Man Down – Hospital Visit In Peru…

I always thought that the first time we put a photo like this on the blog that it would be Stevie lying on the table with me proudly announcing that the little blob on the screen was our creation!

Guess things never work out the way you imagine they will.

Last Saturday I noticed a bump underneath my right side rib cage. It felt like a little ball. I immediately thought “tumor” and got freaked out. So much so that I probably self-induced the other symptoms of nausea, lower back pain, dizziness, tightness in the stomach, and an overall poor feeling that made it impossible to wash dishes or do other household chores.

By Monday we decided I should go to the Hospital. I was really nervous.

I don’t have fond memories of my last hospital experience south of the US border which happened back in 1993. I just about died in Costa Rica from eating a poisonous mushroom that I thought was hallucinogenic. Not kidding, the doctors had literally moved me to the “death room”. I was hoping that my experience in Peru would be a bit better.

As a nomad, however, you learn to adjust your expectations in situations like this. You can’t expect… well, what you would expect in the USA.

This is the view from the roof of the hospital…

After taking my blood pressure, the nurse gave me a receipt and told me to go pay the cashier 7 soles before I went to see the doctor. That’s about $2.50.

We headed upstairs to wait for my doctor visit. I not going to lie. I was scared. But I kept my cool by continually reviewing the blank medical chart the nurse had given me.

When the doctor called me in it became immediately apparent that they are not use to serving tall people in the hospital. Either that or we were in the pediatric ward by mistake. Not really sure.

After poking around, the Doctor ordered me back downstairs for an ultra sound. Hence the first photo of me stealing Stevie’s glory as the first official “ultra-sounded Sprinter Lifer”.

The good news was that the lump that I was terrified of appears to be a floating rib. And the tight stomach may be a small hernia. Both are most likely a result of non stop daily surfing for the last 2 months. Laying on my rib cage in an arched position for hours while getting pounded in the surf was apparently more than my already beat-up body could handle.

Another thing that the ultra sound turned up is that my liver is enlarged. The Doctor asked Stevie about 4 or 5 times if I’m a heavy drinker? Do I drink a lot? Do I drink every day? Duck and cover people. Guess I’m gonna have to lay off the Trujillos for a bit. Julio, find another drinking partner bro, I’m on I.R. again.

Tomorrow we return to the hospital and they’ll do a liver test. Joy. I probably won’t do a follow up post on this breaking story, but will post a comment on the final results below.

Mom, don’t worry, I’m FINE!  xoxox


Disclaimer: this photo was shot 3 days before knowledge of said liver problem. Just for the record.



  1. I’m starving! Can’t eat or drink for 8 hours before this blood work is done. Heading off to the hospital now for tests. Should have results back tonight or tomorrow morning. TREE

  2. oh man…

  3. We are giving you hugs and healing from afar (although we are carefully avoiding putting pressure on the floating rib and the liver!) Kisses and wishes for a happy outcome to you and to Stevie!

  4. It’s your own fault that I’m laughing at the post. The picture of you on the table is pretty funny. That aside – I hope you get it all figured out and are feeling well soon! No drinking and surfing? You might as well just head back north! Oh – and if the pharmacist offers a few more of the drugs than is prescribed DON’T TAKE THEM! Hope you’re mended soon.

    • please don’t laugh at me Hoop. You know I’m sensitive. We’re not heading back North just yet, but I am not drinking at this very second. It’s only 2pm. 🙂

  5. Had the liver scare once myself, last month I had the pea size lump in my thigh I’ve had for about 10yrs. checked out. Just a fatty tissue ball. l believe at 40 our body’s warranties expire. We should also avoid looking at webMD and other self diagnosis sites. According to these I everything is fatal, LOL…..Good Luck Bro.

  6. While you’re at it lay off of the carne & caffein and call it a cleanse. You’ll be better in no time. And thanks for the laughs. I’ve spent 5 days in Peru having dental ‘surgery’ I understand. Sending you love and healing.

    Yummy Peru Tea:
    Equal parts, coca, chamomile, and mint tea leaves with a blade of lemongrass. Steep. Add honey. You won’t even miss the Trujillos.

  7. Lorraine Chittock says:

    Ah man…. the hospital looked squeaky clean!!!

  8. Hey bro no bueno on the enlarged liver but every picture I see you guys drinking. So I’m just saying!! maybe chill out bro we need you around for a long time to come. Be well my brother besides I need to come down and surf Peru :-).
    Love Ya Man

  9. Hey Tree,

    I hope you feel better soon! I’m sure Stevie will take good care of you!

  10. Tree–I remember the death room! It was worse than this place.

    Did you really find a beer called a “Trujillo?” Bad time to have a liver problem. Does tequilla hurt your liver too or it just beer?

    • Hey Bro, I did finally find a beer called Trujillo! It took a lot of years of searching, but it is here in Peru and is made in the city of Trujillo. I found my home! But I can’t drink it until I get the blood work results back later today.

      Hope you are doing well my friend. I keep up with you on Facebook. You look well. If you find your way to South America, look me up. I would love to take a run at your liver. Admit it, It’s been too long since you drank old english 800 and got into a fight with a canadian hockey team. You need a “TREE VISIT”


  11. Julie Angelone Williams says:

    I hope Tree feels better! I can’t wait to hear the update!

  12. Lay off the booze!!!!!! LOL Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers hope all is well


  13. Jennifer Chandler Meyer says:

    Glad to hear it was just a rib. Take care cousin!!

  14. Kathy Mueller Hansen says:

    Well wishes for a speedy recovery! You need to get back out there for your next adventure….I live vicariously though you guys!!

  15. I love the short table pic! I hope everything will be alright!

  16. Brandon Knapp says:

    ‘You can’t expect… well, what you would expect in the USA.’ No, from my experience I have always had better care at far lower prices than I would in the USA. Best of luck, I love following your adventures and am quite envious!

    • Brandon! Bro, what the hell is up man! Yeah, we paid $2.50 for that visit. Insane compared tot he cost in the US.

      Saw on FB that you’re a Canadian now. Hell yeah. Stoked for you.

      stay in touch my friend,

  17. PancaQe Qu says:

    Tree’s got a bun in the oven? I’m sorry I couldn’t stop myself. I hope he’s ok

  18. UPDATE: got the blood work back tonight and I have an inflamed liver. Have to stop drinking alcohol and coffee for a month. take a pill 3 times a day. eat like a rabbit. and go back for another blood test in 30 days. LAME!


  19. If I recall right, when we took Kiki in for a checkup last month it cost way more than your doctor’s visit!
    WAY more!
    And she had a longer table too . . .

    . . . Thankful you are going to be OK , Tree. Take good care.

  20. Actually, I just figured it out. . . see those “stirrups” on the end of the short table? Those are for supporting a woman’s legs when she has a pelvic exam. Are you sure they could understand your Spanish? 🙂 Just what was going on?!

  21. No booze…… problem
    No coffee………thats trouble
    Look out Stevie. Someone is going to be very grumpy in the morning.
    Tree I bet you won’t be making fun of my Folgers in a couple of weeks.
    I hope it’s nothing serious. A thirty day detox never hurts, I will join you in the no booze for thirty days. I’m not giving up my coffee though.
    Love from the Simkos

  22. Sorry to hear about your tired liver.. Lay off the ibuprofen.. My chiropractor who is trying get my shoulder to heal was adamant about that. Turmeric and bromeliad is a good anti inflamm. I got my neck cracked and I swear I remember the rock that put it out of wack. Remember the river as well lol. Oh , and it cost 100 bucks too. Take care, you should start juicing veggies.

  23. oh my. Tim is right. fresh veggie and fruit juices help. lots of (healthy) fluids help flushing the system. dandelion tea is good (does it grow in peru?) mild exercises get’s your circulation going. and the basic like good night sleep and vitamins are always beneficial.
    cheers, andreas

  24. Yes, it’s gonna be a big one 😉 and yes, I can’t wait!!
    Best, Andreas

  25. I heard it was serious. feel better bro.

  26. LAME way better than DEAD…

  27. When was your last Hep A vaccine?

    • Hey Cyndi, I had one right before we crossed into Baja last year. I’m feeling a lot better though. Taking it easy and all should be ok in a month. Miss you! xoxoxo

  28. Anonymous says:

    Hope the liver is healed before we get there! Jimmy will be disappointed not to have a drinking buddy! Take care of yourself!-Renee

  29. No sooner did I start to worry about the governments plan for population control, and the fact that everyone getting close to retirement age are suddenly dying.. of cancer, mostly liver cancer (probably due to the fact that that polio shot they forced on all of us in the 50’s had the cancer virus in it!)
    But I saw you on that table for the munchkins of wizard of oz!! I am sorry, that cured me.
    Get well Tree….next time its Stevies turn for the ultra sound!!!
    xoxox coco

  30. Yeap, I have to agree with Tim. I turned 52 and had some issues with high blood pressure, cholesterol, and was diagnosed with being pre diabetic. My Dr gave me the death speech! Well, I got a juicer and started making these crazy drinks for breakfast and eating oatmeal etc. I would take some carrots, apples, celery and make a juice. Sometimes I would put other fruit in there as well and other veggies. Then I got the old bike out and started riding as well as getting in a few runs a week. Went back to the doctor and all of the stuff is gone. Took about 3- 6 months for this to happen. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a bartender and I still drink! Just had to figure out how to get the best of both worlds! I want you to get well my friend. You all are doing so much for the communities, especially there in Peru. I love your blog, read it all the time, and hope to meet you all out there on the road soon. Happy Travels and get well soon.

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