A Trip to the Dentist ~ in Juquila
I have been having a slight dental problem – with my gum, actually. I won’t go into detail, cause who needs to hear all that, right? Suffice to say, I had a pretty good idea what the problem is, and have been treating it myself, but have been worried that it would get worse.
It hasn’t actually hurt, it’s just a little annoying. And a bit worrisome.
Conan and his mother both offered to call his cousin, who’s a doctor, and see if he would look at it or see what he recommended. Or there’s a dental clinic down the street I could go to.
But I don’t like going to the dentist at the best of times.
So I put it off.
Today, I decided to be a big girl and get it checked out. Conan made the phone call to his cousin, who recommends the dentist down the street.
No appointment, no phone call, we walk down the street (in the rain. It is Juquila.)
Office hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. – every day, I think. There’s no receptionist, but the man in the pharmacy next door, which is connected by an open door, makes a quick phone call. He advises Conan that the dentist isn’t there, but will be in about 40 minutes if we want to wait.
My Seven Counties friends will recognize this as “just-in-time” scheduling. I was glad they’d see me without an appointment, and didn’t mind having to wait.
We decide to walk home and come back a bit later, which we do.
Here’s the street we walk down:
I actually took that earlier from his mother’s 2nd floor balcony. It’s the street at it’s busiest, because there’s a full size bus right in front of the house and a truck and a van behind it. The other cars are parked.
Here’s the street a few minutes later:
Yes, that’s a burro next to the taxi. He was in the picture before, next to the white truck, eating grass on the side of the road, before he decided it was time to mosey on.
Here, a woman passes with a tray of desserts balanced on her head, like the Kizito cookie lady, only it’s not uncommon here.
When we go back to the clinic, it’s another five or ten minutes til the dentist arrives. He is young (to me, anyhow) and soft-spoken. Of course, he doesn’t speak English, and poor Conan has to translate for me.
It’s an odd feeling, being at the dentist and not being able to communicate. I was worried. I couldn’t imagine not being able to talk to my dentist, and I worried about what I would do if he wanted to pull a tooth or something radical.
But Dr. David is gentle. He goes slowly, and puts me at ease. He is reassuring.
Some of it doesn’t need translation ~ he tells me he’s going to lean the chair back, which he does slowly, and gestures for me to open my mouth. He examines my mouth, talks to Conan, Conan translates. What the dentist says confirms that what I thought was the problem, is indeed the problem.
He assures me it’s nothing to worry about, and says he thinks my distress about it may be making me feel worse. He makes some reasonable suggestions about what I can do to resolve the issue, at least until I get back home. Recommends a particular mouthwash and continued Ibuprofen.
I’m sitting up by then, and I ask ~well, Conan asks for me ~ how much I owe him. He smiles and shakes his head, responds in a few words.
Conan translates, “He says, ‘Nothing, he didn’t have to do anything, and we had to wait a long time.”
I say, “But you did, you looked at my mouth, and told me what to do, and it wasn’t long to wait.” I feel bad, that’s not reasonable, he came in to see me and it did help… but he just smiles and says no, there is no charge.
So I tell him I will come back to the United States and tell everyone I know what a wonderful dentist he is ~ because really, what else can I do? It is not just that he didn’t charge me, although that was kind, but everything he did was considerate and ~ intentional. I felt that he was present for me, was focused on me, if you know what I mean.
I buy the special mouthwash and a package of 800 mg. ibuprofen for about $8 American dollars at the pharmacy. No prescription necessary for the 800 milligrams.
Dr. David, that’s his name, and if you’re ever in Juquila, and you need a dentist, look him up.
Posted on August 18, 2012, in Mexico travel and tagged Oaxaco Mexico, travel. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.
Thanks for sharing this experience. We have a lot to learn.
Thanks for reading, Ellen, and for commenting! It was a super positive experience and that was such a relief in itself. Really, we could learn a lot from each other…
Sounds like you got treated very well and yes we do have alot to learn about the town of Juquila and how things are done there. I hope that Conan and Julia will share many of there experiences on the years to come. I cant wait to make a trip there.
Yes, I did get treated really well!! I know that Conan and Julia will have lots to share for years to come. I look forward to coming back, and know that they’ll be so glad to see you when you make the trip!!
Thanks for reading, and for commenting!
There was such a beauty in this story…people call Mexico a “developing nation”…and perhaps compared to the hustle and bustle and “productivity” of the US…but where in the US will you find a Dr. David? With compassion, and caring, and sensitivity. And no fee because he had “done nothing”…
I got a bill from the Xray tech…$120 for her to read my Xray for my foot. Quite a contrast.
Thank you for sharing these tidbits of Juquila…of the world outside your window.
Thanks, Kirsty! Yeah, I thought it was pretty awesome. We are so often hustling and bustling around and making sure we fill out all the right forms and check our insurance and so on.
Of course, I don’t know if it would have been different if I lived there or not. I’ll have to ask Conan. There is so much to learn…
Thanks for your comments!