“What was that?” I said, jumping up and dashing outside. The loud crash had all of our friends running for the same location.
That – was Lawrie. He had missed his footing on a short flight of stairs leading from the patio at Casa Dia to the beach. He had done a one-eighty flip mid-air and smashed backwards into an aluminum gate. His head bent the slats, and the force of the blow knocked the locking mechanism off the gate and onto the beach. Anyone who has had a head wound know they bleed profusely. There was blood everywhere.
Fortunately he was conscious, talking, and breathing okay. He could sit up on his own, and there weren’t any signs of broken bones or smashed ribs so we gently moved him to a chair to get a better idea of his injuries. Then we called our favourite island physician, Doctor Greta Shorey.
Born and educated in Britain, Dr. Shorey has lived primarily on the island since 1988. Her son and daughter were born on Isla. Dr. Shorey speaks English, Spanish, Arabic, and French, although she admits the French words get tangled up with Spanish on occasion. She has been trained in five specialties including obstetrics, gynecology, pediatrics, tropical diseases, emergency medicine, as well as being a General Practitioner. She spent three months of her final year of studies working in Africa.
Doctor Shorey quite recently returned to the Island after spending 11 years in Abu Dhabi, starting in a large Canadian run hospital. She worked as a General Practitioner, very involved in teaching the junior doctors. To keep a balance with working in that modern, well equipped, rich facility, she also joined the Red Crescent, doing relief work in Pakistan and with refugees in the border area between Jordan and Syria.
A few years ago the municipality named her Woman of the Year on Isla Mujeres for her dedication to helping families with young children who require medical assistance.
As her very good friend and long-time islander, Lindell Lehrer said, Doctor Shorey is the only foreigner to be honoured in this way.
And, fortunately for us, she makes house calls!
Our ex-firefighter pal, Chuck Watt, took great care of Lawrie while I called Dr. Shorey and explained what had happened and how to find us. We weren’t at home, but were a few houses away having dinner with friends, or about to have dinner I should say until Lawrie’s impressive display. She arrived quickly and set to work doing a full checkup lasting over an hour. Then she bandaged the large messy gouge in his head and sent him home with instructions to call if at any time he was having difficulty breathing or was distressed in any way.
Her clean, modern clinic is on the western side of the island, near the Salinas Grande. She charges a mere five hundred pesos (about $25.00 USD or $34.00 CDN) for an extensive office visit or a house call. Unfortunately some foreign visitors are under the impression that her services are free. Not so. She has expenses; staff wages, utilities, taxes, equipment purchases and the ongoing restocking of supplies. Besides paying her extremely reasonable consultation fee, you might also consider contributing to her cookie-jar-fund to help less fortunate islanders who can’t afford the medications they require.
Since Lawrie’s fall Doctor Shorey has come to our house every morning to check on her acrobatical patient. He was extremely lucky, stiff and sore from head to toe, and uncomfortable riding in a bouncy golf cart but otherwise doing well. The outcome could have been much, much worse.
His gate crashing was a very dramatic way to entertain a small group of family, friends, and neighbours gathered at Casa Dia for a pre-Christmas get together. Thank goodness he has a hard head. The following morning, we received a care package of dinner goodies from our host and hostess, Brent Curley and Day Grey, including a plate of cookies. Yum!
Thanks to everyone who was so caring and helpful. Lawrie says he has to work on sticking the landing before he tries that mid-air flip maneuver again.
Cheers from paradise
Lynda & the Gymnast