  

When they started feeling bad again, they went back to the clinic that (finally) tested them for Covid.  

Why are you blaming her??

 

I understand now why old people don't want to go to doctors and hospitals, so I guess I'm an old person now. I will NOT get a Covid test because I refuse to put anyone else through this shit, nor will I “gift” tiny bureaucratic tyrants with permission to isolate me from the few people who understand me.

I will sign nothing with IMSS from here on in just because they tell me to. My signature means I am in agreement and I will decide what is best for me. The experts can kiss my ###. That goes for in the future… not just in Covid crap.

Luckily, I am not sick, but I am certain I had/have Covid (just not the symptoms Alex does). So I will isolate myself as best I can. I figure once Alex is better… I am too.

"I won't get a Covid test...I know I have/had it...I will not let them isolate me from the few people who understand me...I'll isolate the best I can and figure when Alex is better so am I"

Give me a break!

That's why I feel the way I do.

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