As I think I’ve mentioned before on the blog, Minga has been dealing with declining kidney function for a couple of years. She’s been maintained on meds and a strict diet, which she’s tried heroically to follow. Salad and a small bit of protein, healthy though it may be, is a hard shift in eating pattern for someone who’s eaten rice and beans for her entire life, and who thinks salad is about as appetizing as a plate of grass.
Last Monday something happened to put her into a medical crisis. She had swelling of feet and hands, a puffy face, and difficulty breathing. Remember that there’s no 911 in Panama, no ambulance service. Her daughter Rufina called Lily, who called her Uncle Angel and asked him to drive out from the city to get Minga and bring her to the public hospital, Santo Tomas. She was admitted, and is in the equivalent of an ICU. On Thursday, the doctor in charge of her care said she needed dialysis, or death was imminent. Although she’s said to me in the past that she didn’t want dialysis, she apparently agreed and that happened on Saturday morning. The way forward is not clear, although it seems that assuming she survives this episode, she’ll need dialysis to stay alive. How she gets that while living in the village is beyond complicated to sort out.
To respect the family’s privacy, I’m not going to give a lot of detail. But as a friend and regular reader noted in an email to me: