The doctor sat across from me dressed in a white lab coat. Peering at his computer screen we communicated around the constant ringing of a phone and through the aid of an interpreter. I was there to donate blood - the questions should have been simple enough.
"What is your address?" he asked. "Currently I'm sort of homeless."
"Oh dear - is the month first in Mexico or the day?"
"Are you pregnant?"
"Are you kidding?"
"When was your last period?"
"I can't remember back that far."
"When did you last have sex?"
"Had what?.... Better just refer to the response above."
To give blood in Mexico, you have to meet a great deal of criteria, including knowing your blood type - which I didn't know. So I had searched around Ajijic for a lab that could check it for me. I paid them money. They poked me for a while. The next day I picked up an official document with the answer. I knew this one! "Do you need my blood type," I inquired?
"No, no." (Figures)
The man left his desk and walked to a cabinet. Opening a door, he pulled something out, held it up to me and recited a few words.
I sat up straighter and smiled. Finally, something I could understand. A thermometer!
With pride I nodded my head, reached for the sliver of glass, and exclaimed "THIS I can do!"
I opened my mouth, popped the thing under my tongue, and closed my lips around it to hold it tight.
"NO!" he shouted, and the interpreter exclaimed, "Not there! Don't put it there! It goes under your arm!"
"Your arm. It goes under your arm."
"Lift your shirt and put it in your armpit."
The one item in the entire beautifully clean hospital that had been stuck under numerous nasty dirty armpits and probably not cleaned for weeks, I had managed to put in my mouth and suck on. I'd have been better off licking the floor.
And people worry about drinking the water in Mexico