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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

An Inside View

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

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Dealing with dependence

Billy and I are self-reliant people. We are comfortable with interdependence too, but dependence? It’s unfamiliar territory for both of us.

In those early days after my accident I was pretty discombobulated. Billy reminded me to take my meds, reliably had food on the table for me to eat, arranged appointments for the surgeon and therapist along with coordinating with our driver to escort us to Guatemala's capital. Transport to and from the city was about 4 hours. The days on which I had double meetings of chamber therapy and seeing my surgeon could easily add another 4 or 5 hours to the trip, depending on if we could get those appointments to line up.

Patient care was a priority to these health professionals, and as much as possible consultations were arranged for my convenience.

My finger suffered a lot of trauma; Necrosis at knuckle.

My finger suffered a lot of trauma; Necrosis at knuckle

Plates spinning in the air

We paid cash for all services, so going to the ATM was an every-other-day occurrence for a few weeks.

Our visas had to be renewed right in the middle of all of this medical activity so that task fell to Billy. Not only did he have to plan his trip to the next town with arranged lodging, money in hand, meals and coordinated transport, he had to be sure I had easy-to-heat-and-eat food here in Antigua as well as I had no use of my right hand.

Catching the first bus at 7 a.m., four buses later he arrived in Panajachel, dropped off the passports, spent the night and in the morning he took the same four buses back home to Antigua. The next week the same routine was repeated.

While he was gone, Billy made sure that I had food already prepared for the microwave or the stove. Our maid, Maria, cleaned the kitchen, went shopping, put out the trash, changed the sheets and cut up copious amounts of fruit for us since I could no longer use a knife.

Making friends with uncertainty

All of this continuous activity was out of our routine and far more hectic than we preferred. The focus was on cooperation, efficiency and comfort because a big chunk of how we normally live our lives was now in the realm of uncertainty. Wrapped, splinted, and swollen, my dominant right hand was temporarily not functional. My normal contributions to our household were interrupted, and I had to reorient the way I did everything; sleeping, taking a shower, eating, dressing myself, typing…

The beginning days following the accident were exhausting and they sped by quickly.

Running around naked

Years ago I was the kind of girl who used to put lipstick on just to check the mailbox. These days I still blow dry my hair to get that silky sheen you see on television commercials, but now, due to my current circumstances, I’ve developed a new appearance. My left hand hasn’t held the mascara brush well, and my fuzzy hair looks like it got caught in the fluff cycle of our Maytag. My “hairdo” is a cross between a Brillo pad and a poodle.


I feel like I’m running around naked. I keep telling myself that beauty comes from the heart.

Akaisha's finger after necrosis removed, after skin graft. Still swollen from fracture

After necrosis removed, after skin graft. Still swollen from fracture

Famous in the village

It didn’t take long.

Most everyone now knows me by sight. I am “the lady with the hurt finger.” When my maid had to leave early from her daughter’s school party to come to her daily job at our place – she was “the woman who worked for the lady with the hurt finger.” Her son, who took a keen interest in seeing Billy’s initial gruesome photos of my mishap, gained status when he added to the conversation that my finger was “really ugly.”

When Billy renewed our passports in a neighboring town a couple of hours away, our friends there knew what happened when I disembarked from the bus, and Billy became known as the “husband of the lady with the hurt finger.”

In the beginning, people everywhere would give my gauzed-up hand side glances and shake their heads. As the days passed and I would go to the bakery or to the tortilla shop, I seemed to receive extra friendly service. Strangers on the street or even in the sophisticated city of Antigua were overtly friendly to me, saying good morning, afternoon or directly asking me what happened. The bandages and splint on my hand were obvious and these kind and gentle people could relate.

The men in the fruit truck who delivered sweet pineapples and papayas to our house, Carlos, who brings heavy, 20 liter galafons of drinking water to us twice weekly, waiters at restaurants and shop owners all wanted to know all about what happened.  And, the more drama I could put in the storytelling, the better. They shared with me their injuries and scars and wished me well.

Villagers of all ages are authentic, kind, engaging, Antigua, Guatemala

Villagers of all ages are authentic, kind, engaging

Beyond thank you

Billy rose to the occasion so many times – changing my bandages daily and whipping me into shape – having me soak my hand in warm water baths 3 times a day, instructing me on how to exercise my finger, wrapping my hand or skin-donor site in plastic so I could shower, cutting up bananas for my cereal…

Messages poured in from our Readers all over the world. I was placed on prayer lists, people dedicated songs or dances, our home stay was extended by the owners and I was given many notes of concern and well wishes.

Is saying “thank you” an even exchange for how I feel about all this effort people have gone through to make my life comfortable? To help me adjust to the trauma? To let me know I’m not alone?

At some point, gratitude goes deeper and it becomes a realization; a perspective from which to live.

Those nights in the beginning when my fingertip was the lifeless color of a dark bruise and was cold and hard to the touch, I wrestled with a part of me who wanted to sink and give in to a dark scenario.

Somehow I knew that I had a choice at those points in time. People and circumstances were coming together to form a soothing and unmistakable safety net. The least I could do was not give up.

A sincere and heartfelt Thank You to all of you. You made my experience softer, easier to navigate. I am grateful for your connection and participation in my life.

And Honey? Happy Anniversary. We'll celebrate somewhere special when you no longer need to cut my meat up at the table. This time, I'm buying.

Want to know how much this whole ordeal cost? We have prices for all services received, medications purchased, and cost of transport ready to share with you next week!

For more information on this story see:

Accident, Response and Cure

Fickle Finger of Fate

Turning the Corner

Pricing of a Medical Emergency in Guatemala

A Short 3 Months Later

For more information on Medical Tourism, click here

For more stories and photos about Guatemala, click here

About the Authors

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance, medical tourism and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their award winning website, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible available on their website bookstore or on

Retire Early Lifestyle appeals to a different kind of person – the person who prizes their independence, values their time, and who doesn’t want to mindlessly follow the crowd.

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