English: Stegomyia aegypti (formerly Aedes aegypti) mosquito biting a human. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I just checked into my WordPress site and noticed I had not published anything in exactly three weeks. I guess I have no real obligation to post anything, but my few followers have become somewhat of a social group – sort of. I even saw a few comments from a week – or weeks ago – inquiring as to my health, or my degree of slow, degenerative demise. How sweet.
About this Non-Posting thing. It started out as a conscious choice – I Was Busy…with a Costa Rican residency lawyer who was backing out of a legal agreement when the going started getting rough. The mosquito-borne Dengue Fever happened soon after, and the taxi driver thing…well…that’s been going on since the first gringo got off the plane in a Third World Country. (Oh, yeah…the politically correct term now is Developing Nation, and since the Cold War was exposed for a colossal scam to fuel the ammunition and armaments biz…screw it – Developing Nation it is).
I am so pissed at my lawyer he is going to get his own post soon as I feel a bit more feisty, and it ain’t going to be pretty folks. For now, though…let’s just hit the hi-lites. There was a small glitch in our – my wife and mine – application for residency. We put her down as the main name on everything. Nothing much became of that during our initial proceedings, but when it came time to sign up for the socialized medicine aspect of our residency, our lawyer became one M.I.A. dodge of an S.O.B. – hanging out with his buddies in the pool at The Scamming Bastards Club in San Jose, no doubt.
The socialized medicine here is written into law, sometime around the new constitution of 1948 when Costa Rica abolished it’s military to focus on more important matters, such as education and free medical for all the citizens of this tiny, unimportant little Developing Nation. But…something that hasn’t changed in this D.N. is that it is a patriarchal, Catholic-informed domain, and the man’s name should be on every document, application, or other such scraps of paper. My wife and I were wondering why our lawyer had so expertly handled everything from our dealings with the American embassy to our finger-printing at the fortress-like San Jose police station. All we got was an e-mail telling us to get hooked up with the CAJA (literally box, but an acronym for the Social Security here) for our medical, and a gentle demand for the rest of his legal fees.
Whoooooaaaaa, I thought. Let’s see how all this plays out before we go depositing $1,200 in his account with no assurance of success in a land where anything legal moves glacially, and there’s always a hook or sixteen. And why had he abandoned us at this seemingly simple (and final) step before we got our Cedulas which made us residents? BECAUSE, grasshopper…with my wife’s name first on our application, and mine listed as a dependent, we had to get a letter from a Costa Rican accountant verifying that anyone would be silly enough to list a woman’s name first on their application. After several trips to Manana-Land with our lawyer (we have no car, so we have to beg or borrow rides, paying for gas at around $6, or paying $50 taxi rides).
We finally got to an accountant in a small town down a muddy, rutted road to Huacas. He wrote the letter out wrong, using one he had prepared for someone else. The names were in the wrong places, and the occupation was wrong. It took several rides to the Vientesiete de Abril CAJA office to get a human to talk to us (using up our goodwill and money each time) until we got a bitchy little man to laugh in our faces and tell me the accountant’s paper was useless. (It was around this time I woke up one morning with a fever that had sweat dripping from me, my clothes as wet as if I had just got out of a swimming pool, and shaking from chills so bad I couldn’t push the buttons on my phone).
To make a long and painful story short, so I can get on to the next one, we had to make four trips to Vientesiete de Abril, two trips to the canton capital of Santa Cruz, and two to the provincial capital of Liberia trying to get someone to show up for the many appointments we made trying to rectify the bureaucratic problem of a woman’s name being on top of a man’s in the great paperwork pile of life. $$$$$$$$ and GoodWill all gone, it was taxi time, folks. The lawyer who dicked it up in the beginning…remember him? The only replies to our e-mails for help was his Sincere disbelief that such things were happening to us, and calls for our final moneys to be deposited QUICKLY. And, the accountant who could have repaired our application, but dicked it up worse? He refused to answer his phone, and his beefy secretary blocked all attempts to enter his office. And, you have to remember, each move costed…and costed…
A TEM micrograph showing Dengue virus virions (the cluster of dark dots near the center). Español: Partículas maduras del virus del Dengue-2 replicándose en un cultivo tisular de cinco días. La magnificación original es de 123,000 veces. Deutsch: Eine TEM-Aufnahme, welche Dengue-2-Virus Virionen zeigt (schwarze Punkte in der Mitte). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
So, this Dengue Fever thing. It just got worse and worse. Dengue Fever is transmitted by several types of mosquito within the genus Aedes, principally Aedes Aegypti, from Africa. It is pretty much confined to tropical areas, but has been reported as far north as Southern Florida. The virus has four different types; infection with one type usually gives lifelong immunity to that type, but only short-term immunity to the others. I got the least of the virulent type almost one year ago exactly when I was living in San Jose. It was a week of one of the worst flues most people will ever get, and then it was gone. No big deal. This was a different bug altogether. Subsequent infection with a different type increases the risk of severe complications, so Wikipedia says…and that’s what I got.
Dengue Fever is also called Breakbone Fever, since the muscles get so constricted that it has been blamed for broken bones in the very young, or very old and brittle. Every bone in my body hurt…every muscle in my body hurt…the headache settles in behind the eyes, like the worst hangover headache time 100…chills rattled my bones….sweat poured from every pore, soaking my bed nightly…it hurt to turn my head…my fingernails hurt…my hair hurt…any sustained thought is impossible.
Most people, with insurance or family to pay for hospitalization do it, since it kills off the white blood cells, and when they drop from @250,000 count to under 85,000, the patient is in serious danger of a life-threatening stroke after it hits the hemorrhagic fever stage. No one is paying my doctor’s bills, and the insurance thing…that’s where I started this little rant about Bloodsuckers.
My self-prescription was staying in my smelly, sweat-soaked bed, drinking pure grape juice (builds up the white blood cell count) and trying not to move my eyes or touch my hair. But, every few days the wife and I had to venture out and try to get the medical insurance thing straightened out…and write my lawyer a quick “Piss Off and Die” e-mail.
English: A positive tourniquet test on the left side of the image in a person with dengue fever. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I’m getting known in town a bit by now, but there are still a few taxi drivers who think every gringo can’t count when the colones get up into the tens of thousands. One of these Bloodsuckers tried to take of with a few dollars of change after another ride back from another disappointing ride to a disappointing half-day spent in an non-air conditioned office where another gringo-hating hack laughed at me for having my wife’s name above mine on our application papers. I guess the taxi driver was used to confused, passive gringos who think just because the money has lots of numbers on it, and pretty colors, and pictures of monkeys and toucans, that’s it’s not real. WRONG !
Despite my debilitating disease, for which I should have been in the hospital for, under a doctor’s care, I climbed through his window, grabbed his skinny,
old wrist, and wrenched my money our of his hand…tossing him a few coins, before telling him to go and have sex with his mother in Spanish, which probably surprised him more than a man as sick as me doing what I had just done. At least he had something to talk about that afternoon with the rest of the boys at the cab stand….and my standing as the craziest gringo on the streets of Tamarindo shot up like Apple stock after the release of the newest iPhone.
There’ll be more when I’m feeling a bit better…lot’s more…I promise. Pacheco, you’re lawyering days are going to take a serious spike downward. Don’t screw around with writers…they have audiences, and they’re articulate enough to cause a bit of a ruckus.