The news from Lily is hopeful, at least on the physical front, as far as Minga’s recovery from this setback. Minga is at home, and with her severe dehydration reversed, she is feeling better. I think this is all very hard on her, not because she fears death, but because she’s tired of feeling not herself. Her kidney disease is bigger and more central in her life than it has been before. As she told Rufina, “Something has taken over my body.” It sounds as if Minga is upset, and irritable, and resisting rather than cooperating with family members trying to care for her.
I thought about making a quick trip to Panama next week, flying down Wednesday and returning on Sunday. Lily advises me to wait. Minga’s health is not yet dire. There is a kind of reconfiguring happening in terms of which family members are responding to her needs; since Rufina has had her own health problems, Mari and Humberto and others are trying to shield Rufina from the uncertainties of Minga’s health. That’s an important factor. I never want to place myself between Minga and her adult offspring. At the end of the day, they are in the primary role of being responsible for her care. And, there are the ancillary things: rainy season has been particularly hard. Monsoon rains have been falling for weeks. The humidity is sky high, as is the insect load. And there is an epidemic du jour — of conjunctivitis. Unlike last year’s epidemic of swine flu, which can kill you, conjunctivitis is curable. But it is highly contagious, and apparently both adults and kids in the village are widely affected. Lily reminded me gently that they feel responsible for me when I visit, and if I come right now, I will add to the chaos rather than being of much help. I take her point, and I’m glad she had the courage to be honest. We agreed that if Minga takes a bad turn and death seems imminent, Lily will let me know and if I can go, I will.
I’m hoping Minga’s recovery from this bad episode will give her several more months of decent health, and that she will be there to greet us in January.
Many of you have said that you are praying for Minga, which matters greatly to her, and I asked Lily to pass along to Minga that she is in the thoughts and prayers of many of you. Your concern for her is very kind, and I’m grateful.
I’ll let you know as anything new develops.