Tag Archives: Health

Dangerous Little Suckers

Today, I saw THIS ARTICLE, on the internet, saying there were over 100 cases of dengue in Hawaii. Many newcomers to Panama have never heard of dengue until they come down with it.

This is one disease you do not want to mess with. As you can see from the following map, Dengue is no stranger to Central and South America.


If you are new to Panama or in the process of moving to Panama, you would be wise to educate yourself about this disease. You are infected by mosquitos and this disease becomes more dangerous with each infection.

You can be infected with Dengue four times and each stage is progressively more dangerous. While the first stage is very painful, it is rarely fatal provided that it is correctly diagnosed. However, the forth stage is usually fatal.

Since the disease is spread by mosquitos, It is very important to remove all potential breeding areas of standing stagnating water, such as old discarded tires, trash, etc.

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 It’s great to be alive

Dengue Alert

If you are new to Latin America then the word Dengue may be new to you. If you are going to retire and live here, then it is a word you need to know and understand.

There have been 6 deaths attributed to Dengue so far this year.

Here is an excerpt from a Stanford University website describing dengue.

The Dengue virus is a member of the virus family Flaviviridae and is transmitted to people through the bite of the mosquitoes Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. Dengue virus is now believed to be the most common arthropod-borne disease in the world. Dengue is mainly found in the tropics because the mosquitoes require a warm climate. A major fear of epidemiologists is that the mosquitoes will develop resistance to cooler climates and then be able to infect people in the United States and other temperate climates. The virus is transmitted when a mosquito of the Aedes genus bites an individual infected with dengue virus. The virus in the blood of the infected individual then infects the mosquito and travels from the mosquito’s stomach to its salivary glands were the virus multiplies. The virus is then injected into another person when the mosquito injects anticoagulants that prevent blood clotting when the mosquito is feeding. The mosquito remains able to transmit dengue for its entire life.

Another source of information is the Center of Disease Control.

Here is a post I referenced in the past showing how to make a dengue trap. Stay safe out there. The life you save may be your own.

A Small Observation

Over the last week I have had to take several tests. On the whole, Mae Lewis has been cheaper than Hospital Chiriquí. As an example one test was $186 at Hospital Chiriqui and it was $140+ at Mae Lewis.

What this showed me was that it may be worth shopping around before having some procedures run.

Also for women, Hospital Obaldia is cheaper than both Mae Lewis and Hospital Chiriquí.

A penny saved is a penny earned so to speak.

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.


The First Of Two

Today, Lilliam and I went to the Ministry of Health and took our flu shots. As you can see from the photo above, there is nothing to it. The cost is less painful. It is given for free. Who said you can’t get something for nothing.

There are two injections given. One in the left arm and one in the right. One is given for pneumonia and the other for influenza. With H1N1 in our midst, it is a wise precaution to take advantage of this free service.

I was told that they are receiving the medicine from France.

To get to the Ministry of Health, go East on the InterAmerican Highway and make a right on the street behind the Super Baru supermarket.

The first stop sign will be by Java Juice. Continue on in the same direction.

The second stop sign will be the one near the bus terminal. Continue in the same direction.

The next stop sign has Clinica Cattan on the right. Make a right turn at this corner. You will see a guard gate on your left a short distance from the corner. Enter onto the grounds of the Ministry of Health. Follow the road around to the back of the big building. The morgue will be on the right and where you want to go is on the left.

However, if you do not heed my warning and get this flu shot, the next time I see you might be in the building on the right. I don’t want that to happen. Go get your injections.

H1N1 Flu Warning

A good friend’s nephew just died in David of the H1N1 Flu. The symptoms were severe headache and fever. If you have these symptoms, get yourself to the doctor.

Sofia had it when she left Panama to return home. The rest of the family also got it. They were treated quickly by a doctor in Costa Rica.

Be careful out there. I don’t want to lose any of you!