A Routine Trip to the Doctor in Belize City: I Should Stop Putting These Things Off!
Yesterday I took the 8:30 am water taxi to Belize City for an 11 am doctor’s appointment at Belize Healthcare Partners, the private hospital located in the country’s largest city.
No emergency. But an appointment with a gynecologist that I’ve been putting off forever. One that is recommended at least every other year. Time to man…well…woman up.
I’ve talked about expat denial before – move to a beautiful country, life is exciting and new, the weather gorgeous, you are always wearing shorts and flip-flops, you feel younger so…some of that “real-world stuff” can just…slip your mind.
Picture this morning from Back Street
And letting it slip by…not getting basic checkups and catching things early is especially critical in Belize! Some of the critical care and specialized care that is needed for cancer or auto-immune illnesses or many other issues is just not available in Belize. CATCH THINGS EARLY!
You can just read: My 49-year-old Boyfriend Had a Heart Attack in Belize
So…men, you know what you need to do. As a 47-year-old woman – I know what I need to do. And yesterday I did it. Here’s my trip to the gynecologist.
(For those of you balking at me even mentioning a “woman’s doctor” – my “private business” – ‘airing out my laundry in public” – I’m gonna say – get over it. This is the standard operating procedure for half the world’s population. And maybe the information will inspire one person to think about scheduling their needed appointment – physical, gynecologist, dentist, dermatologist…whatever)
Setting up my appointment:
I had been to Belize Healthcare Partners about 7 years ago for my last appointment of this kind. (7 YEARS!) So, on Monday, July 11th, I called them again and found out that my previous doctor (she had been recommended by my San Pedro doctor) had passed away – and they had a male doctor and a female doctor that I could choose from. I chose Dr Navarette (male) – after I received good feedback about him from a number of friends.
The hospital apologized that I could not get an appointment with him for that day. And would I mind waiting until TOMORROW for my appointment
Those of you in Belize might not be shocked by this. In Belize, you can almost always get a same-day appointment – or you just drop by for an appointment when you have an issue or just a question. In the States? Asking to schedule a regular appointment with your doctor is like…like you are asking them for some INCREDIBLE favor. “Well…maybe we can fit you in…how’s 5 weeks from Friday? At 1pm? Or…you need earlier? We have a 7am on Christmas morning…”
It can feel ridiculous.
I made an appointment with Dr Navarette for Thursday at 11am.
8:30am Thursday boat from San Pedro on a very pretty morning.
The San Pedro Belize Express is still running limited schedules but I imagine that will change very soon. My boat to Belize was full…and on the way back? They needed 2 HUGE boats – both packed with people.
Masks…required. Everywhere in Belize.
Arrival in Belize City.
There are lots of taxis waiting…lots. It’s was a 10bzd trip and about 10 mins away.
On entering, I got my hands sanitizer, my temperature checked and I filled out some forms.
At 11:02am, the doctor called me for my consultation. For my 11am appointment.
Consultation and check-up – $65bzd
I had Mammogram, $110bzd, Ultrasound $170bzd, blood checks for my hormones, and my thyroid, as recommended by the doctor. $330bzd. It all came to $660bzd. Certainly not cheap but, again, I imagine if you are used to US prices – it seems VEEEERRRYYY reasonable.
It was all right there on site. No visits to separate labs or specialists or long waits.
The doctor is lovely, all the staff I interacted with – the phlebotomist (I just like to use that word), the radiologist, everyone answered all my questions. The doctor received all the images and results and we talked again. I left the hospital (everything done) at 2pm.
Everything is as it should be. And what a relief!
(Please feel free to message me – [email protected] – if you wanna chat about specifics…)
I hopped into a taxi right outside the hospital and back for lunch.
Image Factory’s cafe – which is just a few buildings away from the terminal – is reliably delicious. I had a great grilled shrimp wrap.
And waited for my boat. One of the vendors by the water taxi had some postcards for sale that had to be 10-30 years old. Here’s the one from San Pedro…
I don’t remember the name of that day spa in the bottom left corner but it closed…15 years ago?
And then 1.5 hours ride home…relieved and tired and feeling well…very adult.