Sunday, March 27, 2011


I've been writing a blog entry for a week about Malachi's horrendous seizure event that happened on Friday the 18th.

I have lots to say about my training at FSI and Main State in VA and  D.C. respectively, and I think Drng Adventure and I feel very differently about FSI.

I have a great amount to say about my travel home as well. As a precurser to this, I think you should Google recent news about MIA (Miami International Airport).

However, it's going to take so long to put all of that together, I have no idea when it's going to be done, let alone published. I also haven't been good at keeping up with blogs. I may have read about five entries over the week. So I'm sorry if I've missed some big events. I'll try to catch up some time soon.

All this to say, I'll get to it, eventually.

Monday, March 21, 2011


I'm in the States for job training. I had quite an adventure getting here, and even got to walk into a presentation today with all my luggage - it was a bit embarrassing.

I might not get much of a chance to blog while I'm here, but if I have a particularly important story I'll let you know.

I am drafting an entry about what happened with Malachi's epilepsy on Friday night - what an adventure! But for therapeutic reasons, and so I have it documented, I'm trying to be as specific as possible, so it's taking a while to write.

The time change here is kind of messing with me, but I'm tired, so I'll try to sleep soon, I'm getting up nice and early in the morning to be at work on time! Fun times!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011


I'm going there...soon. And I'm going to be trained in all things CLO. While I'm there I'm going to stay in a swanky hotel downtown, shop at Target downtown, see friends from town, meet people coming to San Jose, and leave as early as I'm leaving Costa Rica...which is very, very early.

I'm quite excited to be going to the States again.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Seizures & Medications

I'm going to be lazy, because I'm over six months pregnant, I worked today, then came home and made dinner and put Simon to bed. In a little bit Malachi's going to go to bed and John and I are going to hang out. I'd rather hang out with John than write a long blog,'re going to get pieces of things I've already written.

Written to our D.C. Neurologist on 3/11

Dr. Lastname,

You saw Malachi (last name) (DOB) as a patient in '09 & '10. We've since moved to Costa Rica on orders with the State Department. Malachi was seizure free for almost 18 months. We have a relationship with a Neurologist here, Dr. Firstname Lastname at CIMA, and had been doing check ups with him. Recently Malachi has started seizing again. He had a grand mal on Friday 2/4 and again on Wed 2/9. He was also having partials. An MRI was done on 2/12 and an EEG was done on 2/14 and both came out normal. The Dr. increased his Keppra dosage to 300 mg 2x/day. He continued having partial seizures but the grand mals seemed to have stopped.Because the partials continued the Dr. here upped the dossage to 400 mg 2x/day. Yesterday 3/10 Malachi had another seizure. This time it wasn't a grand mal but one where he blacked out, had his typical postictal period, and then went to sleep. The Dr. told us to keep the Keppra at 400 mg 2x/day and also add Trileptal 250 mg 2x/day at first and then to 300 mg 2x/day until he sees Malachi on 3/22. 

I was able to buy the Trileptal in suspension form here, but there's no Keppra in suspension form in all of San Jose. They only have tablets and it's a different dosage. Here's where this email comes in...

I'll be in the D.C./NOVA area (insert dates) by myself for work and I was wondering if you'd be willing to write a Rx for Malachi for Keppra in suspension form at 400 mg 2x/day so I could buy it while I'm in the States. We have enough to cover ourselves until then. 

If you need any more information, I'll be happy to provide it. I can also provide you with the email address and phone number for Dr. Lastname. 

Thank you,

Sara Lastname

We had a lot of drama with the MED unit (our normal nurse was at a conference in Singapore, we had a substitute) trying to find the Keppra. When our normal nurse got back on Saturday she called and left a message saying that she was back and she wanted to hear about Malachi. We found out on Saturday night that we were much lower on medicine than we thought, and in fact only had 7 1/2 days worth. I called our nurse on Sunday morning and told her our dilemma. She said it would be her top priority on Monday morning. 

On Monday she put in an overnight mail order of three months worth of the Keppra we needed. That wasn't going to get here fast enough though (new Rx's in this system take five to eight days to process, expediting it would mean four to five days, and then it has to be sent from D.C. to Costa Rica). She finally called the Costa Rica Neurologist who said you can find liquid form at this pharmacy, and this other pharmacy. Our nurse called and arranged to have it delivered to the Embassy where I was working yesterday (the Trileptal was delivered to our house last Thursday, I LOVE pharmacy deliveries). We now have enough Keppra to get us to the mail delivery, and beyond I'm sure. 

Since we started the Trileptal on Thursday, we haven't had any full seizures but are still seeing partials (he had 8 on Sunday alone (and all but one was before 8:30 a.m.)), the Neurologist said we need to give the Trileptal 7-10 days to become fully effective. He seems completely unconcerned about the partials though. I'm not noticing any side effects from this new medicine. 

Oh - and btw. Dr. Lastname from D.C. still hasn't gotten back to me. That would never happen here. I don't know that I'm very excited about Medical care in the States anymore.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Break

My mother-in-law said she's been missing my frequent blog entries. I told her that I've been very happy to not have much to blog about since my blogging had been so depressing about Malachi. Since I now have a ton to blog about, I guess I better start catching up.

1st up, Manila:

I have a pen pal ( pal, I guess) in Jerusalem. She told me that Manila sounded like a great place, to which I responded that it's perfect. And it really is perfect for us, and I told her I'd blog about it so y'all can understand how perfect it is.

When John and I started to think very seriously about where to go next we came up with what was most important about out next post. I told him that the most important thing is good schools for Malachi. We didn't have to say good medical care because we knew that MED wouldn't let us go anywhere that didn't have good medical care. So...good schools was at the top of the list. Then after that for me was the ability to work and afford house help. Those go hand in hand so they tie for #2. Under ability to work there was a sub category for large mission so that there would be work available for me.

When we got our bid list John immediately widdled it down to what worked for timing and medical clearance, and then widdled it down more to where we desired to go. Some people were bidding on jobs (e.g. they wanted to do anything but consular work), John was bidding on place - he bid on a variety of work in places that he (we) really wanted to live. For instance, he bid on four different jobs in Manila. Only two were consular, one was economic and one was public diplomacy. Our #1 bid was a refugee job in Bangkok - I mean...who doesn't want to live in Bangkok?! Numbers 2-5 were the four Manila positions that we bid on. Everyone we talked to was pretty confident we'd get Manila, but just in case we didn't, I didn't get my hopes up.

The day the onward assignments came out I was at work and John was on vacation in Ecuador and I had no way to contact him and tell him that assignments were out. I had friends telling me where they were going and I wasn't getting anything about our next post. I was quite frustrated (as you know if you're friends with me on facebook).

FINALLY, John and our friend who's posted in Quito went to the Embassy to check their assignments. Manila it is!! I was so excited that I yelled. No one at work came to see if I was ok, or what was going on, and I found that a bit weird, but I was happy. And here's why...

Manila (in case you don't know) is the capital of The Philippines. The Philippines is a country made up of 7,107 islands in Southeast Asia. Asia...where labor is cheap!  Live-in nanny? No problem! Working at the Embassy should be pretty easy with a Mission of over 300 Direct Hire Americans (FSO's, etc). And our number one priority seems to be satisfied as well. The school over there has gotten good reviews from people we know and people we don't know. Malachi was already cleared for Manila when all of this stuff started, so we knew it would be cleared again.

For a while we won't have anything to do. We still have over a year left in Costa Rica, and we probably have about six or seven months of enjoying Costa Rica before we need to worry about Manila,  aside from the school. I've read that we need to get moving on the school pretty early.

I have an acquaintance who's currently in Manila, you can find her blog here. I follow another woman's blog who is in transition from Post to Post and their family just left Manila. You can find her blog here.

I think that's enough for now. Next up...Seizures & Medicine


My hubby and I used to joke that one of us had more followers than the other on our blogs. For a little while John was winning. But he doesn't blog much and so his blog doesn't draw much attention.

Today when I logged onto Blogger I noticed that I'd reached a milestone in blog followers. The big 5-0. Fun!

Right now I'm off for a facial with the ladies, but later today I plan on blogging about a ton of things. Preview: Manila, Seizures & Medicines, and D.C.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


This week on the Roundup the theme is Housing. You can check out the Roundup tomorrow at Cyberbones.

I have an interesting insight to housing in San Jose because as A/CLO I'm a non-voting member of the Inter-Agency Housing Board which exists at every Post. Coincidentally John is a voting member, he's also the interim-President of the Board. Therefore, we've been on a few housing tours together.

Housing in San Jose ranges from apartments (which are all pretty luxurious) for singles and couples without kids, to townhouses, to single family homes. Every newly assigned home will be in a condominio which means gated community in Costa Rica.

The housing is farther away from the Embassy than it used to be due to security concerns. One family who still lives in the Embassy area experienced a break-in and theft. Luckily they were out of town and nobody was hurt. We live in a neighborhood of a suburb West of San Jose. This suburb is the closest that we'll assign new housing in. We have another suburb to the West of us that we're also assigning in.

We have contracts with two apartment buildings. One is not far from the Embassy, but is much more secure than single family homes not in a gated community. It's actually quite secure and the apartments are nice. The other building is about a five minute drive from where I live. Our current housing coordinator does a good job of looking at a wide variety of houses to pick the "perfect" one for each incoming employee and their family.

Some things you can expect in housing in San Jose: No fewer than three bedrooms, and no fewer than four bathrooms, including maid's quarters. You will have tile flooring, possibly throughout the whole place, but there's a chance you'll have wood floors in the bedrooms. The house/apartment will be constructed out of concrete, so you'll need to buy special nails and screws to hang things (I highly recommend taking advantage of the opportunity to have someone from the Warehouse hanging your items) which can be found at many stores here.

There's very little central air-conditioning in housing in Costa Rica. You'll be able to get three units (usually used in bedrooms, however, I've seen them in common rooms in houses of singles or couples who have no kids) to use in your house. It's a very humid country, even at 3,300 feet above sea level. You'll want to have dehumidifiers in the bedrooms so your clothes don't get moldy. It's very windy where we live and having the huge doors into the backyard open as well as another window make for a very cool living room, if we open our front door it's even better (beware for neighborhood dogs, and wild birds that may end up in your house, as well as mosquitoes and biting gnats).

Your kitchen will probably be completely closed off and not very large since kitchens are made for housing staff to be in (although depending on rank, you could have quite a sizable kitchen). Your kitchen will have granite counter tops and probably very few drawers, although you may have quite a few cupboards. Warning - you may not have a dishwasher. You will have a water filter installed in your sink, and probably one in your fridge as well (the water here is potable though, and it doesn't taste very bad). Some kitchens I've seen recently have built in stoves, and I've seen quite small ones, you should make sure the size of your oven before bringing baking dishes.

Yards here are typically small, but most of the condominios here have common areas with playgrounds, pools, and sometimes tennis courts. You can usually get yard work done by the condominio's jardinero (gardner) for a reasonable price. Your jardinero will also be for hire for extra work like painting and car washing.

Most people here are very pleased with their housing, although there are people that are always unhappy. We're very, very happy with our housing, it's been great to us, although sometimes I do get a bit jealous after walking through some houses on housing tours.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Next Stop...


This is the best possible post for us! We are so happy with our forward assignment (with the exception of maybe Bangkok, but who DIDN'T bid high on that?). Even Malachi says he's super excited to live in the Philippines.