Doctor Guapo

This week’s life adventure involved a visit to the Emergency Room, my first ever. Normally, I do everything in my power to avoid doctors and hospitals, believing passionately as I do in aggressive, proactive preventive measures to stay healthy. But this week I realized, not for the first time, that professional medical assistance is sometimes inescapable.

Last Friday I fell ill from who-knows-what — the kind of ill that makes death seem like a pleasant alternative. It felt like malaria, which I’ve had once: a roller-coaster of hot sweats and cold shivers, a head that feels like it’s about to explode all over the room, the inability to stand – or eat or drink or sleep or, in general, function.

So when my duena (landlady) came home from wherever she’d been all day, and I told her what was what, she swung into action, being the motherly Mexican woman she is. She phoned a woman-doctor friend of hers, described my symptoms to her, and was told to take me to an Emergency Room right away. So off we went in my duena’s car.

The first ER we tried, at the general hospital, was overwhelmed at that moment due to a major automobile accident involving multiple victims. So my dear duena kept driving, through San Miguel’s darkening streets and outlying highways, to find other options. Finally, we found a small, private hospital that looked promising, even welcoming.


And welcome me they did. I was whisked in, put in a wheelchair, and treated like a princess in a palanquin, while my duena waited in the lobby. I seemed to be their only patient that evening, and everyone appeared happy to come to my aid.

“Do you speak Spanish?” the lovely young nurse asked me, as she began taking my vitals.

“Un pequeño” (a little), I said, explaining that I do best when Spanish conversations are conducted “despacio” (slowly). Fast Spanish – the kind that most Mexicans speak — flies right over my head, I told her, using both words and hand gestures to make my point.

She smiled and spoke gently and slowly to me.

Then seemingly out of nowhere (I was still feeling sick and dizzy and having trouble focusing) a not very tall but very classically dark-and-handsome young man in green scrubs arrived by my side and introduced himself as Doctor Diego. He, too, spoke no English.

I tried my best to follow what he was saying, but I was distracted by his good looks. What a beautiful creature, I thought to myself, muy guapo! Which made me feel surprisingly alive and well.

I looked up at him from the wheelchair, smiled into his movie-star-worthy cara (face), nodded, and repeated “Si” to everything he said. Literally and figuratively, I put myself in his able hands. My innate trust issues suddenly vanished. I was up for whatever he wanted to do with or for me. “Si, doctor.” I’m yours.

He put me on a drip, through which the ER nurse, Katy, administered medications – for the pain, nausea, and so on – and took blood to be analyzed. He stood by my hospital bed and caringly asked me questions, such as family medical history and allergies, then listened patiently as I answered him in splintered Spanish, all the while patting his arm with my free hand.

He must have been no more than thirty – younger than my grandson – but I found myself falling in love. Don’t leave me, a twenty-five-year-old voice in my heart was whispering to him through my seventy-seven-year-old eyes. Was this malaria-like illness making me delusional?

By this time, it was nearing midnight, and I sensed I wasn’t going anywhere.

“We’ll be keeping you overnight, for observation,” I think he said in Spanish.

Really? I thought. That’s fine with me! But all I could say was “Si, doctor.”

The habitation (room) they found for me upstairs had a large, comfortable sofa in it, where my duena spent the night. Here in Mexico, I learned, hospital patients must be accompanied by a close friend or family member at all times. My duena says we are family.

I was dozing off when Doctor Guapo appeared in this room, by this hospital bed, where I was tethered by tubes to the drip on my left and an arm cuff on my right. He spoke with me as if he had nothing better to do, nowhere better to go. From what I could grasp, he was going off duty, and he wanted to see how I was doing before he left. He explained that he’d like me to stay another day so he could call in a specialist to examine me; but if I chose to, I could go home in the morning. I chose the latter.

So the root cause of this ER episode, other than severe dehydration, remains something of a mystery. But one thing is clear to me: Deep down, thanks to Doctor Guapo, I know my heart is still young and alive.

42 thoughts on “Doctor Guapo”

  1. Oh my! I do hope you are feeling much better. What a scary experience, how lovely of your landlady to stay with you, and what a bonus to have Dr Guapo to take care of you. No matter our age, our hearts remain young. And how nice to know that yours beats strongly. Please let me know if you need anything.

    1. Perfect advice, dear Carol! Yes, I try to avoid them. The last time I was a patient in one was in 1997. My stay-healthy regimen has worked pretty well, I like to think.

  2. OH NO BONNIE!!! I am so sorry you had to go through that, in spite of Dr. Guapo. And of course, glad it was so easily treated. When you have a crisis, you must know you have MANY DUENAS! Please let us be useful! Abrazos Querida.

    1. It was certainly an adventure, querida Kim! One of the things it taught me was that I must work harder at improving my Spanish. 🙂 As for my many duenas, I guess I’m saving you all up for bigger medical adventures. 🙂

  3. Glad you got such good help. Sounds better than if you went to the General hospital. I am sure a lot of people will want to know where you went.

  4. Hi Bonnie
    Great story! When we first arrived, we heard about a Dr. Gorgeous, whose real name was Dr. Jorge Martinez, and he too was gorgeous!!! All the women were crazy about him and he made house calls only, because he didn’t hve an office. I don’t know if he is still around.
    Which hospital did you end up in? Was it La Joya? May I ask what they charged you? My husband spent one night there many years ago when it had a different name and the bill was pretty high and they charged us for things that we never received or used. It was not fun having to check over the bill when one leaves the hospital and finding all these extra charges.. Sounds like maybe things have changed, if it was Hospital La Joya. Glad it turned out to be nothing serious.

    1. Thank you, Dorit, for your experience at, yes, the same hospital. And, yes, I had the same experience of a shockingly high bill. (Sigh) But for the purpose of this post, I’ve chosen to put that aside and focus on the positive and light aspects of my experience there. I really did get excellent care, and I guess we get what we pay for.

  5. Dear Bon,

    I hope you’re fully recovered. Apart from Dr. Dreamboat, it all seems very distressing. Still, you’ve been reminded that it only takes one special face to recall what it was like to fall easily, eagerly in love. This revelation is especially welcome after having adamantly convinced ourselves that such feelings are past and will never come again. I couldn’t be more delighted for you!


    1. Dearest Paul — I knew you would see the sunshine in this stormy story and the healing power of even puppy love! Yes, I’m feeling fully hydrated now, which is to say much better. I hope you are doing well too. Mucho love siempre, BB xx

  6. I’ve been thinking about this inspired post all day, Bonnie. It shows that a human face, whether filled with love or beauty, can save a life by saving their spirit. Thank goodness for Doctor Guapo!

    1. Thank you, Morgan dear. I’m glad I can count on one person to “get” my peculiar sense of humor. 🙂 — Mucho love to you and Tom and Eddie. — xx

  7. Bonnie I hope you are feeling better! A real life Dr McDreamy does remind you that you are still among the living….praying you are on the mend sending lots of love

    1. Thank you for your concern, dear Whitney. Yes. Dr. McDreamy’s magic seems to have done the trick! 🙂 I’m feeling better, and I hope you and your beautiful family are all well too.

  8. Glad you are feeling better. Thank you for sharing. Hope some test they ran comes back with results. Which ER?

  9. Yes, it is surprising, and refreshing, when that 25 year old is reawakened. Good for you, Bonnie!

    1. Thanks, Betty! Yes, she’s still in there. Sometimes I get the sense that she wants me to wear the (faded, old) bikini she used to wear (and I still have). But I tell her, No way!

  10. What a scary and dreamy ER episode, BB! Dr. Guapo, Dr. Dreamboat, Dr. McDreamy, all the handsome aliases your story elicited from your friends are so instantly recognizable, like the television “ER” that starred George Clooney years ago. . .or was it George McClooney? Your hand patting his arm. . .oh yes! Your artfully-handled experiences with Español Rapido deserve film production. So now you have a sign in the kitchen saying “DRINK YOUR WATER”? Your cinematic account cries out for a Saturday Night Live skit. Thanks for the story, and best wishes for good health, unless you need a follow-up from Dr. Guapo. . . .

    1. Ah, Steve dear, you’ve made me laugh out loud! And given me mischievous ideas… A follow-up with Doctor Guapo sounds great! 🙂 Thank you for your sharing your reaction — and for recognizing the “cinematic” aspects of CNF. — BB

  11. I guess I missed it but where is the emergency room located. Would you mind sharing the total amount of your bill for the stay?


    1. I think I answered your questions in a response to an earlier comment, James. It was Hospital Joya on the Libramiento, and I’d rather not discuss the specifics of the bill. I chose to write about other aspects of my stay.

  12. I wonder if this had anything to do with La Gruta. It took me 2 days to recover from our visit on Wednesday and you were in the ER the following Friday? I think I also became dehydrated plus the pounding of the waterfall on my back and ribs gave me days of pain. Glad you turned a rough day into an encounter with McDreamy. Sure does make the medicine go down smoothly!

    1. Ha! Yes, Kharin, McDreamy made the medicine go down smoothly indeed! I’m sorry our day at La Gruta turned out badly for you. I doubt that my episode was connected to that. More like a really bad UC flareup, I suspect.

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