feb 26, 2013 (tues)

After breaking camp and moving the rig closer to the road for security, Sam and I biked over to Mexico for our dental appointments.

Dr. Reyes' office

I'd been dreading a root canal for a few days now. Had to wait until my cough had subsided enough to get through the procedure. I've only had a root canal one other time. It cost me $900 dollars and another $500 for the crown about 3 years ago. This would be the same tooth I just had ripped out of my mouth. It started going south within a year.

When I got there, they asked if I could wait an hour. I didn't have much choice now, did I? Fortunately, for me, 

 the wait was worth it. They had just happened to have called in a specialist for a woman who was ahead of me. She needed some extensive work.

Dr. Reyes

Dr. Reyes must have asked him to stay and do my RC as well. His brother usually does the RCs, and I'm sure he's good, but a specialist? He was very nice and gentle. He got right to it and was done in about 40 minutes. He was thorough and took x-rays when he was done to make sure. The x-rays were the most painful part, aside from the needles. That little square plastic piece, shoved into the floor of my mouth, was no picnic. It brought tears to my eyes. He was apologetic, but he had to get a clear shot of the root. He didn't quit until he was satisfied

After it was over, I peeked into the room where Sam was. Dr. Reyes was grinding away at his teeth and there was a white cloud in and around his mouth. I hate the smell during grinding. Dr. Reyes was prepping him for 3 crown replacements. His teeth aren't in as much of a mess as mine, but much longer and he would be looking at some serious issues. All told, we are paying $720 for 3 crowns, 4 cavities filled and cleaning for him. I shudder to think what that would cost in the states. I talked to my mom and she had just had a crown replaced to the tune of $900. My RC was $400, including metal post and crown. Easily a $1500 dollar job in the states.  

We had to wait about an hour to go back for temporary crowns before we could go home. The novacaine was wearing off fast and pain was setting in. I had gotten a prescription for an anti-inflammatory and antibiotics from the Dr. We went back to the pharmacy that Richie, Dr. Reyes front guy, had taken us before. Everything works on the "I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine" basis. He introduced us to his friend, who was clearly the hustler behind the counter. We found out the first time we went there that the prices were better than the Purple Pharmacy, which is popular and takes up most of the main street when you first enter Algodones. I didn't want the antibiotics, just the other meds. They were $10, too much for me right then. So we ended up with a pain killer/anti-inflammatory suggested to us, for $3. I took 2 and, after sitting out in the sun at the tables with my head down, they began to kick in. I took 2 more before I went back to the dentist's office. By the time I got there, the throbbing pain had subsided and my head was swimming. I almost fell asleep on the couch before they called me back in. Sam got his temporary crowns without a hitch, but because I had pain on pressure, I couldn't get the temp crown. All he could do was patch the hole and send me on my way to recoup. 

After I was sitting in the waiting room, Sam got done and came out. We were sitting there, ready to pay on our bill, when an elderly lady, she must have been closing in on 90, came in with a beer in a small paper bag. We had seen her and her husband in there a few days ago. When we got there today, her husband was camped out in the waiting room and was there the whole time we were having work done. Dr. Reyes came out and we were all talking. He mentioned the extensive work she needed done and smiled sheepishly at the beer in her hand. Richie seemed to have the hardest time with her drinking in the waiting room. Hell, she's ancient and dealing with a lot of shit. It was late in the day and we were the only ones there. We didn't care. Only in Mexico... Oh, and forget about HIIPA (health information privacy act). 

When we left, we headed over to the chicken man for soup.

First time at chicken man's with J.

Sam got the chicken dinner plate, complete with homemade tortillas, rice and beans. He had brought a container in case I needed to take mine home. I was able to eat some of it, but we ended up taking home some of his chicken and most of my soup. Gotta love leftovers. Chicken man grills his chicken on a grill right out in front of the restaurant, which is all open in the front. No front wall, no door. It always smells so good and has a wonderful grilled flavor. Comfort food. 

We finally headed for the line to get back across the border. We have to stand with the pedestrians with our bikes. It gets a bit crowded as the hawkers work the line in between getting ousted out by the policia. The beggars were sitting on the ground with their children as we inched ever forward. It's heartbreaking. It wasn't a huge line and only took us about 40 minutes to get through. When it was my turn, I declared the drugs I bought along with the prescription. The man behind the counter took the bottle, and finding it opened, almost confiscated it. He said "I don't know what you might have put in there". After showing it to a colleague, he decided to let me through with it, but warned me not to try crossing with open pharmaceuticals again. Good thing, I might have had to wrestle him for it. 

It was incredibly windy and the mile or so back to the rig seemed painstakingly slow. I pretty much collapsed after we got it parked back into our spot away from the road. Those little pills helped me actually get some real sleep for the first time in weeks. My left lung is clearing up nicely and I'm not coughing my brains out any more. There is just the slightest rasp in there when I wake in the morning. As soon as I get this tooth capped and the extraction site fills in, I will start to feel human again.  

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