Sunday, October 04, 2009

Time to Post Something

I was talking to a friend at work on Friday when he said that he looks at my blog sometimes and was wondering if I am ever going to update it.
I know it has been a while since I have blogged anything, but I just haven't known what to blog about.
I could write about Africa and how great the medical mission was this year, but how we spent a lot of time texting back and forth with our daughter to check up on Doug's mom. We were so afraid that she might die while we were gone, but we had made our decision earlier in the year and Maui really wanted us to go. So with Doug's sister Jayne and our daughter Nichole taking excellent care of Maui, not to mention our other two Bryson and Michael, our daughter-in-law Michelle, Bryson's girlfriend Katie, and niece Brooke helping... We took off for Africa.
When we got back, Maui was still alive and had been anxiously awaiting our return. She then began a quick and steady decline and we said goodbye to Maui on August 10th near midnight.
We miss her very much. She suffered so much - so much. But she taught us all so much by the way she lived. I will write more about Maui at another time. She was a remarkable woman that I love, loved, will always love.
I could write about Michael and Michelle's wedding and our trip to Illinois. I could write about their reception, which we had just two weeks ago.
I could write about several other things, but I will do that in a day or two because right now it is bedtime... and I have to work tomorrow.
I just thought that if I could get a few words down then I will have blogged something and that will make it easier to blog something in a day or two.
My hat is off to those people who blog every day or at least every week. Their lives may be more interesting than mine or maybe they just blog instead of talking to themselves. You know get the thoughts out in cyberspace.
Well, enough for now. I will be back. Soon. I promise.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Back from the Bush

We got back from three days in the bush last night. We were treated to a Mexican meal at Eric's House by several mission hosts. It was delicious! The best things though were the warm bath water provided by Mrs. Moono (our host) and sleeping in a real bed!!
The people at Simalindu were very needy and combined with the Kapaulu clinic, the medical team saw almost 5000 people. Thankfully, most of the people were not acutely ill and we did see many fat, healthy babies.
Doug and I are both healthy, although Doug's knees are bothering him a lot, they were better this morning. Today is a "down" day, where we can relax and do fun things. There is a soccer game this afternoon and a few tours around the mission for newcomers.
Tomorrow We set out for two more clinic sites and three more nights in the bush.
Please continue praying for us and the people that we will be treating.
Also, please continue praying for Doug's mother and her caregivers. We will be back to Abilene soon and so hope that she will be there waiting for us when we return.
Love to all,
**Nichole please pass this on to PaPa and Momma Dot

Saturday, July 11, 2009

In Zambia

we finally arrived at Namwianga Mission about 9:30 last night. We are staying with the Moono's (where I stayed in 2004). I had a good night's sleep. Doug slept better,but still needs more to catch up. Breakfast was at 8 am and then I went up to the hospital to look at some needs for L&D. They need a new incubator for all of the babies that have been born lately - 18 just last week! The incubators can be bought in Lusaka for only $3500 and are perfect for Zambia. I will have pictures later. Also, they only have enough clamps for 6 packs to be sterile at one time. They only need 1 Kocher and 1 peon.
We will have lunch soon and then the big team will arrive. Jan and Katie, Jill and Blaine will be here and we will be all together. Hopefully, their luggage will arrive with them:) We will get a group picture for you, Maui. Church tomorrow and then Monday we leave for Simalundu and our first clinic.
More news later. Pass this on to everyone.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Getting Ready for Africa

It has been a long time since my last post. Since then I have been to Peoria and Chicago for Michael's and Michelle's wedding. It was a fun, but a busy time. The wedding was beautiful and sweet, and very much Michael and Michelle. I will post a few pictures once I have some to post. We will be hosting a reception when school starts back up. I will have pictures and video there.

I have also been spending a lot of time with Maui (my mother-in-law). Maui has been fighting ALS for a long time now and her time with us is getting short. Jan and Jill (my sisters-in-law) and Doug all take turns spending the night with her and the days, too. I have only been there one night, but I go in the afternoons following work. My contribution to her physical care is miniscule compared to those three. The other sister, Jayne, comes when she can. She has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and is fighting her own battles now.

Today I have been gathering my katundu (Chitonga for stuff) so I can pack later. I want to get the packing done and not wait until the last minute. I am ready to go back to Zambia and to the Medical Mission. It has been three years this time - the plan has been to go every two.  

I was supposed to go last year, but we were afraid to leave Maui. Looking back, we should have gone last year instead. We had no idea... none. Maui was doing good last year - not so now. You know what they say about hindsight being 20/20... if you could have seen then what you know now, it wouldn't be called hindsight. 

Doug is on the fence right now. Tuesday, he didn't know if he was going. Wednesday, he knew he was going for sure. I don't know about yesterday and today it seems again as if he isn't going. I don't know what the answer is for him. I feel as though I must go. We only have four physicians going and five or six nurses. That is about 1/3 to 1/2 of the number we usually have. Seeing between 15,000 and 18,000 patients total in all of our clinics, it is going to be very difficult with so few medical personnel. We will be able to do what God has planned - though it seems almost impossible to me - we just have to trust and be ready to act!

I am still excited to go, but now I have a sense of heaviness in my heart. A gut feeling that when I board my plane on Wednesday, that I may really be alone - without Doug. That makes me very, very sad. But God is in control and there is still time.  I will trust in Him and wait....

Please remember me and the entire Zambia Medical Mission (ZMM) team in your prayers. Part of the team left today. The nurses leave on Wednesday, July 8th. The rest of the team leaves on Thursday, July 9th. Pray for our safety, our health, our strength, our example, and our effectiveness to help and teach those we are going to take care of. We will return on Sunday, July 26th. Please pray for us daily.

Also, please pray for my mother-in-law, Maui and for the people taking care of her while we are gone (whomever that may be).

Leza a muleleke (God bless you)

Monday, May 04, 2009

May showers bring June weddings

Yesterday was the wedding shower for my son Michael and his fiance' Michelle.  It was wonderful and crowded and loud and fun.  I say that is true, but if you could have seen Michael...

Linda, one of the hostesses, said that if Michael wanted to be at the shower then he should come to the shower.  Now if you are getting presents and having food also, then that is a place that sounds like fun.  So Michael accompanied Michelle to the shower.

Michelle's mother, Sandy, came all the way from Illinois to be here for the shower.  We all had matching corsages (not Michael) and they were beautiful.  The food was great - cookies with blue and green frosting, chocolate chip cookies, thumbprint cookies, fresh fruit and almond tea punch!  Everything was decorated so pretty - lace and hints of blue and green in just the right hues of Michelle and Michael's wedding.  And presents... Michelle and Michael opened presents until it was time to leave.  They got so many wonderful and useful gifts (even a beautiful homemade quilt from KT). Everyone was so thoughtful and generous.  It is always a bit humbling to be so showered with love and generosity -- but I digress.

They were both a little nervous at the beginning of the shower (being the center of attention), but it didn't last long. Michelle opened the presents and Michael played with them.  A friend of theirs was taking pictures - that is where Michael had his fun!  I will enclose a few pictures so you can see how he enjoyed the shower. 

No really, Michelle and Michael did enjoy everything and were so surprised  that they got so many of their selections and that so many people came.  They were nearly overwhelmed by it all.  They have moved the gifts into the apartment where they will live after the wedding and now begin the task of writing thank you notes. 

For those of you wondering about my neck...
I am recovering fine.  This is my last week off of work so things are getting back to normal.  I am just trying to give myself every chance to have enough energy to do my job next week.  Thank you for your prayers for my surgery and recovery.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Neck Surgery

Well here it is 5:45 on a Sunday morning - one of the days that I can sleep in a bit, but I am wide awake.  I guess that is one of the pitfalls of having a regular internal clock.  I get up M-F at 5:00 am and I wake up that early on the weekend also.  Sometimes I can go back to sleep... sometimes.

I guess I am awake because I cannot lay in bed and think about piddly stuff and drift back into sleep.  Instead, I am thinking about my upcoming ACDF (anterior cervical discectomy and fusion) and all of the things I have to have done in the next 23 hours before reporting to the hospital.
finish cleaning my bedroom
wash the rest of my clothes
straighten up the living room and kitchen areas
wash the dishes (thankfully they are already loaded in the dishwasher)
go to Wal-Mart (don't forget the shopping list)
get the plants we bought yesterday in the ground
don't eat or drink after midnight
I don't guess that sounds like much, but you haven't seen the kitchen or my bedroom.  

Anyway, I am not worried about the surgery.  I trust Dr. Maxwell.  He is a good surgeon and totally devoted to his patient - me.  Karen will be taking care of me during the surgery.  Brenda is finally back (another story) and I will see her before I go in.  I am sure that I will talk to Amber Joy tonight.  I will also talk with Traci tonight and we will pray.  My Bible study group and my Bible class are covering me, Dr. Maxwell and the surgical team in prayer.  

I worry about stupid things like what will I say or do when I am going off to sleep or waking up. I know you are wondering... "humm, what kind of stupid things?"  Well, you are just going to have to wonder because those who work in surgery can imagine and those not in surgery don't need to.  Sorry.  Let's just say there is a vulnerability that I am uncomfortable with when I am laying there minus my full faculties.  Enough said.

I will finally have some relief from the literal pain in my neck, as well as my shoulders and arms, and more recently my legs.  At least I hope so.  I hope the relief is immediate, but some of the pain has been going on for about 15 years - so we will see.

I will have some decent time off.  Probably about a month.  Dr. Maxwell said a minimum of two weeks, but then I would have restrictions.  I think a month would be better and go back with little or no restrictions.  He said two months is the real "heal" time.  That will be June.  I have Michael and Michelle's wedding that month (the 17th) and then Zambia and the Medical Mission in July.  I need to be feeling not good, but great by then.  

Dr. Maxwell will remove the discs that are impinging/pressing on my nerve roots and spinal cord.  Then I will have a cage device placed as a spacer at both of my levels of fusion.  The cages provide immediate stability.  They will be filled with my bone and they will eventually grow to the bone levels that they are between, thus fusing my neck.  That is a simplistic explanation, but the best one I can give.  

I will update you on my recovery.  I covet your prayers. 

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Restless and Unsettled

restless (adjective) unable to rest or relax as a result of anxiety or boredom.
unsettle (verb) cause to feel anxious or uneasy; disturb. - derivative: unsettled (adjective)

This is how I feel - restless and unsettled. Anxious? Yes. Bored? Yes. Disturbed??? Stop Laughing!

I am not unhappy right now, but I would not class myself as happy either. I just want to be doing other things than I am doing. All the way around.

Take work... no really, take work. Seriously, after a year and a half of the new regime things are not better. I really don't anticipate them improving. I love what I do. I am an OR nurse; that is who I am. I really like doing surgeries, working with the surgeons, taking care of one patient at a time. I don't care if it is bloody or not - if it is surgery, I want to be there.  

BUT then comes the restless and unsettled side of me. I am ready to NOT work. I would like to stay home for a while. I am tired of the politics. (You had better believe there are politics or at the very least an "us" and "them" atmosphere - and I am in the "them" category!) I am tired of being "on call" and "late days". I am tired of training new people. Ooooooo. Yes, I said it. And I am training one of the sweetest and I might add brightest new nurses right now. I really like her and she is not hard to train, but I have done it for so long. I am tired of it. When I finish with her training, I am seriously going to tell them no more... not for a while.

I love my home. I helped draw up the plans and watched it almost every day for changes while they were building it. It is not too big and certainly not too small - it is "just right". I have great neighbors and one of my best friends is just a few steps away from me. It is close to my work and close to church. I have a big back yard and trees.

BUT I am ready to put a "FOR SALE" sign in my yard. I have been looking at house plans for months! I want to move to the farm, in Clyde, and build my farm house (not in that order). I want to go back to a mostly one story house - a farm house. I want a wrap around porch, and a sun porch. I want a pond and a little white fence. I want to build a little chapel out there too! It will be green with yellow and white accents. I want stone and shingles (on the house) and a metal roof. I want a barn. I want to be close enough to walk over to see my mom and dad. I want to be able to get on the 4-wheeler and take Doug a sandwich while he is out shredding the fields.

There are other things that make me feel unsettled, but most of them are really another story that I am not ready to tell yet. Most of the other feelings are about not being the "one in charge" or about me having a "lack of control" over life situations.

Don't worry about me. I am not having a mid-life crisis. I am just ready for some change, but it isn't quite time for those changes yet. They are getting closer though...

I love my family. I miss Nichole, Paul, Ally and Parker.  They are close, but busy. You know how it is. But Spring Break is coming... soon... YEA!!! 

Well, I better go. I am hungry and maybe, if I eat fast... I can change my bedroom furniture around tonight:)

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Feeling bad

According to my doctor, this is my "usual" time of year for feeling bad.  He looked back at the last two years and sure enough I had come in with the same complaints at about the same time.  So... he gave me the same treatment - a Celestone shot to open me up and make me feel better and a Z-pack to treat the "disease" factor.  Oh yeah, my blood pressure was 144/101 in the office.  He said that it was just because I felt so badly and my ears were completely filled with fluid and my throat looked bad (but not like Strep - which is what I suspected).  He said I should go home and rest a couple of days and then I should feel like working on Friday.  That was Wednesday.

You know it is hard to focus on anything, let alone work at your job, when your head hurts so bad and you feel like if you don't lay down then you are going to fall down. My eyes just hurt so bad and my ears like they were being pushed out of my head from the inside.  When I drove my car home, I felt nauseated. And then there is my neck hurt - it hurts all of the time (but that is another story).  My back hurt.  My shoulders hurt.  My legs hurt.  Everything hurt.  Also, I was having back and forth cold and hot spells.  So my boss let me go home early.  That was Tuesday.

Today is Thursday - and I do feel better.  I am not quite up to speed, but I am much better than I felt on Tuesday or yesterday.  My throat is still bothering me some, but it is only red on the left side - so that is better.  My ears don't hurt, but now my jaws do and I don't know how to make that stop.  Of course my neck still hurts... My eyes are uncomfortable, but not anything like they were.  My back and other aches seem to be nearly gone, so I guess the medicines and rest are doing their jobs.

I guess I will be back "on the job" tomorrow taking care of other sick and hurt people and not focussing on myself.  And maybe I won't be feeling bad anymore... at least until this time next year - if my Doctor is right.

I hope you are feeling well!