I was going to continue writing about our trip to the U.S., but I am back in Pedasí and it is now the beginning of the Panamanian holidays – November & December, with more things to talk about. I will write about our U.S. trip soon for those who would like to enjoy some more pictures.
One thing I would like to share right now about our trip, I returned home to Pedasí last Friday. As planned, Mikkel flew from Dulles Airport, Washington D.C. to San Jose, California for his annual routine physical at the Palo Alto VA medical facilities while I flew back to Panama City. Mikkel would stay with his daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren for the next week and then return home. He would fly home last night and I would pick him up at the bus station in Las Tablas this afternoon. Everything seemed to go as planned until he went to see the eye doctor yesterday at the VA. Then I receive a call from Mikkel. He is going to have eye surgery today due to pressure behind his eye that if not treated right away could cause glaucoma and blindness. And it will take at least 2 weeks to recover; so he can’t fly home until he gets the okay from his doctor.
This kind of news put everything into a tailspin. For one thing, I am here and he is about 3500 miles away. He reassures me that it is not life-threatening but critical that he have this surgery now. So immediately many phone calls were made: cancelling his plane reservation with a no-date as of yet return (a doctor’s note will excuse him from any penalties charged by the airlines); the bank to extend his travel notice; the credit card company to inquire about the travel insurance benefit (which was not valid because he lives outside the U.S. and does not have a return flight from Panama), the car rental agency to extend the rental agreement; our taxi driver, Luis, in Panama City who was picking up Mikkel at the airport to take him to the bus terminal. Furthermore, Mikkel would need to be near the Palo Alto hospital for the next week as an outpatient to have daily checkups as he recovered, and he needed to rest during this time. It would be difficult for him to drive from San Jose to Palo Alto each day with a patch over his eye and stay with his family with 3 young active children. Luckily, this VA hospital can provide a home for surgical outpatients and a shuttle to and from the VA. So he will be staying their for about a week. Then his daughter and family are leaving on a trip to Colorado, so he can stay there and continue to recover in peace. Hopefully he will recover quickly and we will reunite soon.
In the meantime, I am holding down the fort by myself here in Pedasí. Because this is home now for the past 3 years, it is not that difficult being on my own. Just difficult not being able to be with Mikkel in his time of need. Anyway, life in Pedasí goes on. I represented our business and sold products at the local “Mecadito”. I attended two Halloween parties over the weekend (Halloween seems to be getting a little more popular among the Panamanians since we moved here). I started back teaching English at the school in Los Destiladeros.
Yesterday was Día de Muertes (Day of the Dead or All-Saints Day) – a time to remember your loved ones who have passed on; no alcohol is sold and no loud music played until midnight. Then it becomes a 3-day fiesta of parades, music, fireworks, and partying for Independence Day from Spain (Nov. 3rd), Flag Day (Nov. 4th), and Colon Day (Nov. 5th). These are national holidays, so most everything is closed-banks, post office, stores; restaurants, hotels, and markets still remain open.
It seems I will stay occupied most of the time Mikkel is recovering, helping me to keep me from worrying too much. “Tranquilo”.
Although I am missing Mikkel, I thank God that the doctors discovered his eye problem before he got on the plane to return to Panama. As they said, he may have soon become blind if he went undiagnosed. While living in Pedasí and facing many challenges and experiencing many adventures, I have learned that all things work out. It is all part of the journey in our third life.