Costa Rica Cost Of Living Update: 1 kilo (2.2 lbs) potatoes- $1.25

Today we have an appointment for a follow-up visit with Rob’s surgeon. His hernia has healed but he is getting some discomfort near the incision. Rob feels that he should have no pain and be able to go back to his Herculean work-out regimen.  Even though other people have said it will take a while, my husband believes his superior Italian genetics should allow him to heal faster than the average mortal.

It’s no surprise that when we arrive at the hospital the waiting room is filled with people.  However, today I come prepared with a few things to keep me busy: Sudoku puzzle, WWII history book, and a roll of toilet paper. I have learned all three are invaluable while visiting this Costa Rican hospital.

After a couple hours, the same doctor who performed Rob’s surgery waves us in. He is still sporting the same Groucho Marx mustache from our last encounter. Rob describes the slight discomfort he is having so the doctor tells him to drop his pants.

“Aqui?” Groucho says as he pokes at a spot just below his scar.

“Yes, there.  How did you know that it hurts right at that spot?”

“Si, el lunes.”

Rob pulls up his pants and asks me if I understood what he said. We mumble back and forth to each other, “What does he mean? Lunes means Monday….what do you think….maybe he’s asking when the surgery was.”  Rob and I negotiate like we are in the middle of a corporate buyout.

My husband insists the man wants to know the date of the surgery, walks over to the desk, and grabs a Dora the Explorer calendar off the wall. None of this makes any sense to me since Groucho is already staring at the file with all the medical information. The frustrated doctor gets up and darts out of the room.

“Great, you just ticked off your surgeon,” I say to Rob. “I knew it wasn’t about the date of the operation.” In a few minutes, the doctor walks back in holding a different calendar in his hands.

“Lunes, si?” he says as he points to the days with a full moon. “The moon,” he says in English.

I take a moment to consider this diagnosis and display, what I imagine is, the typical quizzical expression one might get when learning a celestial body is responsible for residual hernia pain. Remarkably, it’s also the same expression I had when I learned there was no toilet paper in this Costa Rican hospital.

Once again, Rob and I go back and forth over the possible merits of a moon diagnosis.

“Well, there are gravitational pulls” I say. “The tides roll in and out….people’s arthritis gets worse when it rains…why not your hernia with a full moon?”

“Makes perfect sense, I’m a crippled werewolf.” Rob then asks when he can work out. He does this by going into a posing routine similar to one seen on a Mr. Olympia stage.

The doctor leans back in his chair surely wondering why these two nitwits are still in his office, especially the one doing a rear double bicep pose.  “Two months,” he says before escorting us out the door and handing us a prescription for Ibuprofen.  Not inner galactic Ibuprofen, but actual earthly drugs that will likely help with the inflammation.

Once home, Rob collapses on the couch and asks me to pour him a cup of coffee. When
I suggest he do it himself, he explains he can’t…. moon pain requires him to relax for the rest of the day.

It turns out this uncommon diagnosis suits him just fine.