Friday, June 29, 2012

Medical Care in Belize and Hablo pequeño inglés.

Bill getting fitted for glasses.  What a cutie pie!!!


Vision Eye Test Chart.

This week Bill and I were able to experience the medical care in Belize and from what we can tell so far, we like it. 

People ask, "what do you do about medical care while in Belize"?  After much research and thought we decided that we would no longer carry health insurance in the United States on Bill.  He would use the healthcare system in Belize.  But for me, we chose to continue to carry my insurance with Blue Cross in the states.  Why you ask?  Bill is almost 63, very healthy and in 2 year he will be eligible for Medicare in the US.  I on the other hand (I am much younger) have many years before I will be eligible so I continued to keep up my insurance in the US.  I also am the one that travels back and forth to the US the most.

The one thing that concerned us the most healthcare wise before moving was to Belize was the fact that Bill has glaucoma and he also takes blood pressure medicine.  On our exploring trip to Belize in September 2010 when we came to look at the island from the point of moving here, we made a trip to Chetumal, Mexico to see if we could find his eye drops for his glaucoma.  We went to the Sam's Club Warehouse (Walmart) in Chetumal and we were able to find his eyedrops with no problems.



Since moving to Ambergris Caye in January 2012, Bill now has an additional medication that he now also has to have for his glaucoma.  So in April, 2012 we made a trip to Chetumal, Mexico again in order to try to find his medications he needed.  This trip he was able to find one of the drops and the blood pressure medicine, but not the new drops he now has to have for his glaucoma.  Luckily he has had enough of that med that we have not had to worry until now. 

This time we decided that we would try and find the medications he needed here on the island.  We made a trip to the local Poly Clinic to inquire about his meds.  They told him he would need to see the doctor.  Bill stayed to see the doctor who was Cuban educated and was on duty at the time, to talk with him about his medications.  If you don't already know, since moving to Belize Bill has lost nearly 35 pounds.  Bill has been on blood pressure medication for some time now and even with meds his blood pressure would still run high.  They checked his blood pressure at the Poly Clinic and it was 134/68.  WOW, he couldn't believe it.  Losing weight, exercising and eating healthier has really made a difference.  The Poly Clinic II did not carry the same blood pressure medicine that Bill was taking in the states, but instead gave Bill a medication that will replace the one he was currently taking and can be gotten each month at The Poly Clinic.  Also since Bill was there and had been having a sinus cold he asked for medication for that as well.  The cost of the visit and medication, nothing, yep nothing.  It is on donation based only as long as you are a resident of San Pedro.  The clinic also did not carry Bill's glaucoma medications, so we headed out to go to some of the pharmacies in town to see what we could find.

The Poly Clinic II

Bill saw Dr. Rodriguez at the Poly Clinic II.

The doctor gave bill medication for his sinus cold and for his blood pressure.

We went to a few pharmacies in town but it seemed no one could get the two drops that Bill has to have to put in his eyes for glaucoma.  He will have to put these drops in his eyes every day for the rest of his life or take a chance on going blind.  So we had to find the drops for his glaucoma.

The Pharmacy.

Looks a little different than the one's we have in the US.

Bill was reading the San Pedro Daily this week and in the notices it said that the BCVI was going to be at the Lion's Den with a specialist from the USA Thursday and Friday for any vision attention for FREE consulatation and assistance.  Thursday morning we went down to the Lion's Den on Front Street.  Bill signed in and waited to see the doctor.  Soon he was called for the vision test and a very nice looking young American man was the one doing the vision tests.  Bill was number 14, so when his number was called he stepped up to get his vision test.  The nice young American boy said to Bill, " do you speak English?"  Bill replies, "Hablo pequeño inglés (I speak a little English). 

Do you speak English?  Hablo pequeño inglés (I speak a little English).

BCVI-Belize Council for the Visual Impaired.





While Bill was waiting to see the doctor, I decided to go get breakfast.  I walked down to the bakery and picked us up some donuts.  I had really been wanting a donut lately and I was finally about to give in and pick out a chocolate covered donut from Casa Pan Dulce Bakery.  I figured we weren't seeing the dentist today, so a donut was just what we needed.

Bill waiting for his number 14 to be called.

I got back to the Lion' Den and we had our breakfast while we waited to see the doctor.  It wasn't too long before our number 14 was called again.  The doctors were a husband, wife and son team from Fayetteville, North Carolina in the US.  They were Laurie Arcolano and William Vaughan with Village Eye Care.  They had been to Belize once before with a vision team that came last year.  This year they came on their on.  We told them that their son had asked Bill if he spoke English.  We all got a real laugh out of it.  They too said they were not sure if we were Americans or not until we spoke and then they recognized our southern accents.  I guess we can't escape our southern accents even in Belize.

We say this a lot in the South.


This piece of equipment Dr. Vaughan had made by a machinist in the states just to bring to Belize.  He carried it on the plane all the way here. 

Dr. Laurie Arcolano checking Bill's vision.

Dr. William Vaughan helping another patient.






The Vaughan's were more than helpful and yes they had the glaucoma medications that Bill needed.  They gave Bill an ample supply of both medications that he needed for his glaucoma and yes it was all free.  Dr. Vaughan also gave him the names of other drugs that were basically the same medication to make it easier to help find next time.   If you are in Fayetteville, North Carolina area you should definitely check them out at their clinic, Village Eye Care.  Doctors Arcolano and Vaughan believe strongly in giving back to the community and caring for the eyes of all those in need through their International Outreach Program and Overseas Mission Trips.  At Village Eye Care, Dr. Arcolano and Vaughan have worked with many VOSH eyecare teams in Central and South America. They have made multiple trips to Peru and Nicaragua, as well as missions to the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Belize.  Thank you Dr. Arcolano and Dr. Vaughan, y'all are the best, hope to see you in Belize again next year.

Here are your choices for frames from the BCVI.  Bill opted to use his own frames and just get new lens.

Prices shown are in Belize dollars.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Doggie Rehab in Belize

Barney is recovering well thanks to Dr. Baptist at Saga. 

Well if you have been following my blog lately, you know that I wrote about how "A Walk on the Beach Ended with a Trip to the Vet" when Barney was attacked about two weeks ago when two pit bulls jumped over a fence and went straight for Barney's throat.  Bill managed to pull one of the Pit Bulls off of Barney while the owner got the other one.   The owner of the Pit Bulls was bitten several times and had to make a trip to Belize city to see his step father who happens to be a doctor.  Bill had lots of road rash on his arms and knees.  Luckily every one survived this incident and we are thankful.  We know it could have ended much worse. 

I am happy to report that Barney is doing well.  But he did have to go back to the vet when fluid built up on his incision and busted the stitches out.  We took Barney back to see Dr. Baptist at Saga and he put in a drain tube and more stitches again.  Barney went back to the doctor this week and they have removed the drain but he still has the stitches, all 33 of them.  Yep, he had a total of 33 stitches put in from this pit bull dog attack.

Our oldest female husky Alina who is over 11 years old also had to go see Dr. Baptist this week.  Back in June of 2011, Alina had a cancerous tumor removed from her eyelid by our wonderful vet from back home in the US, Dr. Mike Randall, owner of Randall Veterinary Hospital in Byram, Mississippi.  Alina was then diagnosed with Melanoma skin cancer.  The tumor has since grown back, which Dr. Randall said it would.  So Alina was supposed to go see Dr. Baptist at Saga on Tuesday to have the tumor removed, but when Bill got to Saga there was a note on the fence that said Dr. Baptist would not be in his office today and come back tomorrow.  Yep, that is how it works here in Belize.  So Wednesday Bill took Alina back to see Dr. Baptist and he was in his office that day.  Dr. Baptist removed Alina's tumor once again.  Alina also had a fatty tumor on her chest which he also removed at the same time.  Surgery and drops for Alina's eye infection was $200.00BZ ($100.00US).

These pictures are from where Dr. Mike Randall with Randall Veterinary Clinic in Byram, Mississippi originally removed the cancerous tumor from Alina's eye.

It looks like "Doggie Rehab" around our house.  Both Alina and Barney are having to wear some of Bill's t-shirts to keep them from pulling on their incisions and getting them dirty.  Both seem to be on the mend as long as we can keep them from tearing out any more stitches. 

I don't think Alina much cares for wearing Bill's t-shirt.  She said yellow is just not
her color. 

Please, please take this shirt off of's hot!!

This is where Dr. Baptist removed the fatty tumor from Alina's chest.

Alina also had an infection in her eye which was causing her eyes to run, so we are having to put drops in both of Alina's eyes every day. 

Drops for Alina's eyes to clear up an infection.

Barney's incision is healing up nicely now.  These stitches should disolve on their own but Barney has to go back next week and be checked again by Dr. Baptist.

Bill hasn't been taking the huskies on any walks since the attack, but in a few more weeks he hopes to find a safer route and get back to their walks.  The pups are really missing the walks, but for now they just get rides in the golf cart around town. 

Many of my readers and friends have asked, "what has happened to the two pit bulls"?  The answer is nothing.  Unlike in the US where we are from, these two dogs would have probably been euthanized. In Belize, Pit Bulls are a popular choice of dog to have.  They are chosen mostly for security reasons here.

Dog ownership is a big responsibility.  Bill and I encourage you to adopt from a shelter where there are so many beautiful animals that have been given up by previous owners and put in a shelter to live the rest of their lives.  These dogs need homes too.  Barney was in a kill-shelter in Jackson, MS.  I had heard about him from someone I had met.  They had been to the shelter and said they saw the most beautiful husky at the shelter.  I immediately went to the shelter and got him out before he was euthanized.  My intentions were to eventually find him a home.  He had to be neutered before I could bring him home.  I picked Barney up that next afternoon and fell in LOVE with him.  He was so beautiful and gentle.  I knew there was no way I could ever let him go and we didn't.  Although at the time we already had three other huskies, we decided to keep Barney as well.  I mean what was one more at that point.  We love our sweet Barney.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What a Great First Lobsterfest!!!

San Pedro, Belize Lobsterfest June 15th-June 26th, 2012.

Well Bill and I made it through our first Lobsterfest with some great friends and lots of lobster eating.  The Lobsterfest kick off party started at El Divino's at Banana Beach and ended with a block party in Central Park on Saturday and an Afterparty Sunday at Cowboy Doug's at Grande Caribe.  I think I am starting to have lobster withdrawals now.  No worries though, lobster season will last until February 15th, 2013.  So I am sure there will be lots more lobster eating in my future.

Here are some pictures from the Saturday nights block party in Central Park on the Beach.

Saga Humane Society Animal Shelter had a booth set up in the park selling food and t-shirts.

Saga Humane Society Booth.

Steel Drum Band

Renita and Dixie at the block party.

Our friends Alyssa and Mark got to enjoy Lobsterfest with us. 

Lobster Pizza

Lobster Puffs

Grilled Lobster Tail.

Some of the best Mojito's.  Nothing like the one's in the state. 

Lots of iced down Belikin to drink.

Caribbean Rum.

Lots of left over styrofoam trash.  Bill wants to ban styrofoam from the island.

This was our first time out at Cowboy Doug's and Grande Caribe.  The pool is beautiful and the views aren't bad.  Here are pictures from the Sunday Lobsterfest afterparty.

The pool at Grande Caribe.  What a view!!

Ya think???

Lobster Sausage.  It was a little different.

She was rocking her lobster hat.

Andrew cooking lobster on the BBQ.

Christine was working really hard.  Great job Christine.

Cowboy Doug, picture by  Seriously Cowboy Doug, you have to be hot wearing those jeans all the time in Belize.

         There was a floatie contest at the pool, picture by

Grande Caribe Resort, picture by

The kids sailing group was out Saturday as well.

Goodbye Lobsterfest, see you next year.  Caye Caulker, Belize Lobsterfest start June 30th.