Friday, June 29, 2012

Medical Care in Belize and Hablo pequeño inglés.

Bill getting fitted for glasses.  What a cutie pie!!!


Vision Eye Test Chart.

This week Bill and I were able to experience the medical care in Belize and from what we can tell so far, we like it. 

People ask, "what do you do about medical care while in Belize"?  After much research and thought we decided that we would no longer carry health insurance in the United States on Bill.  He would use the healthcare system in Belize.  But for me, we chose to continue to carry my insurance with Blue Cross in the states.  Why you ask?  Bill is almost 63, very healthy and in 2 year he will be eligible for Medicare in the US.  I on the other hand (I am much younger) have many years before I will be eligible so I continued to keep up my insurance in the US.  I also am the one that travels back and forth to the US the most.

The one thing that concerned us the most healthcare wise before moving was to Belize was the fact that Bill has glaucoma and he also takes blood pressure medicine.  On our exploring trip to Belize in September 2010 when we came to look at the island from the point of moving here, we made a trip to Chetumal, Mexico to see if we could find his eye drops for his glaucoma.  We went to the Sam's Club Warehouse (Walmart) in Chetumal and we were able to find his eyedrops with no problems.



Since moving to Ambergris Caye in January 2012, Bill now has an additional medication that he now also has to have for his glaucoma.  So in April, 2012 we made a trip to Chetumal, Mexico again in order to try to find his medications he needed.  This trip he was able to find one of the drops and the blood pressure medicine, but not the new drops he now has to have for his glaucoma.  Luckily he has had enough of that med that we have not had to worry until now. 

This time we decided that we would try and find the medications he needed here on the island.  We made a trip to the local Poly Clinic to inquire about his meds.  They told him he would need to see the doctor.  Bill stayed to see the doctor who was Cuban educated and was on duty at the time, to talk with him about his medications.  If you don't already know, since moving to Belize Bill has lost nearly 35 pounds.  Bill has been on blood pressure medication for some time now and even with meds his blood pressure would still run high.  They checked his blood pressure at the Poly Clinic and it was 134/68.  WOW, he couldn't believe it.  Losing weight, exercising and eating healthier has really made a difference.  The Poly Clinic II did not carry the same blood pressure medicine that Bill was taking in the states, but instead gave Bill a medication that will replace the one he was currently taking and can be gotten each month at The Poly Clinic.  Also since Bill was there and had been having a sinus cold he asked for medication for that as well.  The cost of the visit and medication, nothing, yep nothing.  It is on donation based only as long as you are a resident of San Pedro.  The clinic also did not carry Bill's glaucoma medications, so we headed out to go to some of the pharmacies in town to see what we could find.

The Poly Clinic II

Bill saw Dr. Rodriguez at the Poly Clinic II.

The doctor gave bill medication for his sinus cold and for his blood pressure.

We went to a few pharmacies in town but it seemed no one could get the two drops that Bill has to have to put in his eyes for glaucoma.  He will have to put these drops in his eyes every day for the rest of his life or take a chance on going blind.  So we had to find the drops for his glaucoma.

The Pharmacy.

Looks a little different than the one's we have in the US.

Bill was reading the San Pedro Daily this week and in the notices it said that the BCVI was going to be at the Lion's Den with a specialist from the USA Thursday and Friday for any vision attention for FREE consulatation and assistance.  Thursday morning we went down to the Lion's Den on Front Street.  Bill signed in and waited to see the doctor.  Soon he was called for the vision test and a very nice looking young American man was the one doing the vision tests.  Bill was number 14, so when his number was called he stepped up to get his vision test.  The nice young American boy said to Bill, " do you speak English?"  Bill replies, "Hablo pequeño inglés (I speak a little English). 

Do you speak English?  Hablo pequeño inglés (I speak a little English).

BCVI-Belize Council for the Visual Impaired.





While Bill was waiting to see the doctor, I decided to go get breakfast.  I walked down to the bakery and picked us up some donuts.  I had really been wanting a donut lately and I was finally about to give in and pick out a chocolate covered donut from Casa Pan Dulce Bakery.  I figured we weren't seeing the dentist today, so a donut was just what we needed.

Bill waiting for his number 14 to be called.

I got back to the Lion' Den and we had our breakfast while we waited to see the doctor.  It wasn't too long before our number 14 was called again.  The doctors were a husband, wife and son team from Fayetteville, North Carolina in the US.  They were Laurie Arcolano and William Vaughan with Village Eye Care.  They had been to Belize once before with a vision team that came last year.  This year they came on their on.  We told them that their son had asked Bill if he spoke English.  We all got a real laugh out of it.  They too said they were not sure if we were Americans or not until we spoke and then they recognized our southern accents.  I guess we can't escape our southern accents even in Belize.

We say this a lot in the South.


This piece of equipment Dr. Vaughan had made by a machinist in the states just to bring to Belize.  He carried it on the plane all the way here. 

Dr. Laurie Arcolano checking Bill's vision.

Dr. William Vaughan helping another patient.






The Vaughan's were more than helpful and yes they had the glaucoma medications that Bill needed.  They gave Bill an ample supply of both medications that he needed for his glaucoma and yes it was all free.  Dr. Vaughan also gave him the names of other drugs that were basically the same medication to make it easier to help find next time.   If you are in Fayetteville, North Carolina area you should definitely check them out at their clinic, Village Eye Care.  Doctors Arcolano and Vaughan believe strongly in giving back to the community and caring for the eyes of all those in need through their International Outreach Program and Overseas Mission Trips.  At Village Eye Care, Dr. Arcolano and Vaughan have worked with many VOSH eyecare teams in Central and South America. They have made multiple trips to Peru and Nicaragua, as well as missions to the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Belize.  Thank you Dr. Arcolano and Dr. Vaughan, y'all are the best, hope to see you in Belize again next year.

Here are your choices for frames from the BCVI.  Bill opted to use his own frames and just get new lens.

Prices shown are in Belize dollars.


  1. You guys are doing wonderful stuff! Now if I can just get my act together as well here in Placencia!

  2. I like the glasses Bill is wearing in the very first picture best. Why ever didn't you go for those? ;-) Very interesting and informative post, thanks guys! Glad Bill was able to get fixed up with the meds he needed.

  3. Drew I am sure you are doing great things as well there in Placencia.

  4. Bill is a pretty good sport with my picture taking. I am glad to have the meds taking care of for now...and the price is even better.


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