Friday dawns bright and sunny and off I go to IMSS Clinic #39 at Alamo. I am prepared for this. Pedro has coached me and provided me with all the appropriate vocabulary.
I check in with the receptionist near the front door. She directs me to an elevator and tells me to go to the second floor. Surprise, surprise! The elevator does not work. So up the stairs I go to the second floor. Or what I thought was the second floor. It turns out it’s the mezzanine. So I go up another flight of stairs. I check in with a receptionist here who points across a large room where a throng of people are lined up at several different windows.
I spot a door marked that it is for authorized personnel only and slip through unnoticed. Here I once again announce my purpose in perfectly rehearsed Spanish to a woman sitting at a desk. Skeptically she opens the envelope containing my documents. I hold my breath as she scrutinizes them thoroughly. She points to a well-worn vinyl couch and tells me to wait.
I sit down and put on my patience hat. After about fifteen minutes I decide it’s Candy Crush time and pull out my iPhone. But lives don’t last forever, so moments later I stash my iPhone back in my purse.
The nice lady who checked my documents strikes up a conversation with me. She even offers to share her breakfast with me. And when the director of the clinic and the doctor arrive an hour later, she makes sure that I am the first one in.
The doctor is a very pregnant woman and is very pleasant. She even understands the odd English word. She examines me with a stethoscope and then asks me a myriad of questions. Thank you Pedro for assisting me with all the vocabulary!
The director then comes in and he speaks English very well. He explains that I am accepted into the program pending the results of my lab tests. Lab tests? The doctor accompanies me to the lab. Thirty minutes later I am given an appointment for the blood tests, one week later. I am also handed a small glass vessel the size of a test tube and instructed to bring in a urine sample when I come back the following week. Oh, it’s also a fasting blood test. Good thing the appointment is for 7 am. Armed with the requisition papers and the glass tube, I return to the director’s office where he confirms everything to me in English.
He also tells me to go to Window 3 where they will begin the process of providing me with a medical card. By some miracle there is no line in front of Window 3. But the smiling young lady does not speak English either. Instead she writes out a page of instructions for me.
I couldn’t believe my eyes! All that is left to do is to provide an original utility bill with my address, a copy of this bill, my passport and a copy of the front page, and one photo! These are all items I have in my overflowing file folder of documents at home. And I’m to bring these back when I return for the lab work.
So stay tuned for Part 4. It might be the last part of It’s Complicated!