Just had to post this old email from February 2009

Just when you think it can't possibly get any worse, Boquete has been experiencing unusually high winds and driving sheets of rain, something unheard of at this time of year - normally the "dry season". The river has again flooded and the gale-force winds have brought trees down everywhere, disrupting services like water and power.

Here at Casa Hell, Vista Grande, the driving rains caused flooding of the ceilings and walls in my apartment, leaving pools of water on the floor. The winds blew out the pilot on the hot water tank, so we had no hot water, just as I was about to take a much needed shower. Even though I had no idea how I would manage to get down to relight the pilot with my surgery, I was going to try. Then the water went out completely. Apparently trees had come down on the water line somewhere and they had no idea when it would be repaired. To switch to our backup tank I have to climb up on a ledge to open the valves, something I could not possibly do without opening my stitches up, so I started texting my faithful worker to come and change it over, but got no response.

I laid back down to watch TV until I could get a hold of him and the winds took the satellite out, leaving me with no TV. By now it was early evening and I was beginning to panic not being able to get a hold of my worker. As hard as it is to sit up and work, my computer was all I had, so I thought I would try. Then the power went out. Just as I was about to go crazy with all this, the police showed up. Despite my telling my tenant to please lock the gates, he had left them wide open, so the police just walked in. I did not understand what they wanted, but it has something to do with my expired visa and they are coming back today. No idea what might happen out of this one, and it worried me that the officer sounded so serious, especially when I did not understand him. I am worried enough that it might be that I am in the country illegally, but now I am also worried it might be about my unpaid hospital bill. I don't know how they deal with that kind of thing in Panama. I have no money to pay it, so there is nothing I can do if they are going to arrest me over it. I had given my bank card to my friend, Magaly, to see if I have any money left for food or meds, but she called me to tell me all the bank machines in Boquete are down. Just keeps getting better and better.

So I am left with no money, no water, no power, no TV, totally panicked about what the police want and no one to help. I called SKY TV this morning and they say it might be up to three days before they can come and restore our service. My worker finally showed up, telling me he had no charger for his phone and that is why he didn't respond. He also has lost his truck because it needed hundreds of dollars of repairs he can't afford, so he can't do much to help me.

I am hesitant to even ask if it could get any worse because just when I think it can't, sure enough, it does.

I hope you are having a much better life.