Posted from Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico.
After having met with the orthopedic surgeons at the VAMC (after lengthy delays and still more to come), Erik is now aware of the surgical and nonsurgical options regarding his unique ankle situation. (If you need to get caught up on that situation, it is outlined in our Big Announcement post.) He will first attempt the nonsurgical option of having a custom made leg brace fitted and manufactured. However, there is currently a backlog of several weeks in the Prosthetics Clinic at the VAMC. Rather than waiting, the VA has decided to help Erik receive the new leg brace sooner by outsourcing him. They are sending him to a civilian clinic and prosthetic manufacturer in Minneapolis.
A custom fitted leg brace will lift weight off of the ankle while walking. After several weeks of using this new brace and a cane, he and the doctors will better be able to determine if the pain is reduced enough to continue on in life without immediate surgery or if a sooner surgery is a better option.
In between multiple visits to the VAMC, Erik has been keeping very busy by visiting friends and family. He has been making improvements and fixing little things in both Apollo and Maggi, spending time at his parents’ farm mowing the lawn and cooking/baking up a storm, and even visited HQ in Wisconsin a couple of times as well. He appreciates the friends that have reached out to him, spent time talking with him, and taken him out for coffee, cocktails and food.
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Pepe arrived safely in Oaxaca last week after spending three weeks revisiting favorite places in Guatemala with a friend (a separate post on that trip is forthcoming). After spending almost four weeks living out of only a duffel bag and a backpack, he is very happy to be almost completely settled and again have access to the luggage/clothes he had in storage in Oaxaca. Next week he moves to another apartment where he will stay until Erik returns.
But Oaxaca must have known that he was coming because there are many different festivals happening right now – complete with music, dancing, and food. On Saturday he went to a mezcal festival (LOTS of free samples!), saw part of a youth band concert, grabbed dinner at a church festival, watched some of a huge annual ethnic dance performance at another church and then walked to the other side of that same church to take in a competing festival (complete with its own marching band), saw a live performance in the zocalo (with smoke machine and lights!), and of course spent some time listening to the various mariachi bands and marimba bands. Yes, this was one day. And he walked everywhere.
As he has told his family and friends, he was as comfortable returning to Oaxaca as if he had returned to Minnesota. He knows where everything is, how to get there, and there is always something exciting to do, watch, or eat. And after three (horrible) weeks in Puebla, a (wonderful) week in Mexico City, and three (fantastic) weeks in Guatemala, it feels good to be planted a while.
Coming Up: Pepe’s return to Guatemala complete with tales of missed shuttles (that was a bad day) and his first losing battle with a scorpion.