Thursday, Jan 21, 2016

Heidi has been having some stomach issues. In fact she has an ulcer that was under treatment before we left for Ecuador. The previous two months we spent preparing to leave the states…selling everything we owned, leaving a secure and well-paying job, exiting a quality and well understood medical care system, all contributed to Heidi’s ulcer developing. She has had one in the past as a result of a traumatic scooter accident, but that was almost 10 years ago and after it healed she really has had no issues.

During the night Heidi woke up to intermittent stomach pain…cramping, stabbing, and sharp. This has been her body’s MO for several weeks now. So here we are in Bahia de Caraquez, Ecuador. It is a bit unnerving to think what we would do if we had a real medical emergency. Say for instance her ulcer turned into an active bleeding ulcer that would require immediate medical attention. I believe the closest hospital to us is an hour’s drive away.

I’m not a fatalist and I don’t focus on anything and everything that can go wrong when doing something. I do realize though that we may not have enough information of where and how we could get immediate medical treatment if we needed it. It becomes one of those things in the category of “I’m ok now and don’t want to think about anything going wrong”. I will find out from some ex pat friends we have made how immediate medical attention is handled here in Bahia.

This morning we have been reading, studying our Spanish, and just relaxing. We had plans to go to the  market this morning, but since Heidi was more or less “down for the count” I decided it could wait until tomorrow. We are out of things like eggs and fish, and we are almost out of bread, bacon, cheese, and butter….so we may have to go to the small convenience store and pick up some of these things later today. The market is a fantastic place to buy many items, but it closes up by late morning.

The internet never did come up yesterday after it went down around 8 am. I can tell by some emails that downloaded on my phone, it came up during the night between 1 am and 3 am. It has been down all morning today, with the exception of about 5 minutes. During that time I was able to get an email to the person helping us with our visas, and post a pic on facebook letting everyone know we are still very much alive in Ecuador.

We were invited over for an evening of card playing at Don and Donna’s. Don called and said there would be some more people we could meet. He may have also said it was an evening of cards too but the phone connection wasn’t very good and I didn’t hear that part. Heidi passed on the invite because she had not been feeling well all day, Easton also passed saying he didn’t know he was up for an evening of expats all his parents age. Poor kid, he is going to need to find people his own age to hang out with.

So I went over solo and rang the bell. I was the first one to arrive, and was offered a glass of wine which I gladly accepted. Soon the others arrived: Jim and Bev, a couple in their seventies from Maryland; Maike and Kathy, a retired banker and his corporate wife from Chicago, closer in age to Heidi and I; and Cindy, a single women around our age from Las Vegas (we were practically neighbors when we lived in St George!) Each of these people were interesting and pleasant to be around.

I’m not a card player. This gathering reminded me when I was a kid and my parents would have their friends over and they would all be gathered around the kitchen table and play cards for hours on end. Oh my God…I’ve become my parents! Overall it was a fun evening and I’m looking forward to getting to know these people more. How they came to live in Ecuador and what they are wanting from life while they are here.

I have to note some interesting feelings coming up while I was playing cards in this group. As I looked around the table, I judged everyone was completely relaxed. What I was feeling was stress. I heard a voice in my head say, “You don’t have time to be sitting around playing cards. YOU’RE NOT retired. You are going to be homeless if you don’t get to work”.  I obviously haven’t adapted yet to my new life situation. I do have to continue to make a living…but not today, not next week, or not even this year. I can relax; I can connect with new people I’ve met, and I can even do that whittling away the hours playing cards.

One more thing. Jim was the first of the new group to arrive and he and I had a few minutes to talk and get to know one another. In a past life he was a Civil Engineer. Currently he is a writer. He is a shorter man with silver white hair pulled back in a short pony tail. His eyes seem to smile while he speaks and I like his steady, calm energy.

During our conversation he told me his wife encouraged him to visit Ecuador without her at least once, since it was her idea to move here. This was to make sure this is the place he truly wanted to move too. Side note. Poor Heidi, I dragged her here once, then said isn’t this great! Let’s pack our bags…and we did. She truly is a saint.

Back to Jim. When he traveled on that solo visit he came with a younger man in his forties who Jim was a mentor too. It made me realize I need a mentor in my life. A man older than myself who can share learned wisdom, offer challenge, and invite undiscovered questions into the life of this 53 year old man…who at times struggles, is uncertain, and just plain misses being able to talk to his dad.