Saturday, January 23, 2010

A-OK

Brian had a Doctor's appointment at 5 in the afternoon on Tuesday. He gathered himself up, caught a cab and took himself to the emergency department of the hospital (which was where they had arranged to meet). The surgeon was going to check Brian's scar since the staples had been removed and make sure everything was looking good. Brian arrived, asked the emergency personnel to page his Doctor (as per request) and then waited through a fair bit of confusion to find out the Doctor was in surgery and thus was unavailable. He made arrangements to go back the next day at the same time and try again. These days we aren't bothered in the least by these types of set backs. Our philosophy is "this is Ecuador" and we continue on with our day. Of course, it helps that we're retired. On a tight work schedule, constant delays, missed appointments & the chaos that ensues would be frustrating to say the least. Here, in the position we find ourselves, we try to be philosophical and go with the flow that seems to be a national pass time. It should be pointed out that Doctors don't seem to carry the support staff here that they do in North America. Most Doctors in Canada would have a nurse & a receptionist & maybe even a bookkeeper. Here, they seem to work with a team of other Doctors but the support staff isn't evident.

As it is, the next morning, Shelley having just finished a couple of household chores, was lying on the bed reading her book.* Brian, seeing her there, decided it would be a good idea to keep her company. We hadn't had showers, we were still in our pajamas. The phone rang. It was the surgeon. Could Brian come in right then? Brian looked at his watch, gave Shelley an eyebrow waggle and told the Doctor he'd be there in an hour. This too is Ecuador.

[Note(*): Most of the people we know have a woman that comes in and cleans on a regular basis. The cost is minimal, we haven't ever heard of any "bad things" happening because of it & one is supporting the Ecuadorian economy. Shelley, on the other hand, explains her resistance to this as follows: "I worked a full time job & raised 2 children & did all my own housework. Right now I've got more extra time than I ever had. It's good exercise." ...Each to their own...]

While Brian was off at the Doctor, Shelley took Fredi for a walk and then came home and computered for awhile. Two hours after Brian left, she decided to have a bath. While cogitating in the bathtub, she conjectured that perhaps Brian was getting the catheter removed as well. Two seconds later, Brian arrived home with that exact same announcement. We'd previously been told the removal wouldn't be until next week but this may have been a language problem. He also came home with a bag of adult diapers as it'll take a few days for his control to re-emerge. After all the indignities his condition brought on him, this was merely par for the course. He has another appointment next week just to make sure everything is going well, but at this point we're basking in the light at the end of the tunnel. Again, thank you for all who visited, sent cards & emails (!) We can't express how much your support has meant to us! Now...let's get back to living our lives!

The next day after we got back from our walk, Brian was sitting in his chair and Shelley handed him a sandwich for lunch. "It's about time I stopped waiting on you like this" Shelley told him.

Brian slowly looked up and responded with only the tiniest of twinkles in his eye: "No it isn't! You like it...right?!" He didn't bat his eye lashes but the overall feel of his response was as if he did.

Shelley smiled a small Mona Lisa smile, turned around and went into the bedroom to read her book for awhile.

Friday we took a bus downtown and Brian got a haircut and then we walked to the CB Carolina Bookstore, traded in our 10 books and picked up 10 more. There was the usual assortment of people at the store and Brian chatted while Shelley perused the shelves. We'd committed to going to Gringo Night so we didn't want to push it too much during the day. After we left the bookstore, we stopped in at Bananas right next door and picked up one of their wonderful turkey sandwiches for Brian's lunch and then caught a cab home. There'll be no drinking for Brian tonight but it'll be nice to get out and visit with our friends and newcomers.

We ended up at Zoe's and it was crazy there. The place was packed with people we didn't know and the noise level was beyond hearing. Of course there were people there that we did know & it was nice to visit. We had a burger and a chicken sandwich and talked with several folks but ended up going home quite early; around 7 o'clock. Brian was pretty tired as we'd had a full day compared to those we have been having. We gladly sat down and watched some TV and caught up the computer.

Shelley had told Brian that if he felt washed out in the morning, then we'd know we'd done too much on Friday. He didn't. After our morning routine, for the first time since Brian's operation, we took our long neighbourhood Fredi walk. Up near the river behind the Perez Coliseum, down Av de Las Americas past SuperMaxi and up the street to Puntos; then down whatever that street is called, behind the Las Quadras Apartments, down the hill, across the bridge and down the street to our place. Brian said he could "feel" the walk and was getting tired near the end of it, but pretty much everything was A-OK.

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