Monday, July 6, 2009

Return to Reality

Back to my reality, back in Baltimore, cleaning, organizing, packing. Eric drove home from Woods Hole with his fish tanks and fish in his car. We all woke up early to drive to Boston to catch an early flight (Maya and I were lucky to get on standby at 8:30 and arrive at ballet camp only two hours late); Eric drove back to get the fish and pump their tanks full of oxygen so they would survive the journey back to the lab at Johns Hopkins.

I started packing up the kitchen, and made progress, but then had friends over for dinner and by the time Eric arrived everything was topsy turvy and it was hardly noticeable that I had been working daily for weeks. I am not sure what planet I was on or why I chose to be so impractical. Why in the world would I have friends over and children tearing through my house when I am supposed to be getting ready for our renters? My silliness quotient increased dramatically when I prepared a fresh cherry pie and two key lime pies and the oven did not work so none of the pies were cooked. We ate the uncooked cherry pie with the tapioca unmelted. Daphne and Julien were polite, but the children clearly found the pie inedible. Again, what was I doing baking pies when the plan was to be packing up my kitchen?

Eric arrived after nine hours of driving, exhausted, cranky and feeling ill. We have both had flu symptoms these past few days. Many of the scientists I ran into at Woods Hole had been ill, so Eric decided that we were fighting swine flu and that was a good thing because we would develop immunity. I have my doubts, but if it is the swine flu, better now in preparation for our move to Ecuador. If we have a mild case of swine flu, we will have developed some immunity to the virus and will be unlikely to succumb when we are in Ecuador. Apparently the Ecuadorian government is quite worried about the disease and will quarantine visitors if they appear infected. The hysteria about the swine flu has abated in North America, but perhaps that is because it is summer and the swine flu is focusing on winter climates in the southern hemisphere and will return to the north in the winter. My friend Emily is moving to Melbourne, Australia, where the incidence of swine flu is much higher than in any other community. She asked for prescriptions of Tamilflu for her and her family. I will be writing presecriptions for Eric and Maya and Tara as well.

My impression about the medical system in Ecuador is quite positive. It is affordable and accessible, especially for those who have means. I am sure that for ordinary medical issues, the standard of care is more than adequate. However if there are complicated and challenging procedures, it makes most sense to return to the States. Eric, as an employee of Hopkins, has insurance that will fly him out of Ecuador if medically necessary, but the benefit does not extend to Maya or Tara or I. I believe we can use the services, but will have to pay for them. Perhaps family and dependents are more expendable. We will have to make efforts to remain as healthy as possible. I will put together a first aid kit and medications to cover most ordinary health needs. It is accidents and unusual illnesses which concern me. but if I start worrying, I will be overwhelmed and paralyzed. So I plan not to be anxious about becoming ill and struggling to find medical care.

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