Get Those Mammies Grammed
By Kathy Koches
I was reading the December issue of El Ojo del Lago, and saw a notice that free mammograms were being given in Chapala on a certain date. Since I had not had mine last spring while in the U.S. I decided to go and get one.
On the appointed day I drove to Chapala and presented myself at the Centro de Salud. I was ushered in and told to wait. A doctor then came out, had me fill out a long form, and took me into a very small examination room. I knew there was no mammogram machine in there! She told me to disrobe and gave me a manual breast exam. When I asked about the mammogram machine she said I needed to go to the government building. I thought it an odd place to go for this, but maybe they had a mobile unit.
When I arrived no one had any idea what I was talking about, even when I showed them a copy of the notice. Finally a policeman came over and pointed to a street across the main street and said to go to the school. Hmmm. OK. That street was one way (the wrong way) but I circled the block and found the school. There were kids playing outside and a metal gate across the entrance, which was locked. Finally a teacher saw me and I asked her about the mammograms, holding up the notice. She took the notice from my hand and started to pin it to a bulletin board! “No, no, this is for me!” I told her. She then told me to go around the block to the other side of the school where there was an office.
I found the little door, purely by luck, and there were several elderly ladies stringing paper flowers together for a fiesta. I finally conveyed that I was looking for the mammogram office and they pointed to a little doorway at the other end of the building. It was a large room, but there were only two desks with two young ladies, both on their phones. I approached the first one and she said, “Oh si, señora.” She then opened up a spiral notebook and wrote my name down on a date about a week away. Well, at least I now had an appointment, or so I thought. I was glad I didn’t give up.
Three days later my landline rang, and it was someone who told me my appointment had been changed from the 5th to the 6th. Then about two hours after that, the phone rang again and someone told me my appointment was back on the 5th. After shaking my head at the whole thing I thought, OK, now it is set.
Another hour went by and the phone rang again. This time a young lady who spoke perfect English (where was she when I needed her?) told me, “Sorry, but you are too old to get the mammogram.” and hung up! I just stood there with my mouth open, not believing it for a minute. Every single form at every single place I had been had my date of birth and age on it. So NOW they tell me I’m too old? Sigh.
Well, since I’m old and retired I’m going to go get a Margarita and try to laugh at the whole thing! But ladies, DO go get your mammies grammed!
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com