Panama 2018: Updates

Miley’s 15th birthday was in May, but her quinceaneros party is June 2. Lily is hoping to go; she hasn’t yet received her work schedule for the coming month. Even as chief pharmacist, she has little flexibility to ask for time off to attend important family events. Her schedule is set by Arrocha, her employer, and she has to report for the shifts to which she is assigned. If she’s too ill to work, she has to have a written doctor’s note attesting to that in order to get paid. Arrocha runs a tight ship.

Minga is stable, which amazes me. I imagine I will go down for a few days early in the fall, before my regular 2019 visit. I want to know that she is not only surviving, but having some quality of life. I can only hear that honestly from her. I think she tries to make everyone around her feel that things are fine. She is able to be more honest with me. If I go, it will mean accompanying Minga to whatever dialysis treatments she is scheduled for during my visit. Now that I know what to expect, I imagine that time will be less traumatic. The first visits to the public hospital were a shock. I get that my upsetting experience was nothing compared to what Minga is enduring, but my time in that hospital corridor was difficult for me and in its own right, apart from my feelings about Minga’s dialysis. I am continually amazed at Minga’s strength, and at her grace in this terribly challenging situation.

Lily is working very hard, but says that is to be expected. She has shifted her focus from learning English and trying to get a job in the U.S. in a bi-lingual city like Miami to travel. I haven’t yet heard what’s next on her wish list. Her trip last year to Honduras and Nicaragua went well, but she had family or friends in both places. I’ll be interested to see if she branches out and goes somewhere entirely new.

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