In late February, about six weeks after we arrived in Boquete, Karen’s son collapsed at work. He was 19. At the hospital, they found his heart was only pumping 10% of normal. He was rushed to Dallas so his father could care for him. It was not at all clear he would survive: he had evidently caught a virus that had caused his heart to enlarge. In fact, his best friend in Marble Falls, TX had died the previous year of the same cause.
Karen returned to the US. Mindi and I remained. Mistress said she could only focus on her son, now, and she would let me know when we could return. In October, she said we could return with our pre-scheduled departure date of December 19. Patrick’s heart was being “assisted” by a battery-driven power pack that he wore around his waist. If the batteries were to lose their charge and he was away from the charging unit, he would die within three minutes. He was on the heart-transplant list for Texas, but he was very young and had a very slim body. The wait would last nearly two years before he had a heart transplant.