Random Rants about My Country of Birth


Random ranting is always good for the soul. It is like a pressure cooker value releasing steam. A good rant is cathartic. Sometimes ranting keeps me sane. And living in Nicaragua as an expat, I have some frustrations about my country of birth. It has been a while since I’ve ranted, and Anita of the blog No Particular Place to Go inspired me with her rant-a thon, so here are a few of my random rants.

U.S. Health Care Rant

Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate having Medicare, but we can’t use it abroad! With my first eye surgery in the states, single payer was quick and easy. I paid 20% of the total cost of the doctor, facility, and anesthesiology. When I told my doctor that I needed to fly back to Nicaragua, he said he would have to replace the vitreous in my eye with silicon oil, which necessitates a second eye surgery to remove the oil.

“I am going to see if a doctor in Nicaragua can remove the oil in my eye,” I said to my surgeon. “Good luck with that,” he responded. “I doubt that you will find anyone as competent in Nicaragua as eye surgeons in the states.”

What is it with doctors’ arrogance? Waiting for surgery in the gurney, I watched as a train of gurneys were moved in and out of the operating room. “How many retina surgeries do you do here in a day?” I asked the attending nurse. “Usually 15 per doctor per day,” she said. I quickly calculated that the doctors each made $1750 per surgery X 15 surgeries a day = $26,250 a day!!! That is just the doctor! It doesn’t include the facility or anesthesiology fees.

I made an appointment in Managua at Vivian Pellas Hospital to see a retina specialist. Dr. Juan Rivers gave me a through exam and patiently answered all of my questions. When he said my eye was still extremely swollen, he asked, “Why didn’t the surgeon give you steroid shots to reduce the inflammation before injecting the oil?” I said that the doctor told me oil and water don’t mix, so he couldn’t put steroid shots in my eye. “Well, that is what we do before we inject the oil or gas,” he said kind of irritated. He shook his head and said that I would have to keep the oil in my eye for three months, which could have been avoided if they reduced the swelling first.

Through my tears… in only one eye… I thanked him for his patience and his TLC and scheduled another eye appointment for the end of August. His initial consultation cost $160.89. The surgery to remove the oil and replace my corroded lens will cost $3,000 for everything. Since we have international health insurance, we weighed the cost of airline tickets, a rental car, and at least two weeks of expenses to repair my eye in the states in a train of gurneys vs the cost of surgery with Dr. Juan Carlos Rivers at Vivian Pellas. I opted for a competent, caring doctor in Nicaragua. I can file claims with my international insurance and get some of my money back.

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Let’s Get Real about Retiring to Nicaragua


“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, It’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, And that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.”
― Dr. Seuss

 

December 2019 update

We left Nicaragua in July 2018 because of the Civic Rebellion that continues to this day. The economy is in a tailspin, 100,000 Nicaraguans fled the country, unemployment is high, the heavy repression of the Nicaraguan people continues, and the Nicaraguan people continue to suffer under a ruthless dictatorship. We cannot return to Nicaragua to live until the dictator and his VP wife are convicted for human rights’ violations and high crimes, until the people who fled their country feel safe to return, until the repression stops, and civility is restored to the lovely people. At this time, we can do more from afar to support our Nicaraguan friends and families.

 

I am grouchy. The April heat is almost unbearable. It hasn’t rained for six months. My internet sucks because too many people are using the bandwidth on my server. The new paint on my plunge pool blistered and we had to drain it. The power and water are unreliable. The entire community of Urbite has run out of water. The city well is dry.  The roaming cows and pigs searching for something to eat knocked down our fence to munch on the sparse tufts of grass that are wilting in our yard. My neighbor had her thyroid removed and she can’t afford the thyroid pills she has to take for the rest of her life. Do you want me to continue?

When I read articles of fantasy such as the one linked below, all I can do is laugh. Fantasy Retirement? Living in Paradise? Let’s get real about living and retiring in Nicaragua. Life here is not all about surfing, drinking Toñas, and watching the beautiful sunsets. Living in Nicaragua isn’t for sissies.

In 2004, we used to enjoy going to San Juan del Sur. It was a quiet, little fishing village. Then, the cruise ships came, the throngs of tourists, and hundreds of expats moved to Nicaragua searching for paradise. Now, prostitutes, thieves, and drug addicts bus from Managua to where unsuspecting tourists are scammed.  Then, they hop back on the buses to sell their loot in Managua. Yes, it is even happening on our little Ometepe Island.

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2004 sunset in San Juan del Sur

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What Really Matters?


“As one old gentleman put it,  “Son, I don’t care if you’re stark nekkid and wear a bone in your nose. If you kin fiddle, you’re all right with me. It’s the music we make that counts.”
― Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

 

I am ready to make some music…either that or get stark nekkid and wear a bone in my nose.  We’ve been home a week, and in that time…

  • Our cat, Black Jack, almost died from a urinary track blockage.
  • The police confiscated my new-to-me little orange dune buggy, took it for a joy ride and crashed it.
  • Our lawyer said we have a problem with the title to our property on Ometepe Island…which always involves lots of money.
  • The city put in a new high pressure pump and it blew out some of our water-lines.
  • Ocho, our other cat, was AWOL for five days.
  • The Chinese are measuring property near our new airport for a resort. WE LIVE NEAR THE AIRPORT!  I think it goes along with their plan for the proposed Nicaraguan canal.
  • The library at our local elementary school is ready for me to set-up. HHI wants to return to film us for the library’s grand opening in their new show, HHI, Where Are They Now?
  • And…and…I’m sick. It must be stress related.

So, I have to ask myself…What really matters? If I don’t, you’ll probably find me stark nekkid, running around my yard with a bone in my nose.

Read more to find what really matters to me.

Peeking at Poverty


Yesterday, a guest blogger wrote an article for The Nicaragua Dispatch. It infuriated me because of her overly simplified view of poverty in Nicaragua and the United States. Blaming the poor for their circumstances offers no real solution and only perpetuates the fallacy that all one has to do to rise above poverty is to work a little harder and not succumb to the temptation of accepting hand outs.

I try to avoid rants. I really don’t like controversy, but there are times when my ire gets the best of me. This is one of those times.

“Do Handouts Really Help Anyone in Nicaragua?” Click here for the article. I’d like to hear your thoughts.