Inovative Medical Care at the Coast...

Rox and I were enjoying Sunday Brunch last week, when she thought she had sipped a piece of ice along with her Coke. Since it wiggled, she immediately spit it out in her hand, and the honeybee immediately bit her on the tip of her ring finger.

 The stinger was protruding from her skin, so we both worked together to pull it out. We didn’t think to remove her wedding ring, and before we knew it, her finger had swelled to twice its normal size. Now, we tried to remove the rings, but oil and the reverse sting method were no match for the sausage-like swelling!

 The finger began to turn bright red with blackish splotches, so we called our physician friend Tim to ask him to take a look.

 It was a bad enough that we decided to walk across the street to the emergency room. They surgeon on duty said immediately that the ring had to come off. This type of swelling can lead to major complications.

 They gave Rox two injections, an antibiotic and a swelling reducer. The swelling was now so severe that the ring was hiding in the puffiness.

 They wrapped Roxanne’s other fingers and hand with adhesive tape, and then brought out a hacksaw, which did absolutely no good. Some emergency rooms have what is known as a ring cutter--but not here...

 An EMT man in the room suggested that his friend, who used Dremel tools to fashion figurines, might have the right bit to saw or grind the ring off. No one else had a better idea, and time was definitely critical, so off we went in the car for about three miles on paved road and three more on dirt roads, back into the hills. 30 minutes driving time...

 We came to a village, and stopped in front of a little hut/workshop. David, the sculptor, came out and was shocked to see the size and appearance of the finger. He became more worried when his friend asked him to use his tools to cut off Rox’s ring.  Here is the home/workshop...

 He had to borrow the correct bit from a fellow craftsman. This was the grinding disk that fits the Dremel tool. We needed light and a place for Rox to sit, as the guys did the cutting, so we lifted the back lid of the SUV and Rox sat inside with her hand out. Every touch to her swollen finger was terrible, so you can imagine how it felt to have the EMT guy hold her finger, while David the craftsman tried to grind the ring apart.

 The ring got hot really fast, so they continually dribbled water on the cut, from a dish. Also, her ring actually had three bands, so the work was compounded. In addition, they were stymied about making the final cut, until the EMT guy found a popsicle stick lying in the road. They sharpened the end and slid it under to raise the ring away from her skin.

It took 40 minutes to finally cut thru the bands, all the time trying not to cut or burn Rox’s skin. Now, to get the ring off, each guy had to take a pair of needle nosed pliers and one side of a band and pull outward. They told her that this would hurt a lot worse than the cutting, but she would just have to bear it.

 After a couple of false starts, they were finally able to pull all six side straight out and away from the finger. The finger was so swollen that they had to “walk” it off. Rox was really brave here.

We all cheered. Everyone hugged everyone else, including a generous tip for the two tired and sweating “cutters”. We figured that if we hadn’t been able to get the ring off this soon, that Rox could have been in danger of losing her finger.

 We returned to the hospital, where the surgeon prescribed more antibiotics and pain pills. Finally, after a couple of days the swelling went down.. It was a great relief, as the surgeon and our friend Tim, were both concerned that the blood vessels could have been damaged permanently.

We were a little busy, so we never took photos of the above drama...however, here is a shot of Rox's finger TWO DAYS AFTER THE RING WAS REMOVED!

This is a shot of the ring.  You can imagine how painful it was having this worked on next to a painful, swollen finger.

 All the medical treatment was free. Roxanne waited until the finger looked better, and we trooped into the emergency room staff meeting with sacks of special pastries and were greeted with applause and cheers.

 For David, we traveled back to his primitive workshop, and presented him with a new Dremel set, complete with a bunch of new bits. The smile on his face lit up the room.

The family was beaming, too...

As is the custom, he then presented Roxanne with some of his carvings made from the famous Tagua nut.


This is David and Rox re-enacting the ring removal scene...

 Our friend Tim was invaluable with his advice, support, and concern.  

The staff in the emergency room across the street was terrific, and the EMT guy deserves a special thank you for his quick thinking and hard work.



Posted on Sun, October 2, 2016 at 11:06AM by Registered CommenterBob & Roxanne | CommentsPost a Comment

Christmas comes early!

Agripina and Isidro's grandkids, from two different families, had a nice early Christmas, due to the generosity of our Indiana visitors, Shawn and Bill.  These nice folks brought down a suitcase of school supplies for the kids, plus fun tee shirts...Here are a couple of photos in more detail...the big event is at the end of this post!

What Little girl would not love sparkly nail polish...



...or a fancy tee shirt!  ...or a tiara and new cute necklace!

These happy kids are members of families where the breadwinner does not work very often...not because he or she doesn't want to, but because work has dried up.

So when Bill and Shawn asked what they could bring down, we never expected to see such a plethora of school supplies, necklaces, tiaras, crayons, and coloring books and colored pencils.  The tee shirts were fabulous...what young man doesn't need a "Superman" tee???

They also asked "what else can we bring down", and when we suggested a used laptop computer, they went to work to see if a friend had one not being used.  Shawn had a former student, Aaron, who is now a grown up young man, and he is a computer whiz.  He had souped up a Windows 7 laptop and donated it to the cause.  There is not one chance in a million that these girls would have ever had a computer of their own, so this new machine will enable them to keep up with their more well to do classmates, plus give them skills good for a lifetime!

Here you see Alex, who received a computer a couple of years ago, getting the girls set up with Google Chrome and an email account--How great is that!

Of course, when they saw that they could watch the "Littlest Mermaid" was a double treat!


Here's Shawn enjoying the good feelings all around...


Later, we found out from Agripina that the oldest daughter, Yelena had been begging her mom for a computer and praying every night, also.  Well,  those prayers were answered in the guise of Bill and Shawn and Aaron from Underwood, Indiana!

Agripina still says that it is a miracle.

Posted on Sat, June 25, 2016 at 09:45AM by Registered CommenterBob & Roxanne | CommentsPost a Comment | References2 References

Lots to be Thankful for...

The vagaries of Mother Nature let our area of the Ecuador Coast be completely unaffected by the terrible earthquake up North.  The area from Salinas to Puerto Cuyo about 1.5 hour drive north of us had no damage. None of the homes, mostly mortar block construction, suffered any damage.  We believe we were spared more devastation because the fault line does not head straight south to us, but veers east toward Guayaquil.  It leaves us shaking, but with nothing but a few overturned figurines...

So...Life goes on...sunsets and dolphins keep on happening...

Birthdays, too!  Agripina celebrted her 65th birthday...

Roxanne celebrated her birthday with Rich and Nancy from Cuenca...We had a great time and celebrated a belated birthday for Nancy, also...

When we arrived home from CuencaRox was greeted with another beautiful cake and a rousing "Happy Birthday" song from our Ecuadorean family.

As we celebrate how fortunate we are to live in our area of the Coast, we hope that the people in the North continue to get the help they desperately need!

This is a group from here that coordinates with good folks in Cuenca.  They pay their own way, so your money goes directly to help the victims.

Posted on Wed, May 4, 2016 at 11:44AM by Registered CommenterBob & Roxanne | CommentsPost a Comment | References1 Reference

Fortunately, we were not affected by this terrible earthquake!

To all of you wonderful friends, relatives and guests...thanks tons for all the concerned emails!

Everything is fine here.  We had a couple of figurines fall over, but we and everyone we know came out OK.  Our power was off for about 10 minutes.  No Tidal wave, but we got some needed rain for the outside plants.

We have been in a lot of Cal earthquakes, and this was stronger and longer than any we remember.  The news says that it was six times stronger than the quake they had in Japan a couple of days ago.  whew!

It seems that damage was angled off in a different direction, than south along the Coast toward us...more damage inland all the way to Guayaquil.  We feel very fortunate...!
There is a town up toward the Ecuador/Columbia border
 that was hit the worst-it's a town of about 40,000 people-apparently lots of the homes were destroyed and that's where most of the deaths and injuries occurred.

There is quite a bit of govt. money and personnel on the ground now and more is on the way.

Anyway,  we feel very fortunate, that we,  and everyone around us,  are safe and sound!!! 
Also, we were treated very kindly by El Nino this year.  We lost about five feet of beach, but about four feet have already returned.
Thanks again everyone for your good thoughts and well wishes!


Posted on Sun, April 17, 2016 at 03:58PM by Registered CommenterBob & Roxanne | Comments2 Comments | References1 Reference

Catching up on a few more December happenings...

As you can tell from our previous entries, a lot of our time and attention is spent getting the party to come off without a hitch.  This is especially true in the month of December.  Here are a couple of shots showing "non-party" December events.

First off, we had Isidro's birthday...This year our present to Isidro was a little different.  He has needed a new set of front teeth for a long time, so we arranged for the dentist to work on teeth that needed attention, and then we contacted a "denturist" who would go ahead and make the new teeth.

Here is a shot of Isidro with his birthday cake...showing no smile, as he did not have his new teeth yet...


Another shot of the cake...  

Here is a shot of the Denturist making an adjustment to the new plate...right at their front porch! is the handsome guy with his new teeth and welcome smile...

Yes...that is a smile!  Much of our time taking photos is trying to get our subjects to crack a smile, as the custom is to stare dead ahead with a straight face, when getting a picture taken...

Here's another shot of Papa Noel working the crowd at the Kid's Christmas Party!This is just one side of the crowd...

We also have a little get together with Agripina and Isidro for Christmas gift exchange...Posing with one of their gifts...a new stereo for their home...

Just before we sit down for Christmas dinner, a whole ton of local kids and their moms and siblings come over to serenade us with Christmas songs and dance.




The angels got a little distracted by the ocean...but fun!


After all the singing and dancing, we pass out 50 baggies filled with animal crackers and Christmas candy...


Since I have a birthday in the middle of all this frivolity, I am on the list for Agripina and Sonia and the family to prepare a birthday lasagna, and a really big birthday cake!



Here's a shot of Coquita just to end on a cute note!

Posted on Thu, January 7, 2016 at 12:16PM by Registered CommenterBob & Roxanne | Comments2 Comments | References1 Reference