Healthcare in Mexico…or what happens when someone is really sick

One of the reasons we decided to retire early and move is because both of our mothers are aging and we wanted to spend more time with them while we have a chance.  My mother lives on the coast of Nayarit in a nice little village and Ana’s mother lives in our small town.  The towns are about 3.5 hours drive from one another. The ideal situation is for all of us to be in the same town but…..ideal does not always happen.  Both have experienced some health challenges lately and my mother has been showing typical symptoms of the elderly.  It’s a challenge to care for everything so spread out, geographically speaking.  We recently visited my mom and over a 5 days  period we were in 4 hospitals and 2 ambulances.  This has not been fun but my learning and experiences could be helpful for others in the same situation… need of emergent care in a foreign land. 

* First of all, and this may seem obvious, do some research before getting ill to be familiar with healthcare services in the area. 
* Get a book that translates basic medical terminology from your language into the native language.  Trust me, this will be VERY helpful as you cannot count on translation services no matter how much you beg or ask (especially if they don’t understand you).  Have the book with you when seeking medical care.
* The internet is not everywhere so you cannot simply google everything. 
* No matter how much you yell, “I have pain”,  someone trying to provide you assistance will need to know more about your symptoms in order to treat you effectively. 
* Try and be polite with everyone as in Mexico, being rude can get you ignored.

My mother was quite ill with pneumonia, broncitis and an infected lung…I am sick to my stomach thinking about how long this might have been happening. She is stubborn and often refuses treatment or doctors.  So here we are.  Each time a hospital got her stable, she slipped back as now we see she needs oxygen and elevation.  Hopefully we can get her stable now and get some quality back into her life. She is moving in with us and when she is better, move her to her cabin on our land.  Whew.
More tips: some hospitals expect at least one family member to stay overnight with patients to assist.  They may or may not have an area to sit or lay down.  Bring water, snacks and a blanket.  Bring a cell phone (buy one locally for cheap) as there may not be ANY phone on site to use.  I cannot emphasize enough to research payment options and insurance coverage in advance.  Ask about tipping as it can help increase the quality of support and care.  Keep a list of meds and allergies on you in your wallet. I had no idea she took so many medications.


6 thoughts on “Healthcare in Mexico…or what happens when someone is really sick

  1. Doesn’t she look quite comfy and cozy in this picture. So happy you’ve had a chance to catch your breath, great info you shared.

  2. Great tips! I can see how scary it can be to get healthcare in another country. I’m glad your mom will be living with you. Sometimes that is the best choice. I will be dealing with that soon and I have to make some big decisions as to whether I move back to where she is or if I bring her to where I am, I will have to move to a place that will accommodate her challenges. Best wishes to you and your family.

    • Thanks, and the best to you and your mom as well. Try and keep it open with no final decisions as things can change fast. For me, I knew I would live here 12 years ago and slowly worked with my mom to get her used to Mexico, then she decided to move here on her own….which really helped for the present time. She was in a different town and state BUT same country. Wishing you well.

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