Very long day

We got up at 4 am and I hate getting up early.  Had our coffee and got ready to head out to the hospital for my appointment with an endocrinologist through the public system.  The hospital is at least a two hour drive away, and over lots of mountains.  It was still dark when we left, had a little misty rain in the mountains, drove through the clouds, and it was cool; it was actually below 60 degrees.

We get to the hospital a little after 7 am.  We finally find where I need to go for my appointment.  They tell that I need to go back downstairs first for something, they needed to make a file for me and I guess they only do that in one area of the hospital.  No problem, I finally get that down and head back up to the forth floor.  Next I see the nurse who checks my vitals, weight, and actually measured my waist.  Never had that done before.  Then I go out in the hall and wait to be called back.  My appointment was set for 8 am, by this time it was pretty close to 8.  I think what they do is schedule several people for an hour and call them back in order that they arrived.  I got called back close to 9; I was glad I took my Kindle with me.

The doctor was very nice and she had two students with her.  She speaks better English than she gives herself credit for.  She went over all my tests results that I have had done and compared the two different ultrasounds results.  I found it kind of funny when she asked if I had ever had any surgeries.  I have had at least 12 of them.  I might of missed a couple though.  (I think I am trying to see what I can live without.)  She was going to do a consult on the spot with another doctor, but he wasn’t in.  So, I go back in two weeks and meet with a pathologist, a surgeon, and a thyroid specialist.  Yes, I am going to have another surgery.  I’m not really surprised.  She told me my chances of having cancer are only at 20%, I will take that.  But the only way to know for sure is to remove all of the tumors and do a full biopsy on them.  She was pretty thorough in the examination and I was out in no time.

After that, my husband and I decided to make a trip to Price Smart, it’s like a Costco.  I found our way to this one with no problems at all.  I missed a turn or two when going to the hospital, but it wasn’t a big deal.  My husband said that I have problems finding the hospital for my very important appointment but no problem finding a place to shop.  What can I say?  I like to shop on occasions.  I did find a new pair of shoes at a Payless next to Price Smart, I needed them.  Also, we won’t have to buy toilet paper, napkins, coffee filters, or peanut butter for the next six months.  We also got some of those snack pack pudding cups, the neighbors grandson really loves them.

After that we were on our way home, it got a little rainy up in the mountains but not too bad.  Finally made it home and we all took a nap.  The dog was super happy to see us and so was my cat.  We were only gone about 8 hours, but you know how animals are.  Until mañana, Pura Vida!

Optometrist

I’ve been going to the same optometrist now for about four years.  I really like this doctor, she is a very nice and honest lady.  I went to a different one last year and she couldn’t get my prescription right for some reason so I went back to the first one.  Glad I did.  She found a small cataract in my left eye that the other doctor didn’t find.  I do have a referral for an ophthalmologist, but it is a ways out yet.

A couple of days ago I started getting some eye pain.  That usually only happens when I need new glasses.  I was thinking it was kind of early because it had been just under a year since my last eye exam.  I usually go about every two years, which was the recommendation of the last ophthalmologist I went to in the States.  But with me getting older and knowing I have the cataract I thought I should get them checked out.  I went back to my doctor in Ciudad Quesada.

She asked me how my daughter was doing and how my husband was and if I had been back to visit the States recently.  She only saw my daughter once before and that was over two years ago.  I think the woman has a great memory.  So she proceeds with the exam.   During the exam she was trying to get my left eye focused, which is nearly impossible, and all I could see clearly was the first and last letter in the row.  She was very thorough, gets the prescription ready and then compares it to my current glasses.  She tells me that the prescription is still exactly the same.  I am curious as to why I have been having the eye pain.  She looks into my pupils and tells me that the cataract is getting a little bit bigger and it is in the center of my eye; that is why I could only focus the first and last letter of the line.  She also tells me that I need to move my laptop farther back from me, about 50 centimeters. She just gave me advice today on how to prevent the pain and to come back in six months for a recheck.  The cost of the eye exam was under $10.

I know many people talk about how gringos are always getting ripped off or treated unfairly.  This doctor did not try to do that.  She was completely honest with me.  Didn’t try to tell me my prescription had changed just so she could sell me a new pair of glasses to make a profit.  Didn’t charge me anything extra at all, spent at least 40 minutes with me talking and going over everything.  I feel very lucky to be where I am and to know the people that I know.  Until Mañana, Pura Vida!

Still here

Yup, I’m still here, just not doing much with this lately.  Trying to think of where to begin, I know it’s been a few months since I wrote anything…

Well, we did take our car through Riteve, which is the annual inspection here.  You have to have this done every year and it’s not expensive at all, under $20.  They checked pretty much everything on the car.  They inspected the brakes, exhaust, windows, seatbelts, shocks, tread on the tires, oil, washer fluid, lights, and everything else you can think of.  We failed.  Turns out we had a hole in our exhaust system that we didn’t know about.  So we went and got that fixed, it cost about $90 to get it all done.  Took the car back, only $10 for the second time around, and we passed.  I believe you have three chances to get your car through, I don’t know what happens after that.  I am now affectionately calling our car “The money pit.”  We just had the breaks fixed (needed new pads on the front and the back ones cleaned), they started to squeak and we had our clutch fixed too, all this week.  Total cost for repairs, and getting the oil changed was under $100.  I can live with that.

I did go to the States for a couple of weeks and spent some time with my biological family.  I had a great time, I stayed with my cousin.  Her and I are so much alike it’s not even funny.  We joke around and say that if I hadn’t been put up for adoption the family would have found a way to separate us because we would have gotten into so much trouble together.  She even manages at a restaurant that I used to manage at as well, at least the same company, and know a lot of the same people.  I’m telling you, this apple didn’t fall too far from that tree!  She is planning a trip down here for next year and I can’t wait!

When I flew out, I changed my flight to fly out of Liberia instead of San Jose.  Volcano Turrialba had been going off and many flights had been canceled.  It only cost me an additional $40 to change my flight.  I’m cheap so I use Southwest.  So, we decided to make a trip out of it and we got a hotel at Playa Hermosa and stayed the night there.  We had a great time.  We got up early Monday morning and headed out.  Had a great lunch in Nuevo Arenal at a place called Paniagua.  Great food and great people there.  I definitely recommend it.  Got up early Tuesday morning and headed to the airport.  The Liberia airport is very easy to get around in and seems more tourist friendly than San Jose.  But it does usually cost a little more.

I did a little shopping while I was up there, some things are easier to find for me and some things are cheaper.  I try to find the specialty items that I can’t find anywhere but there.  My husband was quite happy when I got back, I was very happy as well. I don’t think I can live in air conditioning anymore.  It was really bothering me up there, my lungs don’t like cold air.

I made a trade with a friend of mine that found me a few weeks before my trip, I hadn’t heard from her in years.  I was super happy that  she finally got Facebook and was able to look me up.  I traded her one of my paintings for some new paints.  I did get to see her and we went to a wolf sanctuary in Indiana and I got to pet the wolves.  It was amazing.

Right before I left, one of my neighbors took all of my test results and my insurance card to the hospital for me with my referral for an endocrinologist through the public system.  Basically what you do is that you get a referral from your local doctor, take everything to the hospital, the doctors review it, and then they give you an appointment.  Some appointments can take several months, in some cases it can take a year or more.  It just depends on the severity of the case.  Well, my appointment was set for one month out!  They put me to the top of the list.  I am a little nervous about all of this.  We still don’t know if it’s cancer or not, but I am getting more swelling in the left side of my neck.  I will just have to discuss with the doctor and go from there.  I know I need surgery, there is no way around that.  I just hope they schedule it soon.  I have had many surgeries in my life, but I have never really been nervous about one until now.  I did buy a couple of scarves while I was in the States so when I have the surgery I can cover the incision.  I don’t want to walk around with people staring at me.

All the animals are doing well in the house.  Bruno was super happy when I came home.  Nothing like having a 60 pound dog running at you smiling and wagging his tail!  I thought he was going to tackle me.  Even the cats were happy to see me.  Not a whole lot else going on really, been working on a new painting and this one is taking a while.  I don’t want to rush this one.  I went with a bigger canvas and I think I found it a little intimidating.  We did have a few small tremors last Sunday night that put me on edge a little, and Volcano Turrialba blew her top again today.  Until mañana, Pura Vida!

Life in general

I know it’s been a while since I posted anything.  So, I will try to update now.

Yesterday we had a guy show up at our gate asking about the house across the street, it’s vacant now.  I used to have the woman’s phone number but couldn’t find it anymore.  There is another house down the street that is vacant also and is a little bigger.  It took us a while, talking with our neighbor, and a few phone calls, but we finally got the number for the house down the road.  It’s a small Tico style house with two bedrooms and a big kitchen, going for 60,000 colones a month.  The house across the street, we finally found out is no longer being rented but they want to sell it for 15 million colones; I wouldn’t give you 5 million for it.  It’s in really rough shape.  We bought our house just four years ago and only paid 15 million for ours and we have three bedrooms.  I wonder what our house would go for now with all the work we have done to it?  The house across the street was being rented for 45,000 colones per month, the guy told us that the same house in San Jose would go for around 150,000; I about fell out of my hammock.

Anyways, about the guy.  He had been in our town for about three days and working in the pineapple fields, which is really hard work.  His family lives in San Jose and he is trying to get them out of there and bring them up here.  He said his neighborhood is very dangerous and wants them to be safe.  He is only 21 and has three kids, he started early.  But I can tell you that he does want to provide for his family, so much so that he resorted to sleeping on the streets just so he could work up here.  He said he couldn’t find a job where he lives.  Everything he has made he has sent back to his family in the city.  He was here for a while, we made him a sandwich and had some coffee.  (We didn’t let him in the house though.)  He was very polite and I really felt sorry for him.  My husband did take him to town to write down numbers off the signs for other houses to rent, and we let him charge his cell phone here.  I guess today he is working.  I just hope that everything works out for him and his family.

We headed over to a friends house after that, I had some things that I needed to return.  Turns out that one of our friends had broken several toes and another bone in his foot.  Poor guy is on crutches now.  Today we took him over my crutches to use because they are much lighter than the wood ones.  We let them know that if they need to go anywhere to just call us, he is the only one with a license in the family and he can’t drive now.

Friday, my cleaning lady never showed up.  We waited and waited.  This was very unusual for her, she always let me know if she wasn’t going to make it before.  Turns out she was babysitting for her neighbors.  So she showed up Saturday but I had an appointment for another ultrasound for my thyroid.  I told her not to worry about it.

I went for my ultrasound at another clinic I found that was a lot closer to where I live and a lot cheaper.  I had been noticing what felt like another lump in my thyroid, but this time on the right side.  Turns out I was right, I now have another tumor in it.  This makes three now.  But they are all still pretty small, just bothersome.  If I talk a lot my voice starts to go hoarse.  One of my friends was joking with me today and said that makes me the perfect woman.  I couldn’t help but laugh and I know that he was only kidding with me.  After all, I had been picking on him for breaking his toes playing soccer.  He is like a brother to me.

As for the area I live in, Sarapiqui, it has been extremely hot here these past few weeks.  It has been getting into the upper 90’s, which is unusual for here.  Even the locals are in disbelief at how hot it’s been.  We haven’t been getting the rain like we normally do this time of year either.  It’s made it difficult to cook or bake anything in the house as we don’t have A/C.  When it does rain I may just run outside and dance in it.  The little beach areas at the river have been packed on the weekends with everyone trying to cool off.  I looked at it today and was very tempted to go home, put on some swimming clothes and jump in.  I haven’t been down there in a while.  I really feel sorry for my cats and dogs though, it’s almost impossible for them to cool off.

I did start painting again, but now I am out of canvas.  I did a geometric design in oil and an abstract in acrylic.  Looks like I will have to keep painting in acrylic because I can’t find oils where I live.  Acrylic is easy to clean up though too, plus you don’t get the smell from the oil or the paint thinner.  Would like to sell them to help cover the costs of a few things.  (Like saving up for surgery.)  In order to keep painting though I will need to take another drive to Guapiles, which is about an hour away, to get more canvas.  It’s a heck of a lot cheaper there compared to what I found here.  I can get it for 1,000 in Guapiles and around here it’s over 3,500 for the exact same size.

Well, that’s what’s been going on in my little corner of Costa Rica.  Not much really.  We have been to a couple of get-togethers with friends and met some more wonderful people.  It’s very relaxing here and I have started reading another John Grisham novel.  We are trying not to do a whole lot because we don’t know how much my surgery will be, we will be self paying for it.  Until Mañana, Pura Vida!

 

 

 

Endocrinologist

Well I finally went and saw an endocrinologist today.  He was a very nice doctor at Hospital Clinica Biblica.  He went over everything with me and spoke really good English.  He was really surprised that my public doctor wanted me to have the biopsy done with how small the tumor is, but he stated that it was a very good thing that she had me do it.  There are some cells in the biopsy that are very questionable at this point.  Basically, it is a 50/50 chance that it could still be cancerous.  He knows the doctor very well that did the lab work for the biopsy and was surprised to see him even give the recommendation to have it surgically biopsied.  He said this is very unusual at this stage.  He doesn’t want to jump right in and do surgery on me; especially with how many I have had done already.  I went over my surgeries with him and I thought he was going to fall out of his chair as I went down the list.

Three eye surgeries, Tonsils and adenoids; plus a cyst that was found, Wisdom teeth, gall bladder, appendix, bilateral lipomas four times, sinus surgery three times, plus countless removals of cysts.  I think I am trying to see what all I can live without.  And that is not even the complete list of stuff done.

So, I have a list of blood work that needs to get done.  I will be having that done through the public system as it doesn’t take too long to get the appointment and get the results back.  Then next month my specialist wants me to have the ultrasound done again.  He said I can e-mail him all the test results and if I have any questions I can e-mail him anytime.  My next appointment with him is in June, if all the test results are fine.  If things change I will probably be going to see him sooner.

He has ordered me to relax, no exceptions!  He said if it is cancerous I still don’t need to worry because it is easily treatable.  I know that it is, but it still makes me worry.  The doctor spent a very long time with me today and made sure that I understood everything.  Total cost of today’s appointment, with no insurance, was under $100 and this was at one of the best hospitals in the country.  He didn’t order any unnecessary tests, or prescribe any unnecessary medication.  He is taking it one step at a time to make sure that surgery is the last option.  I like this.

Until mañana, Pura Vida!

Wedding with Friends

Yesterday my husband and I had our wedding here in Costa Rica.  It was amazing.  We never had a wedding before, we went to Las Vegas and got married.  We took turns driving from Cincinnati and drove straight through; it was 2,000 miles and took 30 hours.  We drove there and back.  I figure if we can spend a total of 60 hours in a vehicle together and not want to kill each other, then we were made for one another.  I tried planning a wedding back then, but it wasn’t going very well.  I had called up my father to ask him to walk me down the aisle and he said, “Why don’t you just go to the justice of the peace and get married?”  Needless to say I was pretty heartbroken.  So, we ended up in Las Vegas.  That was 11 years ago.

Now, with the new law here in Costa Rica you have to produce a new, notarized, apostiled, and translated marriage certificate that is not more than 30 days old when you go to renew your carnet.  My husband and I live in a pretty small town of around 8,000 people.  We got our new residency cards last month, it took us a full 30 days for them to come in.  Then we went to renew our carnets, we did not have the marriage certificate, but they didn’t even ask for it.  I am not sure if it just because they know us or what.  But it never came up and we weren’t going to bring it up.  But we still had our wedding and got remarried.

It was a beautiful day yesterday, even though it was really hot and humid; at least it didn’t rain!  We only had about 20 people there, which was perfect for us.  We had traditional Costa Rican food that was all homemade by our friends.  I did buy a beautiful three tier cake though, which was quit difficult to get it to the wedding.  We held the wedding at one of our friends houses, they live on a big property  not far from our house.  (We actually used to rent one of the houses on the property.)  My friend asked me a few days before the wedding about decorations.  I told her that it wasn’t important to me, just having our friends there is what really mattered.  I did buy some balloons though to have put out so people could find the place.  When we got there they had the place looking so beautiful for us.  They got a tent for outside, put fresh flowers up everywhere, got tables with really nice tablecloths, and had flowers on those too.  I was so overwhelmed.  I just wasn’t expecting all of that, I got teary eyed.

I got to finally toss the bouquet, I always wanted to.  My husband and I had our dance, Phil Collins-Groovy kind of love.  There wasn’t any rum left over.  These people here have become my family.  It was a beautiful day with beautiful people and I don’t think I could have been happier.  I was so nervous beforehand.  But it was very relaxing and really stress free.  Everyone was smiling, laughing, and having a great time.  I’m glad we had a wedding here with close friends.  I couldn’t have asked for a better day.  Until mañana, Pura vida!

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Helping Neighbors

I am not writing this just to get people to think I am a good person.  I am writing this to encourage people to pay it forward.

When we moved here almost five years ago we rented a fully furnished house, if you could call it that.  We stayed in that house for three months and came to realize that the person we were renting from was pretty much crazy.  She was also a control freak.  Our house and her house were on the same property and she was not taking care of the property like she said she would in the contract.  The only things we brought with us were clothes, a few personal items, and two cats.  We had absolutely no furniture.  But we had to get out of that house and away from her.

We met a nice lady from Germany who had property about a 30 minute drive from where we originally at.  There were a total of three houses on the property; her’s, a nice Tico family who cared for the property, and another house.  We decided to go and have a look at the house.  It was a cute house, kind of in the jungle and very peaceful.  There were a couple of tables in the house that we could use, a couple of stools, and a couple of office chairs with the backs missing.  We had also bought two plastic chairs at a supermarket one day and took them to the new house.  We pretty much had nothing.  No plates, silverware, stove, cookware, bed, glasses, or anything else.  There was another nice family that we had met while living in the first house; they were from South Africa.  They loaned us so many things and gave us a lot of stuff.  They gave us plates, silverware, a couple of cooking pots, a small folding table, and a mattress; they also loaned us a washing machine.  One thing that we were definitely missing was a refrigerator.  We went three months without one.  We borrowed a cooler and traded out ice bottles with the Tico family living next to us.  Everyday I would go over there and exchange the bottles and they would let me keep meat in the freezer until I needed it.  This family has become like family to us.  It was kind of sad when we moved out and bought a house of our own.  But we still see them often, this is actually where we are having our wedding at.

My neighbor across the street was gone for many months taking care of her sister.  She would come back and bring stuff back to the house but would never stay.  During the time that she was gone her utilities got shut off.  I am not sure if it was just because she could not pay them with where she was at or what.  Her sister passed away last week and she has been here ever since with her brother.  She came over the other day asking if she could get a few big rocks out of our yard.  (We had plenty left over from the fence building we just got done.)  Turns out she is using the rocks for a fire pit in her back yard to do some cooking on.  But I thought about it for a minute and realized that she had no way to keep anything cold.  My husband and I had bought a cooler not that long ago, we hadn’t even used it yet.  So we decided to ask her if she wanted to borrow it.  I already had a bottle of ice in the freezer, I always keep one there in case the power goes out.  She was so happy with the cooler and ice.  Yesterday when I took a new bottle over she gave me a t-shirt for my husband, it’s really awesome.  We definitely weren’t expecting anything in return, after all someone had done this for us.  Then later last night she brought over some ice cream and a fresh pineapple thanking us again.  It’s so sweet.  I did tell her that someone had done this for us before and I know how it is.  We charged up a couple of flashlights for her also.

I just feel this is how neighbors should treat each other.  With respect and helping each other out in a time of need.  We have some really good people in our neighborhood, all Ticos except us.  I love the small town feel and how good people are to each other here.  Kind of like when I had my surgery, my other neighbor brought me over something to eat everyday for a week.  That is usually something reserved for family.  I love it here and don’t want to be anywhere else.  Until mañana, Pura Vida!

Update: Biopsy results

I got the results yesterday, it’s good new but not great news.  It’s NOT cancer!  That is such a relief.  But I did sit down and talk to one of the doctors at the clinic about the results.  There is some stuff still going on with the tumor and it is causing problems for me.  He is thinking that it is causing some hyperthyroidism and I need treatment for that and then I need to have the tumor removed completely and biopsied again.  I really do not want another surgery but it seems I don’t have a choice in this.  The doctor wanted to me to go and see my regular doctor, but we were about an hour away from home and it was getting late.  It was a really long day yesterday, and it’s already been a long one today.

We had dropped the car off for a radiator flush and then went to see if our new cedula cards had come in.  After waiting a month we finally had them!  This is the longest it has ever taken.  The radiator flush ended up only costing us under $24, way cheap for that.  Then we went to Pequeño Mundo to return a couple of shirts, and of course I picked up some more dark chocolate espresso bars.  After that we stopped by the clinic and got the test results.  I am still not sure how I am feeling about it.  I know I should be happy that it’s not cancer, but I just still feel down about everything.  Maybe it’s because of having to face another surgery.  I hate having my neck touched, and to think of someone having to cut into it just freaks me out.

Then on the way home we get a flat.  We just bought these tires in December.  But something definitely cut the tire causing it.  So we pull over, my husband and I get out and he starts getting everything out of the trunk.  He pulls out the spare tire…that one is flat too.  This is not fun.  I started calling some people, but they are either not close by or didn’t answer.  About then is when someone pulled over to help.  We loaded both tires in the trunk and I rode with him to get air in the spare and to see about patching the other one.  I got that done and it only cost $8, I bought the guy who stopped a small soda and asked him how much for the ride there and back, $6.  Not bad, I will take that.  We finally get the spare on, we decided we didn’t feel safe with the patched tire, and we finally made it home.

I got up early this morning to go and see my regular doctor.  I didn’t even think about this being Holy Week.  Everyone in the town is trying to get in before the clinic closes on Thursday and Friday.  There were no more appointments left for today.  This is actually the first time this has happened to me.  So, I will get up earlier tomorrow and see about getting one.  (Thursday, I am sleeping in!)  We went and picked up some more materials for our fence that we are building and then went and got a new tire.  Turns out when we got the flat we bent the rim also.  At least we have a full size spare so it’s not too bad.  My husband then took me to the other clinic to see about refilling my medicine.  Now, we just got our new cedulas yesterday.  Our carnet, which is like an insurance card, expired with the old cedula.  We couldn’t get a new carnet without a new cedula.  Even though we have our cedulas and proof that we paid for the insurance, they wouldn’t let me refill my medication.  Even after I explained to the woman why I didn’t have the new carnet.  So, I said “F” it and had my husband take me to the pharmacy and paid out of pocket for it.  It was about $16.  That was actually less than my co-pay in the States.  He asked me if I wanted to go back to our clinic to see if we could get the new carnets today; nope, just take me home so I can relax.  It can take several hours of waiting to get a new carnet and I was already frustrated.

So, that has been my yesterday and today.  I am tired and grumpy right now.  I am thinking of taking a nap, or taking up drinking.  I haven’t decided yet.  Until Mañana, Pura Vida!

Nicaragua Border Crossing

First I am going to tell you step by step about the border crossing.  We went through by Los Chiles.

I would recommend paying your exit tax before getting to the border, it is much easier and it was $9.  There is a place to pay it in Los Chiles next to the bus terminal which is across the street from Gollo, it is at a little soda.  You can pay it at the border, but it is done at a machine, which is similar to an ATM machine, and it will be the same as doing a cash advance on your bank or credit card.  I know many banks charge an extra fee for this and you cannot get money out of this machine.   When you go up to the office there is a tent outside with a table and a couple of border police there.  You need to show them your passport, they will write down your name and passport number.  You will need to fill out the form for leaving, make sure to take a pen with you.  Next you will go to a window marked “Salida”, this is for leaving Costa Rica.  There you show them your exit tax form and the form you filled out inside the building.  After that you will proceed to the border.  There is another tent with two border police at it, you need to show your passport again here.  After that you can finally get to the Nicaragua border.  You walk through a gate and show your passport to the guard.  You continue up to the building where there is another tent with a table and some more border police, again you must show your passport and you will need to fill out a form for entering Nicaragua, it is the exact same form that you filled out for leaving Costa Rica.  (Get used to filling this form out)  Next you will pay your entrance fee for Nicaragua, $12.  Now you can finally be on your way.  It is the exact same procedure for leaving Nicaragua, the exit tax is $2.

I would recommend having local currency for Nicaragua, it would have really made things a lot easier there.  I was told to bring US dollars and that is what I did, so everywhere we went it was a matter of pulling out the calculator or phone to do the conversion.  There are vans at this border crossing now and they will take you to San Carlos, Nicaragua for $3 or 70 Cordobas.  $3 is more than 70 Cordobas.  The ride up there took us about 40 minutes.  They dropped us off and told us that they would be running about every 30 minutes, this is not entirely true, they run when they have a full van.  Remember that the border does close at 4pm.

The lake and water front was very beautiful.  The breeze was very strong, but the heat was unbearable.   Even in the shade it was ungodly hot with the breeze.  We did have a nice lunch for cheap and picked up a few items.  My friends got some alcohol and some gifts for family.  I got my husband a wooden hand painted turtle, and I got myself some ibuprofen.  I know it sounds weird, but it was extremely cheap there.  I didn’t like the market, it was too dark and dingy for me and it seemed that all the stuff was of really low quality.  Then there were the guys walking around selling jewelry and belts,  and no matter how many times you said no if they seen you again they would still ask.  I had one guy shoving spices in my face.  I really didn’t like it there.  I am thankful for the experience though.  I am not judging all of Nicaragua based on this one experience in this one town.  I have heard that other towns are very nice and would possibly like to visit those someday.  But if you have to do a border crossing to renew your visa, this one is very easy to do.  Just cross over, take the van, and then grab some lunch and come back.

This is the soda in Los Chiles where you can pay your exit tax.

exit

Update 4

I got some good news yesterday.  My blood test results came back normal.  This was the thyroid hormone test.  So, maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Just still waiting on that biopsy result.

I also had a cyst removed yesterday on my back.  I believe I am genetically cursed with these things.  The worst part about the hole procedure is getting the anesthesia injection to numb the area.  I could tell that part way through the procedure it was starting to wear off.  I didn’t complain because I definitely didn’t want another shot.  He got it completely out and even showed it to me.  They all kind of giggled when I said, “Cool.”  I do have a medical degree so these things rarely gross me out, I usually find them fascinating.  I got three stitches in my back and I go back in a week to get them removed. (I don’t know what it is either but every time I get stitches the first one always pulls out, it doesn’t matter who does them or where I get them done at.)  He put me on some antibiotics to prevent infection.  All of this was covered by the public healthcare system that we pay into.   My husband was right there by my side the entire time yesterday; just like when I had the biopsy done.  He is such a great man and I feel so lucky to have him.  Also, he has been making sure to wash my wound for me since I can’t really get to it.

Tomorrow I am going to Nicaragua with some friends.  My husband told me that I need a vacation after this week!  I agree.  This is my first time making the border crossing and I will be sure to tell you all about it.  We are just heading up to San Carlos for the day.  I am hoping to find something special for my husband, he is staying home with the furry children.  I am looking forward to going, just not looking forward to getting up before the sun.  Until mañana, Pura Vida!