Friday, March 30, 2007
I find myself sitting here with so much to say and no ability to actually figure out what is the most important. I will tell you that the rumor is, our luggage has arrived in Abuja. However, getting it from Jos (4 hours away) is another story. Currently, the goal is that we will have it by Tuesday. We have made due with what we have.
We arrived in Jos on Tuesday afternoon. On Wednesday afternoon, we headed to a rural clinic about an hour away. We spent the next day and a half servicing this rural community. I have never, in all my life, seen anything like what I saw during these two days. I stood at the door, determined if the patient spoke Housa or English – whether they needed a translator or not – and then ushered them to one of the doctors. The doctors included Tara, Ajit, JB, Dr. Chris (more on him later), a surgeon, Dr. Aquiris (sp?), and a nurse Loretta. Kelsey helped Loretta. It was amazing to see my husband dealing with these patients and how quickly he became acclimated to tropical medicine.
The people lined up at the door for hours. When we went to lunch, they sat down to hold their space in line. There were thousands of people – some only mildly sick. Some very, very sick. They begged at the door for a turn to come in and were so happy and thankful to be seen by a doctor. At some point, I will try to document my time at this clinic with pictures, but for now, please trust me when I tell you that I am forever changed. There was no such thing as privacy. These people were very poor and they were so thankful for the opportunity to speak with a doctor if only for a few minutes. One woman came in, desperately wanting a baby and there was nothing Tara could do for her. Other cases were much more serious. At one point, when a woman’s blood pressure was so high that John believed she may not live another day without medication and the pharmacy had run out, Loretta gave her money out of her pocket to see a chemist across the street. I saw so many children who were malnourished. I saw goiters and hernias, and things of which I never dreamed I would actually see. If people couldn’t get in the door, they reached through the windows with notes and requests. Through that same window, people meandered through the field to use the bathroom. When we had to use the bathroom, a man stopped and cleaned it for us. He then asked if he could talk to me about his medical condition. I told him to find John later that day. He found him thirty seconds later. Another time I made the mistake of stopping when someone asked me a question. Before long, dozens of mothers were surrounding me, begging me for help – help I had no way to give. When we closed the doors at 5:45, there were still people lined up that we had to ignore. As Dr. Chris said “you almost feel more depressed when you leave then when you come” because you realize it was only a small drop in the bucket.
One thing really bothered me. Dr. Aquiris is a gifted surgeon. He tried to do surgery but this clinic wouldn't allow it without some money ad Dr. Aquiris does it for free. One man was so excited to get a large lipoma removed from hs forehead that had been there 20 years. He immediately went and shaved his head and fasted until the morning on the surgery -- only to be told they couldn't do it. I was broken hearted.
I also saw a woman crying, surrounded by friends. Then they rolled her loved one's body by on a stretcher. I had never seen a dead body.
Speaking of Dr. Chris, I will have to reserve a post another day for the man he is. He started Faith Alive and dreams of having another Mayo in Africa. You may think this is not possible but Dr. Chris’ faith is contagious! When we pulled up, there was a sign welcoming us, as one of the first steps in this dream -- 3 Mayo docs coming to Faith Alive. He has created a free clinic and provides free HIV tests. I have seen many people with HIV and AIDS here. I have seen people so ill that I feel I can’t even talk about it right now. However, they are so happy – and so blessed to be here. I can say that I am not sure there is a better man alive today. He is amazing.
I have written down so many stats and facts but they will have to wait for another day. I think I will try to type a blog on Tara’s computer later in word that I can then put on the blog later. Let me tell you that I have been amazed at how little I need to survive. There is no running water. We take bucket showers, wash our own clothes, and pour water into the toilet to flush it. There is only electricity on occasion. Internet is possible in the missionary family’s house downstairs, but only if there is electricity or they start the generator and the Internet works at the same time.
We also have had some very tense times. There are security patrols at checkpoints along the road, on every part of your journey. Security is seen as the number one concern, so the government created these checkpoints. Our driver did not stop early enough for one of the guards today. Normally, we slide right through, as we are such a “good” organization and the name of the organization is printed on the same of the van. However, this time, it did not work. Dr. Chris had to go outside and apologize for the driver not “obeying” him to finally get us through. We were worried they would perch us on the side of the road for hours or even worse. Dr. Chris’ brother was shot in a similar situation. He survived but the guards must show power. As long as you let them, then everything is fine.
Nigerian people are the nicest people you could ever meet. They have nothing and yet they love everyone and smile all the time. They call white people “OYIBU”s. This is a positive term of excitement at seeing someone from the “land of milk and honey”. I don’t think my blonde hair and blue eyes hurt at all. All the children want to touch us and Ajit also who they call a “black oyibu”.
I think that is enough for now. I could go on for days with everything I have seen. I will ask that you pray mostly for health. We are all dealing with new food, jet lag, and new surroundings. We are doing well but are little banged up as far as sleep and stomachs are concerned. Today, we had the sewing school make us outfits for the wedding we plan to attend tomorrow. We have taken nearly 200 photos and I would love to share all them with you. I will at a better time.
Blessing friends. I hope to blog again in a few days. Also, please excuse any grammar or spelling errors. I am writing this very quickly!
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
We had about a 9 hour overnight flight from Minneapolis to the Netherlands. Then we had about a 6 hour flight into Abuja (with a connection that didn't even leave us time to use the bathroom). Dr. Chris was there to pick us up with some friends. However, getting onto the bus and to the place we would spend the evening was not that easy. Half of our luggage arrived, however, in the end, JB and I do not have our toiletry bag, Kelsey did not get her luggage, and Tara did not get her luggage or the box she brought. We have been informed we should have this by Thursday so right now we are passing around the necessaries which include shampoo (Ajit had that), deodorant (Kelsey had some in her bag), and a brush (Kelsey had that too.) I also have the only "girl clothes" which fit Kelsey well but leave Tara in a bit of a bind. Good thing she had brought one extra set of clothes in her carry-on.
One thing that greatly impacted our first evening was a man in the line next to us who all of a sudden fell over. People immediately screamed to see if there was a doctor around. JB and Ajit were the first two to reach him, and immediately began to go through the appropriate steps. They were replaced a few minutes later by the medics. When we boarded the bus a few hours later, we were told that the man had died on the way to the hospital. It was quite an amazing event, and one I can't really go into in my limited time here.
After about two hours wrestling to find baggage, report missing baggage, and successfully leave with the baggage we did have, it was past the hour when we could find dinner. So instead, Dr. Chris and his driver "Goodwin" (not sure how to spell that), took us to a missionary hotel of sorts where we sat around in Dr. Chris' room and ate all the snacks we had brought on the plane and drank some water.
Early this morning, we stopped for a quick bite to eat and are now on our way to Jos, about three hours from Abuja. Dr. Chris needed to check his messages while here in Abuja so we stopped at this office here and were each given a computer with the instructions to update our friends at home. So that, I am doing.
There aren't enough computers to go around so my turn is up.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Saturday, March 24, 2007
Last night JB and I went out to dinner with the Dave & Lesley. We have been saying we wanted to take them out to celebrate their Mayo Match and also just to get to hang out a bit. They actually leave for Bangladesh for their own mission trip in about two weeks and will not be back until right before graduation. We really don't have much time left with them! We took them to one of our favorite restaurants: Broadstreet Cafe. Afterwards, we came back to the condo to watch some basketball. By 10:00 I had fallen asleep in the chair so I headed to bed. When JB came to bed after 11, I mumbled a question to ascertain whether any of the underdogs had won. (I always cheer for the underdog!) They hadn't, so I felt satisfied with my decision to sign out early. I also felt happy because once again, I slept without any Ambien! Hurrah!
JB and I were both up bright and early this morning. Our bodies were tired but our minds knew how much we had to get done. We have spent the last five hours packing and cleaning the house. Someone else is coming to see the condo today. We still have some things that need to be done prior to our departure tomorrow, but we both feel much better now that our list is considerably shorter.
I am also amazed at how well we packed. We got all of our stuff for six weeks into two suitcases (one for clothes and a smaller one for shoes and toiletries.) We then each have to bring a box of medical supplies as our other piece of luggage. John is also carrying on a handheld sonogram machine that someone from Mayo donated to the Clinic in Nigeria. This is something everyone is excited about! However, it eliminates a carry on for JB so we have to share a carry on. Anyways, we had to pack light, and I think we have pulled it off.
Unless the people that come see our condo today put an offer down, the condo sale/rent will probably wait until we get back. We are okay going either way with the property since we don't have any mortgage or rent in Florida for three years, and we are okay with waiting until we get back to see where the Lord leads us and our potential buyer/renter. We are in no hurry and so, patient we will be.
This evening, Lesley is throwing a "Team Nigeria" going away party for the four of us (and Kelsey who is getting ready for the departure via Colorado.) We will then pack up a van (courtesy of Melissa's mom! How awesome are our friends?) around 3:00 tomorrow. Lesley will drive us down to the airport where we will meet Kelsey, and at 9:25 we board our plane for the Netherlands.
I am very excited and very nervous all rolled into one. My teeth are doing much better, and I am feeling very rested which is good. It will be an adventure, and one I can't wait to share with you all.
I will post one more time before our departure tomorrow. See you then!
Friday, March 23, 2007
Today, I worked my last day at Mayo for six weeks. I also slept last night without an Ambien. I am also having much less dental pain. It seems so surreal that we leave on Sunday!
Heading to dinner with the Jones to celebrate their Mayo match.
Stay tuned. Two more posts before we leave!
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Mom and Dad Kit.
The entire family: Back row: JB, Wendi, Rob, Dad, Mom, Elizabeth, Gabbi, Grant, Katie; Front Row: Matt, Grace, Nate, Ray
The eldest child -- Elizabeth and her husband Grant who were married the summer after we were. 1999 I think. I love this picture of Elizabeth. How beautiful!
Next is Matt. This is Matt and his girlfriend Danielle. I love Danielle! She's great! (So is Matt but don't tell him I said so.)
Here is Rob. How funny is this picture. Everyone else had their "significant others". Robbie decided to make his own party! Robbie will start college at the University of Central Florida this fall.
Here are the boys of the family.
And here are the girls of the family
Last night, Tara, Ajit, JB, and myself had dinner at the Fischers house. Dr. Fishcher is a pediatrician at Mayo and was a missionary in Africa years back. He has great connections to the area we are going and will actually will be joining us for the tail end of our trip. In addition, Dr. Thacher joined us for dinner. Dr. Thacher is currently a missionary in Jos. Check out his website at: Thachers Home. He will be coming to the states to work at Mayo later this summer. He was in town for a week for some odds and ends and is actually on our return trip to Nigeria on Sunday night.
It was a great evening to talk about a wide variety of topics. We, of course, talked about Nigeria. However, there were other topics on the agenda as well including Ajit's love life and our struggle with infertility. The Fischers are a tall family as well so, of course, there was good tall-bonding taking place as well. We had the opportunity to ask questions and get advice before leaving on Sunday night. We also found a way to get JB's driver license to Nigeria. JB needs to be able to drive when we get to South Africa as we have rented a van for the trip. However, South Africa won't recognize a US military ID as a driver's license as the US does (Imagine that!). So John went and retook his driver's test in Minnesota only to be told he had to wait five weeks for the license! Anyways, Dr. Fischer is going to bring it to Nigeria with him later on in the trip. Isn't it amazing how God takes care of even the little details?
I woke up this morning with a better-feeling mouth. Please keep praying for me in that area. I would just like to feel better before we head out. I ask Dr. Thatcher about a dentist in the area (just in case), and he said the missionary dentist is on furlough. So my comfort-seeking fell on its face a bit. Oh well. God has taken care of so many other things in our lives -- I know he can take care of a sore mouth!
Our god daughter Jessie, when she was little, used to count days leading up to an exciting event by how many more times she had to go to bed before they happened. If that's the case, then we have "three sleeps" before we leave for six weeks.
Many of you have asked about the status of the blog while I am gone. We have been told we may have some Internet access in Jos. Between my blog and Tara's blog, we hope to update periodically. We don't know how often that will be. It will depend on our time and the status of the electricity as it is not consistent. So while you won't be getting daily updates, you can check in here and on Tara's blog periodically to see if we have any updates for you. Ajit plans to give this to his mom as well who isn't too keen on not being able to check on her boy (and assuring someone is feeding him) on a daily basis.
As for email contact, I do not plan on emailing at all while I am gone. I don't want to get my head stuck in a computer and fail to spend time looking around me. If you can avoid emailing me as well, that will prevent my inbox from cluttering up and tempting me. If you have something to tell me, put a comment on my blog. That will keep my communication in one central place.
Three sleeps to go ...
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Breathe Wendi breathe.
I am still, having some dental issues. I went back to the dentist again today. (I know! For real! Everyone make a sad face with me!) She said that I am hitting very hard on that tooth which is causing me the pain. The good news is she doesn't suspect any nerve issues (like needing a root canal) because the pain is not keeping me up at night, just bothering me during the day. She also thinks my body will adjust eventually to the changes. Let's hope so! I may have to go back on Friday. I've been emailing my buddy Rachel (who is tan in Mexico right now) for her advice. Rachel thinks that I just have to wait this out. So I wait ... and wait some more. If I were not going to Nigeria, I would not worry. I'd just wait it out. But fearing waiting it out in a foreign country makes me a tad nervous.
JB and I are also a bit tired because he set the alarm for 3:00 this morning!!! Actually, he set the alarm for 6:00 a.m. but somehow changed the time three hours ahead. So at 3, the alarm went off. I thought it strange that I hadn't been up at all during the night. I usually wake up at least one time. John, as usual, got out of bed first, and a few minutes later he climbed back into bed mumbling something like, "Wendi you are going to kill me." I was actually a good sport about it. In return, he didn't complain when I tossed and turned myself back to sleep!
Two more days of work folks. I can't believe it is almost here!
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
On the plane, Logan was complaining that her ears were bothering her. Kristi had some lifesavers so she gave Logan one to suck on so she would swallow and her ears would pop. Logan had never seen a lifesaver before, but Kristi assured her that they would help her ears. Then Kristi turned away to deal with Raylee sitting on the other side of her. When she turned back, Logan had stuffed the lifesaver INTO her ear. You know, "to help her ears." I laughed so hard yesterday when Kristi told me this story. How adorable is that?
Monday, March 19, 2007
We went to Bethlehem Baptist in the cities where author John Piper is the pastor. There are actually three campuses, and you don't know which he will preach it. We rolled the die incorrectly as he was on a "screen" preaching at the downtown campus. However, none of us really minded it as much as we thought it would. If you looked down, you had no idea he wasn't there.
One of the things we all loved about the service was the incorporation of music from different cultures. They sang a fantastic worship song from the congo -- alternating between English and Congonese (Is that what it is called? No idea.) We loved this! I really enjoyed the service and was blessed to have gotten the opportunity to hear John Piper speak -- if only on a big screen.
Afterwards, Christo took us to a fantastic Indian restaurant. This was south Indian (Christo's type of food), and it was really, really good. The cricket world cup was on so we also watched that. Well actually, we mostly listened to Christo try to explain it to us. It looks like a very fun game, but I still only have a slight grasp on how it is played.
A stop at IKEA ended our day. I drove down and back with the Jones in the backseat so that the three medical students could study for their pharmacology test on Friday. This will be JB's last test of medical school. Hard to believe, huh?
In other news, I am sad to say that I need to call the dentist this morning and return to get this crown "lowered". I spoke to my soon-to-be-dentist friend Rachel (who is currently sunning in Mexico) via email. She said that this is very common and should only take a few minutes. But man I do NOT want to go back to the dentist today. But I must. The tooth pain, while very dull, is getting worse each day, and I want to make sure I give myself time to return again prior to our Sunday departure.
This will be the last week of regular posts in the "Polar North" for quite some time so take it all in folks!! :)
Sunday, March 18, 2007
So as I am starting to lay out what we are taking for this trip, I am not impressed with the number of medications I have to take with us. Honestly, for some reason, this makes me feel old. You know, like I have to bring my medicine cabinet with me to Africa. Add to that that you really need to keep them in their original containers so that they have your prescription on them, and we have to take a lot of medication.
Not only do I have to my normal Metformin that I have now been on for a number of years, but now I am taking my Ambien to help me sleep. Add to that the progesterone I will be on for two cycles while I am gone and you are at four containers of pills. Four because I take 3-4 pills of Metformin a night. That's two bottles. In addition, our travel clinic has us taking a malaria medication and sends a prescription for cipro (traveller's diarrhea). I also have to take my vial of lupron (in my new handy dandy, self-cooling package.) Then we'll take our vitamins and other "incidental" travelling medications, and I do feel like the older people JB sees in the clinic with a list of medications a mile long. This is not put down older people of course. It's just fact.
All this medication talk makes me realize that it's been awhile since I have given an update on our next IVF cycle. We are scheduled for a transfer on May 31st. Earlier this week, we signed the paperwork for the number of embryos to transfer. As soon as I signed this and slid it across the table to JB, I got a stomachache. It immediately threw me in to thinking about doing another transfer. Don't get me wrong. I want to do it. However, thinking of getting wheeled back into that room, waiting two weeks for results, and taking all those shots doesn't exactly cause me extreme excitement.
Last night we attended "Mixed Bag" for the medical school -- a variety show of sorts. A couple I didn't know told us congratulations on going to Florida and then asked if we had kids. I realize that this question is something that stings me every time it is asked. You'd think by now, I'd know how to handle this question, but I still don't. I feel this five second sensation of a thousand feelings including -- "do they know we want kids? do they know I have not chosen a career over kids? do they know ..." We were sitting across the table from some friends of ours who have a year old daughter. I felt that they were uncomfortable too and all of us wanted to change the subject. Afterwards, I asked JB if this question made him uncomfortable. He said it did. He said no matter how many times it is asked, it is just not fun.
In fact, "Mixed Bag" is always a little uncomfortable for me. It's a time when everyone brings their children and shows them off to everyone else. I remember coming to this first year and thinking "Well at least by fourth year I can bring our child to this event." Fourth year came and went last night, and still, it is JB and me. I know this is okay. I know that we are okay. And part of me was glad I didn't have to chase a screaming child around for two hours as most of the other parents did. I held Christo and Melissa's son Luke for a bit and passed him off when the tears fell. I played with Bisola for a bit and gave her back when I grew tired. Karuna climbed onto my lap and then wandered back to sing loudly to the music. I recognize all the things JB and I get to do because it is still just the two of us.
Anyways, sorry for this post to be a downer. I am actually not in a downer mood. I am unbelievably blessed my fantastic husband and our exciting adventures in the next few months. Even if I have to take a slew of medications with me on those adventures!
Saturday, March 17, 2007
I am a little concerned about my new crowns. They are beautiful (pure porcelain so there is no metal in my mouth at all.) The bad thing is that my teeth are still bothering me. The dentist told me that if, by Monday, I am having any discomfort, to come in immediately. Apparently, if the crowns are even slightly uneven, they can cause tooth pain and as she put it, "You do NOT want to have to find a dentist in Nigeria." That's an understatement. So, I am hoping that by Monday, they feel good. I don't want to have to go back to the dentist for the FIFTH time in as many weeks. Not my favorite place to be. I am slightly regretting doing this before we left.
We have had many people coming to look at our condo. Some are very interested and many are making a decision over the weekend. It's a bit nerve-wracking. I have really given this concern over to JB and to the Lord. I don't like all this real estate stuff. I am glad we are not buying again in Florida. That would just be another stressor.
I have decided that the number of stressors in our life right now are probably pushing the point of capacity. If you list the biggest stressors in people's lives, we are participating in nearly all of them including:
1. Moving across country
2. Taking a very long trip
4. Job change (Wendi)
5. Starting career (JB)
6. Selling/renting home
Anyways, last night, Tara, Ajit, and Nicole came over for dinner. Then the Jones and Philips came downstairs with Dave's sister and her new husband and baby, and we all had dessert. After they left, Ajit, Nicole, JB, and myself got into some deep conversation on differences between men and women, and Tara fell asleep. I made the decision to let her sleep after Nicole and Ajit left as she has been under the weather. She slept until 8:30 this morning!!! At 8:30 the two of us went to workout. I just got home and now eating some of my Golden Grahams while I type this.
Tonight is "Mixed Bag" -- a variety show for the Medical School. For now, got to get a lot of errands done in preparation for our trip. Enjoy your weekend everyone.
Friday, March 16, 2007
If you go to Kellie's webpage, you can see the photo: KELLIEFANS. In addition, there is a video where Kellie is being interviewed, and she talks about Jessie. Here's the link to the video: INTERVIEW.
Congrats Jessie! What a cool "gig". I am very jealous of you getting to meet Kellie Pickler.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Okay, so to help everyone who isn't in medicine out, let me take a second to explain how "Match Day" works. I thought this especially important when my Tante Jan commented that she thought this had something to do with clothes. This cracked me up. It's true. I write things like they are obvious. This isn't obvious.
Basically, after medical school, all medical students have to go somewhere to train. This training can last anywhere from 3 years to 11 years!! Yikes!! Now JB is military so he matched back in January. However, most people had to wait until today to find out where they were going for residency. In a nutshell, hospitals and clinics rank applicants. Applicants rank hospitals and clinics. Then a computer "matches" them together. Talk about stressful!!!
We showed up at the Foundation House at 11:00 for a cocktail hour. Then all the fourth year students and their guests are ushered into a room where Associate Dean Dr. Barrier hands every student a letter that reveals their fate. Then you watch as people open them and find out where they are going. This was very intense.
To further tell the story, I thought I would use visual aids. So scroll below for the story of the day.
Here is Tara, prior to the match, anxiously waiting to find out her fate! Tara refused to admit which school she ranked first. However, I had figured it out due to clues Tara didn't know she left.
Rachel and Wendi. I am really going to miss Rachel. Rachel is currently in dental school at the University of Minnesota. We hope to make it back for her wedding to Hansie next year.
Lesley prior to finding out where she and Dave were "couples matching." Anyone can couples match -- even two people who are just good friends. It's a little more complicated but fairly important if you are married and want to live with your spouse for the next few years!
Third year students are invited to attend match. Here is Christo (left). What was funny was that his wife, Melissa, was actually the guest of Lesley. So Melissa got to come in the room for the match results while Christo had to wait outside with the other third year students. We also cracked up because both Christo and Melissa said they woke up very nervous this morning despite being a year away from their own match! What great friends being nervous for their friends' match.
Here is Katie and JB. Katie and John are really the only people going to anywhere in the deep south. Katie will be in Texas. Most people are going to California, or staying in the Midwest or New England area.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Tomorrow is "Match Day." I have heard that for the first time in nearly 10 years, every single person in a medical school class at Mayo matched! All forty-something of them. This is awesome! For all you non-medicine people (like me!) out there, let me explain. Not matching doesn't mean you aren't good. It could mean this, but it could also just mean that you tried to get into a super-competitive program. So tomorrow is the actual Match Day. I feel like everyone feels now like JB and I felt two months ago, when we waited to find out where HE matched. It's very nerve-wracking, but the major nerve-racking part for us has passed. WE ARE GOING TO FLORIDA!!!!
So tomorrow is an even busier day for me. Here's how it looks:
7:30-11:00 RLSF training
11:00-2:00 Match Day festivities
3:20 Dentist appointment (get my permanent crowns on)
4:30-? Work at Mayo
?-? Celebrate Match Day or go to Bible Study or something
And more Sanjaya on American Idol. America ... what are you THINKING?!?!
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Like I said, life is crazy. I am sleeping well thanks to daily Ambien. As I catch up on my rest, we'll start tapering my dosage a bit and see if we can get it back down to normal. Yesterday, I worked a full day at Mayo, and then I came home and did three hours of work for RLSF. Also like I said, there are so many loose ends I want to tie up before I leave.
We also had a spur-of-the-moment dinner with the Jones last night. We went up to do some "condo talk" and ended up bringing up some leftovers and having a quick dinner. Lesley made her BBQ pizza which I LOVE so I was thrilled to be included.
Like I mentioned briefly in yesterday's post (this is working as a good transition phrase for me this post), we have had some people really interested in purchasing our condo. Yesterday we had a family make an offer, and then another offer to our counter-offer. Two of JB's former classmates are also very interested in purchasing it, and another family who looked yesterday seemed very interested. We have not listed it through a real estate company yet. This has simply been by putting the word out to incoming medical students and putting a posting on Craig's List. We are not completely sure we still won't rent it, but we are leaning more and more to selling to help de-stress our life when we move to Florida.
If we are supposed to sell, someone will offer what we want to sell it for so we just have to trust the Lord. Seriously. I mean that. This selling stuff makes me sick to my stomach. I could never live in one of those countries where ever purchase is made through bartering. It makes me very nervous! But ultimately, the Lord is in charge, and if we take one step at a time, He will guide our steps.
March is a HUGE selling time in Rochester. That's part of the rush. This town is sort of unique in that most buying/selling occurs within a three month window as residents and fellows leave and a new group moves in. We would like to know what we are doing before we leave for Nigeria, but if we don't, we are not in a big hurry to sell and can wait until we get back to deal with things. The Lord knows best.
Another exciting bit of news was that yesterday, JB's classmates found out whether or not they matched. They have to wait until Thursday to find out where they matched, but yesterday they were told if they did or didn't match with a residency program. It appears everyone did match somewhere. This was very exciting. Of course, most of them knew deep down that they matched, but it's always encouraging to get the final nod of approval. Thursday will be a big ceremony at the Foundation House to find out where everyone is going. This should be really exciting! Of course, we already know through the military. I'm glad my stomach isn't in knots waiting for that infamous email to come in again.
Oh, and one again ... you go Ray Kay!
Monday, March 12, 2007
My cousin Josh has another song on the Indie Haven Radio Chart. Will you take a minute to vote for him? I think you can vote everyday. It's called "Holiday" by Heisman. Here's the link:
Speaking of heaven, I think it reached fifty degrees today. That felt AWESOME!
In addition, life is busy right now -- we have a lot of people coming to look at our condo as all the medical students find out where they are going and all of the residents match on Thursday. Someone put an offer on it today. Just pray that the Lord gives us wisdom as we decide how best to proceed.
Saturday, March 10, 2007
I actually didn't get into bed last night though until after 1am. A bunch of JB's classmates convened on a famous steakhouse in the cities, about an hour north of here. It was very good despite the fact that I don't completely get the fascination with steak. We women decided it was definitely a "man" thing. It was a really good time though, and I am glad I decided to go. Up until about thirty minutes before JB left, I was going to stay home and just try to get some work done and converge on my bed early. However, at the last minute, we decided to give me Mountain Dew and let me join JB as he headed up-state.
Today I am going to be doing work for RLS and Mayo the entire day. The issue with both my jobs right now is that I am preparing to take a six week leave. There are just a lot of things that need to "put to rest" before I take off for this time. My physician at Mayo has hired a new girl (from the candidates I helped interview) to come in 10 hours a week. However, she doesn't start until a few weeks after I leave. I will get to "train" her before I go, but I really need to have things in order before I leave her there to figure it all out for herself. When I return, she and I will work together in office for a few weeks, and then I will head to Florida. The idea is that she will remain his administrative assistant 10 hours a week at Mayo, and I will serve as his "Editorial Assistant" approximately 10-14 hours a week from Florida. However, at a place like Mayo, this has to go through a thousand pieces of red tapes and committees that meet on committee. This has not been officially approved yet. My boss in confident that we will eventually get the committee to stamp things in our favor, but that hasn't happened yet.
Getting things approved at RLS is quite different. There are six of us currently working there, and the Board quickly approved my remote work. In addition to my hopeful continual of my job at Mayo, my job at RLS will continue in the same fashion as it is currently when I move to Florida. The only difference is that I will be picking up more responsibilities as my ability to take on more hours increases. I do 16 hours a week for them now. In Florida, I will probably be doing between 20-30. My main job at RLS right now is to write articles and text for various publications. If you would like to see examples of the types of things I write, you can visit www.rls.org's publication page at: PUBLICATIONS. I also do a lot of work on our website itself, a lot of PowerPoint, and various other tasks.
I really enjoy both tasks and am excited about writing/editing full-time from Florida. It has always been my goal to actually be a writer. At least a writer who gets paid. I think that as of June 4th, my first day telecommuting 100%, I will really be a writer.
Okay, off to catch up on work. Have a great weekend folks. Our snow is melting like crazy!!! Thirty-seven feels amazingly warm!!!
Friday, March 09, 2007
I am still not sleeping. I am done with the progesterone medication, but my sleep has not returned. If I take an Ambien, I sleep, and I sleep very well. But anytime I do not take one, I sleep only three or four hours in fifteen to twenty minute segments. I never actually get into a deep sleep. Or if I do get into a deep sleep, it is only for three or four hours and then I am up the rest of the time.
I try to not get frustrated. I try to be patient. I am not napping so that my sleep is not thrown off. I am not watching TV or getting on the computer before bed.
I have been trying not to take the Ambien every night, hoping to find the "minimal" dose for me. But it appears the minimal dose is going to half to be every night for awhile. This should make things better.
You know, I work for the RLS Foundation. Restless legs syndrome is a sleep disorder that causes people to be unable to sleep due to the need to move their legs repeatedly. I have such a new-found respect for people who cannot sleep.
Thanks for listening to me complain. I won't be talking about this too much more on the blog, as, like I said, the best thing I can do is be positive and not complain. The complaints do not help.
But I needed to get this off my chest. Thanks for listening!
Thursday, March 08, 2007
- Match day is one week from today.
- We leave for Nigeria in just over two weeks.
- I am subbing for Jenny and playing volleyball tonight.
- I am helping Kristen coach the JO club volleyball team that I used to work with in St. Charles. Their first tournament is on Sunday.
- We are going to dinner in the cities with some people from JB's class on Friday.
- I got to watch Karuna and Luke last night. What sweet kids!
- I have an eye doctor appointment today.
- I am very busy at both my jobs.
- This is a short blog.
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
First of all, JB did our taxes this week. Upon completion, there was a long moment of silence as he shuffled over to give me the news, as I leaned against the wall, impatiently waiting.
A little background: We have now been married for almost nine years. In those nine years, we have never gotten a tax return. The first five years we were married JB was running his own business. This required him to put money in the bank each quarter and then make one payment at tax time. Sometimes we wouldn't have to use all the money, however, we never actually got a return.
Then came Minnesota. This was a disaster. For whatever reason, my teaching job in St. Charles did not take out enough tax money for us. We didn't know this until tax time rolled around and we owed money. The next year, I had left teaching but was working two part-time jobs. This really hit us hard as, "unbeknowest" to us, part-time jobs don't take out as much money as full time jobs. When tax time rolled around, we owed thousands of dollars! This really, really stunk. Year three, we did better but still ended up owing money.
So this year, we were, cautious. Despite requesting more money to be taken out of all our paychecks, we were figuring that come tax time, we would owe a bit. We weren't trying to be negative, just financially ready.
So back to present day. (JB finishes the taxes and shuffles over to me.) He holds up a piece of paper with a large sum on money on it. "Here's the damage," he mumbles. Despite Novocain from my recent dentist visit, my jaw drops. The number on the piece of paper was even more money than we owed in year two! How could this be? How could we owe that much despite having extra money withheld from both of my paychecks? Then JB smiles. This was the money we were getting back!!!!!
The main reason: IVF. Our medical expenses were at their maximum this last year as I did two harvests and three transfers all in the course of one year. This gave us a return! So we actually saved money putting me under. Well, not really, but we are still really excited about this return. It was nice to get nice news.
In other news, I also went to the dentist this week and got my two temporary crowns put on. This was quite an experience. They ended up giving me some of the "laughing gas" as there were two pretty big fillings that had to be taken out, and my lack of sleep the night before was leaving me not-very-relaxed. This gas was wonderful! I actually think I got a nap while she was drilling.
After two hours and what I believed was a conclusion to a not-so-pleasant but very-tolerable experience, I went out to the counter to pay my bill, only to have my dentist come out and get me, unhappy with the molding for one of my crowns. Her real fear was because we were leaving the country for six weeks, if the molding wasn't perfect, there might not be time to return the crowns and get them redone before we left, leaving me in temporary crowns (which fall off easily and are quite clunky) the whole time we are in Africa! So I had to get back in the chair, get more Novocain, and do one tooth again. Dr. Laura was so sweet, and she thanked me for my patience, but I really, really wanted to get out of the dentist office.
In other news from the week ...
This week JB has also returned to real class. He and his forty-something classmates are back in the classroom for a three week class. This will actually be JB's last class and test during medical school. Next Thursday will also be the day that his classmates all "match" with their residency choices (something JB has already done). There is a huge "ceremony" for match day -- something I get to attend. They also cancel class the next day due to the fact that so many students have spent the night before, well, celebrating.
As of last Friday, JB also wore a suit for the last time. Not sure how many of you know that Mayo docs don't wear white coats. They were suits. Every day. JB finds the idea of putting a lasso around your neck each morning quite absurd so he reminded for a week straight that this was the last week he may ever have to put on a suit ... daily.
For the next seven years, he will be wearing a military uniform to work. I'd imagine he'll get pretty sick of that too.
The next three months of our lives might be the busiest three months in the history of our lives. We will be going on a six week mission trip, graduating from medical school, doing a transfer, moving to Florida, and both starting new jobs/careers, and possibly moving forward with adoption or a pregnancy. That being the case, I realized that we definitely need prayer and a lot of it. However, specifically, if you are praying for us would you pray:
- That the Lord gives me sweet sleep in Nigeria and South Africa.
- That all the details of handing my medications while across the world are taken care of and that my body responds appropriately.
- That we are able to get all the things done that need to be done before we leave without me nagging JB to death.
- That I have peace about what I will be doing in Nigeria each day. I am a planner, and I have been told repeatedly that this trip will require flexibility and adaptation to circumstances.
- That the Lord reveals to both JB and I what it is he wants us to be doing with missions. We pray that this trip opens our eyes and our hearts to the direction He has for our lives.
- That our condo sells or rents -- whichever it is the Lord wants for it.
- That we could move into our place in Florida without having to go into temporary housing.
- That amongst the ten people in JB's residency class, that there are a few Christian couples that we can get support from -- particularly couples who are compassionate and understanding of our infertility journey as are the people we are friends with here.
- That the Lord would use us in Florida. That our home would be a haven to people who are alone and without support -- just like us.
- For a successful transfer on May 31st -- 4th time is the charm!!!
- For wisdom on how and when to proceed with adoption.
- For save travel for all our friends and family coming to the graduation and all of us as we get ourselves moved to Florida.
- For JB to have wisdom and he begins to treat patients and work through his residency.
I hope that list is long enough for starters. Again, I'll post a more specific prayer list for our mission trip right before we leave.
Monday, March 05, 2007
Our gang (minus Nicole) after a very fun and exhausting afternoon