Survivor: Costa Rica

The past 10 days have definitely been a challenge for me here.

1. I started feeling pretty sick and was in a good amount of pain 2. This resulted in me spending a week in the hospital in San Jose and 3. My grandmother passed away yesterday.

I know it’s supposed to be hard spending a year away volunteering in a foreign country, but this hard? Really? Wow.

Yes, I guess it is supposed to be this hard. The important thing to do is to keep things in perspective (which, being the drama queen that I am, really isn’t easy for me to do all of the time). The truth is, LIFE is hard sometimes, and this is the case whether you live in Boston or Costa Rica or Azerbaijan. Here is my perspective:

1. I could have gotten sick at home too.

2.I could have had to go to the hospital at home, and while they probably wouldn’t have kept me in for a whole week, I might not have gotten as good of care as I did here. I don’t want to get into the whole comparing health care systems, but my Dr. did tell me a story about another patient from the U.S. who is a volunteer with another group, the same age as me and in the hospital at the same time. She had had 3 fainting spells in the U.S and was feeling pretty dizzy all the time. Her US doctors didn’t do many tests, saying she was young and probably just had a slight arrhythmia. Turns out, she came to Costa Rica and had another spell. She came to the hospital here, where they did more thorough tests and discovered she had a kind of serious heart problem (that I don’t remember the name of), that very possibly could have killed her. They wound up doing an emergency surgery and putting in a pacemaker, which will drastically increase her quality of life.

3. My grandmother would have passed away even if I was home. She has been sick for awhile, and I am very glad to know that she is not in any more pain, and not stuck in a hospital, and I know she is in a much better place and reunited with my Papa and their Jack Russel Terrier Maggie 🙂 Also, I was lucky enough to see her right before I left and tell her all about this Costa Rica craziness and she was very happy for me and Ross (she was a little worried about the bugs, but otherwise happy!) One of our last phone conversations was in the Miami airport right before I took off for San Jose, and before getting off the phone she said to me “I might not be around when you get back, but I’ll always be in your heart”. At the time this kind of upset me, but now I’m finding it comforting.

I would obviously love to be able to be with my family during this time, especially my Mom. Thanks to the wonderful world of Social Media I can be there, in a way. It’s not the same as actually being there, but it works.

So, this is my perspective! I have to run to catch a bus back to La Fortuna and get back to my Costa Rican reality, here goes nothing…


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