I skipped down to the zocalo as soon as I could after returning from Tlacochahuaya and grabbing a bite to eat. Tired, I wanted to see the Little Businessman and Co. and buy them some ears of corn before I came home to download pictures and write a little, but they had other plans. Since I only have tomorrow and Friday left with them, they wanted to have ice cream and take pictures, and when I went to take my leave for the night, they said that their mother had a couple of sore teeth and needed my help to get some medicine.

With only 150 pesos in my pocket, I told her I’d see what I could do. I went up the pedestrian street, Alcala, to a pharmacy I remembered, Ahorro. I told a very nice lady that there was a woman on the zocalo with tooth pain, and I asked if she could recommend something. She said she could, but since the medicine wasn’t for me and she didn’t know if the woman had diabetes or high blood pressure, or God forbid something else, she suggested that we go to the free doctor at the Ahorro on Higuera. It was 9:05; we had until ten to get there and be seen.

I returned to the Little Businessman’s mother to tell her the great news, that there was a free doctor and the doctor could see immediately. I asked her if she thought it was good, and she agreed we should go find the free doctor. There were three women in line ahead of us, but the appointments moved swiftly.

When it was “our” time to go in, I expected to wait outside, but Rosita (as I finally found out during the consultation) wasn’t going in without me.

I learned a lot about her (beyond her name). She is from Chiapas; she doesn’t know her own birthday, how to spell her name. And, she has no idea how to use a pen. I wrote for her; when it came time, her thumbprint was her signature.

The doctor was a VERY pregnant woman who was all questions and advice. She looked in Rosita’s mouth, banged her sore teeth a couple of times with a tongue depressor (probably enraging the angry teeth even more), and efficiently wrote out a prescription that we could fill right next door. She said that there was pus and an abscess; she said that, even if it hurts, Rosita needs to brush. She said that the gold crown she has now may need to be replaced or that she might lose the tooth/teeth altogether. Rosita was not happy about this, but she promised to go to the dentist (even if the prospect of paying was more painful than the throbbing in her mouth).

We filled the prescription (145 pesos for an antibiotic and pain medication), and I worried that she does not have a watch and cannot read, so it will be impossible for her to know when eight hours have passed and which of the two bottles of pills she should take when. I gave the instructions to Mateo, but what does eight hours mean to any of them?



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