- Personal Stories & Opinions>
- The Cheap Healthcare of Mexico: Fixing an Ear Issue
Last week, I had a noticeable ear issue one day here in a neighborhood of Mexico City known as Pedregal de Santo Domingo.
For years now actually, my ears seem to produce a shit ton of ear wax.
One day out of the blue, my ears felt fine but then all of a sudden I couldn’t hear very well in my left ear.
Normally when I can’t hear very well, you just fuck with it for a few seconds and you can hear fine again.
However, I wasn’t able to hear very well after messing with it.
Initially, I thought it might’ve been an ear infection or maybe just too much liquid in my ear from the shower or something because it felt like my ear was submerged in water.
So I laid on my bed and had my left ear facing the bed in hopes that the water would just leak out.
I felt something liquid leak out of my ear but it didn’t fix the issue.
About a day later, the problem persists but now I started to feel some noticeable pain in the area around my ear.
Over the last two years, that hasn’t been uncommon as the pain comes by every 6 months to 8 months more or less.
While I’ve never realized for sure what the pain is, I always assumed that it was from my wisdom teeth still being in.
In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s what does cause it but it wasn’t this time.
Anyway, I went to the pharmacy to buy some over the counter stuff to get rid of the pain for 8 hours.
It never returns right away for at least 6 months after you do that.
And so I found myself in a park anyway called Paseo Aztecas that you can see here just chilling while the stuff relieves me of the pain by my ear.
But give it another day and my ear still feels like it is submerged under water (with no pain though).
By this point, I figured I might as well buy some antibiotics or something for my ear because I assumed it was an ear infection and read that antibiotics could help me out.
Fixing the Issue
At around 7 PM, I go to one of those cheap “farmacias similares” that you can find around Mexico City.
To my luck, there was absolutely nobody waiting inside for the doctor and he was available (though there was one middle aged lady inside the room already).
Over the months I’ve lived in this neighborhood, this pharmacy ALWAYS has so many people waiting in line for the doctor that the line literally goes from the hallway into the sidewalk.
In this case, not a single soul waiting in the hallway.
Once inside, I explained the issue to the dude.
For one, I needed TRT injected again.
As I wrote here, a few doctors give you shit about injecting it if you don’t have a prescription for it but most don’t.
Was nice to know that he didn’t care for a prescription.
Second, we have the ear issue.
The dude takes a look at my ear and concludes that it’s probably not an ear infection but just a lot of earwax blocking my ear.
So he does an ear cleaning basically by putting a tube in my ear and shooting a bunch of water into it while I leaned my head to the side to let all the stuff fall out.
Then, at some point, the dude explained how he’ll have to insert something inside my ear to fix the issue.
The thing is though I’m half confident he didn’t insert anything inside it.
For one, wouldn’t that cost a lot more money than what he ended up charging me?
Second, I don’t feel anything inside my ear.
But I did feel some slight discomfort in my ear when he supposedly inserted it and he did tell me that “it’ll fall out in a few months.”
Also, right after we were done, I did feel some slightly weird thing in the deep end of my ear. Something that slightly tickled the inside of my ear but, about a week later now since this happened, I don’t feel that anymore.
Though, being honest, there might’ve been a small translation issue perhaps because, despite all the years speaking Spanish, I never once learned any vocabulary for ear related medical stuff in Spanish.
Hell, some of these medical terms in English I’ve never heard before either.
So while I understood 98% of what he said, there was the occasional word here and there that went over my head.
So perhaps I misunderstood something about what “will fall out of my ear in a few months.”
Anyway, while I don’t believe there’s anything in my ear, I could be wrong.
Especially since, if there wasn’t an ear infection, why would you need to insert anything like a tube or whatever inside it?
Regardless, after the dude is done blasting my left ear with water, it was like night and day difference when it came to my hearing in that ear.
I could hear perfectly again with that ear.
He showed me anyway all the stuff that fell out and it was mostly a bunch of dead skin and earwax.
There was a small black bullet looking thing though that he showed me as being responsible for fucking up my hearing.
And I looked at it and thought “what the fuck is that?”
While I understood him when he said that I don’t have an ear infection, I didn’t understand what I was looking at because I never learned the Spanish word for “earwax.”
And the small black bullet looked nothing like earwax.
I’ve never seen “black earwax” before.
So I was genuinely confused as to what this black bullet was.
Anyway, I asked him to write down the word for what it is so I could google it later and that’s when I found out it was earwax.
Anyway, the dude wrote me a prescription to get some liquid thing to fix up inflammation issues in my left ear.
In order to write it, he needed to put down my name.
Given my questionable legal status in Mexico, I was very hesitant to give him my name.
I know it’s very unlikely that him putting my name into the system for his pharmacy is going to cause problems.
But I can be cautious about shit sometimes.
Like what if the system is somehow tied to the migration office of Mexico and it alerts them about where I am?
So he gave me the keyboard to write out my name and I thought it through a fake name.
“Frank Rios Kurth.”
Literally just random names from people I know put together.
Thinking about it now, it was a bit stupid I guess to give a fake name.
Really, the migration agents probably don’t have their system tied to the pharmacy systems to find folks.
Still, that was my identity that day.
“Frank Rios Kurth.”
And that was that.
For his time of roughly 30 minutes, have him inject me with TRT and fix my ear, I only paid a whopping 110 MXN or basically 5.5 USD.
When we were done, I walked outside, bought the thing he recommended for like 2 dollars, got a haircut and bought dinner.
There’s a few points to be made here about the medical system in Mexico.
Some that have been made in other articles before.
For one, how easy it is to get stuff over the counter that in no way you would get over the counter back in the US.
TRT for example.
While I didn’t have to buy antibiotics for my ear, I can only imagine that I POSSIBLY could’ve gotten them over the counter (especially if I can get TRT).
I know other folks who have gotten antibiotics over the counter for stuff like this that you wouldn’t be able to in the US.
Second, how cheap the healthcare is down here.
As I wrote here, it is a nice little touch to life in Latin America.
As I said, my total cost (without insurance) to have 30 minutes of a doctor’s time, have TRT injected into me and to have my ear cleaned (and maybe something inserted into it?) was only 5.5 USD for all of that.
While I have no idea how much a ear cleaning service would be in the US, this is apparently the cost according to Google.
To have TRT injected in the US? I have no idea but I’ve heard folks in Canada paying a few hundred or more for this.
And, when I think about my time in the US, I never went to the doctor often but I remember as a teenager my mom paying like 25 bucks for that rare doctor visit (just for the time I think).
So, in short, it’s not bad is it?
While I’m sure all of the above wouldn’t cost thousands in the US, I guess I probably saved a few hundred or whatever getting the job done down here.
It’s a topic anyway for us expats or immigrants that live down here.
As you can see in this video, plenty of Americans either travel or live in Mexico for health benefits.
While that’s not at all the reason for why I live here, it is a nice little touch to find a cheap bill when getting something done.
At any rate, that’s all I got to say.
Just a small update on my life.
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