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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Necessary Evil!

CHEMICALS! I'm talking chemical warfare but no, not against people but against Mosquitos!
We haven't had this bad of an attack from Mosquitos since we first blogged about it back in March of 2010. Back then, the capital city Montevideo sent workers around in haz-mat suits (protective clothing) and they sprayed the parks and a few people (waiting for the bus as the trunks went by) spraying street curbs as well. I should have gotten pictures of that but Wally did that post. So far, we haven't heard of any Government response to this flying hoard of insects but yesterday Monday, December 17th, was bad, really bad and today as well.

How bad, you ask? Read some amusing comments from what other expats had to say about the onslaught, I'm quoting them word for word.

If you heard somebody in Atlántida hooting and cursing in Spanglish today while swinging shopping bags around madly, trying to slap himself while not dropping the beer, soda, meat, and bagful of insect killer and repellant, that was me. The blasted things were even attacking the hand carrying a bagful of bug death, even with my hand wrapped with a mosquito repellent moist cloth.

They [mosquitos] are so bad here... The neighbors across the street left to go back to Montevideo like Armageddon was happening. Fast acceleration while not holding the wheel, still one passenger half in, holding a suitcase,yelling, go go (well it was something in spanish) 15 hours ago.

Mariellen, a neighbor of mine in Marindia:

OH MY GOSH......yesterday morning I went ouside in shorts and I looked down at my legs and they were COVERED with mosquitos....was like something out of a B rated old sci fi movie. Imke my housekeeper and I were trying to clean up after Busters 10th birthday party  from the day before, and we were getting eaten alive. I was ready to go to the hospital for a blood transfusion! They sneek into my house too, they are all lurking on the walls,  up high enough I cant reach them. I think I counted 15 just in the kitchen. We do have one of those plug in things I think Raid makes in our bedroom. Not quite sure how it works, and right now dont care! But it works, didnt get bit once last night.

While not a fan of chemicals we couldn't stand it any longer and Wally armed himself with bug spray in hand or in this case a giant spray container full and went out to spray our yard and window ledges. He looked like an Arab sheik since he wisely covered his head with a cloth to protect his head and neck. This was a picture I took of him while I stayed safely inside with my dogs and cat.

We would have been happy to stay holed-up inside but the poor dogs have to go outside for their potty breaks several times a day and the amount of flying predators waiting for them at the door was just too great! So we felt we were forced to spray.

We have also tried to seek alternate, natural solutions to these flying menaces for our indoor use so here is a recipe and project we tried.

This bottle was our first attempt. It was too big! It was not cut properly in-half.
Follow the recipe and use a 2LT. soda bottle, cut the bottle in half unlike this picture.
Mosquito trap:
200 ml of water
1/4 Cup (50 grams) of brown sugar,
2 1/4 tsp (1 gram packet) of yeast
and a plastic bottle of 2 liters
black or dark material or plastic, something to cover the bottle:

Here are the steps to follow:
1. Cut a plastic bottle in half and keep the bottom, but do not throw the top.
2. Cover the bottom part of the bottle with Black Material or whatever you have.
3. Dissolve brown sugar with hot water. Then let it cool. Transfer to bottom section of bottle.
4. Add yeast. DO NOT mix. It will be creating carbon dioxide.
5. Remove bottle cap, insert the top of the bottle upside down into the bottom section, forming a funnel like.
6. Place it in a corner of your home.

I think that the bottom part of the bottle being covered in black is to hid the dead bugs from your view. Don't cover the whole bottle, just put a strip of black on the bottom part. Put 1 or more of these traps around your house. If you don't want your children or animals getting into them or spilling them over, hang them up or put them up high out of reach.

If you are bitten here are some natural chemical free home remedies to help with those bites. Some of these are to help with the itching and others are to help keep them from getting infected because of your scratching them. 

This seems to be the quickest of all home remedies for mosquito bites. Simply moisten the bite area and then rub table salt on the moistened area. Itching should cease immediately. 
Apple Cider Vinegar
To relieve the itching, rub apple cider vinegar directly on the mosquito bites. (Note: this is an old snorkeling and scuba diver's trick to take the sting away from Jelly fish stings) (that or urine!)
Toothpaste is another one of the fastest home remedies for mosquito bites. Just dab a bit of toothpaste onto the mosquito bites and the itching should stop very quickly. Peppermint toothpaste is by far the best.
Ammonia is another one of the home remedies for mosquito bites this is very effective "itch eliminator". Apply ammonia on the bites. 
Aloe seems to top the list of all home remedies for mosquito bites when it comes to both    eliminating the itch and healing the wound. You can grow your own aloe and use the gel from the leaves, or you can use a commercial aloe gel product.

The biggest problem derived from scratching one's itch is the threat of infections. So, for itching that just won't stop, and if you just have to scratch, cut a lemon in half and scratch your itch with the soft pulpy side of it. This will reduce the chances of getting an infection from scratching with your fingernails. 
Sheila from Lynchburg, Virginia writes: "Rub deodorant on the bites and the relief will be almost instant. This also works for other types of itchy bites.
Baking Soda
Sarah from San Francisco, California writes: "After trying many other home remedies for mosquito bites, I tried my own."
"I was bitten numerous times on my feet. I mixed baking soda and water together until I had a paste like substance. Then I covered the bite areas. Itching stopped within a few minutes!" 
Garlic Salt and Seasoning Salt
Stacy from Benton, Missouri writes: "I have a huge problem with mosquito bites! The quickest, simplest of all home remedies for mosquito bites that I have found that works on me, is a mixture of one part water, one part seasoning salt and one part garlic salt. It burns for about 5 seconds and then it is cured!" 

Whether you are using chemicals or trying to go the natural route, I hope this helps you win the war. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Clinic Update!

I must admit, I don't like going to hospitals or doctor's appointments. My last visit to see one was when my cat (Nathan) scratched me about a year ago. I'm glad that I did go then because my arm got infected and it was quickly caught and cured. However, despite having medical insurance here in Uruguay, I have been very bad at taking advantage of any preemptive health care services. This is foolish because with my insurance and the excellent health care here, there is no excuse not to avail myself of this care.

What actually, got me to go recently to our local medical clinic was not the 3 separate new things wrong with me, ranging from a bent finger, some lady issues and a sore shoulder but the fact that we have started to watch the recently ended TV series "HOUSE, MD"starring Hugh Laurie. For some reason when the show was in vogue, a big hit (for 8 years), we never watched it. Now that it's over, we have just gotten 8 seasons worth of these medical drama/comedy shows and are hooked. Watching the medical mystery show with its sarcastic, egotistical doctor going about treating someone new per show several times each week, got me to admit, it was high time that I should go to a doctor and address my new problems.

Reception room at the MEDICA URUGUAYA Salinas clinic
Salinas, the next town over from me just got a new MEDICA URUGUAYA CLINIC building. It was built (less than a year ago) and the new building is pictured above. The clinic originally was located in Salinas proper. It moved from Julieta Ave. the town's main street to out on the main highway. It's now next to another clinic named Clinica Español, a rival mulista or hospital group association ( ??HMO). What's interesting is that my husband was thinking about switching to that one (Español) not only because their healthcare is notably well spoken of but it is also slightly cheaper in payments a month (so far). However, we found out something very interesting, at least for us, which halted our decision to change to this other medical association's group.

In the clinic 2 signs prohibiting smoking and drinking Mate!
As most of you regular readers know, my husband and I are Jehovah's Christian Witnesses. That means that besides going to weekly meetings at our Congregation and preaching, often from door to door (which yes, some people find annoying and others don't), we are also people who stay away from Blood products whether additions into food like blood sausages etc... or Blood Transfusions. No vampires in our religion!  Staying away from eating blood can be easily done by reading labels or asking questions like, why is it called "Black pudding" or why is that called "blood sausage"? We base this on scriptural history starting from a command to Noah after leaving the ark allowing him to eat meat but not it's blood, to the Jewish people (Leviticus Chapter 17 verses 12 and 13 ) up to Christians receiving a similar command in the Bible book of Acts Chapter 15 verses 28 and 29. So Wally and I eat meat, yes, it's permitted as a choice in the Bible but we don't eat added blood or meat not properly bled after hunting. All 8 million of Jehovah's Witnesses worldwide follow this standard.

The problem comes about with our strictly following the thought not to add it to our bodies in any way. ***This post is not meant to preach it's just informational in that we found out that the medical association of MEDICA URUGUAYA CLINICA "respects" our stand on BLOODLESS SURGERIES and the Español Clinica does not!!! In fact, we were told the Español clinics get very testy with Jehovah's Witnesses and our desires. That's why when you are most vulnerable after some accident or life threatening illness it's important to know ahead of time which hospital is willing to treat you and respect your wishes and which isn't.

The double picture above was taken from a brochure in the USA from the Swedish Medical Center in Seattle,Washington. They are a hospital that has made great strides in Bloodless surgery which was important for us to know about when we lived in Seattle Washington. The picture used in their brochure is of a dear friend of ours who has an amusing last name, he is Jim Pickle. Swedish hospital did a quadruple heart by-pass surgery on him that was completely bloodless meaning he received NO BLOOD TRANSFUSION during the 5 hour and 5 minute operation! That was back in 1998 and Jim is still alive and well! So such surgeries can be done without Blood transfusions and technics have been pioneered for our use in such situations. I also had an emergency operation once (not heart related) and I too used Zero blood in my operation. So the bottom line is that we are staying with the MEDICA URUGUAYA CLINICA! I'm glad they respect our wishes.

Hospital in Montevideo

We had to go down to Montevideo to that associations' hospital and sign up with a "Solicitud of Afiliación" and get added to the group representing our Faith (our choice). We signed liability wavers.

On the plus side, belonging to a large groups' plan means we will get a few extra benefits that we wouldn't have gotten by just signing up on our own. Of course, it only took us 4 years of enough Spanish to learn all of this just now.

Meanwhile, I finally did go to my local clinic in Salinas to get a blood test (note: going out is okay just not added in!)  and also a urine test. The combo of tests cost about $273 (pesos). An Ultrasound only cost me 57 pesos or about $3 US. Then I was sent to another branch located in the town of Solymar (pass the toll bridge).

That is one place to get X-RAYS taken. The other choice would have been MVD.The cost of the two X-RAYS was $330 (pesos or under $18 total US). The interesting thing is that they are developed while you wait and you get to take them home with you. I will bring them to my next doctors' appointment.

Mammogram information. Since this post has been about medical information I will mention that while we were in Montevideo for our paperwork, I spied a mobile Mammogram unit. I've seen the giant trailer before, parked across the street from the Tres Cruces Mall but this time I went in to check it out.  It was commissioned to promote the fight against Cancer by offering FREE Mammograms (mamografías) to women over 40. THE SERVICE IS FREE!!!

The prerequisites are : *You have to be over 40, *You can not have had a mammogram during the last 11 months. *You can not be pregnant (no estas embarazado). * You can not be breast feeding/Lactating (no estas amamantando) for the last 6 months. *You can not have a pacemaker (marcapaso).*You can not have any visible breast maladies, nor been operated on for breast cancer.*You can not have breast prothesis/implants as this would interfere with the diagnostic. If you do have prior mammogram results bring these with you. Bring your cedula ID. If you don't fulfill these prerequisites you will not receive a mammogram!

Mobile Mammogram Unit parked across from Tres Cruces Mall
The day and time for this service is Monday through Friday from 1:00PM till 5:00pm (EL lunes hasta viernes de 13 a 17 horas),  You can make an appointment by calling the Telephone number 2409 40 68 or  2409 43 66 Another unit is often located in front of City Hall (Intendencia, MVD). You can find these mobile units 6 months out of the year in these locations.

An interesting thing to note however, is that a sign painted on the rear of the trailer mentions a name some of you might have heard about, that of The "Late" Reverend SUN MOON. He was a very controversial character. He was Korean and had followers known by some as "Moonies", He did not believe Jesus was a saviour, rather he proclaimed himself, the Messiah and humanities savior. He was known for his odd mass group weddings (often of virtual strangers to each other). For example, in 1982 he performed a mass marriage ceremony for some 2075 couples all at once, this was held in Madison Square Garden, New york, USA (a sports arena).  He was also known for his business empire and controlling interests in many newspapers in several countries, including Washington DC (USA), Argentina and one here in Uruguay. He liked to make a name for himself and his church by supporting non-profit organizations. I didn't see any religious tracts inside the trailer, Whew! I just found it interesting that somewhere along the way, he and his wife donated this Cancer detection service to Uruguay and it's women.