Friday, January 20, 2012

First doctors appointment in Cuenca

I ran out of one of my medications five weeks ago that I didn't count as being critical to my health at the time. So, I went to a pharmacy to see about getting it like I did with another medication, but it was going to cost over $80 for 28 pills. After hearing that I decided that I was going to make an appointment get my levels checked and see what other medications Cuenca has to offer.

Five weeks later and I finally made an appointment to see Dr. Anthony Guillen who I had heard that he spoke English, because we got his number when we first got her for Nick, but then never met him. I also referred some friends to him, and they loved him so it was finally my turn. On Tuesday I got the chance to meet him. He speaks English as clear as an American, so there are any misunderstandings, he is funny, and young. Dr. Guillen and I had a very through conversation about my problem. He took my vitals, listened to my lungs and heart. We decided that I needed to have my labs done, but I wasn't symptomatic. I asked if he knew how much they would cost he excused himself and came back to tell me $60. "$60 oh", I said. I really was thinking how that was a lot more then what I anticipated and I had only brought $60 with me. I rarely ever carry money. I asked how much his fee would be and he told me normally $20 but he would charge me $15 today. I told him I only has $60 and he said that I could pay him on Wednesday when I come back to review my labs.

Across the hall I went to have my blood drawn. Dr. Banegas (sp?) was a very pleasant man and spoke only a few words in english. He started looking for a good vein, but I had been fasting in anticipation of having labs drawn and they were a little hard to find. He finally decided on one and by that point in my medical opinion the tourniquet had been on longer then needed. He stuck me and on the first try he was successful and I was grateful. He didn't use the typical vacutainner or syring to take my blood he stuck a needle in my vein and let it drip into the tube. Don't worry it feels the same it was just odd to me. I've only drawn blood like that on a newborn infant. When I was done he asked me for the money which now was $65. I told him I only had $60 and I would pay him the $5 tomorrow. I am not sure what changed why I had to pay $65 not $60 maybe there was any extra lab he wasn't aware of. I think there was a total of 6 tests performed. I was told to come back Wednesday at 9am.

Wednesday morning I was at Dr. Guillens office a 8:50 and he was there waiting for me. He asked me to go to the lab to get my results, so I went across the hall paid an additional $5 that I owed the lab. Then went accross the hall to speak with Dr Guillen. I told him about my concern of the costs of the labs he explained that 2 of the tests I had were usually $20 tests and that he would talk to Dr. Banegas, because he thought the cost was a little high, but he was a new lab doctor there, so he wasn't sure. My results were elevated and it was nessecary to go back on my medication. I explained to him about the cost and asked if there were any lower cost medications. We talked he went downstairs to the pharmacy and spoke with them and came back with some options. I paid Dr Guillen $15 and no more I thought I would have an additional fee from review the labs but nope not required. We decided on one and off I went with perscription and told to call if I had any concerns and to come back in six months to have labs re-checked.

My overall opinion is that it was good care and I will go back to see Dr. Guillen and I will have him see my family also. Dr. Anthony Guillen is located on Av. Remigio Crespo and Las Americas upstairs from the Farmacia Salvador (that his parents own) it is the red and white pharmacy on the round about. His number is 095 398 105 you must call for an appointment.

The medication cost was $19.50 for 10 pills. So I will end up paying almost $60 for 30 pills.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Outside the Box

Susan, Nick, and I leaving Atlanta

There are endless opportunities in Cuenca, and sometimes it is good to think outside the box. During my twenty-five year career in the US Air Force I was fortunate to have some brave mentors who listened to my ideas which were outside the box, and even implemented many of them, most successfully, and luckily only a few bombed. The military is not always receptive to people who think outside the box, and I was not only thinking outside the box, the joke was I had lost sight of the box entirely. Sometimes people have a tendency to over-think, over-plan, and are over-cautious, and these tendencies can handicap any any project, idea, or in our case  relocating to a new country.

Thinking outside the box for Susan, Nick, and I has led us to retiring to Cuenca at an early age, but keeping our eyes open as we experience a new culture. We have allowed ourselves to be more social, and welcoming to new people we meet at Moca, or through facebook and our blog. By allowing ourselves to open up to these new acquaintances we have made some very good friends, both Cuencanos and ex-pats, but we have also been burned by a few people who we thought were close friends. But, by allowing ourselves to act outside the box, and open up to the people, and the culture around us, has enriched our lives more than we could have ever imagined, and have by far over shadowed any negative experiences. While living in Decatur as we first discussed our move to Cuenca, our hope was to change our behavior, and try to make new friends, and create new friendships to enrich our lives just as we hoped to enrich our lives by embracing a new culture. After six months, I feel we have just begun to understand our new surroundings, but by allowing ourselves the freedom to act outside the box we have experienced much more than we anticipated.

So, the point to the post, if there is such a thing in a blog like ours, is to let go of the restraints we all place on ourselves, and think, or even act outside the box to free up the endless opportunities here in Cuenca. Try new foods, get out of your comfort zone by riding a bus, offer help to a person you see who needs a hand, or just do something new today that you didn't do yesterday. You'll never know what surprises are around the next corner if you never turn off the path once in a while.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Beginning of a New Year

Well, 2012 is here, and we only have to worry until sometime in December according to the Mayan calendar. Personally, I think the chief Mayan calendarologist figured they he had created the calendar several hundred years into the future, and liking even numbers decided to stop 2012. He must have chiseled a note to himself on an ancient post-it-note to add more years to the calendar in 1812, but unfortunately the Mayan civilization ended much sooner. so, relax, enjoy the entire year, and buy a 2013 calendar for Christmas 2012.

Susan, Nick, and I have already made  a few changes for the new year. We decided after a lot of discussion with friends, and classmates of Nick, to remove him for Santana for the rest of the school year. The reason for pulling Nick out was the teachers were not involving Nick in the class, and not even attempting to hold him accountable for any homework, or even work done in class. They decided it was easier to treat him as a foreign exchange student, than to take the time to work with him to make sure he understood any assignments. So, for the rest of the school year Nick will focus on his Spanish lessons, take online classes through Global Student Network, and tryout for the Deportivo Cuenca u14 soccer team. He will stay in touch with his friends from Santana, and have them over to the house as often as possible. We hope to enroll him in a new school in the fall that can provide a challenge academically, but at the same time allow him to have a social life.

Cuenca Flats, the real estate and property management company Susan and I started in September 2011 continues to grow as we add properties to our listings of residential, and commercial properties for sale and lease. All of our listings have been referred to us by friends, and satisfied customers, so we haven't had to search for new clients. We want to remain a small company, and focus on providing a level of personal service that wouldn't be possible with a larger company. For us personally, we are moving upstairs in our building to a new apartment, which is a little big bigger (3BR/4 Baths), and we will have a terrace off the master bedroom on the second floor. Susan has wanted an outside space, and we like our building, so moving upstairs was an easy solution.

Our friend Bill Mann, and I have discussed some interesting ideas over the last couple of months, and we have decided to start a new project together this year. The new company we have formed will allow us to use some of our past IT, marketing, and management consulting experiences to help local businesses develop some new methods of attracting customers.

Susan has begun Yoga with her friend Lizette, and though she was sore after the first day, she is looking forward to her next class. Moca Cafe Bar, which we co-own with our friend Trish is continuing to attract new customers, and recently Susan began baking jumbo apple-cinnamon and banana-walnut muffins, and everyone loves them. Susan, along with Moca's manager Jenny have developed some new marketing ideas, and we added Direct TV, so we could show the Ecuadorian national soccer team's World Cup qualifying matches during the road to Brasil 2014.

The big news of the last few days for our family is that our oldest daughter Courtney has decided to join us in Cuenca sometime in March. We are hoping she can take over some of the work at Moca, and spend her free time working on her photography, and writing as she tries to make her two passions into a career. Susan will be heading to Atlanta to help with the move, shop for some things we are wanting, clear out our storage rental, and with luck she all the rest of our children (Ryan, Frank, and Christina), and her father and brother. It was hard having our first Christmas without our four older children, and next Christina will be turning 19 on the January 13th, so this will be the first year Susan isn't there for Christina's birthdays.

We are hoping the new year brings us good health, new friends, and many new adventures as we continue to live in our new country, and we wish the best to all our friends.