With the best of intentions, it's hard to keep up with this communication. Sometimes I wonder if I write these things for myself and then I get some responses from many of you that make me realize how many of you have the deepest parts of your souls here.
I was feeling a little headachy and nauseated yesterday and then last night I got the full blown fever/diarrhea/feel like you're going-to-die thing. I crawled out of bed, took a cipro and by this morning, I'm well on the way again. I only mention this because it so strongly reminded me of how it must feel to really get sick, have no idea what's wrong with you and then have no where to turn; no medical workers, no meds, "no nada" as they say. I can't remember the last time I got sick at home but here, it's so easy. Despite all our precautions, there is so much filth and disease. What always amazes me most, is that these people are able to live at all - as Americans, our bodies are pretty shielded from the dangers of the microbial underworld!!
Well....mi esposo is safely back in the U.S. and now Laura, LeighAnn and Sara are here with all their enthusiasm and fresh faces! Saturday night, we went to the airport here in Flores to send Randy on his way to Guatemala City only to find out that they cancelled the flight due to rain. Randy's flight back to the U.S. was early the next morning which meant he would potentially miss that flight but the biggest problem was that that meant that Laura was stranded in Guatemala City! My maternal instincts flew to the surface and all I could think of was my baby wandering around helplessly being attacked by some unknown threat! Somehow, I frequently fail to remember that she is 21, almost finished college and has traveled all around the world without a hitch! Within minutes, she somehow got to a phone and reassured us that all was well and they were going to a hotel. Turned out that TACA airlines initially told them that they would have to fend for themselves but once a few vocal Americans cried foul, they were put up in a top-notch hotel with the best of accomodations. She arrived safely Sunday morning and LeighAnn and Sara came last night with only a little delay.
"Surreal" is about the only word I can use to describe the day at the beach with Flori and her 2 children yesterday. As we made the 5 hour drive, little Joselina mostly slept in my lap and Laura entertained William. Flori appeared so pale and I can see she is becoming more jaundiced each day. She doesn't look sad as much as dazed. Though we all know that day of reckoning will surely come one day, it's hard to imagine knowing that it's staring you in the face. I can barely look at her without my eyes welling up. I have come up with quick little chats with myself to send the tears back down their ducts as I know that those kind of displays of emotion will only make the situation worse right now. (Actually, I having to have one of those chats right now because the tears are making it hard to see....) I often wonder why God put Flori in our lives - she has this peculiar aura around her that somehow just exudes peace. When she smiles and especially when she laughs, it just fills you with this beautiful sense of all that is good with the world. The dignity that she has displayed through all this has been so inspiring.
When she got in the bus, she gave me a warm hug and said "Doctora, tengo una pregunta. En mi condicion, es normal tener sangre en su popo, si?" (I have a question. In my condition, is it normal to have blood in your stool?) Of course, my immediate sense was what a terrible sign this was and you know that at home, we'd be rushing for help, but I reassured her that it was very normal. So she smiled and seemed very content that this was just part of the process.
She laid down throughout the trip without complaint and when we arrived, she sat right up and beamed when she heard that this was indeed the "mar". Honestly, it was not at all one of those beaches we have all basked in; no sandy beach, no waves. Ismael offered to drive another 30 minutes so we could go somewhere more beautiful but Flori insisted that this was beautiful and all that she needed to see. In reality, it turned out to be an incredible time. William and Joselina laughed and played, searching for tiny seashells and Ismael taught them to "skip" stones in the water. Flori sat peacefully and gazed at the water and even the dirty beach with a wistful gaze. We stayed about an hour and a half and then took the long drive back watching the movies we made on the beach and telling stories. As we dropped her off at her home, I struggled to hold back my tears wondering if I'd even get to see her again this week.
Well, we're off again - mor