Me in a specific physical therapy exercise this week:
One-sentence summary: One week in hot, humid, big noisy traffic Lima for five progressive sessions of physical therapy; being poked, prodded, and photographed for a rare parasite it looks like I may have picked up in Manu National Park; and a weekend adventure to the northern coast of Peru, two hours from Ecuador, for Site Mate B’s birthday.
Right Now: Mini-adventure to Mancora, Piura, with two fellow PCVs. They are making french toast while I write from the cloudy [thank goodness] beachside porch in 90F-degree heat.
Expression of the Week: Siéntete como en casa. The equivalent of “make yourself at home.” Suddenly understanding why people seek out amenities like screens and/or forced air.
Week Thirty-Four was spent in Lima for “torture therapy” on my wrist/arm with my badass PT, Cynthia. Cynthia is one of those humans you admire instantly for her technical skills, savvy, firm kindness, and quick wit. One-part electrocutioner, another-part psychotherapist, she was diligently patient with my Spanish and corporeal inability to acclimatize to summer. Each morning she got me up on the treatment table and shocked me until I obeyed her– 220 volts usually got us there –finishing with coached pull-ups balanced on a yoga ball.
To be clear: Pretty sure I couldn’t do those even before I collapsed a bridge.
After each session, I would then walk 45-minutes back to my rental, drenched in sweat, to continue melting in an uninsulated top-floor apartment with a killer patio, working on Peace Corps program CED manuals and hiding from a creepy daytime doorman… all the while marveling at posts of 60-below-zero temperatures back in the States. I am guessing most PCVs do a better job maximizing medical time in the capital; turns out I prefer la tranquilidad of my site and host-family. I miss them. I hope to be back after a PC regional meeting in Huancayo next week.
By Wednesday, I had run out of things I was motivated enough to do solo in the big city. I decided (e.g. politely command-suggested by PT Cynthia) to charm my way back to the main Peace Corps office to have doctors take a second look at My Very Suspect Bug Bite, another parting gift from my Thanksgiving adventure in Manu. It has been a small respirating hole in my forearm for about ten weeks. We have named my new pet Mike.
Mike does not like being electrocuted and has subsequently been acting out by turning into an angry mini-volcano on my forearm. Pre-office visit, after a terrifying night of Googling “how to remove a botfly” (Volunteer of the Week: Here I come) I begged las doctoras Carmen & Suni to scalpel me open so I could send my nerd friends a very cool video.
DO IT NOW. CUT MIKE OUT. I DO NOT CARE WHAT IS INSIDE ME. CUT ME OPEN. HAVE YOU SEEN [the movie] ALIEN?
I believe I have now been upgraded to Frequent Flyer Problem Volunteer and quite possibly kicked up to the CDC.
Al fin, the doctors told me they were more disappointed than I was to not slice me open. Instead, there were medical terms in Latin, wrapped up in fast Spanish and some urgent phone calls to especialistas en infectologia. The current theory is to find out if my new friend Mike could be some rare, casi-extinct parasite from the Dark Ages. So far my blood panel does not indicate liver failure and paralysis followed by death, but being an overachiever, I may be presenting concern a little earlier than systemic symptoms.
I find out results at the end of next week.
Until then, I may as well enjoy my last weekend on earth at the beach.
Vamos a ver.
This is how beach vacation is going:
Leaderboard: I hear there are a few fun things coming my way from the all over the States! I hope to get to SerPost on my way back to site Friday. Unless Mike has other plans for us. Luckily Susannah is sending me scalpels.
Hermana Jessica Rice, Cuerpo de Paz
Apartado NO. 120 SERPOST La Merced
La Merced, Chanchamayo, Junín, PERU
Please note: 1) This mailbox is two hours away 2) It costs a lot of money to send me stuff – (like $23.50 for one pound of candy) and only send through USPS to SERPOST 3)
Keep packages under 1lb (or to not appear worth $100) or they get sent to Customs Jail in Lima. 4) Customs Jail is as arbitrary and random as my blog posts, so don’t send me anything that you’ll be sad goes missing. 5) The last numbers are my Peru cell phone AND THEY ACTUALLY CALLED ME. Place them in the spot you would look if you were lost.