Well over a month ago I swore I was going to post an overall update soon. Well, it’s past soon, but here I finally am to tell what the hell is going on with me.
Nervous About my Nervous System
This is probably the most frustrating thing going on in my life right now. Here’s a quick and dirty synopsis. The good news is still that the tumor in my head is not likely to kill. I absolutely hate that it’s there. I mean, who the hell wants to know they have a brain tumor? At least it’s just sitting there doing nothing and because of its location it’s best left where it is rather than trying to remove it.
So, I don’t think I’ve ever explained why I went to a neurologist in the first place. It all has to do with my ulnar nerve, which runs from the shoulder/under arm, across your elbow and down to the hands. I had pain that ran from under my arm and down along that nerve. My hand didn’t hurt, but my right pinky finger and ring finger are always numb with occasional tingling. My movement with those two fingers is pretty restricted. For example, I can no longer do the Vulcan hand symbol. Thankfully, I don’t have much of a reason to ever do that, but if I ever go to Vulcan, they’ll likely believe I’m extremely rude. All those problems are almost always related to TOS, which is thoracic outlet syndrome. I’ll spare the details other than somewhere my ulna nerve is getting severely pinched.
My neurologist did some tests and came up with the TOS diagnosis and referred me over to my neurosurgeon. Based on my MRI’s, my surgeon determined I have no neurological problems and therefore must see a hand surgeon. I did share my MRI results, of which there are three, with my neurologist, my physical therapist and a friend who is a retired radiologist who specialized in neurology. All of them told me, in so many words, that my surgeon is nuts and I need to get a second opinion. I have an appointment scheduled with a different neurosurgeon next month. I’ll keep you posted on his diagnosis.
On the positive side, physical therapy has eradicated all the pain. I’m also able to use chopsticks again, though I still have the numbness and tingling which needs to be corrected.
Some of you may recall that after Trump won the election Maurice and I were determined to leave the wonderful US of A. We’re still terrified at what is happening in our country, but we have calmed down since then. We still plan to move, but aren’t rushing. We have obligations, including family, that have priority right now, We are likely to move in the future, just not sure when.
When I said we were leaving I focused on Uruguay, and it’s still in the running, but we’re leaning towards Ecuador these days. Yes, many consider it a third world country, but there are many expats who would argue.
There are several reasons for the switch from Uruguay to Ecuador.
First, is weather. From the mountains to the Amazon to the coast, you have many environmental choices. Uruguay, on the other-hand is hot and muggy in the summer and cold and wet in the winter.
Second, Ecuador is a much shorter, and less expensive trip to and from the U.S.
Third, the cost of living is very low. A beautiful oceanfront apartment with 24 hour security, and luxurious amenities can run as low as $1,000/month. Compare that to our very tiny, old LA apartment that is more expensive.
The fourth, and final, reason is that people in Ecuador are damned friendly and super happy. I chat with expats regularly from all over the world via Facebook and Message Boards. Sure, each of the countries has people that packed up and came back home with their tails between their legs, but those in Ecuador seem happiest and more settled than any other country I’ve investigated. My number of Facebook friends has increased dramatically since establishing friends in Ecuador. Now, before you caution me that what I learn on Facebook can be entirely different than real life, I stress I’m completely aware of this, but it’s a good place to start.
There are several cities and towns in Ecuador that I’ve spent a lot of time researching.
This picture is of Montañita, a popular surfing village where the fun never ends. It’s year-round population is only about 1,000 people, though there’s always many more around, especially during the peak season.
This picture is of El Otro Lado, an open air gay bar in Montañita. It looks fun…and I hear it is.
The picture below is of Salinas. Another city in the running. It has about 50,000 people year-round.
This final pic is of Cuenca. It has a population of 400,000. It’s not near the ocean. In fact it’s about 8,200 feet above sea level. It has the largest expat community in Ecuador.
Where we decide to move, which we’ll say Ecuador for now, we plan to start with a two-week, or longer, exploratory tour. That trip will hopefully give us an idea of what city and town we want to settle in and we’ll do so for one year. At the end of that year we’ll then be able to make the determination to stay wherever we are, try out another location in Ecuador, or head back to California. We figure we can tolerate and survive anywhere for a year and perceive it as an adventure regardless of where we end up.
To follow my rule of keeping posts below 1,000 words, I’ll abruptly stop here. More updates to come tomorrow.