I loved our pediatrician in Colorado. He was very calm and confident, easy-going with the children, professional, and had a good sense of humor. He visited us in the hospital the day after A was born and welcomed us into his office later that week. He got his doctorate at the NYU School of Medicine and had been with our pediatrics office for 16 years. Before that he was with the Children’s Hospital in Denver for 12 years. He’s also a Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado, and he was a consulting physician for the book Your Child’s Health. In retrospect, I should’ve got his autograph. But even when he wasn’t available, the nurses were always fun and friendly, and my six-month-old baby boy would flirt with them…until they inevitably stabbed him in the leg with a needle. I was sad to leave them.

Since we’ve been in Belmopan, we’ve taken A to the health unit at the embassy a couple times for routine check-ups and shots. Last week we took him in for a cough. His nanny was out for a week with bronchitis, and his daddy was concerned. I don’t want to say that I’m in complete denial when it comes to my child’s health, but I have a tendency to think that most things are routine and will run their course. I do my own research on the internet and feel like I have a decent idea of what’s going on with him. But it’s always good to have a doctor weigh in. So we took him to the nurses at the embassy (both of whom are fabulous), they gave him a quick exam and recommended a local pediatrician since we have no doctor on staff. We have a Regional Medical Officer who comes through every few months, but we missed him by a week or so.

There are two pediatricians they suggest we use: one in Belize City that our neighbors swear by, and another one here in Belmopan. I would’ve loved to have tried the one in Belize City, but neither of us thought that A was up for a two-hour car ride. And we assumed the one here would have a freer schedule. So the nurses made an appointment for us, and one of them came with us to show us where it was since most of the roads in Belmopan don’t have street signs.

We pulled up a little before 2:30pm in front of a newer building that reminded me a bit of a garage with three of those rolling metal garage doors across the front. There was no parking lot, so we just pulled up alongside of the ditch that separated the office from the road, and I dropped out of the passenger seat into the high grass in my sandals hoping there were no snakes or large spiders close by. One of the garage doors lifted up, and our new pediatrician waved us in. The waiting room was empty and bare except for a few chairs and toys in the corner. Her office was also rather spartan with the occasional piece of medical equipment, a slightly rusty scale and two framed medical qualifications hanging on the wall.

But it was clean, and she was also calm and friendly. According to her Facebook page, she attended grad school in Guatemala. So at least she’s legitimate. And I saw that she’s friends with a few of the other moms that I respect here in the community, so I assume that means they take their children to her as well. She gave A another chest exam and wrote us out a prescription for Ambroxol. We had it filled at one of the two pharmacies in town, and it all seemed relatively normal…even if the English translation on the box was slightly humorous. “Do not administer in cases with molestations in the bronchomotor function.” I thought he was there because of molestations in the bronchomotor function.

Apparently A had questions of his own. We gave him a nice bath before bedtime, and I let him play with my old Blackberry that we disabled when we left the States. It’s now nothing more than an alarm clock. As I was putting his pajamas on, I glanced at the screen now and then and saw that he was resetting my alarm and playing with the stop watch feature. A few minutes later my head snapped up as I heard a woman’s voice coming from my supposedly disabled phone. I snatched the phone away from him and flipped through the history. Apparently my 16-month-old son had reconnected the roaming capabilities…and called his old pediatrician in Colorado. I have to assume that he was simply hitting random buttons, ended up in the contacts, “Alpine” was right at the beginning, and he pushed the call button. But I’m honestly not sure. Maybe he wanted a second opinion.

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