Actually, it is not for 1000 days. It is just that 3 years times 365 days plus June 27 through June 30, 2008 equals 1098 days, and that is way too cumbersome to convert into a blog headline. Futhermore, our release date will not be determined until May or June of 2011. Therefore, 1000 Days sounded just about right, more or less. Having noted all that, we are humbled and thrilled (Pres. Uchtdorf would refer to the feeling as "joyfully overwhelmed") about having this marvelous opportunity to serve in La Mision Mexico Veracruz.

Con amor,
Pdte. y Hna. Pete and JoElla Hansen

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Mexico--the land of firsts. Today we had another first. Mom gave me a shot! It is a story, as you might well imagine.

I have these knees. Well, they are actually hinges between my femur and tibia-fibula apparatus. They are not rusty. Rust doesn't happen there. They are corroded. Once upon a time I had cartilage in those hinges. Now, the right knee is bone-to-bone,and the left is almost that way. Osteoarthritis does that. I have been this way for 10 years or so, that I know of. Obviously, the cartilage-eating arthritis has been part of me for a long time. My joints have been corroded away. I guess that means they have rusted away. They hurt. So, it was time to bite the tortilla and find a local doc.

In Mexico they call the specialty traumatologogía. Traumatology. The doctor is call a traumatólogo, a traumatolgist. That is fine with me. That is how my knees felt--traumatized. The mission secretary found one, Dr. Huidobro Rojas Octavio. His name did not comfort me. But, I was motivated. I need to walk.

So, on a Saturday morning I went all by myself, in the rain, to see Trauma Man. (Mom was preparing a large meal, meaning dozens of homemade rolls, for the office elders.) I found his office with no problem , which was the first miracle. I walked in and the waiting room was very dark, very uninviting, and very full of local people none of whom smiled. I think they all had sore leg hinges. The place smelled like the bottom of an old and dirty ash tray.

The receptionist looked up from her ancient and very heavy wooden desk; she was reading the Mexican version of People magazine. I'll bet the drawers on the desk squeaked like my knees. I identified myself and she pointed to Door One of three. I had an appointment. Advantage. I walked in, all by myself. This was all a little traumatic.

Dr. "Trauma Man" Rojas was playing on his computer. This was his actual office. He invited me to sit down, which I did. I handed him my X-rays and he looked at them. He asked if the right hurts worse than the left. I said they were the same. He asked me that three times. I think he was testing my Spanish. He asked if I had been offered prosthetic surgery, meaning knee replacement surgery. I have been offered, have procrastinated, and told him I would do that another day in the US of A. He said that would be good. He asked what I would like of him. I told him cortisone in both knees. He seemed happy to do that.

The exam room is through his tiny office in the next cement cubicle. The whole setup was kinda weird, which was not helping my mental trauma. The paint was stained and peeling. They had cut a hole in the cement wall and installed a small air conditioner and crammed paper towels around the edges to keep the rain, draft, and cockroaches on the other side of the wall. The lighting is not light. Most places here use those low wattage fluorescent bulbs in their fixtures, and the lighting is very undercharged and weak.

He sat me on the exam table. It creaked. That is partially my fault. Hand-made tortillas will do that to you. But, the table is the same one he started with 20 years ago, I am sure, when he got out of traumatology school. It has supported many a tortilla in its lifetime. He laid me down and did a sort of examination. He bent each knee. Good enough. Let's shoot them. It was good enough. I knew what I needed and although I can buy cortisone here without a prescription, I cannot inject my own knees; neither am I interested in doing that.

But, then the magic happened. He told me that he is from Lerdo de Tejada. He is from our beloved Los Tuxtlas! Now, I liked him. Now, we were friends. I would have him do open heart surgery on me! But, today, knees only. The shots hurt like heck but they might help. He prescribed me some pills and told me Costco was the cheapest place to buy them and we said that we would do this again in a couple of months. I have found my Mexican drug source.

This is the clincher. His fee: 1,000 pesos. That is about $75, medicine and syringe included. (I wonder if he changed the needle when he went from my left knee to the right . . . gotta cut costs, you know. Oh well . . . No fever yet.)

Here is the other clincher. One of the meds he prescribed is called betametasone. It is an injectible steroid (cortisone is a steriod) and I was to receive it the next day. It goes in muscle tissue, arm works if one still has muscle there. I asked if I was going come back to his office for that. "Oh no," he said. "Just buy it at Costco and have someone do it for you." That someone was Mom. See the photo.

She did really well. I only felt it when she hit the bone with the needle. JUST KIDDING! It was all good and we are still happily married.

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