Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Swift Kick in the Seat of the Pants!

The swift kick has been the gripping reality that two close friends and two acquaintances have died in the last three weeks.  Two were sudden and two were expected. It does make one stop and pause for reflection along with facing reality while being sad for the loss of these wonderful people.

Somehow since I retired and in the last few years, I've become a "manana" person.  Now there is nothing wrong with that except that in matters such as these, procrastinating can be disastrous and a big pain in the rear  for those left behind.

When I was in the hospital in Houston for that eight hour spell in February, it seemed that at least five or six people asked if I had a medical directive.  I didn't.  I have now printed one out and will complete it and put it in the "death and medical file" along with sending copies of all of this to my grown adult children.

Then there is the matter of the 24 Hour Association.  An organization started in the 1930's for those who needed some way to negotiate the perils of the Mexican laws and requirements upon death.  It used to be that you had to be buried within 24 hours.  Back then the bodies had to go to Celaya for embalming and then to Mexico City for everything else!  Can you imagine how complicated that would be?  A very competent and good intentioned expat started this association to handle all that is required from death to burial on behalf of the deceased.

When I moved here it cost $350 for all the documentation and cremation or burial.  Now it is $900, which is refundable if you move away and don't need the services.  If you DON'T have this in advance, it is a nightmare, which the daughter of a friend went through last month.  Hence, the kick in the seat of the pants on this issue.

In addition, while laying on the bed in January when passing the gallstone and thinking I was having a heart attack or some horrible form of death, I realized that I wanted an efficient way to get myself back to the states if need be.  There are three med evac programs that are internationally available here in San Miguel!
I've talked to all three today.  For heaven's sakes the total cost to be medevaced to Houston with this service is a mere $260USD per year as a fee and they guarantee that the fee will not increase annually!  A mere pittance to what the actual cost is for a private medevac service.  Needless to say, this is a no brainer and has now been taken care of, today.  I'm so blessed that I haven't had a reason to have wanted this service.  Not that I think I am in the future going to need it, but it sure will give me peace of mind to know I have this available.  And yes, I know several people who have been medevaced and were pleasantly surprised at the professionalism and efficiency.

The only thing I haven't done today is contact the Met Life agent or the AXA agent here in San Miguel to find out what health insurance would cost if I had something so bad that I couldn't be transferred back to the USA.  My next door neighbor pays a little over $100 a month for coverage with a $2000 deductible.  When he fell down the stairs and had two bad breaks, the bills were about $18,000 USD here in San Miguel!  AXA paid all but $2,000 of the bills.  It took a few months to get reimbursed, but at least he had the insurance and yes he was reimbursed.  Mexican doctors and hospitals, that I know of, do NOT file any kind of insurance papers on your behalf.  You must pay and then get reimbursed personally  by your insurance!

That's it for today.  What I have put off for fourteen years is now being taken care of.  It is more then a shame that I had to get a swift kick in the seat of the pants to take care of these matters.

(On another note, the photo above of the orange trees in a friend's garden is, besides being lovely, a story of the amount of oranges that used to be the major crop here.  It is unusual to see that many oranges in a garden but this is a house on Hernandez Macias that I imagine is a couple of hundred years old.  It is wonderful to see the mature trees and plants.  AND grass, which is highly unusual since we live in an area where water is precious!)


Brenda Maas said...

Sorry to hear about your friends passing, always hard to say goodbye.
Just a thought in regard to your medical directive. It was suggested here by some to have a copy of it stuck on your refrigerator with a magnet, so that if there is an emergency and someone who doesn't know you well might have a better chance of seeing it. If a neighbor or someone not real close to you ends up helping you in an emergency they would not think to look through your files or feel comfortable doing so; whereas if it is stuck on your frig. they may see it and grab it to take with them to hospital. In an emergency you may not be able to speak to get help from family or someone who knows you well.
Just a thought.

Babs said...

Thanks Brenda - Great idea! I also will have a copy with my Dr. here in San Miguel!

Calypso said...

I HATE this stuff - and of course it is mandatory to think about. thanks in any case - it always comes gentler from you.

Babs said...

Aww, Calypso, good to hear from you. I'm so glad that is behind me and I can now return to my goofing off with things like getting the car fixed and getting the computer guy over here. It seems to never end.......ha

Anonymous said...

This morning, after the earthquake, I told Edgar that dying in bed in his arms in an earthquake wouldn't be the worst way to go for me. "Don't say that!" he exclaimed. "We're all going to die," I replied. "The only uncertainty is the timing."

I need to write a will, but have never done so, feeling pretty young and healthy.

But you never know, do you?

Thanks for the reminder, delivered in your usual upbeat style.


Kim G
Tehuacán, Puebla
Where it is my sincerest wish to simply drop dead when the time comes.

Charles said...

Thanks for this "gentle" reminder that most of us tend to try and not think about...are you sure about the AXA for $100 USD per month? I got a quote from them last week and it was $560 USD per month...way too high...do you know the name of the agency in SMA who he got it through? At this point I'm going to do IMSS for $300 USD per year...one months premium for my gringo insurance which is no good down here...the gastroenterologist who lives across the street says IMSS is not nearly as bad as some people say...he likened it to the Canadian system...thanks again for the swift kick in the ars!

Babs said...

Kim, me too! I HOPE I just drop dead. I had a will from the week after my husband died. But, when I sold everything in the USA and have nothing but dribbles and drabbles here in the house, he said there was no need for a will any longer, so I tore it up. I would have had to have it translated to Spanish here in Mx and saw no point!

Babs said...

Charles, my neighbor used an agent in Mazatlan since he lived there at the time. He is in his mid 50's and age is a factor.
I'll let you know what the agent here says.....when I contact him.
I have a friend who has done IMSS but never used it. Another friend got Seguro Popular and is going through cancer treatment at this time in that system.....

Liz said...

I just joined your blog after googling info on retiring to San Miguel Allende. Your story about your friends dying recently sure hit home with me. I'll be attening the funeral in early June of a good friend who died not long ago.
Babs, THANKS for all the great info you share on your blog. The very first post of yours that I read was music to my ears...when you told us that you've managed to have a wonderful life there in San Miguel de Allende on your $1299 a month social security pension...and you mentioned having a friend who was living well there on $700 month. That is music to my ears! I am downsizing now,selling stuff and giving it away. I, too, LONG for s much simpler and quiet life. I feel SO BLESSED that I spent the first ten years of my life growing up in San Diego,CA. just 30 miles north of the Mexican border....therefore, I heard alot of spanish spoken all around me, as I grew up, along with being a le to enjoy the great music and food of our very warm and friendly Mexican neighbors. It sounds like you're really living the community life there!...and that's so important, exp. as we age! I HOPE to join in one of your SCRABBLE games in the not-too-distant future. THANKS again for all your helpful and much-needed advice. You're a very good writer!

Babs said...

Dear Liz - Thanks for letting me know of your enjoyment of the blog and your plans.
I want to qualify a couple of things. I don't know when I wrote that info about retiring in SMA but income requirements changed in November 2012 with a requirement to prove income of $2200 a month in order to get a visa to live here. Otherwise, one must live here on a tourist visa which requires leaving every 180 days.
Many many people have left due to that new law. In additon, once one has a permanent visa, a US plated car cannot be kept in Mexico. It can be kept in Mx if you have a tourist visa or a temporary resident visa which require each year you proved income. It's a hassle.
With that said, San Diego is a wonderful place and I have fond memories.
With my ss and rental income I am able to meet the $2200 a month requirement and it takes every $ of that for me to live here by the time I buy groceries, pay help, utilities, insurance, meds and car expenses. I'm sure that is still less then living in the USA. Before you move here permanently, I highly suggest you come down for a few months to make sure this is the place for you.
I've seen too many not do that and leave in a year or two.....for one reason or another.
Good luck in your adventures.

Droelma said...

I am not familiar with the Canadian Public health Care System, but imagine that what I am used to from Germany is very similar. Since I work here in Mexico I contribute to Social Security. While the system is not luxurious and one shares for example hospital rooms with other people ( which we also do in German, but which causes disgust with quite a few Americans I know), has no private bath, telephone and other privileges, I found that when I was treated for thyroid cancer that I was treated well, according to the latest standards, swiftly and with success. In Nov.20011 I was diagnosed with rampant systemic Lupus ( and am still not in remission ) and with monthly appointments & treatments have to this day no complaints. I am not entirely familiar with the options for retired foreigners in regard to health insurance, but would not shy away from " Seguro Popular " and similar programs.

Babs said...

Thanks Droelma for your insight into the program. I assume, and please correct me if I'm wrong, that you are in IMSS? Glad to hear they were able to help with thyroid cancer and hopefully with your lupus soon.
Keep us informed.....