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Phase 3: The construction of the remaining 11 residences.

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Progress Report

 June 19 - July 3, 2006 // CONSTRUCTION LOG #89/90

Contact phone numbers

Internet Phone:
New York: 315-279-6711
Toronto: 416-907-5758 // 416-461-2203

Costa Rica:
Cell: 506-305-3965
Land: 506-282-4142 Ext. 101

NOTE: the New York and Toronto numbers are "local calls" for people in the area codes; calls from outside the area code will be billed at the normal rate from the caller's area code to either the "315" or the "416" area code.


Pictures: house 101 / 102 and 124 / 125. Paving.

The Story: Ciudad Colon Property dies and my surgery at CIMA

CONSTRUCTION

Weather: partial overcast, some rain but we haven’t been held up.

Units 101 / 102: The exterior of the upper unit is boarded and all interior walls and structural steel work is now completed. The access ramp is being built. The lower unit 102 is having the finishing touches put on the interior and exterior walls. The ceiling will be boarded next week. It is nearing the finishing stage.

Lockers and Houses

Houses: Unit 125 is in the final stages of finishing —finishing touches on the cabinets, granite counters, finish coat of paint and then final clean up. Most of this should be completed by this time next week. It looks great. It is good useable space that works well and the kitchen and floor to ceiing entertainment / display wall unit complete the total package. Unit 125 is not far behind.

Lockers: These are awaiting their doors which will be followed by painting. We will be making shelves for those who want them.

Preparing for the completion: this work continues as we gather things together for off site storage. Construction sheds and change rooms have disappeared. The work force was cut by 4 people; we now have around 35.

Paving: This is now completed. The east roadway and the front portion of the west roadway have been paved. It puts the finishing touch on that aspect. All drains appear to be working.

Laundry Room: We finished the third laundry area and all four machines are operational.

Electrical System Upgrade: The transformer is promised for delivery the middle of next week. It now seems to have passed all the tests and payola hands required. It’s only taken a year for what should have been a one month job. Nothing went smoothly on this. I wish I could learn some lessons from this so I would be smarter the next time but I haven’t yet determined what I could have done differently and could do differently in the future.

Marketing: Units 110 and 112 closed. The closing on Unit 115 is still pending. We may have a purchaser for our final unit —102. That is still a bit iffy but we will work at putting the things in place which will determine it’s status. My wife is trying to broker a deal which includes herself and one of our investors.

Internet: We’ve had problems with it this past week. Certainly the welding doesn’t help our routers and other sensitive equipment but what we traced the problem to is one client downloading DVD movies. This zapped the 2 gigabits of bandwidth we supposedly have. He can now continue to do it but after 10pm.

Satellite TV: We’ve been trying to rejuvenate this service. Our success to date has been spotty and it is yet too soon to tell if the current “fix” will last.

Next Project

The Ciudad Colon property is now dead, dead, dead; we found the Achilles Heel —the land near the canyon is zoned for very low density. That makes the land much less valuable to us so we have terminated all further conversations. Had the vendor been less difficult to deal with, we might not have found the problem until it had cost us some money. His insistence at the $50,000 unsecured deposit made us suspicious.

We are continuing to look at new possibilities daily and have resigned ourselves to the possibility of buying a lot(s) and building a few houses in the interim. An application for development is likely to take 6-8 mo. to work it’s way through the government bureaucracy. We have only another 6 weeks here at Los Jardines and want to keep the crew. We are now under pressure.

OUR LIVES

Note: I include the following record of events not to entertain the morbid but to help those looking for personal healthcare experiences as a way of answering their own questions. I’ve tried to chart a story between “too much info, don’t want to know” and enough to satisfy those having questions.

Comment: I was surprised and really touched by the numerous well wishes I received from people who are following our saga here. Some were friends who I didn’t know were still reading and some were from others who I didn’t/don’t know. One never knows who is reading and for what content they read. Hopefully, those who are concerned about medical care in CR will benefit from the following:

CIMA is a 50 bed private hospital which is affiliated with the Baylor University Hospital in Texas. It has 5 or 6 operating rooms, 18 surgical beds, 18 medical beds, and a maternity ward. I’m told that abut 60% of the patients are CR, the remaining 40% is mostly expatriates —Americans, Canadians, British, German, Italian, etc. Most of the doctors have trained in N. Am. or Europe; most speak English. I found it fast, efficient, effective, and inexpensive by N. Am. standards. I’ve never been able to say that about any other hospital. The corporation which owns it is currently in an expansion mode. They are adding more doctors’ offices and will soon add a hotel/convalescence center and commercial mall to the area. They are making Costa Rica and themselves a healthcare destination.

Getting admitted was like checking into a hotel. It took about 10-15 min. asking address, identification, confirming the reason for the admission, and getting an open credit card voucher. (All was done privately for those who are concerned about that). When finished, we waited for about 5 min. until an orderly came for us and showed us to my room. It was private, with large window, and came equipped with a sofa bed which was made up nightly for Lita.

My surgery (radical prostectomy) went like the text book said it should and to date, my recovery as well. I was scheduled for surgery at 2:30pm Wednesday; this was later postponed to around 4:30 due to other surgeries. I was put in a private holding area for 30 min. or so until I was wheeled into the OR. I don’t remember the second deep breath. I was returned to my room (according to what I've been told) around 9:30. I stayed in my private room with a bed for Lita until Monday morning at which time I was released. Virtually very little pain from the incision; the catheter is a bit uncomfortable but all in all, bearable. The pain management program that the doc ordered worked very well. I never had any ill effects from the general anesthetic, no nausea, no bodily functions not wanting to start up again, etc. The male and female nurses were attentive —a call would get a response within 10 sec., The room had TV, individual climate control, was quiet, and generally fantastic, certainly better than any Cdn. hospital I've been in or have ever seen in Canada. The hallways were spacious and clear of all gurneys; no patients were stacked up in a holding pattern. Lita could order room service from the cafeteria; she particularly liked the steak and had it two times. I had a number of visitors including my site superintendent and his wife, lots of chocolate cake and goodies. Staples for the incision and the catheter were removed Friday —9 days after the surgery. I am now more comfortable and more mobile. While my total recovery is likely to take another 4-6 weeks, I fully expect it to happen.

Cost of Hospital (5 nights) with medication and various sundry things —$2,750. Cost of doctors —$6,500. Various tests and medicine another $800 —total: $10,000. I don’t know what the cost would have been in the U.S. nor in Canada. I do know that in Canada I’d still be waiting, and waiting, and waiting…

The post operative pathologist's report determined that about 60% of the gland was cancerous and had a Gleason score of 7 which is fairly high. (Gleason score is a measurement of the aggressiveness of the cancer. This was a change from 24 months earlier where a Gleason of 6 and less than 1% of the gland was cancerous.) Further analysis showed that based on the location of the cancer, it is unlikely that it spread beyond the gland itself so I should not have a reoccurrence. All in all, it seems to have been the right decision and executed well. Time and countenance will tell for sure. I’m looking forward to living out my statistical lifespan of 80.9 years and of dieing from something other than prostate cancer.

Further note: I had three treatment options available to me —one of which is not available in the U.S. or Canada —HIFU (High Intensity Focused Ultrasound —controlled bursts of energy waves which cooks the target tissue). It is still being reviewed by the FDA; it is available in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. My doc at CIMA is qualified and CIMA has the equipment. It is non-invasive and done on an out patient basis. Given my age and my condition and the lack of long term results, I ruled it out but it was interesting to know that here I had an option not available in North America.

I feel fine now and always have felt fine all along. Most of my day this past week has been spent sitting —at least at home I’m able to write and communicate freely via VOIP phone, internet, etc. Several of the residents took it upon themselves to bring dinner to our house —good steak along with backed beans and coleslaw and another with delicious chicken, cauliflower with cheese sauce and baked potatoes.

Paul has kept me in the loop through my sidelining and picked up all the loose ends to keep things moving along. He wants me to take it easy; I’m wanting to get back working on some personal issues like renewing our passports / moving along our residency status / CR driver’s license and a few Toronto based things. All these take time and some mobility. In addition, I have to make some finishing decisions on our new home and arrange to move into it. I bought two leather recliners which I’m looking forward to using.

Brian, Lita, Hugo and irreverent Vicka, the pigeon toed parrot.

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Units 101 / 102
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Unit 101
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Unit 102
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Units 125 / 125
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Paving
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