My Latest Project – Me

OK. Time for some serious talk. As we get older, I turned 70 in October, part of our mechanics start to fail or at least need more attention. Years of neglect, fast food, hard living, business travel, bad relationships, etc. start to take their toll.

I had mentioned a while back that one of my eyes needs attention and that is being scheduled to get looked at. However, my feeling is that with the mileage on this body, I needed a professional take a look and make recommendations that would promote a longer and continued active life.

Moving to a Latin American country is also a reason to take active prevention. It is definitely easier to get injured in Panama than it is in most places in the US.

For example, walking is much more dangerous here. I can’t tell you the number of times I have fallen in David while walking downtown. People that come from the US are not used too the the sidewalk making an abrupt 2 inch change between stores. No transition, just a mini step that is easily missed when you are concentrating on store windows, vendors and other people walking.

The same is true when walking in the morning in the neighborhoods. I have walked the streets in Santa Lucia in Boquete, Volcan, Cerro Punta, David and others and this is never a walk you can take with out being extremely cautious.

Pavement in Panama is never well maintained and there are continually potholes, jagged edges and just plain drop-offs. You have to keep your eyes on the ground and since there is rarely a good sidewalk, you have to be aware of cars that never are going a reasonable speed.

To avoid the pitfalls of life (or should that be potholes) living in a Latin American country requires a little planning and that is what I am doing.

One of the big things we all need to do is to remove all the negative things and people from our lives. I fell fortunate to say that there are NO negative people in my life.

OK, back to the preventative maintenance phase of myself, I have engaged the serviced of Dra. Hilda Gómez Goff. She is an internist specializing in geriatrics. Whether I want to admit it or not, I am no longer a spring chicken and I believe a doctor who specializes in the problems of those of us that are more young at heart than young of body is probably a wise investment of my time and money.

I will have to say, I was very pleased with Dra. Goff. She is Brazilian and English is not her first language. We handled the interview in Spanish. She scheduled a couple special tests along with the normal blood work needed for my annual physical.

She also administered an equilibrium test which required me to extend my arms to the side, close my eyes and place either the right or left foot forward. Not as easy as it sounds.

In general I think we will find out that I am in pretty good shape for the shape I am in, but she did advise a regimen of exercise. She advised me to walk in the mornings, but after breakfast, not before. I probably need to take more advantage of pool time and get the old heart pumping.

Most people move to Panama only thinking about the climate and cost of living. My advice is to consider the health side of living here. Get to know your doctors before you have no option. Talk to others and get recommendations. Consider that you may have a heart attack at 2 AM in the morning and have to see a doctor within 20 minutes minimum.

I use sort of a twist on the old P5 axiom. This is my 4PD plan. The P5 axion is Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. My 4PD plan is Proper Planning Prevents Premature Death.

Incase you are interested in an internist specializing in Geriatrics, I am including Dra Hilda’s card.


10 thoughts on “My Latest Project – Me

  1. I am not sick as in feeling bad. This is preventative maintenance in my mind. The eye is a potential serious problem, but I will deal with it when I get the results back from my doctor’s appointment.

  2. If you ever want a walking buddy, give me a shout.
    Another good doctor – we took Joel’s mom to Dr luz Vizuete at Mae Lewis and were very pleased, and her English is excellent.
    More young at heart than young of body – I like the way you put that! You look young of body but I certainly agree with good maintenance. That’s important at any age.
    Good luck with the eye situation!

  3. I am 70 yrs old (71 in July) and have a problem with a Gastroeintestinal parasite since I realized I was in a problem on Nov. 1. Went to a Dr. and got meds and injections and meds and more and more meds, month after month. It is now May (6 months). I quit going. Took samples to the Dr. for uriine, and stool which he said was not NEEDED TO SUBMIT to Bio Med until the extreme visits and finally took a blood sample to give to Bio Med. Results – Gastointestinal parasite. I have lost sooooooo much weight, and other problems, but I can’t get any other med attention since they do not accept my med insurance from the US and Living on a fixed income is taking its toll on me. They have to get this insurance straightened out for acceptance here and care.

  4. Hi Don Ray:
    Love Chiriqui Chatter! You’ve got to remember that ‘mojito’ and ‘medicinal’ are almost spelled the same. Take care.


  5. I saw Dr. Gomez for my 70+ drivers license renewal and was generally impressed and glad to have a gerontologist on my doctor list.
    It’s good to have further confirmation.

  6. As a 61 yr old U.S. nurse considering Boquete and David as a future home………I am upset to hear that your U.S. medical insurance was not accepted in Panama. I cant imagine why, unless they dont like the fact that we just keep printing paper money, but I doubt that they are that politically interested. Would love to know the story.

  7. I think Charlotte was talking about not accepting medicare. If it were other INS, the policy typically says what it covers and where it covers items.

  8. Very good post, Don. I’m reminded of a terrible — and fatal — accident that occurred on the Pan American near Santiago shortly after my husband and I arrived in Boquete. The road dropped off steeply and unexpectedly and the car flipped over. When I was learning to drive, my father told me to always pay attention to the right-hand side of the road. That was in Savannah where there were still many dirt (sand) roads and no interstate. Even as the roads improved, I always remembered the my dad’s advice. Needless to say, it’s an imperative for Panama.

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