Six months after my last doctor’s appointment, it was time for another blood workup for hypothyroidism. That’s what I was scheduled for, that’s what I did, even though I had been out of medication for nearly a month and felt awful!
So Sunday morning, I was up and ready to go at dawn, even though the office wouldn’t open until 8 a.m., it being Sunday and all. Having learned from experience that it is a first come, first serve basis for EVERYTHING in México. I marched myself in, without having eaten or had my morning cup of coffee like a good girl, asked who was the last person to arrive, took mental note that I followed the guy with the blue cachucha (baseball cap) and sat down to wait.
At 7:40 a nursey-type person came into the waiting room and told us that we needed receipts from the payments office before we had our blood draws. What? I sat and pondered that a moment and then asked the lady next to me. She showed me a yellow receipt and said I could get it from the office behind us without much hassle. Well, since I didn’t have the receipt, it was a hassle. I had to get up and get in line at the window for the receipt along with about 20 other people.
The lab opened around 8:20 and those with receipts lined up. The payment office was still closed. I lost my place behind the blue cachucha (hat). The security guard kept telling us we were blocking the aisle and that important people couldn’t pass. So someone asked when the payment office would open so that we could get out of the hallway. The guard said sometime between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m. on Sundays. Gee thanks!
Some of those in the receipt line tried to hop back over to the blood draw line but were sent back, tails between their legs. Now it was 8:40 and the lab started calling out patient names and here I was still in the dratted receipt line. Finally, someone arrived, but didn’t open the window until he finished his morning coffee and bolillo (bread). So we waited.
The man behind me commented that it seems the whole purpose of this process was to get us to lose patience and go to a private doctor for our health needs since we (nearly all of us line) had Seguro Popular no contributivo (no co-payment public health insurance) and therefore, there wasn’t a reason to check to make sure our “insurance” would cover the lab work and get this receipt. I commented that if I had the money to go to a private doctor, I certainly would not be wasting my time standing here.
So we continued to wait. Eventually, it was my turn. I handed the clerk my Seguro Popular paper and the lab work authorized by Dr. J. He looked at the paper and looked back at me and determined I would be the spouse, not the primary beneficiary, nor the child. Good thinking on his part. Then we went through the “my last name is F not E and E is my second name” rigamarole. He typed it in and printed out a yellow receipt for me saying that Seguro Popular would cover the lab work.
So I went to stand in the lab work line, which was much shorter now. When it was my turn at the window, I was pleased to discover I was nose level with the feces and urine samples lined up there. We went through the “my last name is F not E and E is my second name” rigamarole again here. The lab tech guy gave me a paper that didn’t have a date stamped to pick up the results but said that I should come back in 15-20 days for them since the TSH test was “special”. I pointed out that my doctor’s appointment was in 2 weeks and he said that maybe it would be in before then. Okie Dokie.
Then I sat down near the other door to wait to be called.
Meanwhile, my long-suffering husband had been waiting outside. He snuck in, past a distracted security guard, to see what the hold up was. I gave him the Seguro Popular paper and his little pink cita (appointment) book and told him to get himself an appointment with the surgeon who did his hernia operation a couple years ago and a physical appointment for our son who needed a medical release form to start secondary school in August. My husband trotted over to archivos (archives) to do just that.
All good things come to those who wait and eventually I had waited enough to be called into the blood drawing hallway. The normal seats were taken so I was herded to the way back part next to the freezer full of samples. The guy looked at my arm and seemed taken back. He squeezed and prodded and couldn’t seem to locate a vein he liked. He asked where blood was usually taken–well my arm obviously. Did he think the jugular would be a better spot? More poking and prodding. He wrapped a rubber glove around my upper arm and jammed that needle in. Then flipped off the rubber glove tie which smacked me in the face. I had a bruise for a week from that prick.
He asked for the labels and I told him I didn’t have any and that the vial should be marked “especial” which he did. Then I was free to go.
My husband also accomplished his mission and had an appointment the following week with the surgeon, however, archives said our son’s physical would need to be done at CAISES. (See Seguro Popular –getting started )That did not happen. We took him to the Cruz Roja, paid $100 for the physical and $50 for the blood type analysis instead. The process took less than 15 minutes. The amount of time we saved was well worth the money.