Friday, November 27, 2009

Adding Injury to Insult

OK...Brian went to the specialist and the specialist found a nodule. On Thursday morning he's going to the hospital to have an EKG to make sure his heart is good to go under general anesthetic. One wonders what they'll do if his heart's not good for that? In any case, next week on Tuesday he'll go into the hospital for a day procedure and have a biopsy ($600). He has to give himself an enema at 6:00 a.m. that morning. In Canada, the hospital would admit him the day before and administer the enema but here they allow the patient to do it for themselves. (Oh Boy!) We're confident and secure in the Doctor's expertise and competence. One very pleasant surprise is the intense personal attention they give to the patient! Does anybody remember Doctors making house calls 40 or 50 years ago? Brian remarked that in this same situation in Canada, he would basically be a number going through a system. Here it's much more up close and personal and that is very comforting.

Brian's EKG came back very well. "Considering you smoked for over 40 years" the Doctor told Brian. "You're in remarkable shape. Your heart's good, your lungs are good, your circulation is good!"

"So" Brian said to the Doctor with a twinkle in his eye. "I'm in really good shape except that I might have just a little bit of cancer."

The Doctor laughed (which is what Brian intended) and told Brian he really appreciated his attitude.

Brian went to the lab and had some blood tests run to ensure he was coagulating properly and now all we can do is wait until next Tuesday to figure out the next steps that need to be taken.

"I'm not sure that I'm comfortable putting all this stuff on the blog" Brian told Shelley.

"For the last 2 years, just about every detail of our life has been up on the web" Shelley replied to Brian. "I don't think it's the time to stop now. People should know you're not seeking sympathy, just chronicling what's going on. You're getting good health care here and you're confident with the Doctor. People are curious about things like that. Besides..." Shelley grabbed his hand. "Writing it out helps me not get frantic about the whole thing."

What could Brian say?

Thursday night we went to a gathering at a friend's place for U.S. Thanksgiving. At one point someone asked Shelley if she minded celebrating U.S. Thanksgiving and Shelley commented that "turkey was turkey"! Everyone was asked to bring a dish and our hosts supplied the turkey. There ended up being almost 25 people! We brought Shelley's childhood Christmas/Thanksgiving/Turkey vegetable which is carrots & turnips mashed with butter & brown sugar. (It's good!) We also brought a can of cranberry sauce in case no one else thought of it. Turkey, for Shelley, without cranberry sauce is like chocolate without sugar. There was some wonderful home made cranberry sauce at the party so in the end Shelley didn't have to pull out her can. Fredi spent the whole evening canvassing under the tables, into the kitchen, out to the balcony, into the hallway and back to under the tables, just checking to see if anyone dropped a piece of turkey on the ground. She was a doing a public service making sure our hosts didn't have to pick up turkey or what-have-you; preventing a possible mess! She wasn't a terrible beggar but was vigilant in her survey of the floor. There was a toast during the middle of the evening welcoming the 3 Canadians that were there and praising our hosts for the wonderful set up they'd provided to all these people. Brian had 2 full helpings of turkey dinner (this man cannot possibly be ill) and neither of us were able to partake in one of the 5 pies that had been brought. It was truly a wonderful evening; all these strangers gathered together in this strange wonderful land.

Three o'clock in the morning, we both woke up to the sound of a car hitting something unmoving; no screeching of breaks, just an impact thunk and then the constant blaring of a car horn. Brian got out of bed and advised Shelley is was a pick-up truck that had hit a tree. Shelley got out of bed and peered rather fruitlessly through the bedroom balcony doors, without her glasses. Just then 5 or 7 people came running down the road in a staggered procession, ran over to where the truck was, tree branches stuck under the wheels & the tree trunk melded with the engine compartment. They milled around on the road presumably just seeing what there was to see. Shelley went back to bed and Brian left the bedroom and got our binoculars and peered through them for awhile longer until 2 police cars showed up and finally the horn stopped blaring. He then put the binoculars away and attempted to come to bed. Instead he bashed his big toe into the foot of the bed and if he didn't break it, he certainly sprained it. The next morning, taking Fredi for her walk and limping slightly, Brian examined the good size tree the truck had succeeded in knocking down. We conjectured the driver was drunk. Tree branches and debris had been moved from the road onto the median. We never did notice if an ambulance came to pick up the driver. By the afternoon, all debris from the accident, including tree waste, was gone; leaving only a hole in the ground where the tree used to be.

Friday was our "bill day" and Brian limped to our first destination and gave Shelley instructions as to what to say in Spanish and how to pay the bills and then limped home. Shelley caught the bus downtown and paid our internet at ETAPA and our rent at the bank. Leaving her to wander town on her own was obviously a dangerous thing to do, as she came home sporting a pinkish Tilley type hat.

"I know I've got 18 hats" Shelley said tongue in cheek. "But this one will be good for the sun & the rain. It's perfect!"

Brian grumbled quietly under his breath and limped away for his afternoon nap.


  1. Brian,

    You are in our thoughts. We are strong in our belief that you cannot get better medical care anywhere. We believe you are in the right place at the right time.

    Nancy & Chuck

  2. Keep up the medical reports! Please! We ancianos who are considering Ecuador LOVE hearing about how health care operates (bad pun) down there. Great blog.