We returned to Cartagena with the goal in mind of having Lens Replacements Eye Surgery. We have been hearing from many of our cruising friends of the excellent medical care and results in this field here in Columbia.
Kaija always had perfect vision that is until our Atlantic crossing in ’92 where she wore a Scopolamine (motion sickness) patch. She discovered on the second day that her short term vision had been affected. It never recovered and so she has worn glasses for reading and other close up work since that time.
On the other hand, I have worn glasses since grade school. Problems with astigmatism and short sightedness have required me to either wear glasses or contacts for all of my adult life.
For both of us, wearing glasses on the boat has been a hassle. And so, we elected to remedy that situation. We were recommended to a couple of fine eye surgeons and elected to use the services of Dr. Javier Vasquez Ramirez in part because he speaks English good enough to understand our questions and answer them in a thoughtful and thorough manner.
There are two main manufacturers of multi focal Intraocular Lens. Abbot Labs of California produces the Tecnis Lens and Alcon Inc. makes the ReSTOR TORIC product.
Dr. Javier recommended the Tecnis lens for Kaija. In my case, (dealing with astigmatism) he recommended one of each. I found with my first eye (the Tecnis lens) that while my distance vision was greatly improved I was seeing ‘halos’ around bright lights at night altho I am advised that this will correct itself over time. For my second eye, the ReStoric lens provided even clearer vision without the halos and there is a ‘built-in’ corrective feature for my astigmatism.
Kaija & Dr. Javier
The procedure of the eye surgery is very simple. It requires having your eyes measured (painless), applying drops for three days prior to surgery (painless) and then the 15 minute eye surgery (painless). The entire process was painless and the results virtually immediate. The morning after surgery the bandage is removed…and VOILA…you are seeing. It is recommended to have one eye the first week and the second the next and so there is a period of adjustment for the new stereo vision to settle in. Also, it is necessary to continue with eye drops for a few days after surgery. Other than not being able to go swimming for a week following surgery, there were no other restrictions to any of our normal daily activities.
We are thrilled with the results and feel that we found an excellent surgeon and caregiver as well made a new friend in Dr. Javier and his beautiful wife Ingrid who is an excellent Dr. of Dermatology. Together, they are a very handsome couple and big warm hearts and made this whole experience one we will long remember as we carry on our journey enjoying our new improved vision.
Javier with Kaija & Ingrid
During our visit here, we had opportunity to visit some of the tourist attractions we had not previously seen including the Grande San Filipe Forte,
Forte San Filipe, Cartagena Columbia - Kaija in Insert
We spent many fun hours meandering thru the Old City with its many shops, vendors and unique sights including some very interesting architecture and door knockers.
Cartagena Old Town sites incl Famous Fat Lady and door knockers
During our visit Cartagena celebrated it’s Bi-Centenial celebrations. The marching bands and tradition costumes were a delight.
Cartagena celebrates it's Bi-Centenario
We enjoyed renewing acquaintances with old friends and making new friends here in the anchorage. We also had time to spend in the Bay of Chalon which is a beautiful anchorage approx 20 miles south of Cartagena and spent time with Rob and Carmen M/v Manatee and their beautiful home on the hillside called Crow’s-nest with a 360 degree million dollar view overlooking the ocean.
Bay of Chalon with Carmen and Rob from their Casa Crow'sNest
One of the cruiser favorites is the Wednesday night social held at the Restaurant Pacho & Gillo Pizzeria hosted by Sandro. His beautiful wife and daughter make everyone welcome and the food is great. This year they also hosted a Columbian Style American Thanksgiving turkey dinner will all the trimmings. What a Treat!
Sandro and family, Owners of Pacho and Gillos Pizzeria
While here in Cartagena we took the opportunity to have some additional renovations completed by the famous wood worker Tutti who is a magician with his chisel and saw. We also needed our transmission overhauled and were lucky enough to find Elvis, King of the Cartagena Mechanics. Both of these gentlemen were honest and quick about getting the job done. Muchos Appreciado Amigos.
Elvis the King of Mechanics and Magician Woodworker Tutti
Our final dinner at the wonderful de Oliva was with Drs Javier and Ingrid, Lauren (daughter of our good friends John and Jeri Mv Peking) and Kenny and wife Jesse Sv Makai
Ingrid with Kaija & Lauren
Jessie, Kaija & Kenny
We are leaving manyana for the San Blas where we will hook up with good friends on that side of Panama for Christmas. Then, Good Lord Willing thru the ‘ditch’ (Panama Canal) in January and finally the South Pacific…HERE WE COME!
And so as we enter the Holiday Season, to all of you, we send our Best Wishes for a Wonderful Christmas filled with Joy and Happiness and abundant time spent with those you love and a New Year filled with Good Health, Good friends and Good Times.