Retirement; like your parents, but way cooler
In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age
of 38. Now, into their 4th decade of this
financially independent lifestyle, they invite you
to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.
Covid in Panama
Reprinted with permission from
Jackie Lange of Panama
Relocation Tours, Panama
wants to get Covid, and
everyone's experience is different. Sometimes our Readers want to know if
the medical care
in a foreign country is reliable and the "Covid Factor" only befuddles the
issue even further.
friend, Jackie, from Panama, shares her remarkable story. It is useful to
read about her "Covid Journey" back to health, as it is very informative.
Read what she has to say below.
My personal experience with 8 days in Hospital Chiriqui with Covid and
My life before contracting Covid
For more than a year, Iíve been so careful.
I stayed home most of the time.
Iíve only been out to eat 3 times in the
last 18 months and even then I left my mask on until I was actually eating or
I only went to the grocery store once a
week and always wore a mask. (Wearing masks is required in Panama) The grocery
store is always too crowded and itís impossible to social distance when there
are stock people on every aisle plus lots of customers.
One time, I went to an Alumni get-together
at an outside venue. I did take my mask off when I sat down to eat and drink.
I was careful to apply a hand sanitizer as
soon as I got back in my car after going anywhere.
Yet, I tested positive for Covid on May 13th
and was hospitalized because my oxygen level was only 85 and I could barely
I think I got Covid at the grocery store
but who knows!
A few days before testing positive, I
started feeling achy all over, being weak, feeling cold, and having flu-like symptoms. Weíd had cold
rain for 3 days straight in Boquete so I thought it was just the seasonal flu. I
took over-the-counter medications to help with the symptoms but they did not
I did not have a headache, no lost sense of
smell or taste, no coughing, no leg cramps, no shortness of breath, no chest
pain, or any of the other Covid symptoms Iíd read about so I was not even
thinking I had Covid.
Lab tests showed an inner storm going on in my body
On day 3 of flu-like symptoms, I was not
getting better, I went to see my doctor in Boquete. She ordered lab work to see
what was going on. Iíd just had lab work a month prior so we had something to
compare it to. The lab work made it look like there was a storm going on inside
my body. Iím usually normal, normal. I donít have any health problems and donít
take any meds. But this time, the labwork showed some things were really high
and some things were really low. An example, a month ago, my triglycerides were
140, now they were 390.
It was crazy!
The doctor started me on an antibiotic
injection for 3 days straight and advised that I get tested for Covid even
though I did not have symptoms. The rapid antigen test came back negative.
So what the heck was going on? More tests and going to the hospital
When I went in for my second antibiotic
injection, the nurse said I looked really pale and suspected I was dehydrated. I
was definitely very weak and so cold. She called the doctor who came right in. I
had an IV at the doctorís office. My blood pressure would go way up then go way
down. My oxygen level was dropping below 90 so the doctor suggested I go to the
hospital in David to get a Covid PCR test (more accurate than the antigen test)
and x-ray. I could get the PCR test in Boquete but it takes 2 days to get the
results. At the hospital, I could get PCR results in less than 2 hours.
I hired someone to drive me to Hospital
Chiriqui in David (a 40-minute drive) because I was too weak to drive myself and
I knew it would be much less crowded than going to the public hospital. I was
not anticipating getting admitted so I did not take anything with me.
At the hospital, they did an Antigen test
(results in 20 minutes) and a PCR test (results in 2 hours). They both came
back positive. And because my oxygen level
was so low (84-85), they said I really needed to be admitted to the hospital so
I could go on oxygen and be treated for Covid with IVís.
Nestled in my hospital room - sort of
A few hours later, I was in my hospital
room. The first night, there were two other women in the room but they were
discharged so then I had a huge room all to myself. There were no windows in the
room. I was already so cold and it was freezing in the room. The nurses kept
bringing me blankets.
The lady next to me got the Covid vaccine
in the United States but she still got Covid.
The doctor, who spoke perfect English,
explained what he was going to do to make me feel better which included
starting Ivermectin and a slew of other medications through IVs. I was also
given a lot of pills to take. I was hooked up to a heart monitor, oximeter,
automatic blood pressure cuff, and oxygen.
The doctor told me if I had been taking
Ivermectin as a preventative, I would probably not have gotten Covid.
This is the protocol.
Iím surprised that all doctors in Panama were not
talking about this. Apparently, Ivermectin was given to all doctors and nurses
working with Covid patients in Panama to protect them. I wish I knew about
this before I got Covid. Ivermectin is readily available over the counter in
Panama. You can buy it without a prescription.
Normally I would ask the nurse or doctor
what is this and whatís it for before I take a pill or get an IV. But I was
feeling so bad I just took whatever they gave me trusting that they knew what
they were doing since they worked exclusively at a Covid ward of the hospital
Various medicines being given via IV
My experience in the hospital
The first 3 days, I could not get out of
bed. I was too weak for one thing but every time I tried to get up my oxygen
would drop like a rock so the doctor told me I had to stay in bed.
The nurses were very attentive. Some spoke
some English and some did not. Between my Spanish and their English, we were
able to communicate with no problems.
The food was ok. The cook called me every
day to tell me what my choices were (in English) or ask if I wanted her to make
something else. I did not have much of an appetite.
It was SO COLD in the hospital room. They
could not change the temperature but they did bring me more blankets. My
neighbors also brought me a heating pad and some warm socks which helped
I started having trouble breathing and chest pain so the doctor ordered x-rays.
I had pneumonia on top of having Covid. The doctor added additional
pneumonia meds to my IV regimen.
I was feeling much better and the doctor let me sit up in a chair next to my bed
for 4 hours. I was allowed to take a real shower (no sponge bath in bed) but I
almost passed out. Luckily, the nurse was right there to catch me and get me
back in bed.
I was still very weak but allowed to sit up for 5 hours a day.
I felt much better and could sit in a chair as long as I wanted to. I had to
have the heating pad in my lap and several blankets to avoid frostbite (just
On day 8, at 5pm, the doctor said I could go home
IF I was taken in an ambulance so I could stay on oxygen. He sent home an oxygen
machine for me to use 24/7.
It was $175USD for the 45-minute ambulance ride.
Besides the driver, there was also an
emergency room nurse in the ambulance. They helped me set up the oxygen machine
next to my bed.
The doctor has called every day to check on
me. MINSA (the health department) also calls every day to ask what my
temperature and oxygen levels are and ask how I feel.
The doctor ordered additional lab work to
check vitamin levels. The lab came to my house to take blood then sent the
results via Whatsapp a few hours later. He recommended that I take
additional vitamins, especially 10,000IU of D3. I had a lot of labwork in the
hospital but the information was changing often.
The total bill for the 8 days in the private hospital, doctors, nurses, and
medications was $15,000USD.
If I had gone to the public hospital it
would have been free because I pay into the Social Security system in Panama.
But I would have been in a room with a lot of other people.
Iím glad I have insurance to cover the
expense to have a private room at a private hospital with a group of nurses and
doctors who were very attentive and only taking care of 3 other people who have
Covid. At the public hospital, they would have been taking care of a lot of
people with Covid and I could not have a private room. The private hospital was
a much better healing environment.
Iíve been home a week.
I need to quarantine
for another week. Even then, I will limit leaving my property to once a week or
just get things delivered. Friends have picked up groceries for me. They leave
them on my patio and I leave cash (sprayed with a disinfectant) in a baggy on my
front door so no one needs to come into contact with me.
I had some prepared meals delivered until I
got strong enough to cook. I much prefer to cook especially with all those fresh
organic veggies in my greenhouse.
Iím still on oxygen but Iím getting
stronger every day.
Thanks so much for your prayers! They
PART TWO: FULL DISCLOSURE
I stayed in quarantine for two weeks after
getting out of the hospital but was still having problems with my oxygen level
going down, being tired and having a weak all-over feeling, shortness of breath,
chest pain and it felt like there was something in my lungs.
Covid attacks your respiratory system but
it can also cause problems with your heart and nervous system.
The doctor who treated me in the hospital
wanted me to come into his office so he could do some tests or he told me to see
my primary care doctor in Boquete. I could not get an appointment with the
hospital doctor at his office for 10 days. When it comes to Covid, things
canít wait that long. And, unfortunately, my regular primary care doctor was
on leave so I saw a different doctor in Boquete.
My shock and disappointment with the local doctor
I told the primary care doctor about all
the symptoms I was still having and was SHOCKED
that she did not even listen to my chest. She prescribed cough syrup.
It was obvious that she had absolutely NO CLUE on how to treat Covid.
I am still on oxygen at this point.
I knew that I needed to get professional
help from a Covid specialist if I wanted to get better and avoid being put in
the hospital again. So, I started searching the internet and watching interviews
with Covid doctors.
Doing my own research and taking things into my own hands
Luckily, I found a telemedicine
Covid specialist who has
treated 6,000 Covid patients (over 10,000 now!). He is sharp as a tack!
He gave me a list of lab work to get done.
I had a lab come to my house to do the bloodwork. They sent me the results 2
hours later via Whatsapp.
Once the (Covid specialist) doctor saw my labwork, he knew
exactly what medications I needed to take to get over the lingering
symptoms. In Panama, you can buy most medications over the counter with no
prescription. Within 48 hours of taking the medication, I felt so much
He also had me get a CT Scan at Hospital
Chiriqui. It showed that I had lung damage from Covid and a high CT score which
indicated blood clotting. So he added a daily injection of an
Thanks to the Covid specialist, within a week, I was able to stop using an
oxygen machine and all symptoms have gone away.
If you get Covid, reach out to a Covid
specialist with a LOT of experience.
If you contact them as soon as you have symptoms, they can prescribe medications
to stop the spread of the virus in your body so you can avoid being admitted to
A Covid specialist can prescribe a
PREVENTATIVE PROTOCOL to help you avoid getting Covid without taking a
Absolutely DO NOT rely on your primary care doctor to know what to do when it
comes to Covid!
We would like to thank
Jackie for sharing her Covid story and her journey back to health. Hopefully,
this information will help others who are dealing with severe Covid illnesses.
About the Authors
Early Lifestyle appeals to a different
kind of person Ė the person who prizes their
independence, values their time, and who doesnít
want to mindlessly follow the crowd.
Retire Early Lifestyle Blog
About Billy & Akaisha