September 2 Update: Minga is Home

Minga left the hospital on Friday, and is home in Rio Hato until Tuesday. She will return to Panama City for ambulatory hemodialysis at one of the centers there. Apparently she’ll then stay with one of her daughters, Ita or Teri, for her three appointments: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. I’m not sure if she will be returning home in between dialysis treatments on an ongoing basis, or not. Dialysis in Panama City is temporary, until she can be accommodated in Penonome.

In a stroke of good fortune, the nephrologist who has cared for her in Penonome for the last year — Dr. Felipe — was on his rotation through Santo Tomas in Panama City when he came upon Minga ready to be discharged with the earlier nephrologist’s recommendation for home dialysis. During the time he’s treated her Dr. Felipe has apparently developed a respect and affection for his patient and a trust level with her family. The family was able to share with him that the complexities of home dialysis seemed far too daunting. He listened, and agreed to try and get her into care in Penonome so she can receive hemodialysis there. He changed the order to move the port, and left it in position.

The plan now is for her to receive hemodialysis in Panama City three times a week until the ambulatory center in Penonome can accommodate her.

Apparently she managed the two hour trip home — I imagine one of her sons drove her — and is happy to be there. Rufina says she is receiving visits from neighbors who care about her, and of course, from family. Humberto lives in a part of Minga’s house with Margarita and Naty. He and Margarita cleaned before Minga came home, and he will cook for her.

Minga lost a lot of weight during this ordeal, more than Dr. Felipe is comfortable with. He wants her to gain weight and strength. Apparently her spirits are good although to me she looks quite debilitated. But then, she almost died.

The first pic is her leaving the hospital, and the second is her at home on her porch, with people able to greet her from the road as they pass by. Her family made a Welcome Home sign, and brought balloons.

4 thoughts on “September 2 Update: Minga is Home

  1. Minga is in her home and her village and is feeling happier than she has in a long time! whether it will be a week or a year it is a blessing!

  2. Hemo & not hydro-dialysis, is much better plan for Minga. So happy her family was brave enough to say they were not comfortable with the home plan. But with hemo there is a big risk of depression. Many pts. stop hemo d/t this. Hopefully, her doctors or family will recognize the symptoms, as depression can be easily treated. Wishing Minga many years of happiness & comfort as she begins her new life!

  3. for Eileen: I’m constantly taken aback by how much of a role luck plays in medical care in the free public system, where they sort of have to take what they get. That first night in the hospital, when the dialysis order was lost, it really took luck for the same nurse to be on duty the next night and notice. And here, it was luck that Dr. Felipe rotated through at just the right moment. I don’t know a lot about this, but I agree with you that even with the difficulties of transporting her from the village to the district capitol when she eventually gets a place in the dialysis unit there, hemodialysis is a better option. Thanks for the heads-up about depression — didn’t know that. Unfortunately, mental health care is almost non-existent. One of Minga’s daughters suffers from depression, and she showed me what she is taking: looked like a mineral supplement, certainly not an anti-depressant. Nothing that will harm her, but nothing that will do much good either. Will give Rufina your advice about watching out for depression as this goes on. Thanks.

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