Wednesday, December 11, 2013

When Félix met Felisa

About six months ago Félix reported he had flunked the eye exam for his drivers license because vision in his right eye was badly degraded. An eye doctor then detected the beginning of a detached retina that called for laser surgery as soon as possible, a lousy diagnosis for a guy in his mid twenties.

It turns out Félix had had a bad bump and cut many years ago that was never treated properly. When his brother Esteban gives him a monthly hip-hop buzz haircut I can spot a half a dozen scars on the scalp that Félix attributes to this, that and who knows. I can see the scars because I'm about nine inches taller.

Félix tried to arrange for the emergency surgery at the General Hospital but was told he needed to get a referral from the local clinic near his home, which in turn sent him to another clinic in the La Lejona neighborhood at the other end of town. That bureaucratic round-robin went on for two days with no surgery in sight.

Finally, Stew and I popped for the $5,000 pesos for the operation at the local private hospital. We both have had retinal surgery and know the seriousness of the problem. We also didn't want to end up with a one-eye gardener simply because he couldn't afford the surgery.

Since the surgery Félix seems to have recouped his hawk-like vision. Once again he's able to point out objects a mile away with annoying accuracy while Stew and I stand there like a couple of muttering fogies, as in "What the hell are you looking at?" or "Let me get my glasses."


Last Saturday Félix came back to our house to claim one of his dogs that routinely returns to our ranch after dark, I suspect because the food is better here. The wily Palomita has even dug a hole somewhere under the fence that lets her come and go with impunity.

As Félix turned the corner from the paved to the dirt road that leads to our house, he saw a small bundle of fur barely moving under a thorny huizache tree by the side of the road. He stopped and bingo, found a skeletal puppy with a nasty cut over its right eye. He reported the finding to us and returned to the scene with emergency water and dog food. For a mucho-macho Mexican, Félix is a marshmallow-soft with regard to animals.

We went to check and, whatcha gonna do—Stew immediately blurted—you can't leave a starving puppy under a huizache tree to fend for herself, what kind of a person are you, and she'll probably die, and blah, blah, blah. Maybe we'll find someone to adopt her, Stew said and yea, right, I replied.

You know what comes next: Dog #5.

Like the overwhelming majority of abandoned dogs in Mexico, this is a female and she was apparently tossed from a car and hence the wound. The vet said she's but a few weeks old.

Félix explained the rather sexist Mexican protocol regarding dogs. Female mutts are the least desirable because they're not considered fierce enough to serve as guard dogs or valuable enough to sell. Plus the litters just keep on coming.

Let me show you latest fashion dog breed: Euro Mutt. 
And like the rest of our dogs, the breed of this latest specimen is a mystery. One distinguishing feature is a wandering right eye, just like French existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre. Could this be a new breed? A type of Euro Dog? I doubt it but it's something I can tell our friends when they inevitably ask: Another dog? Are you nuts?

To honor X-Ray Vision Félix for his discovery we've named her Felisa.

I'm not complaining. We're glad to see Félix eyes are working excellently and that Felisa, just in two days is gaining weight and wagging her tail uncontrollably. Except that between the cost of the surgery and his finding yet another dog, Félix' eye care is turning to be an expensive proposition.


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