COVID HITS THE FAMILY IN PERU

This is the latest chapter of Isabel’s two brothers, one older, Paco, and one younger, Pepe, and her 90-year old father who live in San Bartolo, south of the capital of Peru, on the coast.  The front door of their humble old home looks directly out on the Pacific Ocean.  Despite considerable precautions, COVID has hit the house and the lives of these Huambachano family members hard.  It has just taken the life of Paco relatively quickly and has attacked the health of Pepe and his father, don Jose.  There are no hospital beds available so Pepe and don Jose are trying their best to regain their health by staying isolated at home and getting shots of one medicine or other (somewhat of a mystery) at home or at the local medical outpost in this small beach town.  Since don Jose has also contracted pneumonia while fighting COVID, he is also receiving periodic infusions of electrolytes and fluids.  It has been hard to get him to eat and drink and Pepe is doing everything possible to keep him hydrated and nourished.  Further complications, don Jose has fallen into a depression at the loss of his first son.  Also, while we are covering all the expenses and would like a nurse/housekeeper to come to the home to provide support services we cannot find anyone who is willing to risk going into a home with COVID infection.  We were using a nurse who was a niece of Pepe and Paco and she is wonderful in every way, but we discovered that she has had COVID twice in the past year and was warned that if she gets it again, she may not survive it.  She worries about her young son and who would take care of him if she were to die.  Even as a result of the first two cases she had, she has a variety of debilitating and painful after effects that keep arising.  That said, she covers up with gear and has still gone in to help and advise her family members in their hour of need to get over the worst of their illnesses.  She’s also provided kind support in their time of grief because there is not much family left, except those in the U.S. and they’re more harm than what they’re worth.  Pepe’s COVID case appears to be not as disabling and while trying to stay in as much as possible…he must clean the house, shop, cook, wash the clothes, and take care of his father, including providing baths.  Isabel is in constant contact with Pepe via either WhatsApp or on the house phone and today she was explaining to Pepe how his and our hope that his niece would continue as a full-time nurse/housekeeper was not going to happen, she then proceeded to counsel a reluctant Pepe the steps he should take to bathe his father, and how important it was despite his father’s fighting against steps to keep him clean. 

They have lived in this house all their lives. Paco was a cantankerous, miserly, ungrateful son of a gun, but he was flesh and blood, as they say, and as such someone about whom Isabel had many sweet childhood memories.  He had developed diabetes and refused to follow his doctor’s recommendations so he began to have serious eye problems, went legally blind, and had one of his kidneys shut down (and the other was only so-so) and Paco required dialysis three times per week.  This being out of the house and traveling via public transit around Lima where COVID is everywhere, no doubt was where he contracted the illness and brought it home to his family.  His hygiene had gone downhill and poor Pepe was frantic as he tried to take care of and clean up after his sick brother who made quite a mess of his bed, room, and bathroom, while enduring his insults and pettiness, all the while having to deal simultaneously with the needs of his declining father. 

We keep a close eye on a situation that can change rapidly in many ways.  It is often frustrating when things don’t go as we had planned, and is especially difficult to manage from such a distance.  We’re doing all we can, however, to try to get these remaining relatives in Peru through this.  It keeps both Isabel and I on edge as we keep waiting for bad news, complications, foul-ups, all the while hoping for the best.

Something that is another obstacle to this whole situation is the fact that of the five siblings that we brought to the U.S. over the years, only one of them provides any financial assistance in this at all (and only at our prodding), while the other four are out of the picture except to make all dramatic kinds of phone calls to Peru to undo or scramble whatever efforts we are making.  This has created more than a few unnecessary headaches. 

This is the latest chapter of Isabel’s two brothers, one older, Paco, and one younger, Pepe, and her 90-year old father who live in San Bartolo, south of the capital of Peru, on the coast.  The front door of their humble old home looks directly out on the Pacific Ocean.  Despite considerable precautions, COVID has hit the house and the lives of these Huambachano family members hard.  It has just taken the life of Paco relatively quickly and has attacked the health of Pepe and his father, don Jose.  There are no hospital beds available so Pepe and don Jose are trying their best to regain their health by staying isolated at home and getting shots of one medicine or other (somewhat of a mystery) at home or at the local medical outpost in this small beach town.  Since don Jose has also contracted pneumonia while fighting COVID, he is also receiving periodic infusions of electrolytes and fluids.  It has been hard to get him to eat and drink and Pepe is doing everything possible to keep him hydrated and nourished.  Further complications, don Jose has fallen into a depression at the loss of his first son.  Also, while we are covering all the expenses and would like a nurse/housekeeper to come to the home to provide support services we cannot find anyone who is willing to risk going into a home with COVID infection.  We were using a nurse who was a niece of Pepe and Paco and she is wonderful in every way, but we discovered that she has had COVID twice in the past year and was warned that if she gets it again, she may not survive it.  She worries about her young son and who would take care of him if she were to die.  Even as a result of the first two cases she had, she has a variety of debilitating and painful after effects that keep arising.  That said, she covers up with gear and has still gone in to help and advise her family members in their hour of need to get over the worst of their illnesses.  She’s also provided kind support in their time of grief because there is not much family left, except those in the U.S. and they’re more harm than what they’re worth.  Pepe’s COVID case appears to be not as disabling and while trying to stay in as much as possible…he must clean the house, shop, cook, wash the clothes, and take care of his father, including providing baths.  Isabel is in constant contact with Pepe via either WhatsApp or on the house phone and today she was explaining to Pepe how his and our hope that his niece would continue as a full-time nurse/housekeeper was not going to happen, she then proceeded to counsel a reluctant Pepe the steps he should take to bathe his father, and how important it was despite his father’s fighting against steps to keep him clean. 

They have lived in this house all their lives. Paco was a cantankerous, miserly, ungrateful son of a gun, but he was flesh and blood, as they say, and as such someone about whom Isabel had many sweet childhood memories.  He had developed diabetes and refused to follow his doctor’s recommendations so he began to have serious eye problems, went legally blind, and had one of his kidneys shut down (and the other was only so-so) and Paco required dialysis three times per week.  This being out of the house and traveling via public transit around Lima where COVID is everywhere, no doubt was where he contracted the illness and brought it home to his family.  His hygiene had gone downhill and poor Pepe was frantic as he tried to take care of and clean up after his sick brother who made quite a mess of his bed, room, and bathroom, while enduring his insults and pettiness, all the while having to deal simultaneously with the needs of his declining father. 

We keep a close eye on a situation that can change rapidly in many ways.  It is often frustrating when things don’t go as we had planned, and is especially difficult to manage from such a distance.  We’re doing all we can, however, to try to get these remaining relatives in Peru through this.  It keeps both Isabel and I on edge as we keep waiting for bad news, complications, foul-ups, all the while hoping for the best.

Something that is another obstacle to this whole situation is the fact that of the five siblings that we brought to the U.S. over the years, only one of them provides any financial assistance in this at all (and only at our prodding), while the other four are out of the picture except to make all dramatic kinds of phone calls to Peru to undo or scramble whatever efforts we are making.  This has created more than a few unnecessary headaches. 

VIEWS OF SAN BARTOLO – from front of the Huambachano house on the malecon. Interesting note about Peru — the entire coast of Peru, where Lima is located, is a desert. It is hard to have vegetation survive. Despite the dampness and mist that comes in from the ocean.

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