I’d had twinges for days around my right arm and shoulder. Yesterday, jet-lagged and walking up Garcia Vigil with bags of groceries, I stopped, short of breath, in La Iglesia Carmen Alto. So when I awoke at 4:30 this morning with pain in my chest, I thought I might be having a heart attack, and who would I call? I’m in a stand-alone apartment on a quiet street; a physiotherapist office on one side and I don’t know what on the other. At 6am (4am your time) I called my dear Sue, who thought it might be anxiety but encouraged me to see a doctor. Who? How? George, who I met last July ─ a friend of a couple of old lefties I grew up with in Baltimore, gave me the name of his internist. I called, no one answered. I walked to the office, it was locked. The cardiologist across the street wasn’t in until 5:30pm; his secretary sent me across town to another. Dr. Aragón said my EKG was normal, my heart sounded OK and my BP, a bit high, was coming down. “Tranquila,” he said warmly, as he handed me a prescription for Tafil (Xanax).
The Oaxaqueños would say I’ve had a susto (fright). Just before I left, old Dex had a seizure. His caregiver had a crisis, leaving me to find another on short notice. Last Wednesday my cleaning ladies unwittingly locked me out of my house, having first flushed a sponge down the toilet. So when I got to this apartment Saturday at nearly midnight and the key didn’t work ─ I had to hail a taxi, find where my friend Donna lives, get another key ─ and the next morning I had a backed up toilet, I guess I began to get anxious. It’s freezing here. The apartment is poorly stocked (not even a spatula), has horrible fluorescent lights running along the tops of its 12-foot bare lavender walls, and a bad drain in the shower. I bought some warm ropas usadas (used clothes) after seeing Dr. Aragón and got eggs, fruits, and vegetables for dinner. It ain’t perfect. But with a heart still beating for Oaxaca, I’ll see what tomorrow will bring.