Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Indiana Jones and the Cyberknife

Actually, they used a real knife on Indiana for his surgery, but Cyberknife was the sign on the door of the neurosurgeon who actually operated on him. He is doing as well as can be expected after more than seven hours of waiting, and then over three hours of surgery. (We got a glimpse of Obamacare today. It wasn't pretty.)

Terry is in a lot of pain. He will also be in a neck brace for the next four weeks, at least. I'm exhausted and I can't see straight. Thank you for praying. Please continue to pray. Will update again tomorrow.

Wait. What day is tomorrow? What day is today? Anyway, will update later.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Indiana Jones Takes A Hit!

That's right, folks. My own Indiana is going to have surgery tomorrow. Seems he has two (of course he couldn't just have one!) ruptured disks in his back. The disks are pressing on nerves and have caused him excruciating pain for the past two months.

I watched the poor man as he went to various doctors and tried different treatments to take care of the problem. Each doctor referred him on until finally he ended up with an appointment with a neurosurgeon. At that point I decided I'd like to come along for the visit.

You see, typically my husband remembers about half of any conversation he has with medical personnel. I wanted to hear for myself all the options the doctor laid out. I wanted to know what the risks are.

Turns out the options are:  have surgery or risk the nerves deadening and him losing some or all of the mobility in his hand and/or arm. His mobility is limited already, and his fingers are numb, but they think that will clear up once there's no longer a ruptured disk squashing the nerve. Makes sense to me.

In the meantime, we're talking neurosurgery. We talking about an operation around the spinal area. We're talking major surgery. (The only minor surgery is something that is happening to someone else.) Surprisingly enough, for all this back surgery, they're actually going to "go in" through the front. That's right. They're going to make a small incision in his neck and go at things from that direction. From the outside, that doesn't seem to make sense. But apparently it is less risky and invasive than say, operating on his back. Less recovery time. Better end results.

Someone who just heard about the impending operation protested that my husband shouldn't let them cut on is back that way. Indiana's response? "Don't worry. They're not cutting my back. They're cutting my throat."

I had no idea the amount of advice we would generate once we decided to go with surgery. Some people have made cautious advice with a lot of common sense. Others have taken the opportunity to share every horror story they've ever experienced or heard about. Those are fun people. Incidentally, none of them will be sitting with me in the waiting room tomorrow!

Yesterday Indiana went for pre-surgery testing. In spite of the fact that he doesn't do well with needles, he managed to complete the testing. Then they sent him home with a book on preparing for surgery. Yeah, you read it right. A book. I read the book last night (well I knew he wouldn't read it!) and discovered that we needed to purchase furniture before the big event. Seems for the next few weeks, when he's not lying on the bed, he needs to be sitting in a straight-backed chair with armrests. We don't have one of those. Fortunately, we've got several chairs that are going to be loaned to us from friends.

I do think, though, that if surgery was going to require the purchase of new furniture, they should tell you more than two days in advance. Just sayin'.

In the meantime I'm getting the guest room ready for him downstairs. And moving in the borrowed furniture. And making arrangements for the boys for the next few days.

There's one more thing I have to do before the surgery. I have to hide Indiana's hat and whip. As nervous as I am about the operation, I know my husband. Once he's feeling better, it's going to be hard to keep him from going full tilt before his body is ready. The next couple of days are going to be rough, but I think the recovery time will be the hardest.

For me.

Think I'm exaggerating? My husband goes to a shooting competition every month. This month he couldn't chamber a round or even load a magazine into his gun. So in the middle of each time sequence he had to hand his gun to someone standing next to him. They had to reload and chamber a round so my husband could finish that stage.

Indiana still came in second.

I'm telling you I have my work cut out for me.

NOTE:  I'm treating this with humor, but this is fairly serious and I would appreciate your prayers for him before, during and after surgery.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Standing and Kneeling

I may have mentioned before on this blog that I am not the most graceful person on the planet. You know that awkward, klutzy stage that teenagers hit around fourteen? Well, I hit it at twelve, and I'm still waiting to grow out of it. And today's memory is just one of many times that I proved my lack of physical grace ...

Some years ago we were members of a church in Alabama that, at the time, was running well over 300 on Sundays. They had a choir of about fifty, and the choir sang specials both for the Sunday morning and the Sunday night services. On Sunday mornings we would file in from the rooms on the side of the platform, but we were a little more informal on Sunday nights.

About five minutes before the service started, choir members started trickling up into the choir loft from the auditorium. They would just come up on the platform and quietly take their seats. Then when the service was supposed to start, the pianist would finish the prelude and play the introduction to an "opener", a short song or chorus that the choir sang to open the service.

I was running late, as usual, (some things never change!), but I was headed up to the choir loft when someone in the first pew stopped me to ask me a question. Suddenly I realized the pianist was playing the introduction to the opener. I was right there at the front of the church, so I could easily hurry up the platform steps and slip into my place in the choir in time to start singing.

On the second step into the loft, I tripped. I tried to regain my balance, but to my horror I actually ended up falling to my knees on the step, and my momentum even made me fall forward and I had to catch myself with hands. As the intro ended and the choir was supposed to start singing, there I was on my knees on the stairs with my rear end in the air, waving at the congregation.

I bounced back up quickly, but the damage was done. The choir completely lost it. They tried to sing, but most of them were too busy laughing. The music director laughed so hard he actually had tears rolling down his face.

Yesterday morning, I was talking to a visitor near the front of the auditorium when I realized our choir was moving into position. I turned and hurried up the stairs to slip into my place. "Whew!" I murmured quietly to the lady next to me. "Last time I tried that I ended up flat on my face with my rear end in the air."

And once again I was in the middle of a choir that was laughing so hard they had trouble singing. Who knew voices could carry that way?

Friday, April 23, 2010

You're Gonna What?!?!

I am highly amused when I watch the weather. Have you ever noticed how most weatherpersons (I'm being politically correct today) really, really like their jobs? They get so excited as they watch a weather front come through. They explain what's happening. They show you the radar. Then they show you the map of what will happen over the next three hours. They show you the really cool moving map three times while they're talking, and then they say, "Now watch this!" and they turn to look at the map with us. It's always more fun when we see it all together.

In addition to their enthusiasm, they have cool toys. I always get tickled when a weatherperson (I'm PC, I told you!) is trying to do a projection of the path of a storm and they can't get the computer to work. You can see their little mouse moving frantically across the screen, but that projection funnel just won't hold.

Weatherpersons (do I really have to explain this again?) are probably really good with directions too. Have you ever noticed how they project the time that a storm is going to hit certain locales? No more of this, "It's going to be rainy and storming tonight." Now they can predict that the storm will hit Connors Landing at 8:15 and Miltonville at 8:22. And they say these towns as if they know exactly where they are. I get the impression they stopped at the Piggly-Wiggly in Miltonville just last night.

One of the aspects I find most humorous is a weatherperson's optimism. They explain that there will be showers in the morning, and then instead of saying cloudy in the afternoon, they'll say something like, "And we're going to try and move this rain off the coast by 2:00."

Really? How are you planning on doing that? Hooking it up to the back of your pickup?

 Or they'll say "we're going to try and get it up to 85 today for you."

 Seriously? You'd do that just for me? Are you gonna use heaters, or what? On a first name basis with the sun? Gonna talk another degree or two out of him, are you?

I actually remember the weatherman my folks watched while I was growing up. His name was Dr. David Easter. (I don't know if he was really a doctor of meteorology or not). He was so enthusiastic he almost climbed into the camera to tell you about the weather for today.

When we lived in Alabama, we had a weatherman who issued his own storm and tornado warnings. He didn't always agree with the National Weather Service, so he issued his own warnings when he felt it was appropriate. They usually came within a minute or two of the NWS, but he had his own way of calling it and he refused to change.

So, are you optimistic? Like working with advanced equipment? Feel pretty strong in your ability to affect major fronts? Then maybe being a weatherperson is your dream come true.

They never get it right anyway!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Rare Moment of (Shallow) Introspection

Through the wonders of facebook and blogging, I've encounter quite a few people from my past. People I haven't heard from or seen since I--well, since I grew up. I hope most of you that read the blog know that my view of life tends to lean toward humor. I'd like to think that this is one of the places you come if you need a good laugh.

If you read my profile, you also know that I like to write. But more than that, I'm working toward becoming a published author. I guess I should say a multi-published author because I don't plan on stopping with just one book. 

Those two things--my humor and my writing--are very basic to who I am. So it surprised me that several people from my past have commented things such as:

"Who would have thought you'd turn out to be so funny?"


"I never imagined you'd grow up and become a writer."

I've had several of those comments in the last few months. Nothing rude or inappropriate, and I wasn't in the least offended so if you're someone from my past, don't feel guilty. But the comments did make me start taking a look at myself. And I found something interesting.

I'm not really the same person I was when I was growing up. Is that weird? Some things have remained the same, but some things are very different. For instance:

Then:  very shy and quiet in public.   Now:  not so much.

Then:  spent a lot of time on my hair in the morning with mixed results.  Now:  spend less time on my hair. With mixed results.

Then:  would rather read than do anything else.  Now:  would rather read than do anything else.

Then:  thought movies like Dumb and Dumber were stupid.  Now:  still think they're stupid, but watch them anyway because the guys in my life like them.

Then:  had no idea what I wanted to do in life.  Now:  living life.

Then:  couldn't cook.  Now:  not much better.

Then:  was afraid of everything.  Now: still afraid of everything, but doing it anyway. (Thanks, Indiana!)

Then:  didn't want to be a missionary because I was afraid I'd end up in Africa.  Now:  lived for three years in Africa as a missionary.

Then:  loved a good insult battle.  Now:  still do.

Hmm. Maybe I'm not so different after all. 

So what about you? When you run into people from the past do you hear, "You haven't changed a bit!" (Something I'd think is a little disconcerting if they haven't seen you since you were ten) or do they say, "I would have never recognized you!" (Which can be good or bad. Go with the positive.)

Have you changed? Or have you just grown up?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Enquiring Minds Want to Know!

Here are a dozen random questions for me to answer. Oh, but wait! You can answer them too! Answer in the comments if you want, but then go here and link up with Lid to answer the questions on your own blog. Don't have a blog? Leave comments anyway! It gives my life more meaning!

1. Ever had any run-ins with the "library police?"
No, but we've had a few problems with the Yard Nazis. Apparently we don't cut our grass enough. Or weed the flower beds completely. Or edge the lawns properly. And our garbage cans are too close to the curbs. And our shades are not turned at the right angles. And ... you get the picture.
2. Do you have a special organizational plan and place for wrapping paper, gift bags, etc., or do you just purchase whatever you need as you give gifts?
I have a Rubbermaid container used specifically for wrapping paper and various other items. And I have a few totes in which I store gift boxes and gift bags. The problem is, I can't find the totes when I need them so I end up buying more paper anyway. Or things get crammed into the totes wrong and get crumpled and I end up buying new boxes and bags. I think I'm due for a visit from the Wrapping Paper Nazi.

3. Have you ever been in (first-hand witness) a natural disaster?
Every morning when I try to do my hair.

4. What's your favorite Barry Manilow song?
Is he the really old guy that has had so much plastic surgery that the sides of his face meet in the back of his head? Or is he the other really old guy that had so much plastic surgery that the sides of his face meet in the back of his head? I have trouble telling them apart.  (I like Weekend in New England. But don't tell anyone.) 

5. What's the best costume you've ever worn?
Sometimes I dress up and pretend I'm a cook. But the finished product always gives me away. (Seriously, one time I went to a party dressed as a television. Think cardboard box and wire hangers. It wasn't my best moment.)

6. Which do you use more often, the dictionary or the thesaurus?
That would depend on whether I'm looking for a definition or a synonym, wouldn't it? (Said in a snooty, I-know-my-grammar-rules voice.)

7. What's your favorite breakfast food?
A chocolate milkshake. Of course, I don't get one for breakfast because that would be foolish, but really, can you think of anything better for breakfast? 

I didn't think so.

8. Have you ever purchased anything from an infomercial?
Are you kidding? Check back with me in a month. I'll have slimmer abs in 8 minutes a day, and be turning out delicious chopped, diced and sliced fruit and vegetable plates at all my parties. And my hair will shine almost luminously with the extract from a horse's mane that's been turned into a shampoo. And I won't have any zits, either.

Actually, I don't have any zits now, but I got carried away with the claims.

9. Have you ever crawled through a window?
No, but I flew through one once. Two words:  multiple stitches.

10. Do you believe in love at first sight?
I experienced love at first sight the first time I saw each of my newborn babies. (I know! I know! How atypical of me to get sentimental! I shocked myself.)

11. How man pairs of jeans do you own?
I don't own any. Now if you'd asked me how many pairs I wash? Hundreds, my dear. Hundreds.

12. If someone were going to bake a cake to honor/represent you, what would it be? (Think creatively, like Duff and Crew on "Ace of Cakes.")
If a cake were going to represent me, it would probably be missing a few ingredients. And it would also arrive twenty minutes late. And by the way, don't you think most of those people on that show look a little ahem! scruffy to be working in a kitchen? I like their creations, but I'm not sure I'd be in a big hurry to eat them. Just sayin'.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My Knees Are Knocking!

I got a phone call on Friday night from a pastor's wife. Their church is in our area (relatively speaking) and I met this lady when she visited at our Super Conference back in February. She was calling to find out if I would be interested in speaking at their Mother-Daughter Banquet next month.

The whole time we were talking, I kept thinking that she was from the church on the other side of town. It was only after I hung up that I realized that was the church where her dad pastored. Her husband pastors about an hour away. Good thing I figured that out before showing up at the wrong church!

But I wouldn't have been at the wrong church anyway because they're not holding their banquet at the church. They're holding it at the country club down the street from the church.

I am properly impressed.

And intimidated.

Did I mention the banquet is semi-formal to formal?

I'm really not sure why butterflies are having a carnival in my stomach. I happen to like public speaking. (I'm weird that way.) I know which fork to use. I even have a formal dress to wear. And a great pair of sparkly heels. Can't wait to wear them!

So what's bothering me? Beats me all to pieces. These people are very nice, and I have no reason to be nervous.

Did I mention the butterflies?

Got any jokes I can use to open? Or any calming remedies to keep the butterflies at bay?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Moms on Adrenalin - Part 4

This is the continuing story of a desperate missionary mom in search of medical help for her children. If you want to start at the beginning, click here.

When I dialed the number of the Ugandan doctor, I got his office in Mbale. I was slightly skeptical that he could help me anyway, so I was surprised at the disappointment I felt when I found out that he wasn't even in the office. Turns out he spent several days of the week out in the village--his hometown, so to speak--taking care of medical needs out there. He wouldn't be back in the office for two more days.

"But you can go to the village and see him there," I was told.

Yeah, right. Like that was going to happen.

"It is not far," the voice on the phone insisted. "Right outside of town. Very easy to get to."

That still left the matter of directions. Most Ugandan roads are not named. You can't tell someone to turn by the Walgreens on the corner. Although you might tell them to turn by the crooked tree that sticks out over the road. And you certainly couldn't plug "fourth hut on the left" into a gps unit.

"We have someone here who is going to the village today. If you come to the office and get her, she will direct you to the village."

Well wasn't that convenient. I don't pick up strangers, and I certainly don't follow their directions.

"Tell me how to get to your office," I surrendered. I still had sick kids. I would do what I must.

We swung by the office and picked up a young woman in her early twenties. We asked again how far the village was and were assured it was no more than twenty minutes. So we crammed the eleventh person into our Trooper and headed out of town.

We exchanged a few pleasantries and then everyone fell silent while we drove.

And drove.

And drove.

"How much farther," I asked after forty-five minutes.

"We are very near."

Our passenger had directed me to take several turns, and I was quietly running them over and over again in my head to make sure I didn't get lost. I glanced at my cell phone and realized we were too far out to get any service. That's when panic hit me.

We were two American women out in the bush with eight small children. We were totally at the mercy of our passenger in getting anywhere. If anything happened to the vehicle, including a flat tire, we were basically stranded. No one knew where we were, not even our husbands, since we had neglected to call and tell them what we were doing.

And yet, we were "very near", whatever that meant. Surely it couldn't be much farther.

About thirty more minutes of driving finally put us at the edge of village. There were a few buildings as well as huts and booths. Our passenger directed us to the building where the doctor kept his office. As we pulled up, it was clear this village didn't see many vehicles. And it was even more clear that they didn't see Americans very often. It must have seemed like the circus came to town when our bright red SUV pulled up, and ten Americans climbed out. We had a curious crowd surrounding the vehicle and following us into the doctor's office.

Our passenger introduced us to the doctor and then wandered off somewhere. We didn't see her again before we left. The doctor greeted us graciously, and escorted us into his office as though we were honored guests. The villagers crowded in to peer through the doorway and the windows while I spoke with the doctor and he examined my children. It was kind of an early version of a reality show, I guess.

The doctor spoke excellent English, with a trace of accent. He asked the history of the boys' illness, checked their vitals, looked into their throats and diagnosed them both with a bacterial infection. He would give me antibiotics and he could give Joel an injection to control the vomiting. He was very glad we had come to see him, and I was very glad that he knew what he was doing. We discussed treatment for a few moments and then he turned and asked his assistant(?)--she was the person standing at his elbow while he spoke with me--to bring him certain items.

He kept up a steady stream of gentle small talk as he measured out medicine to give to Nicky. He then handed me the bottle with instructions for dosage. He then prepared an injection for Joel, after I checked to make sure the needle he used came from a sterile package. Then he sent one of the spectators down to the marketplace to buy a Sprite. He gave it to Joel, who was thrilled to have a whole bottle to himself, and told him to sip on it slowly. For all of his special services, including the Sprite, I paid 25,000 Ugandan shillings.

That's about $10 in American money.

Relieved that I had finally found some help for my children, I wanted only to get back to the civilization of Tororo. Such as it was. As dumb as we had been already in this quest, I didn't want to be out on the roads at night. And I surely didn't want to be out in the bush at night. But we were delayed by the doctor. He wanted to show us the hospital (small clinic) that he was building there in the village. And he insisted we take a tour. As we went through the building, he went into great detail about his plans for this place and how he wanted to help his people.

I appreciated his dedication, but I didn't really see what it had to do with me. Only later did it occur to me that all Ugandans think Americans are rich. He was looking for donations. Sponsorship. Money.

He was disappointed.

We finally left the village (without our guide, who was staying there) and headed back. We were a little unsure of one or two turns, but eventually we did make it back to Tororo, pulling into our compound just as the sun was setting.  I was exhausted, but we were home safe, my two boys were on the mend, and I now had a great story to tell my husband when he got back. For one day, I got to be Indiana Jones.

Gotta love that adrenalin.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Moms on Adrenalin - Part 3

Continuing from yesterday's story where two missionary wives and their eight children seek medical help in the jungles of Uganda ...  To read the beginning of the story, click here.

We entered the building and went down a long hallway, and the first person we ran into was a Ugandan workman. When we asked him about American doctors, he pointed us to some chairs lining the wall and hurried off.

I should mention here that running into other Americans in Uganda didn't happen that often. If you happened to be in Kampala and you saw another American in a restaurant, you would stop and at least exchange pleasantries. You know, what state you're from, where you're located in the country, etc. That sort of thing. It was a little bit like seeing someone from home. So we were excited about meeting these doctors, not just for the help we needed at the moment, but for the possibility of meeting someone from home that lived nearby.

Because of that, and because we thought we were close to our goal, we had a buzz of excitement as we sat waiting. And waiting. And waiting. Truly, these must be American doctors. It felt just like the waiting rooms at home. Finally an obviously American woman came hurrying down the hallway.

And I knew this wasn't gonna be good.

She had a professionally pleasant look on her face, and her mouth was almost stretched into a smile, but not quite. I introduced myself and explained that we were missionaries in Tororo. I got out the barest details of why we were there when she cut me off. The clinic wasn't opened yet, she explained. It wouldn't be open for another month. And when it was open it was an orthopaedic clinic. And it was strictly for Ugandans. There was no help here for anyone of any other nationality.

I blinked. We weren't here to visit the clinic, I maintained. But we did have somewhat of a medical emergency and we were hoping to find some help. The woman was adamant that there was nothing she could do for us. Quite frankly, in the time it took her to explain that they wouldn't help, she could have examined both boys. It wasn't like we were taking her from her patients. I kept asking if there was anything she could do, and tried to emphasize just how sick the boys had been.

With a look of exasperation, the woman reached down and plucked Nicky out of my arms. As she felt his forehead (all the latest medical advances here, people!) she studied Joel, who was sitting quietly next to me. Joel had nothing left to vomit, and I had given them both some children's tylenol before we left the house, hoping to make the trip a little easier for them. Neither child was very active at the moment, but they weren't writhing in agony either.

And that was the problem, I guess.

"They certainly look fine now," she commented, handing Nicky back to me. Seriously? Just because Joel wasn't throwing up all over her nice, new hallway? Just because Nicky wasn't having a seizure from excessively high temperatures? Would I make this up and go to all this trouble for nothing?

I don't think so.

"I can't help you," she insisted when I pressed her. "But I do know of a good Ugandan doctor in town. I can give you his number."

I started to protest, but she assured me he had received his medical education in Great Britain and then had come back to work among his own people. He was good, she insisted. Several of them had taken their children to him since they'd arrived.

She wrote his number down on a piece of paper and handed it to me. Then she gave us one last professional smile and hurried away.

I found out later that she wasn't even a doctor. She was one of the administrative personnel that would help man the clinic.

Can I just say, even writing about this part of the story made me mad all over again.

Discouraged, we piled back into the Trooper. I couldn't head back home because I still had two sick children who needed help. With no other choices, I dialed the number she gave me.

To read the final chapter of this adventure, click here.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Continuing Story

This post continues Moms on Adrenalin, the post from last week's Monday Memories. I'm just getting to it now because I didn't have time to remember earlier in the week. : )

Previously on Monday Memories:  Lisa and I had loaded our combined eight children into my Trooper and were headed off to find a doctor for my two youngest, Joel and Nicky. They were 2 and 1 years old, respectively, and were both running high fevers and Joel was doing a lot of vomiting. Our husbands were away, and Lisa had heard that there might be American doctors in the town of Mbale.

And now the continuation ...

We drove the half hour to Mbale, and started asking around. It shouldn't be too hard to find some American doctors, we thought. Mbale is a town of about 70,000 to 80,000 people. Should be a piece of cake! We asked in various shops if anyone had heard of American doctors starting up a clinic in the area. (Cue banjo music and various shots of us asking for help. Picture kids hanging out of every window and door of the Trooper, and everyone with their arms pointed in different directions.) Most people had no idea what we were talking about, but we finally got some information and vague directions to what we hoped would be a clinic. it was supposed to be an orthopaedic clinic, but surely the doctors could help us with our medical problem.

Many twists and turns later, we were pretty sure we were headed in the right direction. I should mention that, although main roads are paved in Uganda, I use the term paved loosely. Lots of big potholes to drive through or around, and the roads are generally in bad condition. I finally took a turn onto a road that was really bad. It headed uphill and not only was the road crumbling, but it also had a lot of debris. There were fair-sized tree branches in the road and even piles of gravel. But, hey, I was driving an SUV, and I was a Mom with a mission. So I slowly drove over, through and around the obstacle course. Until the road dead-ended at the top of the hill. What was before us couldn't be called a road, and I wasn't sure even an SUV could get over it. I put the vehicle in park, and Lisa and I got out and looked around.

Me:  Why does the road dead end here?

Lisa: I think they're extending the road.

Me:  This whole area doesn't look quite finished, does it?

We both turned and looked down the hill. There at the bottom, to the right, was an obviously new building. It was mostly finished, although there were a few final touches that were needed.

Me: I think we found the clinic.

Lisa: Yes, but how are we going to get down there? This road isn't finished, and I don't see where the road is that leads to the clinic.

By this time we were attracting some attention and people were starting to stare. I looked back over the way we'd come, and then realized something. When Ugandans are doing construction, they don't have regular barricades to put up. So they usually block the road with whatever they have on hand.

Things like fair-sized tree branches and piles of gravel.

We had driven through an area that wasn't even open for traffic yet.

Lisa suggested we drive back down the obstacle course--you know, to the road that wasn't under construction--and find a way to get to the clinic. I wasn't so sure. For one thing, I didn't want to drive through the obstacle course again. For another thing, once we got to the bottom of the hill, we wouldn't be able to see the clinic, and I wasn't sure we would be able to find it again. My mission wasn't just to find the clinic. My mission was to get help for my babies. So I did the only thing that made sense to me.

I left the road completely, and drove down the side of the hill toward the clinic. We bounced and bumped our way down, but really it wasn't much different from driving on Ugandan roads. I brought the Trooper to a triumphant stop at the front of the building. A closer look confirmed that this was, indeed, a medical clinic staffed by Americans. It wasn't open for business yet, but the doors were unlocked, and all ten of us eagerly headed inside, sure that our quest for medical help was at an end.

But of course, if that were the case I wouldn't be continuing this story again, would I?  To read the next part of the story, click here. Ya'll come back now, here?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

If It's Wednesday ...

... it must be Random Dozen Day!

Okay, you know the drill. Read the questions. Laugh at the answers. (Or nod thoughtfully if I happen to get really insightful.) Leave a comment. Then click the link and head over to 2nd Cup of Coffee to read other answers.

1. How do you feel about "Gladiator" sandals, also called "Roman" or "Jesus" sandals? A fashion yea or nay?

Love 'em, love 'em, love 'em as long as they come without the whole facing-the-lions-in-the-coliseum thing.

2. What is your favorite pizza?

I like The Works from Papa John's. (That's right, folks, it's a serious answer! And probably as insightful as I'll get all day.)

3. There are plans in the works to sell roughly 1,000 items from Star Trek: The Experience in Las Vegas. This means you could buy Picard's chair for your family room. If not a Star Trek item, what prop, background, set, etc. from what TV or movie would you buy if you could?
[Ex: Hurley's "I Love my Shih tzu" shirt from LOST, the plantation home "Tara" from Gone With the Wind, or Tracy's tambourine from the Partridge Family.]

I think I'd really like Barney Fife's bullet or the ottoman Dick Van Dyke always tripped over. Maybe I could display the bullet on the ottoman. Right next to a jar of Aunt Bee's pickles.

4. Name a local food or restaurant that your area is famous for.

Anything with Mickey Mouse ears.

5. What is your current favorite snack?

I would love to have a big, soft pretzel from Aunt Annies, washed down with a lemonade from Chik-fil-a and then topped off with a mocha frappe from McDonalds. But since I'm dieting, I usually reach for an apple or some yogurt.

6. Hypothetical: You are required to be a reality show contestant. Which show would you choose based on your probability of success? (You cannot choose "none.")

A. Dancing with the Stars
B. Biggest Loser
C. Survivor

I would start my own reality show called, Can I Have Some Estrogen, Please? The show features a woman living with all male relatives while trying to maintain some semblance of femininity in her life. The show will end when she finally gains possession of the remote control.

7. On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being uninhabitable and 10 being cleanliness that meets the standards of OCD, how clean is your vehicle's interior?

Cleaner than my garage, but not as clean as my house. (Which is still not saying much!)

8. It doesn't feel like Spring until _________.

---it pokes up through the couch cushion.

9. Something that made you laugh really hard recently is ____.

Paul's idea of encouragement. While on a bike ride with his younger brother he was heard yelling, "You want some of that ice cream that's in the freezer? You gotta earn it! Pedal faster!" 

10. Tell me about a goal you're working toward.

Two words:  toned and tanned. Okay, well really it's probably closer to losing weight and getting a little sunburned, but a girl can dream, can't she?

11. Share a thought-provoking or inspiring quote this week.

Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much - Oscar Wilde.

12. Name one thing that you do as a parent that you absolutely know will make your kids happy. If you're not a parent, feel free to substitute "friend" or nomenclature that works for you.

Letting them sleep in; giving them ice cream for breakfast; taking them for all-you-can-eat pancakes at IHOP ... don't you wish I was your mom? (If you're my age, please don't say yes because then I will be depressed all day!)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Road Kill

For those of you that have been wondering what happened to me, (I'm pretending there are some) I have a very good reason for falling off the blogosphere map.

Life ran over me.

It took me a while to drag myself to the curb, and then I had to wait for EMT's. I am now recuperating and ready to attempt getting back on the information superhighway.

I will return tomorrow with a regularly scheduled post, which will be the Random Dozen. For anyone who remembers I was in the middle of a memory for Monday's Memories, I will post that on Thursday because I see no reason for you to wait for another Monday just because I couldn't even get my memory down on Tuesday. Just remember that I can't do it on Wednesday because that is Random Dozen day. And Friday just seems to long to wait for Monday's memories. And since I don't usually post on Saturdays and Sundays those days are out too.

Now I've fulfilled my goal of using all the days on the week in one paragraph. Have a good day and I'll see you all tomorrow.

That would be Wednesday, wouldn't it?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Bad Mommy!

I know it's very late. Well, late for a Friday post, that is. I had a great post for today, a roll-on-the-floor-laugh-out-loud kind of post. About why males never outgrow the need to figuratively pull a girl's pigtails. Even when that girl is his wife. Even when that girl doesn't wear pigtails.

But I didn't post it.


Maybe next week.

I didn't get much sleep last night, and I woke up just in time to get ready and rush off to work with no time to spend in the glories of blogland. When that happens, I usually just skip the day and start off fresh on Monday. But Monday is about memories, and I'm in the middle of the story of my quest for a doctor when we lived in Uganda.

So instead I thought I would blog about Motherhood.

Why is it that all my best efforts at being the world's best mommy backfire? I know I'm not perfect, but those times when I really try to reach new heights, why does everything turn worse than it ever was before?

Case in point:  one time I wanted to take all the kids to the park, something we hadn't done in a while. Joel didn't want to go, but I made him. He ended up falling out of a swing and breaking both his wrists. (Hint:  this link is to the beginning of a continuing post. Keep clicking on the new post link at the bottom of the post to read the whole story.) He spent Thanksgiving Day in a couple of casts because I wanted to be a good mommy.

You'd think something like that would discourage me, but I never learn. Today I decided to go on another bike ride. I took up riding because they have some great trails here in Florida, and I thought it would be a good way to get some exercise and spend time with my boys. Nicky didn't want to go, but I insisted. We're going to have quality time together, or die trying!

Nicky is the only boy who doesn't have a geared bike. So he has to pedal twice as much and twice as hard as the rest of us. We each took a turn riding back with him, but he really lagged behind. He wanted to stop and rest. He complained of a headache. (Nicky's been whining most of the week because of his sunburn, so I didn't take him too seriously.)

At least, I didn't take him too seriously until he skipped supper. Then he started throwing up. Then he started running a raging high fever.

I made my poor, sick baby go on a 10 mile bike ride.

Bad mommy!

I'm spending this weekend taking care of him and doing penance. I'll be back on Monday.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Randomly on the Random Dozen

I usually try to have one particular theme or thought in mind when I do a post, but this is going to be a scattergun type message. Just thought I ought to warn you.

First, I'm totally amazed and relieved to find out how many people also think time to make the donuts when they have to get up in the morning. And here I thought I was weird. Turns out I'm perfectly normal.

Or I know a lot of weird people.

Second, I said St. Bernards look cool. And I do think they'd be handy to have around if I got lost on a mountain. That being said, I have no desire to have a big, drooling dog on the premises.

I have enough males in the house to handle that little chore already.

Third, as I mentioned before, beware of the hazards of randomly applied sunscreen.

As you can see, Nicky wore sunscreen on the middle of his forehead, but he missed the sides and the part of his face under his eyes. He's been hurting, peeling and itching for two days now. Yes, I took a picture of my child while he was sleeping.

Joel's blotchy forehead is the result of slapping a little suncreen here and there, without checking to make sure he was adequately covered.

Joel did better the next time, but he missed the area under his eyes. That's not a black eye--that's sunburn.

Paul avoided blotchiness by not using any sunscreen at all. He's much brighter red than he appears in the picture.

Fourth, we usually have five or six males living in this house at all times. There's always a lot of testosterone around here. This past week we had eight males here. My house was turned into a guys' dorm, both in looks and in smell. I think I'm going to have to wear pink and watch chick flicks for a week to regain my estrogen balance. Otherwise I'm going to have the overwhelming urge to burp and scratch myself.

Musicals anyone?

Almost forgot! Yes, I did accidentally link to Lid's Random Dozen twice. I don't function well that late at night. Or that early in the morning. Or ... well, you get the idea.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Randomly April

Would you look at the time! It's random dozen again over at 2nd Cup of Coffee. Read my answers, then click on the link to read other answers and link up with your own. And make sure you leave some comments because people always like comments.

1. Define a great relationship.

Batman and Robin. They were always there for each other, they had each other's back and they worked well as a team. The yellow tights would have been a deal-breaker for me, but apparently Robin was able to get past them.

2. Why is it called a "drive-through" if you have to stop? (Real question: What was the last food/drink you purchased at a drive-through?)

I actually wanted a mocha frappe from McDonald's last night so I pulled into the line. But then there were almost a dozen cars in the drive-through, and none of them were moving, so I pulled out and went home. I still want a frappe.

3. As I type this, the Butler Bulldogs are getting ready to play in the NCAA championship game. Every Hoosier is hysterical about this except me. So in honor of the Bulldogs ... what is your favorite breed of dog? (I tried.)

I always thought St. Bernards were kind of cool. And so handy to have around if you got lost and injured in the mountains.

4. If you had to move to a state besides the one you currently live in, where would you move?

I am fundamentally against moving because I hate packing and unpacking. So I guess I'll have to stick to living in paradise.

5. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

I would have driven a car that didn't always die in the middle of Lake Street and Fifth Avenue. Kind of a dangerous intersection for a stalled car.

6. Who's the funniest person you know?

Do you mean actually know? Or just know of? Because I've never actually met the Lumberjack's Wife, but I know her through blogging and she is usually pretty funny. Her last post had to do with a lot of bodily fluids, and it was really hysterical.

7. Did you get enough sleep last night?

Hahahahahahahahahahahaha! Wait, what was the question?

8. What's the first thing you thought about this morning?

Time to make the donuts. Okay, that's from that old Dunkin Donuts commercial, but that really is what I think sometimes when the alarm goes off. Small wonder I have trouble dieting!

9. Grilled or Fried? --HONESTLY

I would prefer to be neither, but thanks for asking.

10. Are you afraid of the dark?

Not if there's a light on.

11.When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A wife and mother. Hey, look at me! I'm livin' the dream!

12. If you had one word to describe yourself , what would you choose?

Does it have to be a word that actually describes me or just a word that I would like to use to describe me? Because I like the words "rich" and "beautiful", but there not actually words that are usually associated with me. Hey, I've got an idea! In the comments, why don't you leave a word that you think describes me?

Okay, ready? set? Link! (Wait a minute! What about your comments?!)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter Lessons

I hope you all had a great weekend. We celebrated Easter by leading two people to the Lord on visitation Saturday morning. We also had great services at church, with sermons on how the empty tomb affected others, and the different responses of people to the Crucifixion. It was interesting to note that, while the high priest was questioning Jesus, he rent his clothing when he declared that Jesus was blaspheming. Priests' garments were holy and were never to be rent or torn. When the high priest tore his clothing, he actually disqualified himself from the priesthood, thus leaving the way open for Jesus to become our High Priest by offering one sacrifice for all sin forever.

We also had great music, including a solo from one of Matt's friends that's visiting from school. This friend sang, "Then Came the Morning", one of my favorite songs.

Along with the major importance of the Resurrection, we also had some fun and enjoyment and learned a few minor lessons this weekend.

Lesson #1: The kitchen is still not a place where I exhibit great skill. We had a delicious meal, but I broke four fingernails and cut myself twice trying to prepare the food. I need a cook.

Lesson #2: You can actually burn baked beans in the crockpot. After that, they can be hidden in the microwave while you serve the rest of dinner. But one of the boys will ask about them, and then later they will discover the discarded dish in the microwave when they're cleaning up.

Lesson #3: Sunscreen works well, but only if you use it.

Lesson #4: Sunscreen will only work where you use it. 

Our boys were sunburned on Friday after going out on the boat. I gave them all sunscreen, but most of them ignored it. Joel put it on haphazardly, giving himself a weird, striped zebra sunburn. Paul and Nicky were both painfully red.

Today, the guys all went fishing and swimming in the ocean. Again they mostly ignored the sunscreen. They're all lobsters now. Nicky put sunscreen on his face, but he missed the sides of his face, so he has a white streak down the middle and sunburn on either side. Joel missed the area under his eyes, so his face is white except for deep red marks under the eyes. He now looks like a zombie child. I'd show you pictures, but they all fell asleep while I was charging the battery to my camera. I'll have to post zombie pictures later.

In spite of the pain and suffering, a good time was had by all. So how was your weekend?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Moms on Adrenalin

So you've heard of the mom that was so filled with adrenalin, she lifted a car by herself in order to free her trapped child. What, you mean you haven't heard of that? Well you should have. It's urban legend. An average mom can suddenly be filled with superhuman strength or abilities when it comes to taking care of her children.

And sometimes she can find herself in very unusual circumstances for the same reason ...

While serving as missionaries in Uganda, we lived in a small town on the border between Uganda and Kenya. Once a month my husband would make the eight hour round trip to Kampala, the capital city of Uganda. He would pick up our support money for the month. He would also shop for meat, cheese, milk, and some other things that were difficult to find in our small town. Often he also had to deal with the myriad of paperwork involved in serving in a third world country. All of this took a great deal of time, so these monthly trips usually involved two or three days. We had another missionary family staying near us, and the two men decided to make the regular trip into Kampala together.

The men had been gone for about a day when my two youngest children got sick. Joel and Nicky were two and one years old at the time, and both started running high fevers. Joel kept vomiting until he had nothing left on his stomach, and Nicky's fever shot up to 105 degrees.

One of the things I had been given before I left for the mission field was a book entitled, Where There Is No Doctor. I think the title's self-explanatory. Anytime one of the kids came down with something that was not easily identifiable, I'd haul out the book and compare symptoms. "Okay, so there's fever and vomiting, but no headache, so I think we can rule out typhoid." It was an interesting book, but it didn't do much to diagnose my kids that day.

As Nicky's fever climbed higher, I got a little frantic. None of the children's tylenol I had was doing much to bring the fever down. My husband wouldn't be home for two more days, but my children needed help now.

Unfortunately, there were not a lot of medical options in our small town. In Ugandan schools, 30 is considered a passing grade. I wanted a doctor that got more than thirty percent right on his medical tests. I was discussing the problem with Lisa, the other missionary wife, when she had an idea.

Lisa had heard a rumor that there were American doctors in Mbale, a town thirty minutes north of us. She thought they were going to be starting an orthopaedic clinic that was funded by a mission organization. We didn't know if the rumor was true. We didn't know if they'd even started building their clinic, or if it was something planned in the future. We didn't know exactly where in Mbale it was located. So we did the only thing we could.

We went looking for them.

We loaded all eight kids (her two and my six) into our Isuzu Trooper, and set off on a quest to find medical help for my children.

This post is part of my Monday Memories. Part Two of a Mother on Adrenalin will be posted next Monday. In the meantime, what unusual things has motherhood called you to do?

To read the next installment of this memory, click here.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Write Words

As a writer, I often work at getting just the right words for what I want to say. On a day such as today, I think I've found the perfect ones:

"...To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world..." John 18:37

"For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." Luke 19:10

"And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst." John 19:17-18

"He is not here: for he is risen, as he said." Matthew 28:6

"The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love." Jeremiah 31:3

"This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." I Timothy 1:15

"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23

"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Romans 10:13

"And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son." I John 5:11


Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Stroll on the Riverwalk

We've had absolutely beautiful weather this week. The kind of weather where everyone smiles and says, "This is why we live in Florida!" So one evening after work, we decided to talk a stroll on the Riverwalk, which is about two miles from our house.

That's Paul in the blue sweatshirt. He's checking to see if there are any fish down there.

I love the sunset on the water.

The War Memorial.

"Fire power!" The guys' favorite line from Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.

Best Buds!

Our guys standing at the base of the monument.

Hope you all enjoyed this little picture of our Florida weather. The wind made us welcome the sweatshirts that night, but it's warming up more every day. Friday we'll be out on the boat! Hope you're enjoying some spring weather wherever you are!

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