You can find hundreds of books, utube shows, articles and blogs about moving to and retiring in Mexico... So why is this book so different. It's not been written to sell you a house, or sell you anything but to show you the Mexico you'll not read about or see on television. It's written to tell you stories about the people who live in Mexico, not just Mexicans, but Americans Canadians and more. It's a book with the testimony of a father who loves his daughter, who is told by doctors, this is the day she will die. The father then kneels beside her bed and prays. "Thank you Father for giving us these wonderful years with our daughter, we love her so much, and know You wouldn't be calling her Home unless You need her for something special, but Father, if possible, could You please give us a few more years with her, please?"
It's a book about a rug weaver, an ayudante, a household assistant, a plumber,a landlady, children and children's shelters, doctors and hospitals. And to be sure you don't get bored, it's also a travelogue with a twist .
After living in Mexico for 8 wonderful years we found ourselves back in the U.S. and living in Florida. Six months later, realizing we'd paid a high price for having lived in Mexico, felt those planning to move should be made aware of the possible consequences. It was then that I began writing, "Don't Retire in Mexico" A case for and against.
Back to Ajijic 2015.
To view the shows click on the underlined words
HPC VBS 2015
Amor en Accion Love in Action
Angels in Dark Places
CNAs or Angels? . . . Or Maybe both!
Doctors, nurses and CNAs live with the presence of Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart disease, and death each day of their working lives. Do they get used to it, and if so, how? My grand-daughter, Hanna Guillory, is an anesthesia nurse and sent me her answer to that and other questions.
"I think the thing that I feel is most important to tell you is that the good nurses and CNA’s that you come across all seem to have one thing in common, a calling to serve others and to help those who can’t help themselves. I knew from a young age my calling was to be a nurse. My heart had a soft spot for comforting and helping people. I remember the first time I lost a patient. I will never forget crying in my car in the parking lot of the hospital after I finished my shift. I didn’t really know much about the patient, but the pain I felt for the loss of life was none I have ever felt before. I think that’s truly an experience that every nurse goes through when they lose their first patient. I try never to forget the way I felt that day and now when I lose a patient, I never let myself go hard to those emotions. When I do, I have stopped serving others with my whole heart. I must remind myself it’s OK to cry and feel emotion because it means I am the nurse I would want for myself or anyone of my family members. When I found out grandma (Ella) passed, the same emotions I had that day rushed back to my heart, and my eyes welled up with hot tears. I have no doubt with everything you described regarding grandma’s CNAs that she was grieved by each one that got to serve her."
Rev Rob: What an impressive statement. This is the kind of nurse or CNA who truly makes a difference in a patient’s life. For these people, being a nurse or CNA is so much more than a job or a paycheck. As she said, it is a calling. It is a desire of the heart and soul to care for others.
What is our calling? Each of us has God-given talents, gifts and desires. Through prayer and meditation, through trial and error, through education and counseling, we come to know the kind of work that suits us best. Whatever occupation we have, we can do this job to the best of our ability and to the best for all those around us. I like the story of Brother Lawrence (1614-1691) who did “ordinary” work to the glory of God. Brother Lawrence was a monk who had the “non-spiritual” work of washing the kitchen dishes. Yet Brother Lawrence went about washing dishes in a prayerful way. In his little book, The Practice of the Presence of God, he wrote about the spiritual disciplines he developed while doing ordinary jobs. As he said, "We ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed.” Again he wrote, “In whatever task we do, all that we do can do, can be a constant conversation with pleasing God.” Likewise, Francis of Assisi (1181-1226) felt called to give up the riches of his father and help the lepers, the hungry, and the poor. His compassion and love for people became his calling in ministry. In other words, we can be “called” to do all kinds of work as we listen and respond to the inner yearning and beckoning of our hearts.
After learning of my intent to write this book, a close friend told me the following story:
"Donna was one of my mother’s CNAs, and my mother’s favorite. She had been a CNA for over twenty years and a couple months before my mother died, had left the nursing home to take a less physically demanding job in a medical office about a mile away. Knowing my mother's time was near, I was with her constantly, and with her when she took her last breath. I had Donna's cell phone number and sent her a text telling her my mother had just passed away. Not five minutes later, Donna burst through the door. She hugged me, hugged my mother, and said she wanted to be there to clean her up, comb her hair, and change her clothes before they came to get her. There were tears, and I will never forget Donna or the loving care she gave my mother."
Donna dealt with the death of my friend's mother and the patient she had cared for with dignity and showed her love by attending to all her after death needs personally. I wish I could know how each CNA or nurse actually deals with a patient's death privately, but I can't. I can tell you though, that each CNA, each nurse, I've asked, will say it's one of the toughest parts of their job. Their resident patients become part of their family and losing a family member is personal and always painful. Experts advising CNAs on death, teach them, that if they are going to survive in this industry, they must learn to leave their feelings at the door at the end of each shift.
Another of my beautiful young grand-daughters is a hostess in a restaurant, so please do not look at the following comparisons as my attempt to disparage restaurant hosts or hostesses. It is, however, a comparison of responsibilities vs. salary.
CNAs must be able to lift and move patients in and out of bed, on and off the toilet, change diapers, give bed baths, make beds, and feed patients unable to feed themselves. CNAs also monitor fluid intakes and outputs, assist nurses administering medication, inserting iv’s monitoring oxygen, blood pressure, and respond to any other duties nurses may assign. CNAs pay for their six-week training class and must pass a final exam before becoming a CNA, a Certified Nursing Assistant. Restaurant hosts, or hostesses must have an outgoing personality, a friendly smile, and an attractive appearance. The average annual income for CNAs is $22,000: for restaurant hosts or hostesses, it's $20,800, which doesn't include any tips they may have received.
Comparing these two occupations, has but one purpose, and that is to ask who, and why, would anyone choose to be a CNA? Why, when there are so many other jobs, paying the same or even more money, with far fewer responsibilities and less stress, would someone choose to become a CNA? In my search for answers to that question, I found many different reasons. Some had mothers who were CNAs and they followed in their footsteps. Friends had persuaded others, some remembered the care they saw a CNA give a grandfather or grandmother and wanted to be like them. The single most compelling answer was, "I love people, I wanted to help people who, as my granddaughter wrote, can't help themselves." These, I believe, felt called to become CNAs and are the ones who I know, really love their job. This wasn't only the single most compelling answer, but also the same answer given by the vast majority of the responding CNAs.
Others became CNAs because they needed a job and worked only to collect a paycheck. Most in this category quit within a few months. Those who remained may be contributors to the negative opinions people have of nursing homes and other healthcare facilities. Another reason some leave is that while training, it's all pretend, they learn while using mannequins, not real people with real problems. Problems such as having to deal with the rather embarrassing subject of poop. And yes, I did say poop, because it's one of life's realities, and something CNAs deal with every single day. How you may ask, do they do that? I asked that question to several CNA's, and their consensus response was, "if you can't learn to laugh at it, you're in the wrong business."
After asking the question, several were anxious to tell me a poop story. Some of the stories were first-person, while, others were stories they had witnessed or were told by other CNAs. Now, before going on, let me warn you, some of these stories contain very vivid poop realities, and if this subject offends you, "Please turn a page or two right now."
"Precious Hilda," her CNA began, "she was such a sweet old lady, great smile and I loved taking care of her. I love my job, I love all my residents, but there was that one night that I thought I may have chosen the wrong occupation. I was in the process of lifting Hilda out of her wheelchair and onto her bed. I had my arms under her arms, and one of my legs between hers when suddenly I heard a sound that I knew wasn't going to be good. It wasn't, and without any advance warning, Hilda's very loose poop was running down not only Hilda's legs but mine as well. Startled, I automatically stepped back, but then, sensing I was about to lose my balance and drop Hilda, I stepped forward and with all my effort, tried lifting Hilda and pushing her onto her bed. I got her close, but not close enough. We were half on and half off the bed, and while trying to keep us from falling to the floor, I was grabbing whatever I could, and in the process, was getting poop all over both of us. I began screaming for help and hearing me, two of my co-workers ran into the room to help, but the moment they saw our ridiculous situation, the panicked look on my face, smelled and saw poop all over us, they stopped in their tracks and began laughing uncontrollably. At first, I screamed, but then, and I still don't know why, hearing and seeing them laughing, I started laughing. Throughout this entire process, Hilda hadn't murmured a sound and looking back, I think she must have been in shock. Two hours later, Hilda and I, with the help of my laughing friends, had showered and Hilda was safely back in her freshly changed bed. All the other evidence of this memorable evening had been successfully removed."
Rev Rob: This is a great story and deals with everyday life. Cleaning up “poop” is what every parent does for a child. Changing diapers is a fact of parenthood. Cleaning up poop is what every dog-owner does for a pet. We do this because we have a “family” responsibility. Still, the episode above can be a much more sensitive experience. A CNA has to accept the reality that cleaning up patients is a responsibility whether they know the patient personally or not. It’s what they do.
Not wanting to get “too deep into this subject,” I'll try to summarize the centerpiece of several of the other stories I have been told: “poop in a dresser drawer, poop made into balls and thrown at a CNA, an unknown pooper leaving a sample on the couch in the rec room, and diarrhea, too many stories to count.” Are these people CNAs or Angels? Or maybe both?
“Nurses may not be heavenly angels, but they are the next best things " By an Anonymous Patient
A Christmas Pasada at San Juan Cosala
Shows from Mexico
Shows of Ajijic, Lake Chapala, Children's Shelters, Lakeside Presbyterian Church,
People and More
Ron Jackson Productions
Arriving in April 2006 I was disappointed in the lake. It was considered unsafe for swimming and water sports and a great part of the lake, was clogged with water hyacinth. That took away from the Lakes real beauty. In first searching for a rental most of what we saw was not what I thought would make us very happy. We went to another real estate company and the second house he showed us seemed more than we thought possible to find. We quickly signed the lease. Arriving, I felt that I would be very happy living at Lakeside but had doubts about what else there might be around that we would enjoy traveling and seeing. I didn’t know that there were mountains, pines, rivers and lakes like we had enjoyed in the states and so many other cities and villages that we would find and enjoy.
This was immediately going to be a winner for us. Imported foods we found were very expensive but similar products made in Mexico were very reasonable. Fruits and Vegetable were really fresh and very cheap. Gas was much cheaper than the U.S. Restaurants were so much cheaper than NOB we couldn’t believe it. Add to that, we found so many great places to eat, we were never without somewhere we wanted to go. Doctors office visits 150 pesos and dental fillings 350 pesos. We found we could live quite comfortably for about $2000 U.S. dollars a month. After the first 6 months we moved to our current home, complete with a beautiful center courtyard filled with flowers and a great tiled swimming pool, 2 brs, 2 baths, internet, satellite television, 2 interior outdoor garden areas, all electric, phone and gas paid, a gardener 3 times a week and a pool maintenance 2 times a week, all included at 900 dollars a month. We could not possibly match the quality of the life we have in Mexico with the money we have to spend.
The weather, the area scenery the flowers and flowering trees, the people and their love of life the many choices of things to do, never bored, visits from first family and then friends, our church and the many friends we now have, Mexican Canadian and American The volunteer work we have been able to do at Amor en Accion, the freedom from stress eating 85% of my meals on our outdoor patio, winter and summer our home and the comfort both in out outside we enjoy, swimming and exercising by walking on the beautiful new malecon at Ajijic. The rejuvenation of the lake and the removal of all the water hyacinth, the lake is now considered safe for swimming and water sports. Creating pictorial shows of the things we find here that are uncommon NOB. Traveling and exploring, the mountains, beaches and historic colonial cities and speaking a 2nd language, still learning, the almost windless climate and the very very limted flying insect population. My photography work that has kept us very occupied. Communicating with our kids and grandkids via Skype and the internet and the ability to communicate with friends wherever they live via the technology of the internet. Satelite television with all the U.S. Channels
graffiti speed bumps, even though I know they save lives, high speed drivers strewn garbage, poor mariachi music, maids that don’t show up, the Denver Broncos losing and learning to find my way around Guadalajara, figuring out how to call Mexican cell phone numbers, not having enough Spanish yet to speak to everyone I would like to speak to, not having enough money to travel to all the many places in Mexico that we have on our list to see.
This has been one of the many highlights and we have yet to travel to any destination that we haven’t completely enjoyed. We also found the mountains, pines and lakes that I was afraid we wouldn’t have in Mexico.
Four years have passed and hoping for many many more. We have been blessed to live in this amazingly beautiful country
September 29th 2015
"Don't Retire in Mexico" The Case for and Against
Ron Ella Jackson, while living in Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico
My Mexico 2013
The Garden of Hope Show
January 28th, 2016
A copy of an e-mail sent April of 2010
Florida Festival Singers in Concert with the Nairobi Chamber Choir Oct 18th 2015
Dec. Flowers in Ajijic 2015
Shows of Hope Presbyterian Church
Winter Haven Florida
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One of God's Miracles, 6 Years in the Making
Lake San Cristobal Lake City Colorado