Unplanned Social Studies–In Mexico

We were very privileged to take another vacation in Mexico this year. I am still battling some days with morning sickness, so it wasn’t as active as some of our previous years, but we still had fun and some adventure.

We like to learn about how the people live down there and what things are the same and different from the way we live. I think that is the best way to learn social studies–experience it. On this trip, we had the opportunity to have a social studies lesson that was totally unplanned. We got to experience a Mexican hospital first hand.

The second day that we were there, it was raining. My husband and I were a little disappointed because we had visions of soaking up sun. It didn’t bother the kids at all though. Their idea of fun in Mexico is to play in the water, and rainwater qualified. They put on their swimsuits and splashed to their heart’s content. Unfortunately though it all ended very abruptly. JD Boy slipped and fell on the slick, wet tile and bit a hole clear through his lip.

My husband and I debated for awhile what we should do. We ended up taking him to a hospital named Ameri Med. We thought that going to an American hospital would be the thing to do. It was false advertising. While the receptionists and billing folks spoke excellent English, the doctors and their assistants did not. My husband was the only one allowed to accompany JD Boy into the exam room. He speaks no Spanish. I’m not too sure why they didn’t send one of the receptionists back to translate or allow my husband’s grandfather to accompany and translate, but anyway, that was the way it happened.

The doctor tried to explain to my husband what his options and the prices would be. "Suturos" were 4000 pesos. After my husband asked about glue, he said "Derma  Bond" was 1700 pesos. He chose the glue and thought it wouldn’t be too expensive, but we later learned that that was only half of the charges. We were also charged for the "servicios". All of it came out to around $300US. I concluded that the "Ameri" part of the name wasn’t because the care given was American type care, but that the prices were American.

Once they settled on the Derma Bond, the doctor looked real close at JD Boy’s lip, pinched it together and the assistant smeared glue on. And that all went faster than you can read that sentence. My husband was shocked. He was expecting that they would clean the wound, but once it was glued, it was too late. No hydrogen peroxide. No iodine. No alcohol. No water. Nothing. They were done.

We were very concerned about infection. In a place where sanitation is an issue, it seems that they would be even more careful to disinfect wounds than we are, but not so. On our way back from the hospital, we stopped and purchased some hydrogen peroxide and had JD Boy rinse his mouth several times a day until we could tell that it was healing and that the possibility of infection had cleared up.

His wound looks good now. The inside is healing and there is a minimal scar on the outside. So I’m glad we took the route we did.

Last year, when we went down, I took JD Boy to a Mexican dentist and we were intrigued by Mexican dental care. This year we took him to Mexican hospital and were concerned about Mexican health care. If we go next year, I’m hoping that we can learn about something totally different and that maybe we can plan our social studies’ experience rather than having it as the result of an accident.

JD Boy refuses for me to post any pictures of his wound. I didn’t take any of the hospital for fear of getting in trouble. It looked fairly normal though, at least the waiting room, which was all that I got to experience. However, I have a few shots from just around town, that I thought were interesting.

Cathedral in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

The Cathedral in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
While Mexico has no official religion, 89% of the population is Catholic. There are services and activities going on at this Cathedral all the time.

Electric lines by Cathedral in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Electric lines close to the Cathedral.
You can see the Cathedral in the distance. The infrastructure, even in this town that runs mostly on tourism, is poor. This isn’t even the worse case of spider-web lines that we saw. The roads are also poorly maintained. Right now they’re repainting and remodeling all the store fronts in certain parts of town. The locals think that there must be some event planned that they just haven’t heard about yet.

Playground equipment in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Playground equipment.
The playgrounds aren’t covered with lawn. They are covered with dirt. You can see that the equipment isn’t super well maintained either, but my boys thought it was a blast to play on anyway.

Stay tuned for pictures from our nature study while we vacationed. I can’t wait to share them with you.