I Got More than Cheap Dental Work in Mexico

Last year we parked at the border with Mexico and walked into Los Algodones for dental work, and it was a bit of an eye-opener for me, not as much in how Mexicans live but in the discrepancy in cost of living for any humans.

This winter we’re way southeast, maybe closer to an authentic Mexico, but we certainly didn’t get that on this second try. Not that we were expecting it.

The city of Matamoros is close to us, but it’s not a go-to spot for American healthcare tourism, so not entirely safe. About an hour away is Nuevo Progresso, though: another Disneyesque version of Mexico for gringos. And very cheap dental care, which we could use seeing as how we no longer have a homebase dentist.

So, we paid our $2 to park in a lot next to the Rio Grande, and we walked across the bridge, then by border patrol agents who didn’t really look at us, and into the wonderful world of PHARMACY OPTOMETRY DENTISTRY.

That’s seriously all there is there, plus a few restaurants for the visiting Americans and taco/hot dog stands for folks working. Oh, and stall upon stall of cheesy stuff Americans buy, like aprons with the Kansas City football logo on them. Really. This is what Americans go to Mexico to purchase.

Once we walked in and looked around, we realized we had scant little info to go on for finding our appointments. I knew I was to see “Dr. Cynthia.” She’d responded to my email with appointment time and date plus a screen capture of Google Maps with a hand-drawn arrow pointing to the office, and the note that it was by a grocery called “La Beba.” Hm.

I’d not bothered to find out this dentist’s last name, much less practice or address. Turns out maybe she doesn’t have a practice or an address. <<suspenseful music>>

We found La Beba, and due to being ignorant Americans standing in the middle of the sidewalk, we were asked by kind people how they could help. Soon some random dude in an hairnet was unlocking the door to an unassuming office and ushering us in, then leaving us there.

There was one chair, which I took, and one stool behind the one desk, which Tracy took. A lady popped in to grab her coffee mug from on top of the desk; Tracy learned she’s the mother of the man who is normally in the office. Who isn’t Cynthia.

Finally Cynthia did come in. She’s about 12 years old, the way all doctors are these days. She greeted us and then set to opening her sterilized instruments in the back around one lone dental chair. I do believe she was borrowing this office.

But, she seemed well schooled, she came recommended by many people, and, like I said, her instruments were sterile. We were coming for only cleanings, what could go wrong?

Okay, I’m being dramatic. Nothing went wrong. She cleaned our teeth with utmost care and checked the health of our mouths just fine, and I think charged us $20 a piece. I wasn’t fond of her practice of hanging the suction tube inside my mouth when she was using both hands for other things, but she was working alone so I have to cut her some slack. I’m guessing when she does do surgery, she borrows a different office, with assistants and all? I’m going to stick to teeth cleaning with her, though. Call me old-fashioned.

So, what else did we get in Progresso? Well, you know how we are still wearing masks in most indoor places due to, well, to having to be healthy to stay mobile. Of course, we didn’t wear masks with Cynthia, but then she was the only one in the office with us. And then we walked around inside a few shops looking for a big, sturdy basket and a leather smith (no dice on either). We did find Covid, though.

Like last year almost to the day, I’ve tested positive and have been sick, whereas Tracy, who was inches from me when I caught it and when I was most contagious, is still testing negative.

Since I’m having a double Groundhog Day with Mexico and then Covid, I’m linking here to last’s year’s description of us isolating. We’re doing the same damn thing. Except, this year, my fever is lower and the wind is a little less severe, so I can sit outside during the day instead of in my teeny bedroom.

I cannot express to you the level of frustration I feel that I’ve been so danged careful and I have still caught Covid. Twice. No indoor restaurants. No bars. No bands. In nearly three years. I know people who started back to their normal lives eons ago and haven’t caught the virus once.

If I’m weighing universal injustices, of course I’m not suffering. But, no bars in three years and I still get Covid.

4 thoughts to “I Got More than Cheap Dental Work in Mexico”

  1. Well, crap. I’m sorry to hear that and wish you a speedy recovery.

    I long ago gave up on avoiding bars and crowds. Life is too short to abstain! But that’s coming from my own purely personal comfort level. I’ve had Covid once, and figure, it’s only a matter of time before I have it again. Sigh.

    She’s about 12 years old, the way all doctors are these days. = cracked me up!

    1. If I lived stationary, I would have thrown abstinence to the wind myself. I can’t believe I’m saying I would rather not go in bars than any other particular thing in the world, but it’s true: I’d rather not than learn to tow the Airstream!

  2. On the dentist front, my dentist does the same thing here in Montgomery County, MD – hanging the suctiony tube off my cheek while he works. So not an unusual practice for a small office. On the Covid front, I’m so sorry you repeated last year, almost. It sounds like not quite so bad at least, assuming you don’t relapse. Perhaps you’ve been too careful, and haven’t built up a natural immunity, which Tracy seems to have naturally! Well, I know you’re past it now, so I’ll hope you’ll be off the hook for a while. Kind of like repeat jury duty, if you were staying in one place. XO

    1. Tracy told me his dentist in DC would do that too, so I guess I’m just the weird one! Same with no covid immunity. This bout was entirely different than the first time, thank goodness. Thanks for your wishes – hope I’m off the hook for a while, too! I saw that a recent study concludes you have a level of immunity for eight months after an infection. I’m not banking on it but that would be awesome.