Wednesday, December 26, 2007
God's blessings to us continue to AMAZE us!!! We do get MUCH from HIM! May HE be glorified in ALL THINGS!
Monday, December 24, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Air conditioners, Hot Peppers, High pillows and the Psychiatrist
If you had a headache that started with a major pop in the neck near the base of the skull, followed by the worst pain you had ever had in your head, followed by complete blood in the whites of your eyes, what would be your diagnosis? What kind of doctor would you see for these symptoms? What kind of tests would you have done?
Here’s our story. Serious but sooooo funny in soooo many ways!
Two weeks ago my husband, Matt was doing some pushups as part of his exercise routine. (oh, what a buff man he is!) As he came up on his last one, he heard and felt a pop in the right side of his neck, followed by the worst pain he had ever had in his head, followed by the whites of his eyes completely turning blood red. When it happened it was kind of one of those surreal moments that you just think, “Well, that was strange.” He continued to have a headache for the next day, so we thought we should probably ask a medical person’s opinion. Before I go into the rest of the story, let me tell you that we live in a major city in Africa. In this culture it is easy to get appointments with doctors and all visits are done in the evenings.
We first saw an orthopedic doctor at our schedule appointment for 9 pm. He told us that he didn’t know what had happened but that it was not a muscle in his neck. He then told us that if it were him, he would get and MRI and MRA brain. We left his office at 9:30 and called the scan lab and they had an appointment at 10:15 pm. We headed across the city to a scan lab to have an MRI and MRA brain. The technician came out and said all looked good and sent us home.
The headache continued and with the advice of a medical friend here we made an appointment to see a neurologist. This appointment was scheduled for 10 pm that evening in downtown. We entered a moldy smelling office with a friend and were greeted by the doctor 15 minutes later. We told the doctor the whole story, he asked to see the scans and then he looked at Matt for a minute or two having him touch his nose and follow his finger. He then said, “You have what we call a tension headache.” We went over the incident again to make sure he understood what had happened and that we could not see the whites of Matt’s eyes when this happened. His reply was, “You know when you get angry your eyes can turn red.” “You can also get a headache from sleeping on a high pillow.” Then he proceeded to say that the headache was probably from studying Arabic so long in the air conditioner. I have no idea what he said after that because there was no need!!!
The headaches continued with the pain going from severe to mild. By this point we had been on the phone with doctors and radiologists in the states trying to get their opinion. Their concern was that Matt had had a subarachnoid hemorrhage. No one knew what we should do-all were researching. In the mean time, we had some of our local friends offering to talk to doctors that they knew. One of our local friends talked to a doctor that she highly respects and he said, “Some people that eat hot peppers can have really bad headaches.”
Then some more friends had some relatives who knew a “good” neurologist. He agreed to make a “house call.” He arrived with his little black bag, heard the story, took Matt’s blood pressure, had him touch his nose and looked in his eyes. He also flipped through the scans much like you would a stack of cards. He then said, “You have a headache. You are perfect. You may just be anxious.” He left and we still had no answers for what had happened. We started to feel a little helpless and at the same time silly. We know people have headaches and we know there are many reasons for them. We could not find answers to the initial incident.
An hour after the “house call”, our Arabic language teacher came by to say hi and check on Matt. She looked down at the receipt that was written in Arabic from the “house call” doctor on the table and said, “Why did you see a psychiatrist for your headache.” Hmmm…guess that wasn’t the right doctor.
Needless to say, we were done seeing doctors here for answers.
Side note: We have seen doctors here for other minor things and Stacey has even had gall-bladder surgery here. All of our medical care has been excellent. But for some reason, there are not too many experts for the brain.
So, the doctors in the states thought that they needed to have Matt evaluated in the states. The fear was that he had a subarachnoid hemorrhage. After seeing a couple of doctors in the states and having more tests run, it turns out that he had an “exercise induced” migraine. We are told that theses two things look very similar and the only way to tell one from the other is a spinal tap. Of course, nothing can be easy….Matt had a reaction to the spinal tap and it made him worse than before!
Here we are two weeks after returning to the states and he is feeling great! We are so thankful for the good diagnosis. The doctor told him that it could happen again and if it did to “STOP IT!” (Not much different advice from the doctors here! )
Now we are waiting to return home. We thought it would be this week but have learned that there are no flights available until after Christmas. So, we will enjoy our time with family and friends during this holiday season! We are so thankful for many things….Matt’s brain is good (even though some of his friend may argue that!), we can return to our home in Africa, we got to spend Thanksgiving with family, we get to spend Christmas with family, Matt can now go back to eating hot peppers, studying Arabic in the air-conditioning and sleeping on the pillow he loves. He is even cleared to exercise again!LOL! One thing we do know for sure... when things get crazy and life seems “up in the air” we know THE ONE we trust in! HE is so faithful! May HE be GLORIFIED in our lives in ALL THINGS!
Monday, December 03, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Here's a slide of how we spent Thanksgiving Day. We made the trip to Jackson, TN from Arkansas with Stacey's mom and sister taking the kids in one car and meeting Matt's sister and brother-in-law half-way to get the kids and Stacey driving another car with Matt lying flat in the back seat. (What would we do without family!!?? :)) We tried riding with Matt reclined in the front seat but he was too sick to travel like that. Now I know some of you are thinking, "Why in the world would they drive all of that way with Matt so sick???" Well, we had to make the trip before Friday morning's doctor appointment in Tennessee. So, we took our time, got to Jackson and moved Matt from lying down in the car to lying down on Ryan and Sara's couch. He didn't feel like eating all day but was grateful to be able to see everyone standing over him. By 9 that night Matt was hungry so I fed him leftover Thanksgiving dinner while he laid down on the couch! (Boy, he has his work cut out for him when this is all over!!LOL)
The day after we arrived in the states some of our dearest friends, the Kings, drove all the way from Pensacola to Cabot, Arkansas to see us. They were on their way to see family in VIRGINIA for Thanksgiving and decided to drop by here first. (SOOOOO NOT ON THE WAY!!!) It meant so much to us for them to make that long trip with their 3 kids. All of these pics were taken outside because that is all the kids wanted to do the whole time! Our kids miss the grass and leaves and the day was just beautiful for them to catch up on some good-ole playin'. Thanks guys!!! We love you!!
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
I took Matt to a neurologist yesterday. The good news is that they ran the test that ruled out the hemmorhage we had feared. The bad news is that they still are not 100% sure what is wrong. They suspect an "exercise induced migraine" but are going to run other tests to make sure. We will take a migraine over a brain bleed any day! He was scheduled for another test today but he was too sick to even get out of bed. The doctor has now given him some major drugs to help with the pain and he will re-schedule for another day. Until then, please keep praying for his recovery. I am really starting to feel sorry for him! LOL (For all of you who know me and know I don't have the gift of compassion and mercy, you can go ahead and laugh!)
The kids travel so well! Mr. Rob playing with the kids! He even let them put stickers all over his face.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Well, we leave in 7 hours on an unexpected trip back home to America! Just look at this view of my parent's house! Oh, it looks so clean, homey and peaceful! I can't wait! I think I am just going to roll around in that grass!(ha) Maybe I will leave that for the kids!
We have so many emotions going through us, we don't know quite what to expect. We will be going home for a doctor's visit for Matt. We are anxious about the trip and about the tests he will be having while there but we are also sad to leave our friends (really family) here and then we are so excited to see our family and friends in America! Matt has had his roller coaster of feeling good and then feeling bad while I have the roller coaster of every emotion you could dream of!
For all of you who check our blog regularly and for those who have emailed and called giving your prayers and support, we THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts. I will be posting again in just a few days to update you on Matt's test results. When this is all over, I have one more story to post for you! You won't believe it when you read it!
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
This week is the week for birthdays at our house. Stacey, Madison and Matthew Ray all have birthdays the first week of November. The festivities began with a party at the pre-school for Madison and Matthew Ray, followed by a party at our house with Mr. Siede and his family (shown above). We will have the final party this weekend at McDonalds! It is sure to be a great event. I have heard that McDonald's parties here are AMAZING!!! We will post the great PIRATES AND PRINCESS PARTY in a few more days!
Saturday, November 03, 2007
I have done some snappin' in my past but nothing like I have done since living here! There is so much available here but so many of our "ready foods" are so much more expensive. For example, I found velveeta the other day and saw that it cost $11. Oreos were $10! And a can of good tasting green beans can run $3-5. So, needless to say we are learning how to buy, cook and eat without breaking our budget. One way we do this is buying fresh green beans. I can buy a kilo (2 lbs) for about 25 cents!!! Pretty cheap, huh? One of Madison and Matthew Ray's new chores is snappin' beans. So far, they love it! We will see how long that lasts! :)
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Last week we made an appointment for Stacey and Meredith to see the eye doctor. We have never had Meredith's eyes checked so we thought it was about time. We went as a family to meet our new eye doctor here. We were told to come to our appointment at 7:30 PM (yes, that is normal here in Egypt!) We arrived a few minutes late (which is also normal here) and we saw the doctor at 9:15 PM (again, normal!) We entered the office and just planned for Meredith and Stacey to be checked but the doctor said it was good to start checking children's eyes at around 3 or 4 years of age. So, Matthew Ray volunteered to go first. The doctor checked his eyes and then gave a sigh...He said, "We will have to give him glasses." We were shocked! He never complained! But apparently he has a condition where he is farsighted and doesn't see well up-close. The doctor said that putting glasses on him now will keep him from becoming "cross-eyed" and then he might not need them in a few years. At first, Matthew Ray was a little worried about people laughing at him but he has been a real trooper! And of course, we think he looks adorable! (kinda like that little boy on Jerry McGuire, don't ya think?)
Friday, October 26, 2007
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
You will also notice how Madison loves teasing him. Don't worry-he gets his share of teasing in with her, too!
Monday, October 15, 2007
Sunday, October 14, 2007
A friend of ours had to go away for the weekend and she asked us to dog-sit for her. The kids were so excited to be able to have a pet for a few days. We have had our history of pets but they never seem to work out. I just can't see having to feed and clean up someone else's poopy around here!!!! But the last two days with Gameela (meaning "beautiful" in Arabic) have been a lot of fun. She is really a neat dog. She is so smart and can do so many tricks. Thanks "H" for letting us keep her!
Monday, October 08, 2007
It is a holiday weekend here so we have had some "down time" and it has been a lot of fun. One of the favorite pass times for the kids is dressing up and making up plays. The title of this particular play is "The Prince and the Princess." As you can see, Madison loves the camera (note her looking straight into the camera.) You can't see Madison when the witch said she was going to kill her but she was clapping her hands and when I asked her why, she said, "Oh, that is Matthew Ray's hint that it is his time to come out and save me!" We had a long laugh about that one! Arent' kids fun???
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
We have been so busy with language lately that we have had little time to blog. We did get to go to a wonderful conference last week in the middle of the desert. It was a fun time. Here are some pictures of the kids singing some songs at the conference. They sang some in English and some in Arabic. Their Arabic is amazing!! We are so proud of them.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Retreat...Trick or Treat...Happy Holidays...Happy Pumpkin Day...Throwing Leaves at friends...How do you think a three year old little boy can lump all of these in one very long conversation that has lasted for 2 days now. It all started yesterday morning when I got out some fall decorations for our dining room table. We were having some friends over that evening so we thought it was time to get some fall things out since the air is a little cooler now. The kids were so excited to help decorate. We put 3 pumpkins, fall leaves, candy corn (sent to me by some GREAT people!! thanks, guys!) and a table cloth on the table. After the whole 5 minutes it took to decorate was complete, Matthew Ray ran and turned out all of the lights, closed the curtains, and hid behind the couch. I said, "What are you doing, Matthew Ray?" He said, "I am hiding here and I will jump out and yell at our friends "Happy Pumpkin Day" when they get here!!!" I explained to him that they would not be arriving for another 5 hours. After being a little disappointed, he played for the rest of the afternoon. The door bell rang when our friends arrived and Matthew Ray wanted to help answer the door. When I opened the door, he yelled, "Happy Holidays!!" We all laughed and I tried to explain to our friends what had been going on in his little mind.
This morning we were getting the kids ready for school. We were telling them that they only had 2 days of school this week and then we leave for a retreat. Matthew Ray started jumping up and down and said, "Yeah!!! We get to go to the RE-Trick or Treat!!! I am going to throw leaves on all of my friends and jump around!!!" Of course, we tried to explain the difference between retreat and trick or treat and we also tried to explain that we didn't think there would be any leaves to throw on his friends but all of that didn't seem to bother him a bit. He's just glad to get a break from school and in his little mind all of these phrases put together make perfect sense. I am beginning to understand him so much more because this is exactly what my brain is doing with ARABIC!!!!
Sunday, September 09, 2007
Saturday, September 08, 2007
Thursday, September 06, 2007
1. I haven't driven a car in 8 months. We ride in taxi's here for transportation and we will do this for at least one more year. I don't know if I will remember how!
2. I no longer wipe down my faucets in my kitchen and bathroom sinks to make them shiny.(sounds kinda silly as I type this) Reason 1-I don't even think about it anymore because I have NO TIME! Reason 2-My house helper cleans my bathrooms at least twice a week.
3. I never thought I would leave my children at a run-down, ugly building with broken toys. Madison and Matthew Ray go to a Hadonna (daycare) that is really pitiful looking BUT the people are great and they love it much more than the first one that was beautiful but where they didn't get to run!
4. I have always been pretty relaxed about leaving my kids with others but I still was protective of them. Here I put all three of my children in a taxi alone to go to and from school!
5. I know this one may come as a surprise to some of you- I don't worry about my hair anymore! I can't worry because it is always being blown to pieces in the unairconditiond taxis. I fix it in the mornings and then never look back!
6. Matt and I have always worked close together but now we are REALLY WORKING CLOSE TOGETHER! We are in language right now and we have the same teacher at the same time in our home. We are together day and night. We love one another greatly but we are having to adjust to having each other around so much. :)
7. I think I would have panicked back in the states if my car had been broken down on the side of a major road with all three kids in 100 degree heat. For some reason I don't panic here-I am becoming quite the pro-only 2 taxi breakdowns this week!
8. I never would have dreamed that I would learn to speak another language. (I hated Spanish in High School because I thought it was so backwards and hard!) Now I am making (some) headway in the 2nd most difficult language in the world! (and I kinda like it!
Now I am tagging any of my camp friends who are now living overseas!
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
We had some friends here this week and we were able to visit a Coptic church. Getting there was an event, as usual. The area was far from our home and we took a black and white taxi to get there. When we arrived to the edge of the town, the taxi driver told us that he would not drive into the town because the roads are very bad and the smell is even worse. So, we rented a tuc-tuc (small motorized vehicle) and proceeded through the town. We stuck out like sore-thumbs for sure! I don't think very many "white" people visit there often. On the way we passed small children running around without shoes along with livestock running freely beside them. One local man was throwing up on the side of the road. We assume some people just never get used to the smell.
After a very eye-opening ride, we arrived at the church. First we were able to speak to the church members. They were so warm and welcoming to us. We then were able to meet the priest and his wife and we spent some time with them over dinner at midnight!!!! It was such a great time that we decided to go back the next night. We took a break today but we are ready to see our new friends again soon!!
Us with a Saint and Jesus behind us.
The priest and his wife. (they are our age!)
Matt and the priest along with some dear friends.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Jesus, I am walking behind You,
And the people are looking at me.
When the people see me with You,
We hope for them to be with You.
In my eyes, I am always seeing You.All of Your heart has compassion.
Here they are singing it for you!
Several of you have asked for more pictures from the city. We forget to take our camera everywhere we go so we had Meredith go down and take some shots that she thought you might enjoy. All of these pictures are on the street right under our apartment. Meredith buys eggs, milk, soap, etc. from some of these shops. She is now able to use her Arabic and can ask for most anything. If she buys too much, she just has them deliver it to our apartment! The men in the little grocery shops sell items to Meredith several times a week. They were so proud to have Meredith take their picture.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Anyway, here are the pictures from the "mini-couple getaway." Matt played golf for the first time since we have been here and Stacey was glad to caddy.
Here's the beautiful view from our hotel room!