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Learning curve part III

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Really getting a crash course in El Salvadorian ways in the new year & it’s still only January.

So far we have learned that they are really serious about the age of imported vehicles & a couple ways to legally get around them.

Also have learned, trial by fire, what the protocol for arranging a funeral is.

Presently I have a couple more irons in the fire to help round out the learning curve a bit.

Getting back to the bus saga, part of the deal was the church would find me a car worth the value of the bus. the major problem there is that due to the stroke I had as a result of having an Ontario doctor who got his licence out of a Cracker Jack box, I need an automatic transmission. Now here in El Salvador automatics were a major no-no until recently so they are as scarce as hen’s teeth.

Anyhoo after a couple months search they managed to locate a fairly decent Kia in my price range & apparently tentative approval to import the bus has been given. The car was supposedly been brought down for me to see on Thursday, finally made it last night, only 3 days late. Actually a pretty decent vehicle for the price so now am in possession of a vehicle worth the approximate value of the bus so I am happy, the church sees the “light” (pun lol) at the end of the tunnel concerning a bus so they’re happy. Have learned a lot about vehicle dealing down here so all in all, all’s cool on the bus front!!

With mothers passing I am left with an extra room + a tad shy on the dinero side until I can collect my full social security. The idea of going to Cambodia (not really impressed with the options here) to teach English crossed my mind. Then I thought hmmm, extra room, pool, why not run a Bed & Breakfast + teach a bit of English privately on the side?

A bit of research showed it to be a viable plan. Priced out what was needed & it came in on a reasonable budget.

Only problem was getting the property up to snuff & the grass greener. Now this boiled down to getting the caretaker to do the job he was getting paid for. Haven’t really been happy with him for a while, now when I get that way I give some subtle hints then tend to sit back & give the person enough rope to hang himself.

He finally tightened the noose this weekend, never watered the lawn all weekend & when confronted with several of his faults (with the help of an interpreter, who doesn’t like him either) it became evident that the pigheaded, lazy SOB wasn’t going to change his ways. He refused to do anything but water the grass so I said fine then the pay will be adjusted accordingly + he had to get rid of his chickens.

He quit, I didn’t can him he drug-up of his own accord!!!

Told him I would keep him on until the end of the month but he got a snit on & said he would be out manaña. Shall have to wait & see what transpires on that front.

All that has to be done now is get the i’s dotted & the t’s crossed on the vehicle deal. Hire a new caretaker, one already in mind, find someone to complete the renovations, lots around who would be glad of the work & install pool filter, not a problem.

Get moving on the B & B plans, finalise a curriculum for the English teaching & guess probably should get a 90 day extension on my visa, can get one extension, then it’s border runs every 90 days.

Leastwise the foreseeable future won’t be boring, as the learning curve continues.

Learning curve`cont’d

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

On the way back from my little Guatemalan excursion we stopped in the city at a notaries where we met the pastor of the church, that was looking at the bus, signed the papers for a tentative sale for government approval (churches are exempt from the import age rule providing the bus is “donated”.

Life then returned to normal for a week or so until mothers sugar level rose, for no apparent reason, to a level where it was a concern. The doctor came out on Friday, found her blood pressure was also high & adjusted her medications accordingly.

She stabilised, then on Sunday made the statement that she didn’t want to continue living like this (wheel chair bound & wearing depends) & was going to die. Spent the next 3 days sitting there listless, not caring about anything. Think she had a slight stroke Sunday night as her speech was a bit slurred the next day, however sugar levels, checked twice daily, were back to normal.

Wednesday morning she got up as normal then about 7:30 she spit up a bit & looked like she was trying to go back to sleep. Doctor was called but when he arrived 20 minutes later she was in a coma. He tested her sugar level & her an insulin injection, by this time the ambulance had arrived, less than 5 minutes after being called.

At this point it was apparent that she likely wasn’t going to come out of the coma & it was just a matter of time. Also factored in was a strike of clerical workers at the hospital so that when the body would be returned was in question & given the fact that she had signed a DNR, I went with the doctors suggestion that she be left in peace where she was.

The way it appears to me is that once the overprescribed drugs that the Ontario quacktaters had given her wore off & she was back to some where normal & had enough free will to end a life she never wanted, in a wheel chair, unable to even feed herself.

The ambulance was sent away & at 08:30 Central time death was pronounced!

Now of course that hour was just a tad hectic as the daytime nurse who was on her way in on her bike, was called for advise while awaiting the doctors arrival. Then when he got there we had to call a friend to interpret, as my Spanish is still pretty rudimentary & not up to that situation.

During all this the night-time caregiver + the caretakers wife & her sister, the alternate night person reacted extremely well, the daytime nurse was very professional, the doctor amazing & the ambulance crew were there in no time giving what assistance was necessary.

A person in Canadian nursing home would have to be extremely fortunate to receive the quality attention she did. At home in the country, NO WAY!!!

Apparently some religions like to keep the bodies around for quite a while before burial & since embalming isn’t widely practiced the government passed a law that burial must take place within a day so arrangements have to be made quickly.

This amazing doctor who is overworked at the free clinic in La Libertad took the time to get cremation prices as per her wishes however the $3000 quote put the kybosh on that idea! He then went back to his office & made the arrangements with the funeral home & ordered the casket.

In the meantime my real-estate lady, a Salvadorian who married to a Canadian, lived in Canada for 30 years then retired back here looked after getting, my pigheaded maintained man (more on him later) to arrange for the grave to be dug that day, not the next as he wanted, in the cemetery a couple miles up the road in Hacienda San Diego. Then picked me up to go to the town hall for the burial permit.

We arrived back at the casa at the same time as the funeral homes pickup with the casket, as it would still be a couple hours before the grave was ready they sealed the casket & would return at 5:00 pm for the trip to the cemetery.

All mothers care givers, their families attended the burial along with a couple people from the local X-pat community & the doctor. Not a bad send off for a lady that didn’t want to bother any one when she went.

Now the doctor (who must remain nameless on a public forum) took a house call at 07:30 in the morning, did what he could to ease the passing of a patient, paid the ambulance crew out of his own pocket, went above & beyond any reasonable call of duty in making the burial arrangements, closed the clinic early to attend the burial.

Then absolutely refused to accept ant payment for his services. Try to find a doctor like that in Canada. On top of all that he is an excellent doctor!!

Unfortunately I couldn’t fulfill her wish of cremation & her ashes buried in Perth ON but I figure the quality of the last couple months of her life more than made up for that.

The El Salvadorian learning curve continues

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

A new year, filled with new experiences, in a new country, this is good as life never gets a chance to be boring.

I always was a pretty good judge of character, when the superintendent customs officer on duty ... [Continue reading this entry]