Saturday, March 7, 2009

Guanajuato, Mexico – Doctor's Waiting Room

Another feature of a "Going-to-the-Doctor" adventure is "The Waiting Room." Doctors' waiting rooms in Guanajuato can be similar in many ways to those in the USA. In other ways, they can be very different.

The universal concept that waiting in a doctor's waiting room is as exciting as watching paint dry is equally true in Guanajuato as it is the USA. The furniture is drab and uncomfortable. It must be designed to be uncomfortable on purpose so that after you have endured sitting on it for three hours, you will require an even greater degree of medical care than that which brought you to the doctor in the first place. At the very least, you will probably need hemorrhoid surgery to repair the damage caused by sitting for hours waiting to see the doctor.

What is different between the doctors' waiting rooms in Guanajuato and those in the USA is that those in Guanajuato are insufferably small and can only accommodate six people. In Guanajuato, when la Abuela (the granny) needs to see the doctor, she never comes alone. Her extended family must come with her. Instead of dropping her off, going about their business, and then returning to pick her up later, they all want to sit with her for the duration. One Abuela and her family members can easily take up all the seats in the waiting room.

Now, mind you, not each and every member of Granny's family comes with her to the doctor and takes up all the seats, thus denying the other sick patients a place to sit and forcing them to stand for hours until their turn comes. It's just that at least two representatives from each of at least four generations of Granny's family are there in the waiting room with her to make sure she doesn't get bored.

And, when Granny is called for her turn to see the doctor, all fifteen family members file into the doctor's office with her. Why, you ask?

It is because each person present has to add his or her two cents about how Abuela is really feeling and what he or she thinks should be done for her. But that only happens after the group inquires about the doctor and his extended family going back to about 1875.

This all takes time, of course, and in the meantime your blood clot has moved six inches closer to your fragile brain.

Another interesting thing to note is that Mexicans do just like their Spanish cousins:

When a pregnant woman goes into labor, a call goes out to her extended family. It is not unusual for 40 or 50 or more members of her extended family to show up at the hospital all at once to help her have the baby.


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