Being hospitalized in Ecuador

I try to look upon everything that happens to me as an adventure.  Not worrying, but only trusting that “All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose”.  I believe these words and cling to this promise so with most everything that happens, I learn to flow with it and realize that although the road isn’t easy….it’s covered.  There is so much comfort in that!

When I found an abnormal spot on the side of my tongue over a year ago back in the states, I was told to watch it, however it was most likely due to hormone changes in the female body.  I accepted it as “great…nothing going on here” and pretty much dismissed it.  As to “watching it”.  How does one do that when you move to a 3rd world country, and are trying to learn to live day-to-day and learn the language and get through life?  I guess a spot on my tongue wasn’t top priority for me.  That is, until it start to bother me.  Around June or July I believe (after seeing a local doctor to treat for obvious infections etc) I was referred to Dr Leon who is an oncologist in Porto Viejo which is a city about 25 miles from Crucita.  He took one look at the tumor and said it was cancer. Dr Leon has over 40 years experience in medicine with over 25 years experience with treating cancer.  So he’s seen a lot.  He explained the first step was a formal biopsy, but then we would do surgery to remove the painful tumor.  Much to our surprise, the biopsy revealed no cancer!  However Dr Leon still had doubts and said that during surgery another biopsy would be taken to ensure.  He explained that they would be cutting out a tiny portion of my tongue and I would regain all feeling and have no problems with talking, eating, tasting etc.

Surgery was scheduled for September 7, but Doctor Leon had indicated he was going to move it up to get it taken care of sooner.  That never happened, but in retrospect, I now know why.  🙂  The surgery was to be between 1/2 hour to an hour-long and my total stay in the hospital was two nights total.  They want you there the night before surgery as well.

Surgery time was upon us and everything is so confusing.  Dr Leon speaks very little English and staff speaks no English.   We were blessed to have at times Matt from Fundacion La Vida and our friend Omar with us for some appointments but not all. IMG_9159So he remainder of everything that is done and said is left to my imagination.  Which isn’t always good, because sometimes I have quite the imagination.  I wondered if when they put me under if they would have me count backwards.  Would it be in English or Spanish?  These are the types of thoughts that plagued my brain.  They laid me on the very skinny table and fitted me with a properly sized oxygen mask and I saw a man insert a medicine in my IV and within seconds I realized, this is it.  No counting.  I was out.

I believe I went in to the operating room maybe around 8:30.  By the time I came out it was 12:30-1.  Slightly more than the hour they predicted, however they also dealt with “slightly more” than they thought they were.  The doctor said that he saw cancer cells under the scope and they decided to cut further to ensure that it was removed.  Another biopsy was taken and results will be back shortly.  In addition they went into my throat and I woke up to a 5 inch slice on my jaw line where lymph nodes had been removed as well as a drainage tube inserted in my neck.  I remember waking up to a horrible headache.  My tongue completely numb and my neck completely numb.  Pain was very minimal throughout the whole process other than the head ache when I woke up.   My surgery quadrupled in time and so did my stay in the hospital.  I was there 4 nights.

My experience at Solca was great.  The hospital is well-known throughout Ecuador with 5 locations throughout the country.  The hospital I was in was the regional hospital for the province of Manabí.  The staff is professional and friendly and I can’t say enough about Dr Leon who made some important decisions during my surgery to go more in-depth and take it to the next level in order to ensure my health will be completely renewed.

The hospital is very clean and rooms are constantly being swept and mopped several times a day.

We also saw some rooms without patients being completely disassembled with all beds in hallways to ensure a proper sanitation of the room.  My bedding was changed daily.   All equipment is modern and clean and from a lay person’s standpoint, all proper precautions are used to ensure that disease is contained and not passed to other patients.  The liquid diet I was on was fantastic.  I wish I knew what they served me (when I asked, of course it didn’t ring a bell) but one morning for breakfast I was served a delicious warm liquid custard type food with what tasted like a slight cinnamon seasoning.IMG_9184  It was almost like a light version of pumpkin pie before it was cooked.  Yum.  Their soups were wonderful.  I would have to say in spite of the fact that this was hospital food, it was some of the best darn hospital food I’ve ever had!  I’m extremely grateful for the care I received at this hospital and would have no hesitations of recommending this facility to anyone.

I also want to touch on the differences.  I call them differences because that’s simply what they are.  Our American culture is different from Ecuador.  What we find “unacceptable” is perfectly normal here.  So I want to talk about them as I find it interesting, but in no way is this meant disparaging toward this culture and country.

  • One thing I had noticed even prior to the hospitalization, during my doctor visits is that the woman’s bathroom does not have toilet paper nor soap.  You must bring your own, or learn to drip dry.   Also bring your own hand sanitizer.   While the bathroom in my hospital room did have a soap dispenser with soap in it, there was no toilet paper.  We needed to go purchase some at a local tienda across the street.  There was a sheet and very nice blanket (all in plastic…had been sanitized) however I did not have a pillow.  Thankfully I brought my own.  Towels are available upon request however there are no wash cloths.  Bar soap and shampoo must be brought from home.
  • Everything here is paid for in advance.  There is no billing per se.  You settle your debt immediately.  Prior to surgery, the doctor said I needed blood work, a chest X ray and I needed to see a cardiologist.  This is all done on your own.  You find the facility to go to get this done.  Sometimes it can be done directly at the hospital, but other times it cannot.  He may give you recommendations on where to go to get this done, however it’s up to you to go find a place to do it and bring the results back to the doctor.  All medicine that the staff uses on you during your stay in the hospital is purchased up front.

    The doctor will write an order and you go to the pharmacy (take a number like at the deli dept back home) and they will call your number and fill your order.  All medicine including syringes etc are in a plastic bag that you bring back to the medical staff so they can administer the medication.  Prior to surgery we were told I needed a diaper and a pair of support stockings. IMG_9167 How fun is that!!  Well the pharmacy didn’t just sell one diaper…go figure.  My roommate bought a pack and let me use one of hers.

  • Another huge difference (but then again maybe they DO do this in the states??) was that several times in the middle of the night, the staff comes in abruptly using their “outside voices” and flipping on the bright fluorescent lighting to do simple tasks.  There is no hushed whispers or gentle lighting.  At 11PM, they do their staff rotation and I swear it reminded me of a Wal-Mart oo rah-rah staff meeting as they all come in talking loudly, flipping on the light, giggling and telling jokes.  And almost as quickly as they come in, they leave.  I thought of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz when she said:  ” My, people sure do come and go quickly around here.”
  • Dave was asked on more than one occasion to help transport a patient from the stretcher to the bed, something you would not see in the states due to liability issues.  lol  Also…privacy issues are non-existent.  They don’t have HIPAA laws here and people will crowd around when you are making appointments or paying and able to hear all the details of your stay, the cost etc.  This is also true in the hospital rooms….no privacy as to what is ailing you or what needs to take place.  Your room-mate will most likely get a full earful of the exciting details.
  • We also found that the staff and even patients are good with having their pictures taken.  Dr Leon even motioned for Dave to come by and take a picture of the inside of my mouth.  They love this!  And often will pose!  You never know….maybe they are the next Ecuadorian talent that has gone unnoticed!
  • It seems that all patients have a relative or friend with them at all times also.  They encourage people to stay with you as they are the “runners”.  Any medications that are needed, they are responsible to go get them.  Helping with bathroom and showers falls on your  loved one as well.  Of course settling the bill needs to be done at the hospital and this will need to be handled by them too.  Although there were no cots or extra beds the first 3 nights, Dave was able to sleep in my hospital bed right with me.  Close quarters, but they allowed it none the less.  The 3rd night in the room, an Ecuadorian woman came in accompanied by her two adult daughters.  I’m struck with emotion as she was loved on and cared for by her girls.  Kissing her and stroking her hair.  Helping her to the bathroom and overall making her comfortable.  Not calling in nurses to assist, but doing their best with their mom on their own. IMG_9191  I’ve noticed that this is quite the norm here in Ecuador where children are extremely loving to their parents/grandparents.  It warms my heart to see the level of intimacy displayed.  This says a lot about the people of this country.

Earlier on I mentioned that Dr Leon was going to move up my surgery instead of waiting until the 7th of September.  Well that never happened and I was good with that, but now I know why it stayed the date it was.   As we were checking in, I saw a gringa trying to communicate with the office staff and was having some difficulty.  Our friend Omar who is fluent in English and Spanish was with us and of course offered his assistance.  He was able to give her some instructions including the fact that she needed to buy a diaper (we still laugh about that).  After completing our paperwork, we were told that the room was still not ready for check in and that we were free to go get something to eat across the road.  Upon eating lunch, we see Sandie there next door at the pharmacy trying to buy a diaper but having some difficulty communicating.  She just wanted 1 diaper but apparently you can’t buy just one diaper.  Omar helped.  She came by and said she obviously didn’t need six so she gave me one from her pack.  Oh joy!  I told Sandie….”just how a girl wants to spend a beautiful afternoon….diaper shopping….and sharing with friends who may be in need.”.  We laughed.

After lunch, we headed back up to Solca and the room was ready.  They directly me all the way down the hall to the last door on the left and who do I see waiting for me in there?  Sandie!  She was my room-mate for the next two nights.  What a delight!  Her and her husband Tom live in Bahia (about an hour up the coast from us) and have been here for several years now.  It was wonderful having someone to joke with and laugh with.  Some of these things you just have to laugh about.  Like the diaper thing….still kills me.  Sandie has a great sense of humor which I love, but the most precious of all is that she is a believer in Jesus Christ!  Woo hoo!!!  Instant bond!  She mentioned that her pastor and a couple of others were stopping by to pray with her and I felt the Holy Spirit feeding my soul and comforting me and saying “it’s all good!  I’ve got this covered!”   What a time of fellowship….I couldn’t stop smiling.  The most touching part to me was I felt God hugging me.  The odds of having a gringa in my room with me were not good.  But have a strong Christian sold our for Christ room mate was only icing on the cake!  So I took this entire September 7th date as a divine date of the Lord who knew all along.  In the mean time, I’ve met some more beautiful Christian believers from Porto Viejo and feel blessed beyond measure.  God gave me the perfect room mate who I will know for all eternity as a sister now!  God is in control….Our ways are not His ways.  Wait on Him.  These are truths that I cling to these days.

Bottom line…no one wants to be sick.  But, would I trade my Solca experience for a different one?  NO WAY!  Life is wonderful when God is in it and I don’t have to worry about the details.

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August 31, 2017

Our friends, Cristian and Lissette, had an opportunity to address a concern regarding the lack of medical resources here in Crucita to the Governor of Manabí (our province).  The governor explained that the proper channels would be to first present this concern to the president of Crucita and gather as much information from the citizens to confirm that this is indeed a concern for most.  Though there are a few doctors who are available sparingly and very limited hours, there is not a 24 hour facility here nor is there an ambulance that works properly.  Currently if there is an emergency, the people have to somehow get to Porto Viejo (or Rocafuerte) which is a good distance away by car.  And many folks here don’t have cars, but rather depend on buses which do not run all night.  The need is very great.

So the past several Saturdays, Cristian and several of us have been going door to door in the various communities within Crucita parish to collect surveys of what the people are saying in regard to the need for proper medical resources here. 20170701_110010  Of course we have fun along the way.  Javiar says to me, “Jenny you are my best Gringa friend!”…..I say back to Javiar, “Javiar, I am your ONLY gringa friend…but you are my best Ecuadorian friend named Javiar!” 20170709_120749

The people are more than happy to participate and tell their own stories of being in desperate need and having little to no options.

Currently, most depend on home remedies or go to the pharmacy and try to figure things out on their own.  Almost 100% agreed that we need 24 hour medical services here as well as an ambulance that is in good working condition.  This information will be presented to the president this week on Wednesday.  We are praying that this information is received well and moves on to the next phase to get something in place here.  In our own expat community, two of our fellow expats died due to an accident on the beach.  With proper resources in place, it’s possible that their lives could have been spared.  So this need truly hits home to both foreigners as well as Ecuadorians alike.

Some very exciting news is that my CAT Scan came back as normal and the spots on my lungs are of no concern!  I still am scheduled to have surgery a week from today on my tongue.  We are praying that all goes well and that healing is fast.

Also, last week, I received my visa!  Tomorrow, we travel to Guayaquil to pick up my Cedula (government ID card).  I was absolutely thrilled because it has been a long, arduous process getting this visa.  It seems as if the laws regarding immigration are continually changing.  I can’t say enough about our processor that helped us through the entire process, Dana Cameron.  She is extremely knowledgable and works relentlessly at her job to ensure that each person is taken care of and granted their visa.  It has been a pleasure working with her.  I feel for her though as she has no control of regulation changes and often times the changes occur without any warning.  So you can only imagine the position she is in with regards to helping people get through all the red tape.  Long story short,  the law had changes when we moved here almost a year ago and they would not process both of our Visas together.  Dave had to apply and go through the process first and then I was eligible to apply.  Dave’s process took about 6 months.  When I was finally able to apply, they wouldn’t take my application because they said I needed to have a bank account here in Ecuador with $8,000 for 6 months (new law).  Since this was impossible being that we just heard of this and did not have an account with $8,000 for 6 months.  We were in Guayaquil to apply and we had to turn around and go back to Crucita.  There was nothing more we could do.  Dana was shocked  and tried to get information as to how we could work around this but no one seemed to have answers or know anything different to do.   We decided to apply in Manta and Dana graciously met us there and they took the application no problem.  Whew!  They told us we would hear something in 15-30 days and that we would receive an email confirming once the application was approved.  30 days passed….no email.  60 days….no email.  A couple weeks later, Dana’s daughter (who speaks Spanish fluently) called to find out what was going on and they would only say that an email had been sent but would not give her any information other than that.  Our only option was to physically go to the office and try to hope for a person to help us that could speak some English.  We got there and were told that there was good new and bad news. The good news was that the Visa was approved, the bad news was that the law has changed yet again and now they are requiring that people supply proof of health insurance before a visa is issued.  This is somewhat of a catch 22 because we can’t get the government insurance without first having a cedula (Visa).  Somehow by the grace of God, they approved it anyway!!  It was a miracle in my opinion.  This could have been delayed even further, but we were able to move forward and apply for the Cedula which I should receive tomorrow.  It was a process I wouldn’t like to repeat again for a very long time….if ever.  IMG_9117

As a result, we were able to confidently purchase our airline tickets to go back to the United States for a visit.  Without the Visa, I wouldn’t have been granted access back into Ecuador for another year.  We are going for 3 weeks and already have quite a full schedule, but we look forward to seeing our parents and children and friends again!

 

 

August 17, 2017

So last week we had the incredible opportunity to experience whale watching.  In true Ecuadorian fashion, we were able to experience this very raw and inexpensive which I love!

About 12 of us boarded a small fishing boat with bench seats and we were kind of crammed in like sardines although we all had life preservers!

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We set sail from La Boca which is a short distance north of Crucita up the coast.  Our captain and first mate were non English speaking Ecuadorians so the tour was a silent one but charming none the less.  We went out maybe 5 miles until we started seeing water spouts.  The boat quickly moves in the direction of the water spouts and you begin to see activity from all directions.  Most of what we saw was distance away but even with the distance we saw the majestic size and grace  with each time they surfaced.  According to our friend Chris, we saw two different varieties:  gray and humpback.  We also saw them in pods of what we could count maybe 6 or 8 of them together.  Truly spectacular!  The price was $15 per person and to me the boat ride in and of itself was well worth that.

We also saw a sea turtle and some pelicans when we neared shore.  They were waiting for a morsel from the local fisherman.

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June to September is the time frame that you will see whales in Ecuador.  I highly recommend this as an excursion if you visiting the country during that time frame.

August 8, 2017

Weekends are fast becoming my favorite time here!  Saturdays we have been visiting (with Cristian and Lissette) various families in the neighborhood.  Just popping in to say hi, reminding them of the children’s church the next morning and handing out cereal bars to the kids.  We visit a variety of neighborhoods, many of them quite poor.  Most families are very gracious and pull up plastic chairs for us to sit on to visit.  Others are more leery of this church thing but seem thankful for the invite for their children.

One thing that is obvious is that Cristian and Lissette truly care about the neighborhood children.  They are so dedicated each week by opening up their home (their garage area) for this little children’s church.  We are also hoping that more parents will start to come.  Currently we have about 6-8 regular moms.  Still working on the guys….but in time.  🙂

Once a month we have a Birthday Sunday for all children’s whose birthdays fall in that month.  They are honored in front of the rest and have an opportunity to earn “money” by answering questions related to the lessons that month.  Then they can spend it at the “store” for  trinkets, toys, crayons, markets etc later on. Children's church “Money” is also earned other Sundays as well so everyone has a chance to earn dollars.  We sang a Spanish style Feliz Cumplianos and we also enjoyed birthday cake!  This is nice especially for those whose birthdays may not be celebrated as much at home or perhaps the families don’t have the money for a present or party.

Lately we (as a team) have been meeting after the kids and parents leave and have our own small meeting and prayer time.  Even though the language is still a slight barrier, the friendships are becoming strong with these precious people.

This past Sunday was extra special as we had a chance to partake in the Lord’s supper together (reflecting upon the Lord’s death) but we also decided that we would enjoy a real meal together afterwards.  A new friend, Michael, is from Peru and he volunteered to make a Peruvian meal for us!  Peruvian food is much spicier than Ecuadorian food.  He made a salad with boiled potatoes on top and then a delicious sauce drizzled over which consisted of cheese, chilis and milk.  We also had sliced tomatoes with a lime dressing as well as pan fried chicken with a curry type coating.meal

Just fantastic!  I brought dessert and decided to bring chocolate chip cookies and oatmeal cookies.  This was a first for most of them and it was a hit!  Cookies aren’t big here in Ecuador, so having cookies other than the standard ones in the store (shortbread and wafer type cookies) was very intriguing to them.  I told them next time we would have peanut butter.  Peanut butter in cookies???  They couldn’t hardly believe that.  Here….peanut butter is mainly for cooking.  For example, viche is a popular soup dish with a peanut butter type dumpling.

After the meal Dave volunteered to clean up all the dishes (they were paper plates).  Cristian looked a bit confused and said “but they’re paper”.  I grinned and then Cristian and the rest burst into laughter.  They are getting used to Dave’s humor more and more.

Soon after that Cristian’s Venezuelan friends showed up to play futbol that afternoon.  So we had people from 4 countries (Venezuela, US, Ecuador and Peru) all in one place.  Of course we had to take a photo!4 countries

We also took a walk in the neighborhood where our friend Javiar said casually, “Hey Dave, I like that shirt you are wearing.”  Dave said, “Do you want it?”  “Sure” said Javiar.  So…Dave walked back through Los Aranales shirtless getting a few stares.  I joked with Javiar that the folks in the neighborhood was going to think that Javiar was a real bully walking back down the road with Dave’s shirt on and Dave with no shirt on.

August 4, 2017

Since I’ve been sick, I’ve started looking seriously into preventing illness and/or curing illnesses naturally with food or oils.  It makes a lot of sense to me.  If we ate raw foods the way God intended rather than processed foods, would we be healthy again?  I think so.  Ecuador is a perfect place to transition to eating and be healthy because I don’t have all the temptations at my fingertips like I did in the states.  There is no Taco Bell or McDonalds or Burger King in my town (or even close that I know of) so I can’t fly through the drive through anymore as I’m out and about to satisfy my hunger.

So the fact that I either have to prepare my own food or eat at a local restaurant (which typically serves fish or chicken with rice and salad) eliminates a lot of the battle for me.  But I have recently also started implementing things in my diet.  I’ve heard of natural supplements before but truthfully didn’t care too much either way because I “was healthy” and really didn’t want to be bothered with the expense or discipline.  But now of course is a different story when it’s you that has the health problem.  So the last several months we’ve been talking with a local friend that believes in a supplement called Moringa.  It is grown locally in Ecuador and the particular Moringa that he uses is grown between Guanaquil and Salinas on an organic farm (hasn’t been farmed with other crops and no residue with pesticides etc.).  Our friend, Walter, is a strong believer in Moringa and claims that he’s been completely healthy for the past 20 + years from taking it.  In the past he had suffered with diabetes and other health problems but was able to go off all his medication by simply adding this to his diet.  I started researching it and decided to try it….what did I have to lose?

http://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-benefits-of-moringa-oleifera#section5

I take it daily after a good meal whether breakfast or lunch, but not supper as it gives energy and may cause you to stay awake at bedtime.  I take a level teaspoon and mix it in either juice or yogurt to try to mask the taste which is bad.   According to research, it’s helping many things in my body that I can’t testify for sure however I will testify to the fact that I feel much better and my tumor on my tongue has shrunk!  I believe Moringa had something to do with this.

The 2nd supplement I introduced about 6 weeks after starting Moringa was Frankincense oil.  My friend gave me a bottle!  Which is like gold!!  So I was extremely thankful.  I use Frankincense (a tiny drop) directly on the roof of my mouth and press my tongue to the roof of my mouth at least once or twice a day.  It tastes bad but I suspect that many things that are good for you do taste bad.  In fact, if it tasted good, I would be leery.  Just me….I’ve been taking the Frankincense for about a month now.

frankincense

Just yesterday, my nieces turned me on to intermittent fasting.  I’ve always been extremely scared of fasting because at one point I had fasted for 3 days straight and got extremely weak.  It was an exhausting experience (the purpose was Spiritually related which I’m sure had a lot to do with my exhaustion though).  So since then, I’ve decided that eating is good and fasting isn’t for me.  But intermittent fasting is extremely do-able.  This link has some great information on the subject:

 

The type of intermittent fasting that I do, is for 14-20 hours only.  So it is not hard at all and the benefits make perfect sense to me.  My purpose for intermittent fasting is not to lose weight but rather for cell renewal.
“A lifestyle of fasting may involve an individual eating for a period of only 4-8 hours in one day. A 20-hour fast may involve eating food between 3pm and 7pm each day. This regular intermittent fasting lifestyle allows the body to produce ketones in order to fuel the entire body. The 20-hour fast may be optimal for individuals with the diagnosis of cancer, but may otherwise be incorporated into your lifestyle using a 16 to 18 hour fasting period.”    https://thetruthaboutcancer.com/ketogenic-diet-weakens-cancer-cells/  And, if it’s not what it seems (benefit wise) it certainly can’t hurt anything.  It’s good to give your stomach a rest.

I’m not into fitness workouts at all (just walking everywhere) so my health and wellness changes need to be small changes and obtainable goals.  Time will tell as to what difference this is making overall….but in the mean time I’m happy with the changes that have occurred already.

August 1, 2017

So I have been very very bad about writing lately.  I’ve decided I’m turning over a new leaf starting today.  I’m officially committing to writing at least once a week even if nothing profound is happening in our lives here in Ecuador.  I’ve been here long enough that everything seems so normal to me but I need to remember that it IS profoundly different here than the US even if I’ve grown accustomed to it.

The last several months I have not been feeling well which is maybe another reason why I haven’t written.  Basically in a nut shell I was “diagnosed” with cancer on my tongue.  I will go into more detail about the medical process here in Ecuador at a later date because it is quite different from the states.  But the short end of it is that I’ve had a spot on my tongue for about a year or so.  Prior to moving to Ecuador, I had my last dental cleaning in the states and the dentist didn’t seem to think it was serious but said we should watch it.  Well soon after that I moved to South America and pretty much put it out of my mind.  So several months ago it started bothering me quite a bit and I overall didn’t feel well so I saw a specialist in oncology and he said that upon visual examination he was sure it was cancer but we needed to do a biopsy to confirm.  The biopsy came back as non malignant!  The tumor still needs to be removed and surgery has been scheduled.  There are several pre op checks that need to be done and one is a chest X ray.  The chest X ray revealed two unusual spots on my lungs that the doctor said needs to be examined further and so I was scheduled yesterday for a CAT Scan.  CAT Scan machineThis was done at Solca which is apparently the regional cancer hospital in Manabí which is one of the provinces here in Ecuador.  Solca is a very well-respected hospital here.   Thankfully Crucita where we live is only about 20 miles away.  So the many visits I’ve had to Solca have been much easier to get to than other people who are traveling a much greater distance.

Me and IV

Do I really want chemicals in me?

 

Anyway, during the CAT Scan, they injected me with some type of solution that made my body extremely warm and I thought I had wet my pants.  😦  Very strange sensation.  He did tell me that it would be “caliente” meaning warm, but didn’t warn me about the wetting my pants part.  I was a bit worried….but later I read on the internet that is considered a normal sensation.  Very strange indeed.  We didn’t have an interpreter this time, but I was able to understand him to tell me to drink a lot of water over the next three days.  Also, he said to stay away from “queso, yogurt, leche, y huevos”  basically dairy and eggs.  The rest of the day I felt terrible and had a headache which I never have.  So whatever chemical was dripped inside my veins must have been potent.  Ugh!  I’m not a proponent of many of the medical procedures using chemicals (including chemotherapy) so this is difficult for me.

Solution in IV

Saline Solution prior to CAT Scan.

Regardless, the scan was done and my doctor will get back to me with results in a week or so.  So we wait.

In the waiting room of radiology I saw a man, maybe a boy, who looks young maybe in his early 20’s.  I’ve seen him before and my heart always goes out to him.  He’s a handsome guy but obviously has cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy as he is bald and has no eyebrows.  His skin is a yellowish color and he is very thin.  Almost every time I go to Solca I see him waiting in one of the long lines to be seen.  He is usually in a wheelchair and he is always alone  No family with him.  I pray for his body to be healed and that he will know Jesus.

After the appointment, we took a taxi to Super Aki (where the locals shop) and picked up a few groceries and then walked across the bridge to the bus terminal where we took the bus back to Crucita.   It’s good to get on the bus at the terminal as it fills up fast and by the time we leave Porto Viejo, usually there are people standing, crowded in the aisles.  When someone needs to get off the bus, they squeeze their way to the front and everyone pushes up against everyone else.  All the while, there is fun exciting Latino music blaring in the background.

After arriving home, I laid down to try to lick the headache.  In the mean time Dave left with our friend Lenner (who I teach English) and tried to work on obtaining gift certificates from the restaurants and businesses for the silent auction coming up next month.  The proceeds of the auction will go to the school in Crucita to help with repairs to the bathroom, or repair of a retaining wall or a library (depending on the funds that are raised).  Explaining to a local business why they should offer a free anything for a gringo to bid on at an auction is not an easy task at all.  So far most are offering a dessert or a drink for free.  I told Dave that regardless, this is a lot for them and we should be thankful for any amount that they donate.

While Dave was gone, I heard a thud on my exterior bedroom wall.  The dogs who usually follow be around like a shadow had mysteriously disappeared but they were quiet so I wasn’t too alarmed.  Awhile later I decided to get up to feed and water my plants and as I was heading out the front door to water I saw Audrey sitting proudly next to a dead bird!  The site of any dead animal is not one I can handle (along with live mice) so I decided I would leave it for Dave to take care of when he got back. But in the mean time, Audrey had laid claim to the bird.  She wasn’t doing anything except laying next to it but somehow this must have had a profound symbolic meaning in animal terms because she wasn’t about to move.  Lilly was at the bottom of the porch steps and tried coming up into the house, but Audrey let out a deep low growl from the depths of her throat to warn Lilly to stay away from “her bird”.  I got Audrey away so Lilly could pass but after I turned my back a fight ensued and it was noisy enough to get the attention of Sandie our neighbor.  She popped her head over the fence and asked what was going on.  I explained I wasn’t about to touch the bird until Dave got home, so she promptly came over and removed the bird for me WITH HER BARE HANDS.  This was rather disgusting but I was thankful none the less.  The prize was gone now.  At least Audrey had about 15 minutes of bliss.

 

 

 

Father’s Day in Crucita

Today was a special day in Crucita at the little church.  Typically the church consists mainly of children as well as 8-10 moms that regularly attend.  As of yet there are no fathers and we thought that being that it was Father’s day, it would be a great excuse to invite fathers to come along with their families to church today.  Yesterday Dave and two other men walked the neighborhood inviting dads to come to church.  We had previously discussed that  if 5-6 came, that would be great.  I was praying for eight thinking that was a big request.  But to our surprise and delight, we had 12 dads show up with their families!  It was a beautiful thing to see them break away from their normal routines and spend family time.

Today Dave had a chance to speak to them through a fine young interpreter, Sarah.  He gave them a message of hope and explained how their responsibility in their family is so great in setting an example to their wives and children.  Of course he also presented the amazing message of salvation which is available to all people of every tribe, people and nation.

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The day included music and even some of the guys joining in with clapping!   There were also a few fun games one of which needed 4 or 5 volunteer dads along with one of their children.  Dads and kids were separated and the kids were asked questions like what are their favorite foods or what is your birthday.  The dads were challenged to see if they would answer correctly!  This isn’t exactly the easiest thing when you are in front of an audience and are put on the spot!  Some did good and some not so good but it sure brought a lot of laughs especially to some of the mom’s faces.  There were also wheel barrel races which involved dads and their kids (the wheel barrels) picking up an object with their mouth and bringing it back.  It definitely involved arm strength, but some of those little fellows are pretty strong!

Everyone was also given a special snack of meat balls, pastries, and juice.  We had a such a great turn out, we ran out of food.

But Lissette and Kenya calmly whipped up some more pastries by hand and fried them up.  No worries….and the people patiently waited to be served.  In the mean time, Christian ran out to buy more food and ended up getting “corviche”.   It was my first experience with corviche and I’m not going to lie, I was a bit nervous when I was told it had fish in it.  But…..it was delicious!  This is a food common in this region in Ecuador and has fish, plantains and peanuts.  Put a little sauce on top and voila!!  Muy Rica!

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We are so thankful for all the neighborhood folks who came today and put a smile on their families faces and we pray that some of the fathers will return.  Most are fishermen and their schedule is completely dependent on the ocean and what’s available for fishing at any given time.

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Happy Father’s day to all the special men in my life as well.  My husband, my father in law, my daddy in heaven and other family/friends who are fathers.  We love you!