Monday, June 30, 2008

Hospital Days, part 1 - Pre-surgery

note: i was on varying levels of pain medication during the writing of this blog, so just ignore random tense and voice switches!


3:30pm: arrive, sign a multitude of papers, and take an x-ray etc.

By 5 I’m in my room and have had blood taken and the iv needle taped into my hand

I got a window seat! Oh wait I mean bed… roommate arrives around 6:30, an 82 year old lady also getting some kind of leg surgery. Find out that she only speaks Taiwanese and Japanese, but I have a chat with her granddaughter.

I ask if I can go out for a little while (for a walk or something) and they say “sure, just wait until the anesthesiologist comes to see you” well at 10am the next day, I still haven’t seen him grrr…

Had some visitors, and put my hair into little braids, partly for something to do, partly so I wouldn't have to worry about doing anything with it for a couple of days. Partly because I'd never go to class with hair like that, so this is one of the only times I can do it!

I asked around and found out that my surgery is actually at 1pm not 8am……felt a little frustrated… Taiwanese hospitals have extremely poor communication. Felt like I’d really wasted a whole day having to come in so early…..

At least it wasn’t like my friend a few weeks ago who went into a different hospital and was first diagnosed with malaria (which doesn’t exist in Taiwan), then cancer, and finally a virus…. He was discharged last Monday.

As I get ready for bed the Indonesian worker who helps the lady next to me borrows my metal chair to sleep on. The poor girl doesn’t have any blankets or pillows or anything. It seems she’s going to just sleep on two metal chairs all night! It’s hard to believe; I feel really sorry for her, but not sure what I can do either. Fortunately, they do eventually find her a cot.

Thurs morning

Wake up around 7, decide I’m going to go for a little walk no matter what. Manage to trip and fall on the way back… no permanent damage, but bruises and sore knees. Didn’t tell anyone.

Took a shower (my last standing shower for a bit I guess) and had more visitors.

Finally saw the doctor, who said the surgery will take less than an hour. Still haven’t seen the anesthesiologist…. But they brought in my hospital gown at 8am….like I’m going to sit around half naked for 5 hours!

Now I’ve been entertaining myself with 4 episodes of corner gas, and trying not to laugh too loudly…. Oh and did I mention I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything after midnight…. Starting to feel a little hungry, but it will probably be until 7 or 8pm that I can eat. Getting put under is more complicated than just getting a local, but I’m still glad I’m doing it.. I really didn’t want to go through the epidural ordeal again.

Christine came around 11:30, and Alice came back again too, she’s been to see me a lot. The anesthesiologist finally came and talked to me, and then I was ready to go down for surgery. They wheeled me down in a wheelchair, and I was a little nervous, but not bad. I’ve had so many people pray for me over the past few days, that nothing dare go wrong.

Chat with the doctor as he’s giving me oxygen, getting ready to put me out. He asks me (though I suspect not for medical purposes) if I’d gotten fat since I came to Taiwan, or if I always was.. fortunately they knocked me out before he could ask about my salary.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

100% natural

Tomorrow I go into the hospital to get ready for surgery on Thursday morning. Most of the metal in the above x-ray will be taken out (some was already taken out last year).
The good thing is my bone is completely healed, and it will be great to get all the "hardware" out, and hopefully after that will be 100% healed.
The bad thing is, it seems like I'll have to go back before I go forward... after the screws are taken out, there will be small holes in the bone that need to be healed, and I'll be susceptible to re-injury for a couple of months if I do fall again or get into any kind of accident.
So my summer activities will be a little limited, not to mention no swimming until the incision site is healed AGAIN.... and no coffee, tea or cola for awhile, I've already been off them for about a week. I miss my coffee! I've been drinking a lot of milk and soy milk though.
I was thinking that this time will be better since I know in advance that I'm having the surgery. I've already cleaned up my room and did laundry, taken out the recycling, and bought groceries. But I still don't really feel READY. Something just doesn't seem right about walking into the hospital on 2 feet and coming out on crutches!
At this point I'm not really sure what the recovery will look like, but I'm told it's not bad, and that I should even be walking after not too long. I'm also not sure how long I'll be in the hospital for. If I don't get discharged on Saturday by noon, I'll have to wait until Monday... so we'll see! I've got lots of books and DVDs. Another update to come once I get home! I don't think the hospital here in Yilan will have wireless internet :P

Monday, June 23, 2008

New (used) Scooter

Well I'm officially the owner of a scooter now after more than three and a half years in Taiwan! Most people don't wait that long, but I do enjoy riding my bike, and I had complications with getting my license last time if you recall... I AM planning to get one soon though, don't worry!
The transfer was really quite fast and painless. I was surprised! Thankfully there were no issues with me not having a driver's license. The funniest thing about the whole process was that the people at the motor vehicle office couldn't seem to tell me apart from the girl I was buying the scooter from, even though we looked NOTHING alike! She was holding our photo IDs and asked "whose is this?" Another funny thing about living here...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Dinner and a Movie!

Last Sunday was the wrap-up for my English bible study! We'd been planning the party for awhile, and students invited their friends and family to come.
We had singing, games, a potluck dinner, and then watched a movie on the big screen outside. There was TONS of food. I made a chocolate orange cake and a pasta salad. As you can see there were 2 tables alone just for fruit and dessert. There were another 4 tables for food.

Here's Janet and her son Roy making fish-shaped pancakes (waffles?) in a waffle maker they brought from home! Another adorable 10 year old student proudly showed off the scrambled eggs he brought.
I was really happy about how many people showed up! Some students from my classes at the schools came too. here's everyone getting ready to sing.

I looked up during the program and saw this amazing sunset and had to snap a picture!
It felt like a message from God.

Actually it was like a miracle on Sunday. We weren't sure the weather would cooperate. And it POURED all day Saturday. Part of the fun of our movie night was doing it all outdoors. But we weren't sure we'd be able to. We just kept saying "Pray!"
At about 4:00pm it started to rain, and I was really worried we'd be rained out, but it was completely dry by 6 when we started! Just as we were about to start the movie (the inspiring Facing the Giants) a few drops of rain began to fall. We were about to pack up and go in, while shielding the laptop, projector etc from the water. But the pastor said , just wait and see! And she told the kids to look for a star in the sky, and if they found one, it wouldn't rain. Well, the rain did stop, and we were able to finish the movie, which everyone thoroughly enjoyed! By the way, it rained all day Monday too!

It was such a great night. I left there with a huge smile on my face. I'm so thankful that this class has been growing, and more importantly, becoming more confident, and growing closer to God. This picture is all the students who missed 3 or fewer classes throughout the whole semester!
We'll be on break for the summer, and then starting our third consecutive year in the fall!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Dragon Boat Festival

This past Sunday was Dragon Boat Festival. No long weekend this year! After church (where we ate traditional rice dumplings - zongzi for lunch), some of us decided to go to nearby Dongshan river to see if there were still some races going on.

We got a nice spot near the finish line. Here are the boats turing around after their race. Actually, we got there fairly close to the end, so we only saw a few races, but it was nice just to get out for awhile. The weather was great.

As you can see, tons of people flocked here. Parking was a nightmare.... I'm glad I wasn't driving!

Here's the end of a race, one team clearly in the lead.

Good friends, Su-wan, Pastor Jane, and Sunny. Albert, our driver took the picture.

Sorry I dont' have a lot to write.. I'm buried under a pile of grading right now... semester's almost over though!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

planning my life

my fate is sealed: I go in for surgery (to take the metal out of my leg) on June 25. Actually the surgery will take place on the 26, one week after my last class of the semester, which is 2 weeks from tomorrow.
does that sound complicated? how about this? my work visa expires June 15, which happens to be the same day we're planning our end-of-semester event for the English Bible study, and hopefully my visa will be renewed before then or i might have to leave the country... around that day.... it'll be a close call, but i go pick up my renewed passport on Friday, so hopefully everything will work out with that...
I'm also in the process of booking my flights home: looks like the date will be Aug 16 - to Vancouver, then to Castlegar on the 17, heading back to Alberta somewhere in the middle to fly out of Calgary on the 28. If you happen to be in any of those cities, let me know and I'll do my best to see you!
As for the summer schedule between June 25 and Aug 16.... it's slightly, sorta up in the air still, I'll know more soon I'm sure, but I think there will be classes in Yilan for part of it, and stuff to do in Taipei as well... not sure if I'm going back to Jinguashi yet... the place I spent my third week of camp last year... I guess we'll see how my leg's doing at that point!