I’ve had a number of people ask me lately what we do when we are sick on the trip. That’s a hard question to answer. There were many times on our year-long journey around the USA and Mexico when we faced illness or injury, and there is no doubt we will face it many more times on our adventure from Alaska to Argentina.
There were times when we decided to hang around and wait it out. When my knee went out in Mazatlan we delayed our departure for nearly a week as we waited to see if it would heal itself, and then we rode low mileage for a while to make sure it would hold.
We crossed the border back into the USA with a cast on Davy’s arm.
Although none of our sicknesses were “Mexico-related” it seemed like there were more incidents when we needed to seek medical advice while there than in the USA (we actually never needed a doctor in the US). I just wrote this up yesterday about trying to find a doctor in Mexico – it always seemed to lead to adventure somehow.
Finding a doctor in Mexico was always an adventure. It was one of those things that added a bit of the unknown to our lives. In the USA, finding a doctor was a fairly simple affair, and I’m sure finding a doctor in Mexico is simple too – for Mexicans. For an American with a sick kid, however, it was quite an event. In retrospect, it was quite amusing. But as I walked the streets of Los Mochis with Daryl whimpering in pain beside me, it wasn’t much fun.
Daryl had been complaining of an ear ache on the train back to the coast, but he didn’t appear too sick. The next day, as we hung around a motel readying our bikes for the onward journey, Daryl slept. But when he woke up the following morning with both ears screaming in pain and with a high fever, I figured it was time to find the local doc.
With Daryl in tow, I asked a man outside our hotel where I could find a doctor.
“Just down the street there – across from the candy shop.”
That sounded simple enough. Daryl and I set off to find the candy shop, but couldn’t find anything remotely resembling anything like that. We found a video game shop, and an auto parts shop. We found a beauty parlor and a shoe shop. But no candy shop.
I approached a woman walking on the road. “Excuse me, ma’am,” I said. “Can you tell me where I can find a doctor?”
She looked at Daryl with tears streaming down his face. “Just go right around this corner and down a block. You’ll find a clinic right there on the corner.”
A few minutes later we walked into the clinic – into mayhem. In one corner a man gave a talk about dental hygiene to one group of people, in another corner a group of people tried to figure out what to do with three huge sacks of potatoes. Scores of people milled around the waiting room, quietly talking.
I approached a person wearing a white uniform. “Can you tell me what I need to do here? My child needs to see a doctor.” She looked at me with a puzzled look and directed us to sit down on the bench.
Somehow, we had managed to walk right into craziness – once again. This time we had managed to find a social services clinic, and no one had any idea what to do with us. The clinic was for poor people who needed the welfare of the state, not for American travelers. I could see them scurrying around, trying to figure out how to handle us, as Daryl lay there with his head on my lap, moaning and groaning in pain. After a few minutes a nurse came up and stuck a thermometer under Daryl’s arm, then dragged him off to the scale.
We eventually got in to see the doctor, and he prescribed some pain killers and antibiotics for Daryl ear infection. They never did figure out how to deal with us on the paperwork side of things, and I suspect they simply didn’t even record our visit, but Daryl was pretty happy about the medicine the doctor gave him.