My first workout back at the gym was great… I did 15 mins of cardio, 10 mins on the defibrillator, and then 3 days in the hospital.

Doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results isn’t the definition of insanity it’s the definition of parenting

“Never skydiving”
is at the absolute top
of my bucket list.

This Deserves A Special Post

A comment thread from John on a recent post, leads me respond at more length than a comment can handle. In his most recent comment, he chose to call himself “John retired U. S. government”.  It is interesting that he choses too change his name from John to one saying he worked for the U.S. Government and yet enjoys criticizing one of its most important resources the U.S. Government has in Panama.

Not often, but sometimes, there are comments that come to Chiriquí Chatter from disgruntled U.S. citizens that are unhappy with where their country is going. They may be disgruntled because problems they have found living in Panama.

Sometimes it is because of not having the U.S. Embassy do things the way that they think it should be done.

I have met with two such U.S. citizens (both men over 60) who had come to Panama and married a young honey 1/3 to 1/2 their age and wanted to take them to the U.S.. It may have been to live or just for a vacation. When their new spouse was denied a visa, they wrote me and were very irate.

What they didn’t realize was that their new spouse may have left out a few details of her life, prior to him, and the Embassy discovered it. The Embassy would not discuss the case with them, which also made them mad. While I understand their frustration, I also understand the visas being denied.

John is here to complain and this time because of the Embassy requirement for a bank check for payment instead of accepting cash. He states that the Embassy should have known about the bank’s requirements or limitations for issuing a check. Continue reading This Deserves A Special Post

I finally arrived at that age where people tell me I look great…for my age.

I almost just choked on a kale chip and all I could think was that this never happens with Cinnabons.

AttaBoy Tom

I just noticed a post on Tom McCormack’s FaceBook page. I felt it was worth a huge AttaBoy from Chiriquí Chatter.

Our last container #17 has just about been delivered to areas of need. To date more than 3000 wheelchairs, more than 3000 walkers, more than 4000 pairs of crutches and around 100 home hospital beds. We just fit number # 392 new prosthetic leg. Hundreds of breast prothesis and wigs, thousands of glasses and lots of hearing aids. Still going strong.
Thomas L. and Linda J.McCormack Foundation.Thanks to all our volunteers in Panama and U.S.A.

You may remember on my Container 17 post, that TVN was here filming the process. They were here again this week doing more followup for  A Panama Hero promotion. Those nominated will be awarded $8,000 for their good work. The winner will be awarded $30,000, if I understand correct.

Obviously everyone in Chiriquí already recognizes that Tom is a hero, but it would be nice to see his foundation pull in the $30K. Think of all the people that Tom would help with that money.

Chiriquí Chatter thinks there is no more deserving winner. Let’s hope that TVN decides the same in December.

Plan Ahead

Today was the U.S. Embassy Outreach in David. I spent a large part of the day on a task for the Embassy and only attended about 15 minutes at the first of the meeting. I did leave cards with the ACS Chief for anyone needing to contact me, if a problem arises in David or Chiriquí in general.

I finally finished with my task around 5PM and returned to the Hotel for a followup. I understand that there were a few complaints that came up today about requiring a Bank Check for any payment to Embassy.

It was posted in BOLD in the Chiriquí Chatter post, so it should not have been a surprise. It might not hurt to point out why the process was put in place. It was determined by the security staff of the Embassy that it was not safe for them to leave the meeting with $5,000 in cash as they have in the past.

Credit cards are accepted at the Embassy, if you would prefer not using cash.

It also might be worth pointing out that it is not safe for anyone to be walking around in Panama carrying a large amount of cash. This always comes up when we near the holidays because thieves tend to stakeout the banks watching unsuspecting people make large withdrawals and then following them to relieve them of their money.

Another subject that came up during our evening discussion was related to healthcare or emergency care in Panama. I was told that the Embassy has had several calls from people asking for help, because the private hospitals, in Panama City, were not accepting them for treatment unless they deposited $10,000.

The fact is that the private hospitals have no responsibility to accept anyone, except possibly to stabilize a patient. After that, they will be shipped to Hospital Santo Tomás in Panama City, if sufficient funds aren’t available. Santo Tomás is the public hospital in Panama City similar to the Regional Hospital in David. If you are coming to Panama, plan on coming with Insurance.

Even if it is just for a vacation, get insurance before you come. Trust me, you don’t want to go to a public hospital, if you can avoid it. If you don’t speak Spanish, what are you going to do in a hospital where 95+% of the hospital staff only speak Spanish.

If your family in the US call to check on you, they won’t be able to communicate with the admission’s staff. If you call the Embassy, they will check on a possible patient, but they will not be able to discuss the patient’s condition unless they had previously registered on STEP and listed their contacts.

I have never found a person in the David Regional Hospital’s admission’s office that spoke English. I have spoken to some doctors in the Regional hospital that spoke English, but rarely find nurses speaking English.

If you are planning on moving to Panama and using the cheaper insurance offered by some of the hospitals, read the fine print well and it would also not hurt to go interview payment offices in the hospitals and ask some tough questions to understand how your coverage will work. Know which hospitals will honor that insurance and which ones won’t.

Panama can be a great place if you come with the right exceptions and plan ahead. If you don’t you may not enjoy it much.

Dog 911: What’s the emergency?
Koki: Don Ray threw a ball but I can’t find it
DOG 911: Did u check his hand?
Koki: Off course I checked hi…….—DAMMIT