Every year, thousands of young people pack a rucksack and go off for a few months of backpacking through Europe, staying at youth hostels and trying to get in as much travel and experience as their meagre budgets allow. I never did. Now, twenty years later, I'd make that trip.
The result is Running Late: A high-speed romp around Europe in which I set out in my forties to do the backpacking trip I never quite managed in my twenties.
It's a fast-paced, get-away-from-it-all tour through thirty destinations in sixteen countries.
While many of my readers are more familiar with my previous guidebooks that specialized in the medical tourism genre, this offering is different. This book was created during my time as a student in Mexicali, and is not intended to be a comprehensive guide to the surgical services of this city. In contrast to my prior books, which provide readers with critical analysis and objective information on hospitals, facilities and procedures in Latin America, this book gives more a personal look at Mexicali. The surgeons interviewed were, in part neighbors, colleagues and people I encountered during my day-to-day activities as a student. This creates a significant but unavoidable bias that must be acknowledged here, since surgeons who encountered me in the role of a student were probably more likely to consent to be interviewed. While I attempted to balance this by specifically seeking out other surgeons from different facilities across Mexicali, I quickly realized that this is not Bogota, and in many cases, even after formal introductions, surgeons were unwilling to be interviewed.
While Mexicali was written with a different audience in mind, I created it for the same reason as all of my previous works – as a labor of love, to provide readers with more information on topics essential to their health and well-being in an age of international health care.
This volume is more casual and relaxed in nature and was created to serve as an informal guide to friends, families and others traveling to Mexicali, Mexico. I created it based on my observations during the several months I lived and studied in Mexicali, Mexico. As such – this is not a definitive or exhaustive guide to the city, but just some shared tidbits, news and other information. During my time in Mexicali, I came to love this charmingly chaotic city, and its friendly and kind inhabitants.
While I’ve written several books, I don’t make my living as a writer. I am a nurse by trade, specifically a nurse practitioner in thoracic surgery. I wasn’t looking to write another book when I came to Mexicali. Initially, I traveled here to interview a surgeon for another one of my projects.1 But after interviewing Dr. Carlos Cesar Ochoa Gaxiola, and following him around for an exhausting 43 hours in a 48 hour period – I knew that I needed to return to Mexicali. Not as a writer, but as a student.
As a nurse practitioner in the eastern United States, the majority of my experience in thoracic surgery was related to the treatment of cancer; esophageal, lung and mediastinal cancers with some occasional infectious processes and other pathologies mixed in. In the short time I spent with Dr. Ochoa during my first few visits, I knew all of that was about to change. The realm of thoracic disease is heavily correlated with the demographics of the area, meaning that in the wealthier communities of the United States, surgery for tuberculosis or advanced pulmonary infections are relatively uncommon.2 However, this is not the case in a city like Mexicali, which draws many of its clientele from outlying rural or more impoverished areas. In these areas, diseases like tuberculosis, complicated pneumonias and advanced empyemas are endemic.
weeks or so, a handful of staffers would be quietly culled from the herd. The nice slightly older lady with the shapely legs from HR would drop by for "a word" and, soon after, they'd disappear.
Nothing was ever said publicly. Names were never announced. But every so often, usually on a Friday afternoon, a small group of people would depart slightly earlier than usual, carrying slightly more personal baggage than normal and leaving their desk just a bit tidier than everyday.
So when the nice slightly older lady with the shapely legs from HR turned up, I wasn't exactly shocked.