Luli the nurse and Jill talk while the patient decides if it’s safe to sit up. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

I didn’t have much hope for today going well. A lousy night’s sleep and waking to the knowledge I would be getting a tetanus shot had me wanting to stay in bed. That didn’t happen.

Shot is a nasty-four letter word in my world. Fainting is the usual outcome, which then leads me to spend the better part of the day in bed. It all dates to childhood and isn’t really worth going into.

Today, though, ended up being more about gifts. That’s how my friend Jill put it, and it’s what I’m choosing to focus on.

She picked me up at about 8:30am, and off we went to breakfast at Black and White, a new restaurant in Todos Santos. (Super yummy!) The young woman serving us was someone Jill knew. She and her husband, the chef, are running it. Our bill was discounted based on Jill’s connection. While I wanted to go ahead and pay the full amount, Jill explained to do so would be an insult in the Mexican culture, it would be like giving back a gift. The tip, instead, was generous.

With a full stomach and kindness filling the morning, it was off to St. Jude’s for the tetanus shot that was required after having been bitten by a dog three days ago. While I was told it would arrive at the private clinic last night, ready for me Wednesday morning, it wasn’t delivered. Mañana – I was told — again. It’s a common refrain here and seldom really means tomorrow. I didn’t know how many more tomorrows I was willing to wait.

On Tuesday the woman at the clinic said the vaccine is difficult to come by in all of Baja Sur because the area is small, the need limited and the profit not as great for the distributors.

Still, that didn’t explain why I kept being told mañana.

Only positive things to say about this medical facility in Pescadero. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

Jill decided we ought to try the private doc in town who everyone goes to. She handles the cases for the Padrino Foundation, which deals with kids. Kids needs shots, was the thinking.

No luck.

We were referred to what is essentially the public health clinic. Neither of us had been inside before, but Jill had heard good things about it. I butchered what I needed to say based on what Google Translate said. We finally figured out they didn’t have the vaccine because the refrigeration was out.

They sent us to Pescadero, a few miles south of Todos Santos. If this didn’t work out, La Paz or Cabo San Lucas would probably be on the itinerary in the coming days.

On the way to Pescadero, I got a Spanish lesson from Jill. I can now correctly pronounce: Fui mordido por un perro. Necesito una vacuna contra el tétanos. (I was bit by a dog. I need a tetanus shot.)

Not knowing where to go, we turned left on the main road through town – seeing an area neither of us had been to. Apparently today was a bit about exploration and new experiences.

We ended up back on the highway, stopped at Kayle’s organic produce shop. (Note to self: go check that place out). He gave us directions and a bag of strawberries for our health.

Those gifts just kept coming.

We found the clinic in Pescadero. Much smaller than Todos Santos. No patients. No waiting.

All I needed to provide was my name and age. No lengthy paperwork to fill out. No medical history required.

Luli was a gem. This nurse was another gift.

Jill conveyed to her that I’m a fainter. No worries. We’d go into the room with two beds, with an array of medical equipment and supplies. The two of them chatted, with me getting about every tenth word before Jill explained it to me in English. I figured out Luli plays short stop on a softball team in San Jose del Cabo (she’s my age) and has the wounds on her fingers from her exploits. She seems likes someone I could easily be friends with.

Luli had the needle in and out with such deftness that I knew this was going to be a non-fainting day. I was right.

We asked about payment. Nothing. What? Luli explained this is Mexican law; they want people to be vaccinated. No tip allowed.

Jill, well, she was the biggest gift of the day – proving once again the power and importance of friendship.

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