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Readers –

My current assignment in Texas is coming to an end – so the blog content will be shifting back; less photography and more medical news.  I’d like to thank all my loyal readers for staying with me as I indulged my creative side for the last few months, and drifted away from our original foci.

But I hope, that for your part – it hasn’t all been eye-rolling, deep sighing, shoulder shrugging ‘tolerance’.  I hope that you have enjoyed the chance to connect on a more personal and less formal level.

That’s how I feel when I read other bloggers pages about photography, travel, sewing, art or any of the other interests that define me outside of nursing and health care.  I hope that you get that same sense of familiarity, of enjoyment when each of my blogs is posted.

If I can recreate that same, “I wonder what she has today?” anticipation that I feel when reading the Mexfiles, seeing the latest creations at the Renegade Seamstress or vicariously enjoying the tasty travels of Bunny and Pork  Belly; well, that’s success in its own right.

My blog certainly isn’t up to the caliber as the others I’ve enjoyed – but I think if I can get each of my subset of readers (photography fans and medical / health readers) to remain interested and engaged, even when I stray off topic..

with fellow Nurse practitioners in Texas

with fellow Nurse practitioners in Texas

These last few months, since returning from Colombia have been fun.  Figuring out photography and trying to get past point-and-shoot has been frustrating, frustrating, jaw clenching, foot stamping frustrating at times..

But – it’s good photography practice for my future writings, and it’s also a bit less strenuous.  Writing and posting research based articles (with relevant citations) can be a bit onerous after a long day in the hospital.. Tired eyes tend to make for more spelling errors..  I could just post less often when on assignment, I suppose..

Yet – I am always hesitant to leave the blog for too long because it has come to be a place for me to indulge my ‘nerdy’ side with a friendly audience.

The blog lets me address and talk about the issues in medicine and patient care, explore relevant medical discoveries and emerging research as well as passing on some of the information (and patient education) that I have gained as part of my years of taking care of people.  It lets me talk about all the nerd stuff that people at work don’t really sit around and talk about –

Like everyone else, they talk about families, finances, home life. Taking kids to soccer, going to church, socializing with friends, landscaping the lawn..   All good things, great community and friendly folks.. But it doesn’t fill that ‘Dora the Explorer’ inside me; or the inner Florence Nightingale.

It also doesn’t mesh with my family; the vagabond roving band of travelers that we are, so it is sometimes hard to relate.  I mean, right now, I live in a hotel, my ‘home base’ is a storage shed in another state – where we stop in and swap out clothes.. My husband and I are sometimes working in different states (or countries) for weeks or months at a time – so we aren’t the best candidates to join leagues or make long-term commitments.  All of it sounds wonderful but it sometimes makes us feel like outsiders looking in.

So I come here to wordpress; to enjoy Serapa, Nicephore’s diary, and the return of Miss Christina and all the other people I will never meet – but sure enjoying knowing about a little corner of their lives..  I hope it is the same for all of you.

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Free pdf:

Mexicali! a mini-gem guide to surgery in Baja, California

The pdf has been uploaded to Google books, and several other sites.

Low-cost e-format:  I managed to work out a kindle format, but Amazon.com won’t allow independent publishers to offer our books for free (except as part of a limited trial on KDP select.)  However, I have received several emails specifically asking for the Mexicali book to be placed on Amazon.com – so I am reluctantly doing so.  Please note that this e-format version is priced at the minimum – of 99 cents with a free download trial period.  (In case you are wondering, Amazon.com collects 65% of that.)

Update:

Paperback book:  The paperback version of the Mexicali book is now available!  I had hoped to offer a color version (for fans of medical photography) but for small-run books, it was going to be 28.00 a book, which seems excessive to me.  I’ve priced it at just above the cost to produce and offer it on Amazon channels for less than 7.00.

 

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Well – this book has gone through the first-pass round of editing.. Now it’s on to the second step (another round of editing) before final formating and publishing.  As I’ve mentioned previously – I will be offering free pdf downloads at multiple outlets for interested readers.  (I would love to be able to offer it as an e-book but it costs quite a bit to have it professionally converted – and my previous efforts to convert books to electronic formats were exercises in extreme frustration.)

I wanted to take a minute to thank my additional content contributors:

Dr. Joanna Calzada, MD and Dr. Cuauhtemoc Cairo Robles.

Their assistance and contributions have been invaluable!  Dr. Calzada absolutely threw herself into helping me uncover the life and history of Mexicali – and as a second-generation Mexicali resident – her input was amazing.  We crisscrossed the city several times to get information to include in the book for our readers.

with Dr. Joanna Calzada, MD – book contributor (life & culture of Mexicali)

Dr. Robles, a professor of architecture at the Universidad Autonoma Baja California, and expert on Mexicali architecture was equally outstanding.  Not only did I use several of his publications as references and resources on public buildings – but Dr. Robles stepped right in to offer photographs, stories and local history on all of the amazing houses and other buildings I fell in love with (such as Mexicali’s Graceland.)

Lastly, special thanks to Elizabeth A. Warren – who is currently editing my book.  She is my former college roommate (and thus has been editing my writing intermittently over the last 18 years.)  She is also an English teacher in Memphis, Tennessee where we attended college together.

I felt quite the poor friend when I offered her the ‘opportunity’ to edit my book for free – (since I am budget less at the moment.)  But, as always – Libby was up for the challenge.  (Let’s home my improper use of grammar doesn’t get the best of her.)

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I’ll be writing a new series of articles for the Examiner.com based on my experiences, interviews and observations here in Mexicali, MX and Calexico, California.  While the focus will be on serving the needs of the Calexico community (particularly now that there is a fast pass lane for medical travelers), I hope that all of my loyal readers will continue to support my work.

I have already published my first three articles  – and have added a new navigation section (on the side of this blog) for interested readers.

As part of this, I wrote a story about the good doctor and all of the work he is doing – including one of our recent ‘house calls’ to San Luis, in Sonora, Mexico.   It was probably one of the more difficult articles to write; due to space limitations and trying to present information in an objective fashion.  (It’s hard to present all the evidence to support your conclusions in just a few hundred words;  ie. He’s a good doctor because he does X, Y, and Z and follows H protocol according the P.”  Makes for wordy reading and not really what the Examiner is looking for.

Too bad, since readers over at Examiner.com haven’t had the chance to know that if the opposite is true (a less than stellar physician or treatment – that I have absolutely no reservations about presenting the evidence  and stating the facts about that either..)

Don’t worry, though – I will continue to provide that level of detail here at Cartagena Surgery – where the only limitations are my ability to type, and the (sometimes) faulty keys of my aging laptop.

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For anyone traveling to Bogotá or Cartagena, I have created some FREE mobile apps for Android phones. (Still working on iTunes versions).  These apps contain maps, local resources, travel links, and emergency information.  Where to go if you are experiencing chest pain?  Got you covered.. Where to stay?  also covered.. Cheapest flights – in the app..  Where to get a good meal – it’s in there too.. The apps will also keep you connected to the blog where I post all updates to the books, and news about the destination.

Bogotá Apps:
Bogotá Surgery – primarily based on the blog – for those who can’t stand to miss a post.

The Bogotá Companion– maps, travel resources and references, emergency information.

Cartagena app:
The Cartagena Companion – chock full of information, including short videos about Cartagena.

You don’t have to be a medical tourist to enjoy these apps – best thing is, they are all FREE..

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A round up of our recent discussions on Medical Tourism

In several previous posts, we talked about various Medical Tourism topics:
– including medical tourism in India due to recent publicity; including Superbug (New Delhi – 1 ) contamination of water sources in India, and
President Obama’s adoption of India’s medical tourism industry (and the medical tourism industry in general) as a target for his derision, rather than more justly, as a symbol of America’s failing health system.

I’ve also talked about why I see Colombia, as an ideal medical tourism destination, for several reasons; many of which I outlined in an article published on Colombia Reports.com**  and a new article on Yahoo! Associated content.

We’ve even discussed the Colombian government’s role and support of medical tourism, and medical tourists.

We’ve talked about the global effects of medical tourism, and the ethics of medical tourism

** Astute readers may notice that I have referenced Colombia Reports.com several times (links). Colombia Reports.com is the largest, in country English language newssource, and is widely relied upon by English speakers, like myself, living in Colombia.
Colombia Reports.com has published my work in the past – as part of their series of articles (by various writers) on medical tourism in Colombia so back in April, I traveled in April to interview Adriaan Alsema, the editor -in -chief.

Hope you enjoyed this retrospective review of Cartagena Surgery, and medical tourism in Colombia.

UK doctors say medical tourism to India spreading superbug

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There are plenty of reasons to consider medical tourism, and it’s not all about money.  While financial considerations may be the driving force today – I expect that to change over the next ten years as the developing surgeon shortage becomes more acute.  American surgeons are becoming older – and we aren’t attracting, training or replacing enough of them to keep up with demand.. Right now the shortage isn’t noticeable… or Is it?

A new article on Medscape (free subscription required, but multiple pages, and difficult to re-post) from the Annals of Surgery discusses increasing wait times for cancer surgery..

The surgeon shortage is expected to impact all specialties, but particularly cardiothoracic surgery where differing experts predict a 2,000 surgeon shortage by either 2020 (9 years!) or 2030, just as they estimate demand will double.  Currently, there are only about 4,500 cardiothoracic surgeons, if that gives you an idea of the scope of the problem.. Right now, the average age of these surgeons is 56 – 57 years old – and training programs are only at 65 – 67% occupancy..

(I can post references if anyone would like for these statistics.)

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