Half way through January all ready and since mid December I feel like there has barely been a moment to draw breath, all good stuff but it’s kept me away from here.

Screen shot 2014-01-22 at 12.45.38Leading up to Christmas there were the usual trips to Fortaleza for Neu to attend the clinic, thankfully he is good, his doctor said he is an excellent example of just how well someone can be on Peritoneal dialysis.

Neu has decided that he would like to try for a kidney transplant and spoke to his doctor about this but as it means being refered to a different hospital, he decided to wait until after the New Year.

I also took my mother in law to the diabetes hospital, where we once again were told her diabetes is out of control and she is in danger of losing more of her foot (she has already had a partial amputation) or even a leg if she doesn’t eat a better diet and take more excercise. My mother in law’s ability to reinterpret the doctors words is truly impressive and if I wasn’t there, she would have everyone back home believing she was in top physical condition. We have had to take a tough line with her to save her from herself, sadly the doctors tell me her attitude is common here, with many patients refusing to follow the doctor’s advice, eating and drinking as they like, not taking their medicine or abusing it and then blaming the doctors when their condition deteriorates, believing that they have been denied the best treatment and that there must be some pill out there that would have cured them.

A few days after our clinic and hospital trips to Fortaleza we had the regatta in Prainha which I wrote about in my last post, it was fun but took a few days to recover from. Just being out in the sun all day is exhausting and I certainly got some excercise, I’d love to know how many miles I actually walked going up and down the beach all day.

Two of our dogs Totti and Xadi, came into season and as we don’t wish to have any more puppies we took a trip to the vets for them to be operated on. Our friendly taxi driver is used to taking our dogs to the vets in his taxi but the dogs are not used to car travel and now associate the taxi with the vets, trying to get two unwilling medium build dogs into the back seat was a laugh and a half, providing great entertainment for the children waiting to go into school.

The dogs were operated on and came home with us later that same day. Back in Prainha as the taxi can’t get to the house, Neu’s father came to meet us with his donkey and cart and we brought the dogs home on that, causing more entertainment for the school children.

Christmas in Prainha in never a full on affair and I have never got used to it taking place with a blazing sun and sweltering temperatures. Our son loudly declares that Christmas here is “No good” and wishes we could be in England, his experience of Christmas there was a very different affair, we had heavy snow that year and he got masses of presents, something that doesn’t happen here as gift giving is just not part of Neu’s culture (Neu had never had a present in his life before he met me). I can never convince our son that it doesn’t always snow at Christmas in England and it’s not always so magical.

Christmas day on the beach

Christmas day on the beach

Our son was happy with his  presents, not even complaining when the best one, a small MP3 player, didn’t work (we later got it changed, phew!). We spent a lovely morning on the beach and then later in the day our friend, the film maker Charlotte Eichhorn who was visiting Prainha, came for dinner where a nice time was had by all, good food and good company.

Totti and Xadi post operative.

Xadi and Totti, now fully recovered after their operations.


In between Christmas and New Year it became obvious that Xadi, had a problem at the site of her operation, a large swelling appeared and as she had just finished the antibiotic course, I assumed she had an infection. Back to the vets, where he immediately said she had torn an internal stitch or two and would have to be operated on again. It turned out she’d torn 3 internal stitches, so poor thing was back to feeling sore and uncomfortable all over again, though thankfully now both dogs are fully recovered.


Cayla, our wall jumper

Cayla, our wall jumper

A few months ago I reported on the building the wall around our property. As it was being built we suspected we would run out of bricks and so had left to last the part dividing our property from Neu’s parents, that section of wall remained 2 or 3 courses of bricks lower than the rest but was still over a meter and a half high, unfortunately it was insufficient to stop one of our young dogs, who leapt over it with ease. We put some mesh fencing along the top, that didn’t stop her either. A neighbour with an excess of unused bricks offered to sell us enough to finish the job, so the builder came back and put in another couple of courses, taking it up to 2 meters. The dog sat watching the work and when it was done, jumped over the wall again!

New Year came and went, not much of a celebration there. I forgot that São Paulo is an hour ahead of us, so having watched their completely over the top firework display on TV (I think it went on for over 20 minutes), I began getting ready for bed when Neu pointed out that there was still at least another 35 minutes to go. As he had managed to stay awake (he is a bed early, up early person) and I knew he’d done so mainly for my benefit, I thought I’d better stay up but then we found that all our clocks showed wildly different times, we had no idea of the correct time and so had to just guess when it actually passed midnight by all the firecrackers going off outside.

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Seu Ze entertaining us all with his stories.

I have been helping Charlotte with the translation of her filmed interviews of people here, she speaks Portuguese but the dialect of Prainha is difficult even for some Brazilians to understand. Neu’s father says that of all the foreigners who have come here (he means any one from out side the village, not just the country) my older son was the only one who learned to actually speak like the locals do, I can’t get him to understand that my son picked up the accent so well because he was only 9 when we came here. After ten years here, I still don’t understand everything that is being said if it’s spoken quickly, even when I’m listening to Neu and I often had to slow Charlotte’s film down, in order to get the sense of what was being said.

Back to Fortaleza a few days ago for Neu to attend the clinic and this time ask for a referral letter for him to begin the process of getting on the transplant list, a new year, a new road to travel. His doctor said she whole heartedly supports him going for a transplant now as he is very healthy at the moment and therefore stands a greater chance of having an early and successful transplant. We went straight from the clinic to Fortaleza General Hospital where we were booked in, to return in two weeks for a lecture (I assume to explain the process), from there Neu will given a consultation and battery of tests to check his general level of health, suitability for transplant, blood and tissue type. If he gets the all clear, we wait until a suitable donor kidney becomes available, how long that wait will be is impossible to tell but hopefully before the year is out, then we will have another New Year and another new road to travel.