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I have the ultrasound first thing in the morning. My friends Robert and Angelson accompany me to the ultrasound clinic. The ultrasound only cost 100 soles which is incredible to me. Angelson has a background as a radiology tech so he joins me for the exam. Having Angelson there with his background makes all the difference in the world. Instead of having to wait for the results to be read by a doctor and sent to me in an email, Angelson is learning first hand what is happening. I can hear him speaking with the Peruvian tech as the exam proceeds. Like two colleagues, they discuss what the ultrasound is showing. Angelson then relays the information to my friend Robert who is on the phone with our medical team back home. There appears to be something blocking my bile duct in my gall bladder and we decide I should get back to the states right away and get this taken care of.

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Updated: May 25, 2021

I got the results back from the lab today. I am amazed at some aspects of the Peruvian healthcare system. The labs only cost me 300 soles (about $83) and are delivered to my email box within 24 hours! I send the results back to my medical team in the U.S. They agree that something is going on with my liver based on the elevated bilirubin levels and they order an ultrasound.

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Updated: May 25, 2021

For several days I have been noticing that my skin seems to be turning a yellowish hue. The hotel quarters I am staying in are old and basic and the lighting is not that good. Is it just me, or is it really happening? Based on my urine color I also wonder if I might be getting dehydrated. I have been working hard on getting this new bakery established and while we do run a busy schedule here in Lima, I don’t feel like I have been neglecting my water intake. I still have a healthy appetite and I take water with me everywhere I go in my water bottle attached to my backpack.

I decide to call back to the U.S. to ask our medical team if they can talk with me a bit about my symptoms. After speaking with one of our PAs and my wife Laura, we decide it is best for me to get some labs done. I dislike having labs done because of the needles, but I agree, knowing that it makes sense to understand what is happening with me.

Fortunately, my brother-in-law Jason has a great connection with a doctor in Peru and is able to get an order written for me that I can take to a local lab. Having friends is a key to navigating the health system in Peru. Very few people speak English and with my knowledge of Spanish being limited to basic, conversational usage, I know I will need support.

My two friends Angel and Angelson take on the task of finding a lab and scheduling an appointment for me. They both accompany me to the appointment and Angelson comes inside with me to translate and ensure that I get the care I need. For me, getting poked with a needle is not something I ever want to do even at my routine checkups in the United States. I am pleasantly surprised when I realize that the phlebotomists in Peru deal with people like me all the time.

My phlebotomist smiles at me and tells Angelson to ask me where I am from and what am I doing in Peru. As I begin answering her questions, she quickly takes the blood draw, effortlessly collecting the specimen without me even noticing too much of what she is doing. I understand. She is trying to help me be comfortable. It works. 😊

Afterwards, we go to Wong, my favorite supermarket in Peru and I purchase sandwiches to eat for me and the guys. I can’t thank Angelson and Angel enough for their support.

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