High Desert Life

by Miles Hutchins

This may be a bit off from High Desert Happenings, but please bear with me.

The following is about musicians and doctors. And yes, they are the same in Mexico as they are in the United States of America, or Canada, come to that.

I have mentioned in earlier columns about the super-talented choir director in St. Andrews church here in Chapala. He is equally adept on the piano as on the organ. In fact, he rotates between the two each Sunday.

He opens with a Bach or other exotic prelude on the organ, goes into the opening hymn, and at some point moves to the piano. Always a special treat to hear.

On a recent Sunday, Maestro Tim was not at either keyboard. A young Mexican musician began Tim’s usual way, on the organ and later the piano. While not at the same level of sophistication, Rodrigo Leal did his friend proud and a grateful congregation applauded him well at the end of the service.

Earlier this year, Tim enticed not just one, but two professional singers from Guadalajara to join his choir for a Sunday service. Both times the men were mesmerizing in their solo performances.

I have heard the Lord’s Prayer sung by many soloists, but never as well as recently. The other man sang, “You Raise Me Up,” sung by many and very well. For instance, Josh Groban has recorded an excellent rendition of this very moving song. Our guest soloist held his own with this well-known superstar.

Many people expressed medical care concerns to us when we announced our decision to move to Mexico. We did our research about the quality of care here, specifically in Chapala, and in nearby Guadalajara, a city of several million, and home to several hospitals, including a teaching hospital that likened to University of Oregon Health Center.

Now that we have been here just over a year, what have we found out about medical care and cost without health insurance supplement?

First, dental teeth cleanings are done professionally for about $30 U.S. We could not find threaders for cleaning under bridges so mentioned it to our local Dr. Carlos. He said probably not any around Chapala, but he would find us some in Atlanta, where he was going for his brother’s wedding. Sure enough, he brought us back about a one year supply, for which we happily reimbursed him!

Routine medical doctor visits run about the same cost, and are as thorough as any “back home.” I recently had an over-due colonoscopy — oh joy! Dr. Garcia set me up with two pros to meet me in his nearby clinic.

After a day of fasting, and taking a powdery substance with three liters of Gatorade over a prescribed time period, the moment of truth finally arrived.

The anesthesiologist did her magic trick and next thing I knew it was over. After a short period of getting back to normal, I walked out to meet my surprised wife and urged her to get me home to a hearty breakfast — which she did!

Five days later, I met with Dr. Garcia and went over the results, complete with ten pictures of significant land marks in my innards. Also included in the report is a flash drive, which as yet I have avoided observing.

These reports were given to me and, of course, doc has his copies. Bottom line, pardon the pun, is that the polyps were all benign and a stomach discovery disclosed an infection to be treated by antibiotics.

Doing well and very satisfied with the service, and especially like the very personable Dr. Garcia.

— Miles Hutchins is a retired former Redmond resident who grew up in Central Oregon and now lives in Mexico. Contact him at milesredmond@gmail.com .