Friday, September 23, 2011

We're Making Progress - Moving Day is Closer Every Day

We have reached a point where you can see progress.  I like to brag about the workmanship, because although it is exasperating to live with a perfectionist, it can be an asset when you are building the last house you will ever own.  You cannot imagine how happy it makes us to know  this house belongs to us, with no mortgage, no loan, no debt of any kind..

I guess the place to start is outside.  The railings and security bars are finally up on the balcony, and they are perfect.  Not quite 'N'awlins lace', but close enough to suit us.

This is the west side of the house from the road. It is late afternoon. The door on the balcony goes into the kitchen.  My sink will between the two windows.

The post in the foreground is for the fence.  For now it will be strung with barbed wire just to keep the neighbor's horses and cows out of the yard.  Jose and Marvin have plastered the colonnade, and it is ready to paint. The walls will have to wait 'til another time.

I took this picture to show how large the balcony really is.  The picture explains why the living room is small; we plan to do most of our living out here.  Since the temperature hardly ever gets below 72 degrees, it gives us a lot of outdoor living (read hammock) time.

You can see the security bars on the windows.  The frames of the windows are made of rosita.  Each of them have been planned, evened out, planed, shaped, and put together by hand.  Jose learns very quickly, so once Macho Man showed him how to rip the boards he was able to help a lot.  These frames are bolted into the concrete about 4 inches and the bars bolted into the frames.

This window is looking into the living room toward the portico door.  The picture shows more of the detail of the security bars.  Macho Man is working on the screens.  He is also working on the doors.  Once those are up, we will move in.  We can hang the windows  after we move in.

We supplied the wood and hired a carpenter to make the door from the kitchen to the balcony.  This is the natural color of the wood.  The tabs at the top of the door will be cut off before it is hung.  They are there so if the carpenter made the door too short you can layer in another piece of wood to snug up the fit.  I really like this door.

Lights on the balcony are in, and the wiring is in for the fans.  We have carriage lights at the front doors, upstairs and down. 

One of two hanging lamps we brought from Miramar.  Macho Man hung one at the back end of         the balcony on the east and west sides of.  This one provides light just outside the kitchen door; the other outside the master bath.

The ceilings are up.  We chose knotty pine rather than rosita or mahogany.  We want the house to be as light as possible and both the other woods get very dark as they age.  To me it is beautiful.

There over 600 boards, 1" x3" x10', in the ceiling. Each board  has been worked by hand, first to get it dry because it doesn't come kiln dried from the lumber yard. Then it has to be straightened and the tongues and grooves made. Jose and Marvin hand sanded and varnished each piece before it was hung.  MM showed Jose how to nail it into place, fitting the tongues and groves together. Jose and Marvin did a really good job while MM worked on something else.. 

The master bath.  The shower and tub surround are Macho Man's design.  If you look closely, all the grout lines and all the decorative tiles line up exactly.  There was a lot of effort put into this room.  The base cabinets and mirror still need to be installed and I need to paint it.

The grout lines in the tile from the balcony through the house,onto the rear portico, and down the back steps are all in one straight line.  I told you Macho Man is a perfectionist.

I am blessed. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Medical Care in the Third World.

My sister-in-law had surgery today, and I am appalled at what I observed.  I am so mad I don't know whether to scream or sit on the floor and cry, or both.  I never want to hear another person from an industrialized country bitch and moan about how long they waited in the ER.  Don't tell me how the nurse was mean, or the doctor was rude.  Just shut up and sit down and be thankful for the advantages you have.

Yesterday we were talking to Sis and she told us that she had been scheduled for admission last evening, but had been asked to come in this morning.  There were so many peopled admitted they were putting two patients per bed.  Juan thought she was joking.  I thought he misunderstood her, so I just told him that if they tried to put her in a bed with another patient we would just bundle her up and take her home.  After all, I may not be working, but I am still a nurse.  Just in case, I took my BP cuff and stethoscope with me this morning.

Everything was going well until a nurse came out of the OR with a uterus in a jar the family provided.  I couldn't believe what I was seeing.  It seems they have no way of doing the pathology in Tocoa, so my nephew will take it to La Ceiba.  It will take a week or more to get the report.  Oh well, at least it was in formaldehyde.

The doctor did not come out and speak to the family.  Neither did the surgical or the recovery room nurse.  My BIL says it is not normal for anyone to come and speak with the family.  We were lucky because there were enough nurses/friends coming and going to keep us informed.

About 2:00 PM the nurses wheeled Sis out of Recovery and to her room.  Let me stop a second, and add some background.  Sis has been a nurse in this hospital for all her adult life, 34 years.  Usually nurses and hospitals take care of their own and make room for a co-worker.  Evidently not here; or maybe they did and that's why she wasn't sharing a bed.

Anyway, when we got to the room I looked inside and I almost fainted.  There were two ladies and their newborns on beds up against one wall, and both babies were screaming.  There was another woman on a bed under the windows who was obviously a fresh post-op and on the other long wall was a second fresh post-op and then Sis's bed.

This was not a big room.  This room was designed to be a semi-private room and it is a five bed ward. You never put pediatric patients, especially newborns, with adult patients, especially surgical patients.  That is a disaster waiting to happen.  This, along with the overcrowding, sets the stage for cross contamination.

The gurney being used was probably last used in the industrial world about 1930-40.  The bed was so old that I don't remember ever seeing one like it.  It was the size of an old gurney, about 25-30" wide.  Forget automatic controls; this one didn't even have the old crank at the foot to raise and lower the head.  You have to stand at the head and manually lift it.  Okay, Okay, call me a spoiled American Gringa.  After all, that is just the gurney and the bed.

When the nurses transferred Sis to the bed, they left her flat on her back.  Most surgical patient are left with the head of the bed raised at least to about 15 degrees, if not higher.  This helps keep fluids from collecting in the lungs and makes it easier to breathe.  Not one of the nurses checked for bleeding or even looked at the bandage.  No one checked to see if the Foley was draining, which is just as well, cause I didn't see one.  No vital signs were taken.  No pillows were put behind her to ease the pressure on her back.  She wasn't propped on her side in case she vomited.  I could go on, but I won't.

While I was building up to throwing my hissy fit Macho Man decided it was time to get me out of the hospital, so he said we needed to go to the hardware store and then home and hustled me out the door.  On the way out I was frantically trying to explain to my niece how to get her mother to deep breathe and cough; how to turn her from side-to-side; how to prop her up, etc.  I was also begging her to take Mami home and I would come and stay for a couple of days.

It is a shame when a medical system has a mission to provide good care to its users but does not have the equipment or the personnel to carry out that mission. It is a shame that many countries have no set standards of care and no way to enforce higher standards.  It is a shame good medical care is not a right of every human being.

Sis is okay for now.  I have no doubt she will fully recover and the pathology will be all right.

We are blessed.  If we have good medical care, we are doubly blessed.