Friday was a day of cultural diversity for me. I spend over six hours with a lovely couple from India that is considering moving to Panama.
I have exchanged emails with them for a fair amount of time, over several months, and they invited me to have breakfast with them on their last day in Chiriqui. That breakfast extended into a more relaxed setting and then into a late lunch.
I have had many CC readers come to David and want to meet me, but this was one of the most enjoyable times for me yet. The main reason was that I met a couple that were truly devoted to each other and dedicated to spend their ultimate years in the company of each other doing whatever is required to make that time the most happy.
Complicating the decision is the fact that the gentleman is suffering some medical needs and so the decision of whether Panama can provide sufficient care is a major consideration
Now this isn’t a casual decision on their part. In fact I think they have done more research and have more information and even experience than I have over my 9 years here.
Because of the gentleman’s health, they have already used Panama’s medical care in both Panama City and David.
Don’t take what I am saying to mean that they feel that the care they have received has been perfect or better than the U.S. They were very realistic in their evaluation. However, because they both have medical backgrounds, they were more knowledgable than most to make realistic judgements of the care being satisfactory for them.
Their decision, about where ever they decide to move, is not solely based on hospital care. From what I discerned, from our time together, it was also based on where the husband could most enjoy his ultimate years.
Certainly the culture of Latin America is more understanding of keeping the infirm in a family environment rather than placing them in an institutional setting. It is possible to have a private live-in nurse in Panama for much less than equivalent care in the U.S. however, that does require caution in choosing the caretaker and the knowledge to validate the caretaker, both of which they have.
Now what does this have to do with cultural diversity? Well this couple immigrated to the U.S from India and became productive citizens. Their families were not in agreement with that decision to move to the U.S., and yet used them as a stepping stone for several more to also move to the U.S.
Their family is also not in agreement with the possibility of their moving to Panama. They would like to see them move back to India. Pressures from family always complicate the decision process, but in this case the loyalty of the couple to each other will be the deciding factor in their ultimate destination.
We discussed a lot about cultural differences of India, the U.S., and Panama. They were a couple made up of Hindu and Christian cultures. I learned a lot about a country I know very little.
I also learned more about local Panama healthcare insurance. As I said, they both have medical backgrounds and the wife had done a large amount of investigation about insurance providers they might use in Panama. One of the companies she had investigated is the new provider if insurance at Hospital Chiriquí.
This research had convinced her that, for them, there are better options. I know nothing of the changes that have recently taken place with the insurance in Hospital Chiriquí, but there is an old saying that you get what you pay for. I am hearing from some people that the old saying is being replaced by, “You get less than you pay for”.
Certainly, if you move to Panama, you should not do it because you think the healthcare is cheaper than your country of origin. In some cases it is. For instance, a simple visit for me to take care of a cold or something simple, will be around $6.00. However, if you are going to have a coronary stint installed in a Panama hospital and do not have insurance to cover it, you better have a bundle saved up.
Their decision of “if to move” and “where to move” is not resolved. I understand their dilemmas. I also appreciate that in our ultimate years, we all have to do what will make us the most happy. The love between these two, will ultimately influence their decision.
The lady is a strong lady, one of the strongest I have met. The love between these two is strong, one of the strongest I have witnessed.
If they move here, I will have two new friends I will share time with. If they don’t, I still have gained friends I want to keep up with and learn more from. It was a great day on Friday. One filled with conversation about the differences of countries, the differences of religions, the acceptances of differences in cultures, and the acceptance that at some point our time on Earth will end and we must make the most of the time we have.
My new friends, I wish you well with your decision. I salute your devotion to each other, and I thank you for the most enjoyable day I have spent in a long time. I know you are measuring the risks and the rewards and, in the end, it is only what makes the two of you happy that is important.