Dengue ~ The Gift that Keeps on Giving

It’s now been over five months since I contracted Dengue Fever. Although I was only really sick for about a week or two, I still a couple of lingering after effects that I thought would like to share. You know, if any of you out there happen to get Dengue Fever and if you’re like me you aren’t sure if you’re recovering “normally”.

One of the main side effects that I haven’t really shared with anyone other than my family, is severe hair loss. And they only know about it because SU was constantly finding clumps all over the house and now Mom has been finding hair all over her furniture.

Prior to leaving for my visit to Canada I talked to my girlfriend (at whose house I was staying at in Panama City), who also happens to be a trained hair dresser and aesthetician. Thank goodness she confirmed what I was experiencing was entirely normal, but even then when she was cutting my hair she was quite alarmed by the amount of hair I was losing. I’m happy to say that my hair loss has slowed down in the last few days and is no longer coming out in clumps but the loss is still higher than normal. I’m very fortunate that I have thick hair and the loss seems to be all over instead of just in certain spots.

The way my friend explained my hair loss to me made a lot of sense. Dengue doesn’t directly affect the hair follicles or cause the hair loss but the shock to my body has interrupted the normal growth cycle of my hair. She asked me a couple of questions and based on the fact that my hair loss only began in March, almost three months after my illness, it seems likely that this is the case. The way she explained it to me all hair has a growth stage and a resting stage. The growth stage lasts about 3 years and the resting stage lasts around 3 months. The resting hair remains in the follicle until it is pushed out by growth of a new growth hair. Normally, 5-15% of the hair on the scalp is usually resting. Extreme shedding is started when a stress or change causes many of the hairs to enter the resting phase all at once. Shedding does not occur until the new hair growth begin. The developing hairs force the resting hairs out of the follicle. So, it seems that it took about three months for my hair to start falling out, it’s been coming out for a couple of months now (although it has slowed) and it could take another three to six months for everything to recover. Yay me!

I’ve always been somewhat prone to cold sores but luckily in Panama I don’t need a prescription for the medication that slows their growth. With a compromised immune system I’ve been catching them more often but I always have my medication at the ready. But, silly me, I didn’t make sure that I went and bought some before I left on my trip, so, I’ve been battling with one on my nose and a small one on my lip, but they are healing. The other kind of icky skin thing I’ve been dealing with is small bumps all over my back, not really a rash and not noticeable, but there just the same. These also seem to be drying up (like the rest of my skin in the dry Alberta air) and going away slowly.

I feel very good other than those few lingering effects. I was probably fortunate that we live a fairly healthy lifestyle and I’ve tried, since my recovery to not take being healthy for granted. It’s gratifying to know that this too shall pass and I’m not a freak. I’ve learned over the years that life can change in an instant. Coming through this is another example of how not to take good health for granted, whether you’re in the campo or elsewhere.

Read more posts about Dengue Fever:


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Snapshot Sunday ~ 24/05/2015

More beautiful apple blossoms in Edmonton.  We must enjoy them before the wind blows them all away!

Red apple blossoms

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Late yesterday afternoon we heard the sirens of many fire trucks.  It was during rush hour  and we believed that there was a large traffic accident on the freeway that is not far away.  With one of the local television station’s helicopter hovered overhead we turned to the early news to see what was happening.

We learned that it was not a traffic accident as we thought but a condo fire that had gotten out of control and we could see the smoke from the kitchen window.  It took the fire department the better part of five hours to get the flames under control and the crews were still on site this morning when I diverted my morning walk to see the damage.  There were still a few trucks at the complex this afternoon when we drove by assessing  the destruction.

It has been very dry and hot in Alberta and there has been a fire ban, except for home barbecues, imposed for the province.  It may be that a barbecue or smoking on a balcony started this blaze. The building is mostly wood frame and the flames quickly spread to the attic where it was difficult to contain.

It is likely that 78 units or more are destroyed, leaving many people homeless. Damages are estimated at $16 million for the building, and an already tight rental market is going to get a little tighter.  The Red Cross has offered rooms for victims to stay in temporarily and will work with the provincial government to help those displaced. Luckily, nobody was killed or badly injured.

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Nothing to See Here

I’m in Canada visiting for a few weeks and it’s difficult not to draw comparisons between the two countries that I call home.  For instance, one of the myriad of complaints I hear about Panama is about litter.  As a passenger while driving from Calgary to Edmonton last weekend, I didn’t notice that the highways between the two cities were that different from Panama but in Canada a greater emphasis is on highway crews and/or volunteers keeping the roadways clean.

Around my mother’s house it’s the same.  Many homeowners take pride in their neighbourhood by picking up garbage carelessly discarded by people walking to and from the local Seven Eleven.  In Panama I often see elderly people cleaning around their houses and yet trash seems to accumulate in places where there are no homes.

Late yesterday afternoon Mom and I noticed pieces of a larger white object littering the sidewalk down the way a bit.  As the day progressed the pieces seemed to migrate on the grass as passers-by kicked them out of their way.  When I went out for my early morning walk this morning I looked closer and noticed it was a broken glass bowl, its larger fragmented pieces now scattered on both sides of the walkway and smaller pieces littered about.  It seemed that the people to whom the bowl once belonged to didn’t care that a dog or child might cut themselves so I gathered up the shards and placed them in the garbage as I would if I was home…in the campo.

Bowl 2 Bowl 2To see more of the WP Photo Challenge “Broken” go here.

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Snapshot Sunday ~ 17/ 05/2015

The first apple blossoms of Spring, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, May 2015.

The first apple blossoms of Spring, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, May 2015.

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Wisdom Wednesday ~13/05/2015

Sometimes being a friend means mastering the art of timing. There is a time for silence. A time to let go and allow people to hurl themselves into their own destiny. And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces when it’s all over.     ~ Octavia Butler ~

Ocean and pelican

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Snapshot Sunday ~ 10/05/2015

Hundreds of dewdrops to greet the dawn;
Hundreds of lambs in the purple clover;
Hundreds of butterflies on the lawn;
But only one mother the wide world over.
~ George Cooper ~


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A Tale of the Two Inukshuks of Pedasi

The Canadian constitution recognizes three groups of First Nations peoples: Indians, Métis and Inuit. These are three diverse peoples with distinctive histories, languages, traditional practices and spiritual beliefs.  The Inuit are Indigenous peoples in Northern Canada, who live throughout most of the Canadian Artic in about 53 communities covering 1/3 of Canada’s land mass.  These communities are located in Nunavut, Northwest Territories, Northern Quebec (Nunavik) and Labrador (Nunatisiavut and NunatuKavut).  The Inuit are of the group formerly known as “Eskimo” a name that is still used in Alaska to refer to all Inuit and Yupik people of the world. The word Inuit means “the people” in the Inuit language called Inuktitut and is how the Inuit refer to themselves.

Inukshuk (pronounced in-ook-shook) are stone figures constructed in the image of humans. The Inukshuk can be found all through the Arctic and the name itself means “in the likeness of a human”.  Inukshuk are used as directional markers, helpers and guideposts to fishing or hunting grounds or to show the way to stored food. Something like the precursor to street signs.   Traditional Inukshuk are can be large or small, a single rock, or several rocks which are held through balance and built big enough to been seen above the snow.  The ability of constructing an Inukshuk was passed down from one generation to the next and they have evolved to be places of judgment and decision-making, worship and celebration. Inuit customs prohibit the demolition of an Inukshuk and they are often recognized as embodying a forefather who knew how to traditionally subsist on the land.

Inukshuk 1

Earlier in the year SU constructed two Inukshuk (the plural is actually inuksuit); albeit in a non-traditional way given the materials available in Panama. A traditional material in Panama is concrete; lots and lots of concrete. So SU made a form got himself some concrete and some flagstone and he made an Inukshuk. And then he made another one for our Canadian neighbour.

Inukshuk 2 Inukshuk 3 Inukshuk  5 Inukshuk  4

Just as a traditional Inukshuk does, they help visitors navigate and get their bearing in this twisty, turny country of Panama with the coordinates and directional North, South, East and West stamped into the bases. We Canadians are known around the world for being friendly and many believe that it may be related to having to live in a harsh climate. The construction of an Inukshuk brings a little piece of Canada to Panama and is a pleasing sight when one is a long way from home. As with the more traditional Inukshuk it took several hands to stand up those heavy sculptures, retaining the symbolism of cooperation…in the campo.

Inukshuk  7 Inukshuk  8 Inukshuk  6 Inukshuk  9

Inukshuk  11

Inukshuk  10

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Ungodly Noise at the Beach

Ungodly noise: Excessively or unreasonably loud.                                                       Force of nature: A person or creature possessing unnatural or God-like power.

I had a difficult time choosing just one thing to focus on for this week’s photo challenge. We’re surrounded by nature and all its majesty every day. Recently we saw the force of the waves when the tides rose to very high levels  shifting the sands and causing damage along the Pacific coasts. Not to mention that Dos Gatos are forces of nature themselves.

This afternoon we took a drive to one of our local beaches. The high waves have receded and did indeed change the landscape some in not so positive ways, but I’ll leave that for another post. Today while we were at the beach there was a pair of Southern Lapwings looking for their afternoon meal. Lapwings normally stay in fields and scrub but, as with most of the birds in our area, they seem to have also adapted to a bit of beach life.

I’ve posted about these noisy and very territorial birds before. Today was no exception, the beach was theirs and we were intruding. Although we stayed far enough away so as not to get dive bombed the birds still created an ungodly noise which to me makes them a force of nature not to be messed with…in the campo.

Lapwing 1 Lapwing 2 Lapwing 3 Lapwing 4

Lapwing 5Lapwing 6Lapwing 7

Check out other entries in this week’s photo challenge here.

Read some of my previous posts about our Southern Lapwings:

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Talk Thursday ~ Return of the Buzz

Labelled-cicada 2We’ve only had one or two days of rain the last couple of weeks and only one really good rainstorm thus far.  Although the rains haven’t returned in full force yet the night bugs are slowly beginning to return.  The cicada’s have begun their nighttime song and soon we’ll see the twinkling of the Firefly’s.

SU has noticed a few round holes around the yard since the humidity began to rise but he was unable to find what was making the holes. One of our theories is that it might be cicada nymphs emerging. Cicadas spend most of their life  underground, some for many years. When the nymph is big enough it digs its way to the surface with its front legs,usually at night.  Cicadas are singers and only the males are the noisemakers. As the day ends the cicadas begin serenading and as their numbers increase the sound will be louder, like a constant hum.

The video today is about cicadas in North America. In our warmer climate of Panama cicadas return every year with their nightly concerto…in the campo.

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