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!

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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!