It’s great to be alive

When I visited the stroke victim on Monday, he was really down. He said we needed to talk. I said, “what about?”

He said he wanted to check out of here. I said, you want to leave this apartment and go to an assisted living facility?

He said, “no, I want to check out.”

After a few more exchanges, I realized he was telling me he wanted to die. I said, “and what is your plan for that?”

He said, give me a pill.

I said, “Sorry, there is no assisted suicide in Panama and I won’t participate in that.”

It was about that time he moved his right arm to his chest. It was the first time I had seen him move the right side of his body.

I pointed out to him that he was making progress and said I wasn’t giving up on him and didn’t want him giving up on himself. Continue reading

The Arrow Flew True To The Mark

I know that my post on the 29th (Follow Your Arrow) probably left you wondering what was going on. I have continued to try to solve some more problems for the stroke victim. My initial attempt to try to help him access his money had failed. A Power of Attorney (POA) from the victim requesting my assistance, was not acceptable to the bank.

On my trip to the bank earlier this week, I was told about more forms that would need to be filled out and more notary stamps, just to get the stroke victim a bank card. The large part of the problem was because he has lost the use of his right hand and could not sign anything. Having the notary go to the victim’s apartment for the first POA cost $150.

To avoid any more $150 notary fees, It appeared that the only way to make progress was to transport the stroke victim to the bank and have him make the request in person. I wasn’t sure how we could accomplish this, but it appeared to have a higher likelihood of success than anything else.

Yesterday morning the lady that is caring for the stroke victim got him dressed. Lilliam and I met the physical therapist at the apartment. The physical therapist and I got the stroke victim loaded into the car and put the wheelchair into back of the car. We headed to the bank. Continue reading

Follow Your Arrow

As the song says, you only get so many trips around the sun. Yeah, you only live once. This song will probably register differently to everyone that listens to it. To me it says you have to be true to yourself no matter what others are saying.

Tomorrow I have an important meeting and the good news is I will know quickly if it was a smart thing to do or not. Either way, I am following my arrow and I am not going to hindsight myself if it doesn’t go as planned.

I hope you enjoy the video. Tell me how it registers with you

How to Pay Bills After a Stroke in Panama

I received the following email and it is worth posting as it is relevant to the current situation I am dealing with. It also reveals another type of problem that should be planned for if you are living in a foreign country without a family support system.

I am dealing with the problem he is talking about and I must say, I have not solved the problem. Maybe tomorrow. Obviously it is better to have provided a solution before the problem than having to deal with the problem after it has occurred.

The email follows:

How to pay bills after a stroke
Sun, 27 Jul 2014 10:01:18 -0500
From: (Email deleted)
To: donraycc@

Hi Don

I love reading and following ,and enjoying your posts and articles. Thanks for sharing.

Two weeks ago I was mowed down by a speeding car on the cinta costera that lost control, ran off the road, and scored a direct hit on me.

God was instantly on the job, and I did not get killed, just several cracked ribs, lots of lumps, bruises and abrasions. Sadly, 2 weeks later I am in a ton of pain and have some serious complications, but the mind is as sound ( some would argue otherwise ) as it was before, and I am able to move around the apartment albeit slowly.

But this close shave did again raise the recurring thoughts I often have, as a single person here in Panama, with no family, what happens, God forbid, if I become incapacitated. How would accounts such as hospital etc etc get paid.

I have provided two credit cards to trusted and dear friends that are linked to bank accounts they have signing authority over, but that has only certain limits.

Have you or your readers discovered how to deal with banks or any person here on behalf of someone who is incapacitated and can not sign anything or even get around?

thanks Don, love washing dishes too , and the Toyota SUV, came in second best with a very large dent in its hood


Having Fun With Grandchildren

At my age, having fun is an important part of my life. Living in Panama prevents me from having many memorable fun experiences with my grandchildren. I would like to think that when I am gone that there will be a few, “I will never forget what my grandpa did when he…” moments.

I have tried to create one of these experiences for one of my grandsons today. After setting up the situation, and writing him an email, I decided to share it with you.

It has been one of the lighter moments of this week.

My email to my grandson Noah follows: Continue reading

At a Crossroad

In all of our lives there are crossroads and only those traveling on their own paths decide which way to go. The decision process is an individual one and others can’t make the decisions for us. Others can advise, feel empathy for the decision process, remorse for bad decisions, but it is the individual that ultimately decides.

For the last a month and a half, I have been involved in the case I have previously written about of the US Citizen who had a stroke. This has been and continues to be a very stressful case.

My personal goal was to stabilize the situation and provide the individual the time to understand what he was up against, without the stress of worrying about the small details.

I feel that we have made progress, but there is much to be done. Most of the “to be done” falls to the individual and the healing process.

Tom McCormack provided the hospital bed and a very good wheelchair. I repaired the bed’s electric plug, and it is functioning as it should. The patient can raise and lower the bed. This is huge compared to his condition in his old bed.

The landlady has been fully reimbursed for her payment of the hospital bill and wheelchair rental. Medicine has been purchased, rent paid and phone and electric bills have been paid.

Therapy has been obtained at a reasonable price and personal care is being provided on a 24 hour basis. At the present time, this is as good a situation as I could hope for.

Yesterday, I received a major setback. I have been working with the stroke victim’s bank to obtain the ability for me to withdraw funds from his account so that his bills could be paid. A POA had been drawn up and his authorization had been notarized. Continue reading

Situation at Cable & Wireless

I received the following email which may be of interest to C&W users.

Just want to inform you of a situation I recently had with Cable & Wireless – don’t know if it will be something you want to share on Chiriqui Chatter.

Last year I received a call offering to upgrade my internet speed from the current plan of 2 megas to 5 megas. This was an offer from the Call Center. I agreed to upgrade and the order was processed September 2013 and I’ve been paying for that service since then. Just last week, I called to inform C&W that I was just receiving (on a good day) 2 megas. I was informed that just 2 megas was all that was available in my area. They said I would have to go into the office and speak to a representative.

Once in the office, I asked how it was possible that I was offered a service that is NOT available in my area. The C&W rep said their records show the upgrade in service was not done in the C&W office but handled by the Call Center. I told her they represented C&W so I didn’t see the difference.

OK, what about the amount I’d been paying since September. They said they could immediately credit three months but would have to put in a claim for investigation of the balance. I was notified within a couple of days that they would issue full credit for the difference which ended up being $61.26!

I guess my point in telling you this story is to have C&W customers check their bills and be sure that what they are paying for they are actually receiving. Better yet do not accept offers from the Call Center. It’s better to go into the office and find out what’s available in your area.

Earlier in the year I also got received another offer from the Call Center for tv digital which is NOT offered in my area. I told the C&W representative that I felt they had some responsibility for the calls being made on their behalf but she didn’t see it that way. I also stated that I expected I was NOT the only one with this problem.

My situation was resolved favorably but want to put out the info for others that might be in the same situation.