I planned to write this week’s column on the change of seasons, as “low season” finds many of Bucerias’ favorite hot spots closing down, while a few gems stay open for us locals. But then my family had its first real emergency since moving to Mexico—on Mother’s Day no less—and I spent my writing time pacing the halls of Bucerias’ brand new CMQ hospital, waiting for my son to get out of surgery.
Not five minutes after being released from “time-out” for being too rough with our new puppy, my three-year-old boy Jupiter walked up to our elderly dog, who was innocently eating dinner, and made some ignorant attempt to ride her like a horse. My four-legged girl responded in her very dog-like way, giving my two-legged boy a grumpy nip, effectively telling him to back off while she finished her long-awaited grub. But my human child doesn’t have fur or thick skin, and when he cried out seconds later, his face was already covered in blood. His big sister’s shrieks joined his echoing wails to throw my amygdala into full-blown “fight or flight” mode. My first thought? The new CMQ Hospital Emergency Room is just three minutes away. I know because I pass it driving Jupie to school every day, hoping I’ll never have to need it.
I somehow managed to remember to turn off the stove, grab my son a change of clothes, and strap both kids in the car. I double parked in the OXXO across the street (who were kind enough not to tow me all night), and flew into the capable hands of several ER Nurses, kicking into high gear, bat-signaling Vallarta’s top plastic surgeon on a Sunday night, and prepping my tiny boy for his first surgery. That’s about when I lost it, crying on the shoulder of a stranger, feeling the enormity of being alone in a foreign country, navigating alien medical and insurance systems; no adult to make the big decisions but me. I credit the kind nurses, skilled on-call doctors, and my bilingual Patient Services rep Carmen Herrera for getting us all through the night gracefully. My son emerged from surgery at 1:00am, and yet the plastic surgeon and the anesthesiologist still made time to come up to our room to report directly on the extent of his wounds and his diagnosis for a full, if slightly scarred, recovery.
In the early morning light, I found some hot coffee and a stellar view of the ocean from the break room. I thanked my lucky stars for affordable health insurance and top-notch medical care right around the corner. If Bucerias wasn’t already a prime destination for young families like us, and retirees like my parents, the new CMQ hospital adds a touch of class, customized care and, more important, lifesaving services to our town. Jupiter had the nurses happily running for “more green Jell-O” the following morning, while the on-call nutritionist cooked his favorite breakfast to order! The surgeon returned to check on us mid-day and explained in great detail how to care for his sutures once we returned home.
Instead of focusing on my waning social options this week, I was immediately reminded of the indispensable services always available to us in Bucerias. Even if we hadn’t had insurance, the total bill would have been around USD $3,000, which is a hefty sum but not medical bankruptcy inducing, as healthcare has become in my home country north of the border…yet another reason to feel immensely grateful for this life along the Bay of Banderas.
I hope you and your loved ones don’t have to find out first-hand how impressive the new CMQ Riviera Nayarit is, but if you do, rest assured you’ll be in the best hands possible. The Emergency Room is open 24 hrs. /day, 7 days/week and can be reached by calling 329-298-0717. And if you ever need emergency police, fire or ambulance services, you can now dial 911 from any phone in Mexico.
Next week I’ll talk about where to cool down in Bucerias when the crowds disperse and the temperatures heat up but for now, hug your loved ones tight and never bother a grumpy ol’ dog while she’s eating.