#9 Peru, March 17, 2000

Dear Everybody,

Well, I’m not in the jungle—remember that tooth that I mentioned that was giving me signals? Big problem! Last Sunday morning when I was planning to go to the jungle, I woke up at 2:00 AM with a toothache. Thank goodness it didn’t happen in the jungle. Anyway, at 6:00 AM I went to the collection point and told them that I couldn’t go.  The nice man there found me a dentist, picked me up at my hotel, took me there (Sunday!) and interpreted for me. He also told me that I could go to the jungle the following week.

The dentist was not too impressive—no hand washing, etc. She said that the nerve in my tooth was inflamed and that I needed a root canal. I opted to go back to Arequipa where I had had my broken tooth fixed. So the next day I flew there, and by the time I arrived I was in total misery.

I took a cab right to the dentist’s office and he did a root canal right away. However he found lots of infection so when I was to go back for a check two days later, it was beginning to hurt a lot by then. He reopened the root canal, flushed it out with hylex (spilled some on my shirt which made bleach marks) and told me to come back the next day. In the meantime he prescribed penicillin. The next day, we did the same procedure (I was smart enough to wear the stained shirt) but everything was cleared up (hopefully) and he pronounced me “finito”.

Since I am going into the jungle this Sunday (flying back to Cusco tomorrow) he gave me extra penicillin pills and also some pain meds as once I get into the jungle there’s no turning back, short of an all out emergency.

So, what a lively week! I have watched cable TV movies until I’m blue in the face, and done a lot of walking. One good thing—the three snowcapped mountains that are the backdrop to the Cathedral on the Plaza de Armas were not visible when I was here before—too many clouds hanging over them. Now, however, they were visible and just beautiful—small consolation. Another consolation is the beautiful weather. Highs must be 78 or so with beautiful blue skies. I think the rainy season is at an end here now.

Since I had spent 10 days here before, I have seen ALL of the churches, museums, and colonial houses. I had bought a bus ticket for late in the week to make a three-day excursion, but with the dentist problems—having to have me come back each day—I couldn’t go.

I’ll keep you posted!


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