Saturday, February 12, 2011

Weekly Update

It's been awhile since my last post. I'll try to post more often from now on. We're settling into a routine and here's what we've been doing lately.

Going to doctors. Oh fun! But when you get to a certain age, it takes up a lot of your time! Here are the doctors that we have found and highly recommend. They are all at the Monte Sinai Hospital, which is within walking distance of our apartment.

Dr. Pablo Parra, Internal Medicine. Dr. Parra is like our Primary Care Physician. Anything that is wrong with us, we go to him first and he'll take care of us or refer us to a specialist. You just show up during his office hours (10am - 1pm and 5pm - 7pm) - no appt needed. The office visit is $25. Dr. Parra speaks very good English and has a lot of ex-pat patients. If you need a specialist, he'll get on the phone and call the doctor himself and will then walk you over to the doctor's office and will stay with you if translation is needed.

Dr. Gustavo Vallejo, Orthopedic Surgery. Dr. Vallejo is an orthopedic surgeon who speaks very good English. He saw Mike about five times when his back was bothering him. He had Mike go downstairs to the radiology department to get x-rays taken of his back. This took about 15 minutes. All of the x-rays, mri's, lab results, doctor's reports, etc., belong to the patient. So make sure you bring everything with you to your dr appt so the doctors will have the most current information. Dr. Vallejo's office visit costs $25. The average cost of x-rays is $42. Mike's blood work costs $59. The doctors do everything - take your medical history, take your blood pressure, administer the medicine / injections, if needed, etc. Dr. Vallejo gave me a prescription to be filled at the hospital pharmacy downstairs. I brought the medication (injectable) back to the doctor who administered it to Mike in his office. The doctor's offices serve a dual purpose: Half of the space is for their clerical work and the other half is the clinical setting where the patient is examined. Very efficient.

Dr. Alberto Amaya, Urologist. Dr. Parra walked Mike over to meet Dr. Amaya and stayed during the examination. This was mainly to meet Dr. Amaya and get established as his patient. His office visit was $25 also.

Dr. Patricio Serrano, Laparoscopic Surgeon/ Gastroenterologist. Dr. Parra also walked Mike over to meet with Dr. Serrano. Sometime in the future, Mike will need to have his gallbladder removed. This surgery will require him to stay overnight in the hospital, probably two nights. They have a second bed in the room for the spouse to stay with the patient overnight and even have meals for the spouse. Very nice!

Dr. Christian Abad, Dentist. Dr. Parra recommended Dr. Abad when we said we needed to see a dentist. We have both had our teeth cleaned and Mike had to have some reconstructive dental work performed. He is very happy with the care and dental work that was performed. Dr. Abad speaks very good English also. Dental cleaning costs $45. X-rays cost $50.

Dr. German Arichavala, Ophthalmologist. Mike needed to replace his eyeglasses, which he lost. Dr. Parra recommended Dr. Arichavala. The exam and new glasses cost $150.

As you might notice, most of these doctor appointments were for Mike. Fortunately, I am healthy and have not been sick since I arrived here. I think the good food, clean air, good water, and healthy outdoor lifestyle suits me. However, I did have a bad fall which necessitated a ride in the ambulance to the ER. This was almost five months ago. I'm doing much better, but still not fully healed. The ambulance, ER doctor, ER room, x-rays all cost $100. And I was in the ER within 20 minutes of my fall! Since arriving in Ecuador 6 months ago, our prescriptions for both Mike and I amount to $500. This includes Mike's maintenance medication that he takes monthly.

Spanish lessons are going good. We went for 3 weeks and are taking a break right now. We are planning an out-of-town trip to Cotacachi and will resume Spanish lessons when we return. Cotacachi is a town also in the Andes, about 1-1/2 hours outside of Quito. We're going to fly to Quito on Friday, Feb. 18th and then have a driver drive us to Cotacachi. We'll be staying a week and will take lots of pictures. There are some wonderful leather merchants where we plan to do some shopping. We'll also do some shopping in a nearby town called Otavalo. We plan on meeting up with another couple there and we should have lots of fun. Hopefully lots of walking and swimming in the heated pool of the hotel we're staying at.

We just got back from the movies. We saw Imparable (Unstoppable). It was in English with Spanish subtitles. It starred Denzel Washington and was very good. Highly recommend it! The price for the movie was $2.25 for Mike and $4.50 for me!

Tonight we're going out to a Valentine's dinner that our church is organizing. Should be fun. And on Monday night (Valentine's Day), we're going to the Mansion Alcazar for a special Valentine's dinner they are having. I'll write more about that after the fact.

No pictures this time. I'm going to walk along the river and take pictures but am waiting for a sunny day. This is the rainy season and will take pictures as soon as the sun comes out.

Hasta Luego, Patty

P.S. Just got home from the Valentine's dinner. We arrived at our pastor's house at 7:30 p.m. and walked over to the event location which took about 15 minutes. One of the couples that we were with got water-ballooned. This is the time of year known as "Carnival" (kind of like Mardi Gras). The teenagers fill balloons with water and throw them indiscriminately at anyone and everyone. So far we haven't been hit yet! Our event started at 8:00 p.m. with a message on marriage, but the dinner didn't start until 10:00 p.m. We were too tired to stay for dinner plus 10 p.m. is too late for us to be eating dinner. We said our goodbyes and the Ecuadorians couldn't understand why we weren't staying for dinner. I think that 10 p.m. is the normal dinner time for them. Another interesting experience!


  1. Patty, we are arriving in Quito this Saturday, the 19th. We are planning to go to Cotacachi on Monday, the 21st, for the day. I think we are going take the bus from Quito. Maybe we will see you there. Where are you staying?
    So if a strange woman comes up to you yelling "Patty!!" That will probably be me. I feel like I know you.

    Then we will be in Cuenca from 2/23-3/4. If we don't see you in Cotacachi, maybe we will see you in Cuenca. Hasta luego, Sue

  2. Patty, I just talked to my husband. He does not want to take the bus to Cotacachi. He wants to use a driver. Who are you using? Do you already have someone lined up to drive you? Thanks, Sue

  3. Patty, Karen and I at a Mansion Alcazar a couple of times (once for dinner and once for lunch) when we were there in November/December. It is Karen's favorite restaurant in Cuanca.
    I am with you, 10 pm is too late for dinner (usually I am in bed...but I am an early riser!).
    We are still planning to come back down later this year, but haven't established a date yet. We will let you know.

  4. Patty, Thanks for the doctor post as well. We may be staying longer than 'just a visit'. Karen had surgery on her achilles tendon this past Friday. She will have a long recovery period. I need to complete some audits, etc., but we are still wanting to come down.

  5. Hi David,

    You and Karen remain in our thoughts and prayers. We sure enjoyed spending time with you on your first trip to Cuenca. Let us know when you're planning to come back so we can get together. Hoping that Karen heals quickly from her surgery (Just can't resist: hope her heel heals!)

    Hasta Luego, Patty (& Mike)