Author Archives: Fortunato Velasquez

About Fortunato Velasquez

Fortunato Velasquez received his Registered Nurse's license from the State of California during the month that Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.

That Sinking Feeling

So much has happened since I returned to Honduras from the US on January 7th. Sister Edith returned home about the same date. She was being cared for by her mother and family at the family home. The Children’s Home is under legal attack by a government agency and an evangelical group seeking to take over the building for their own uses. I visited Sister Edith several times and saw she was very weak. Last night she was readmitted to the hospital with acute abdominal pain.

Emergency Flight

To make a short story shorter, I was referred to an Internist in La Paz and after a sonogram and lots of lab work, Dr. Torres told me I needed immediate surgery. I booked an emergency med flight to Seattle and on November 20th, 14 hours after my plane landed at Sea-Tac, a surgeon removed multiple gall stones and “sludge” that had clogged up my common bile duct thereby preventing a rupture. I am now scheduled for a colonoscopy, an MRI, and a cholecystectomy, the surgery scheduled for later this month. I may be here in Puget Sound until February. Sister Edith is still in the hospital. I have not been able to get word to her nor do I know how the children are faring. I am worried because her persistent coughing developed from a lung infection to a pneumonia resistant to antibiotics.

Paying Homage To A Bug

The Dengue docs referred me to an Internist after confirming that my platelet count wouldn’t rise to a level they considered normal and that my fasting blood sugar was elevated. After a thorough physical exam in his office, Dr. Torres ordered me to have done asap a total abdominal sonogram and a barrage of blood work. I returned the following week with the results. The sonogram confirmed a cirrhotic liver but the immediate problem were the gallstones and one large one lodged in the common bile duct. You need surgery right away, he told me. I am in the process of making arrangements for the cholecystectomy to be done at the Seattle Veterans Administration Hospital after consulting with my VA Primary Care provider. I’ll be flying to Seattle next week. Thank you Ms mosquito for the warning sign. I quit alcohol consumption 6 months ago.


Never underestimate the power of a bug. I woke at 11 PM with chills and fever and vomiting and excruciating pain in all my muscles. Even my eyes hurt. That was on September 11th. Thinking I was a macho man, after a couple of days in bed, I toughed it out. The symptoms eventually subsided. 3 weeks after that I had a relapse. Same symptoms. Same macho man attitude. Again I toughed it out. A couple of weeks later I had another relapse. Worse this time. I called my friend, a pediatric doctor and asked for help, I could barely get out of bed. Come to the Dengue Clinic: Now, she told me. I was hospitalized for 4 days. Discharged from the local hospital annex set up by the government to handle the epidemic overload, a week after discharge my body remains positive with the Dengue Fever antibody. It will take me longer to recuperate from the bug assault this time. I remain under the Dengue Clinic’s care.

Rainy Season

Last night felt like Niagara Falls hit with a soppy vengeance. The deluge must have lasted all night. When I went to bed at 9PM the roar showed no sign of abating. It is after all the rainy season and usually rains every afternoon but yesterday evening Mother Nature showed her muscles. The kids love playing in the rain, the temperature was 80°, but the ear-splitting claps of thunder and streaks of lightning overhead scared them all into their dormitories. Our wet season lasts from May to November so we still have a few weeks of showers and drenchers to go. The mountains and fields revel in multiple shades of lush green growth in every direction.

Animal Farm

The turkey gobbler is getting it on with his hen. So is the bad-ass, big red rooster that is also trying to kill the ducklings the mama goose has raised. Mother Goose and the gander protect the ducklings fiercely. Red menace has managed to kill only two of eleven baby ducks. He has two chickens in his flock. One of which hatched two duck eggs that Red immediately killed. The pigeon recuperated and flew away, only after a close call with big red who had him pinned to the ground. The pig that lived in the cement-floor wallow is where I’m setting up a storage-workshop. The Home residents ate the pig at the New Years Eve celebration.


A mama goose and 11 little ducklings live where I live. Also 2 turkeys, one frustrated big red rooster, adolescent sister and brother ducks, one white one black, and a pigeon with a broken wing (shot out of the sky actually.) Oh, I forgot the fat iguana that lives under the main walkway to the dorms. That’s where I live now, not in the dorms, in my own small, cozy apartment. Forever. Oh yeah, the frog that croaks all night and the rooster who crows at 1:30 AM every morning add to the ambience. Love it.

Passage of Time

I kept in touch with Sister Edith and my immediate family while on my travels through El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, and the US. Traveling 5,000 miles to reach my daughter’s home an hour from the Canadian border, I drove north on Mexico’s west Pacific coast. Returning to Honduras I drove 5,000 miles down Mexico’s east Caribbean coast. Leaving HN on May 3rd I returned to La Paz on August 3rd a changed person. My plan is to write an article for a travel magazine to elaborate on that development. Sister Edith and the kids residing at the Foundation Home for at-risk children were fine when I left and fine when I returned. I am convinced that my higher power guided me through precarious situations several times.