Gloria’s daughter-in-law Fani, who is expecting a baby in two months, has been having early contractions and the baby seems to be dropping. This is worrisome here, as a two-month preemie delivery would be very dangerous. Fani has been to the clinic, and they told her to stay off her feet and rest as much as possible. Her employer, Super 99, has switched her work assignments so that she can work sitting down rather than walking the grocery aisles and stocking shelves as she usually does.
Gabriel, the baby’s father, is on assignment in Colon, the most dangerous city in Panama. Gabriel is a police officer, and part of the Presidential Detail. They not only protect President Varella; this group gets the toughest regular policing assignments. Colon is a major drug transshipment point, and there is a lot of violence. Gabriel is there with his team for three weeks clearing out a drug cartel, and he can’t come home no matter what is happening with his young family until the job is done.
Yesterday, Fani had to take Gabrielito into Panama City for his routine echocardiogram. Regular readers will remember that Gabrielito was born with a complex heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot. He had surgery, provided by a visiting U.S. team, when he was about 18 months old. Despite the seriousness of his problem, the surgery went very well. Now he is considered to be developing normally, although he has to have routine echocardiography to check for leaks in the repair.
Fani left with him on public transport at 3am in the morning, a two hour ride. At the public hospital they take a number and wait. The trip took almost all day. This, for the poor, is what passes for “stay off your feet and rest as much as possible”.