Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Today has been a particularly difficult day. As a mom I think that I should be able to have the answers to questions that are sometimes impossible. As a nurse I think that I should be able to fix everything that goes wrong and make it all better. Impossible is a word that I refuse to use most of the time and yet there are some circumstances that are just that...What determines our experiences in life. Did we choose them before we came here or do they choose us once we are here. Which ever it is it sometimes just plain hurts and there is not a thing we can do about it but get through it. Then, once through, the" healing" hurts. Time ticks away and one day you look back and call it an "experience". You reflect on what you actually learned through it all and convince yourself that it really is amazing how it works. Then we move on and help others who may be going through similar struggles and because we have been through it ourselves we sometimes really do know what to say and what to do to help them. Then they begin to heal also, and so it goes.
Friday, February 20, 2009
I LOVE Thursdays! I call them my mental health days and for good reason, they make the rest of the week livable. What a great ski day we had yesterday. You can not believe how beautiful the mountain was. The sky was so blue and the sun didn't hide behind a cloud all day. We skied our brains out...or what is left of them! We didn't leave until they made us. That usually doesn't happen. We are normally ready to leave about 3:00 but, yesterday NO WAY! I tried out my new skies and yes... I took a couple of tumbles but the snow was soooooooo soft I didn't even care and, neither one of them was a yard sale like the last time I fell so I was grateful! Of coarse the company was the BEST, as always but, I have to ask, "Debbie "WHAT were you looking at"??? ( picture # 5 ).
A day with my friends is just what I need after a long week of work! Good times...Thanks Dee for the pictures! Love you ski gals!
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
I had just walked through the door from work today when the phone rang. It was my cousin Karen from Idaho. She was on her way home with her husband Cal from visiting her brother Barry in Las Vegas. She asked me if I was going to be home for a little while because they wanted to stop by and give me a book that Barry had given to her to give to me! It is a book that both of my parents had in high school. My dad must have had it first because he boldly put his name on the front cover in INK! It is written twice! At the top it says: Pvt. Robert M. Clark and then down a little bit farther it says: Hans Clark, complete with umlauts over the "a" which my brother Matt says is really not right because umlauts don't really go over an "a" but, it does show everyone that he was after all a "Proud German Boy". Upon opening it you can see that my mom probably a year later when she had a crush on my dad...used the same book, wrote her name inside ( showing much more respect for the book) and then in her hand writing wrote my dads name in it too! How cute!! My favorite part is in the back. When I was thumbing through the book I found out how my mom really felt about the book! "In case of fire---throw in this book"... So like her! How I miss my mom.
Just a note: Karen died on August 13, 2009 of lung cancer. She quietly slipped away from us which was just how she would have wanted it. She lived her life, with quiet dignity. Love you Karen.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Happy Valentines Day!!!
I love Valentines Day. I always have. I guess it goes back to when I was a little girl and my dad would always leave a box of chocolates on my pillow and a card telling me I was his favorite little girl...I was his only little girl so being his favorite was a given! I would have loved to have had a sister to grow up with but, if that would have meant sharing my dad well...that might have been not so worth it. He was and still is my rock, my best friend and my light in the dark when I'm afraid. I guess you could say since it is Valentines Day...he is my Valentine! At least one of them... Steve, (my other Valentine) and I along with Garett and Lisa spent part of the day shopping...for skies. I finally broke down and bought a new pair. I have been skiing on the same pair for 10 years! Not sure they will help me ski any better but at least I will "look" like I should know what I am doing. I love that Steve will only let me buy the best. He really doesn't even know what that is when it comes to skies but, he will talk to the sales reps. forever until he thinks that he knows and then tell me why he thinks that I should get the ones that are "usually" the most $$$. He is a firm believer in "you get what you pay for". I love that about him. He is always looking out for me. Now if I could just convince him to ski! Thanks Gar and Lisa for tagging along.
Steve helped Garett fix Lisa's car after towing it up the switchbacks and into our garage. Then we all went to dinner and to the movie. We all felt like celebrating because they actually "fixed" the car...All the parts were clearly back in the car and not one screw was left sitting on the garage floor. AMAZING!! Later that weekend we found out that the only thing wrong with the car was that it was OUT OF GAS!!! I laughed hysterically when Steve told me that the gas gauge was malfunctioning...I'm still proud of you boys for replacing a perfectly good fuel filter! (Don't be mad that I blogged this Gar).
Grandpa Steve sent all the grand kids a Valentine Box filled with gifts and treats which they received during the week. It has been fun to get their excited calls. It is always so fun to get something in the mail! Happy Valentines Day everyone. XOXO!
Thursday, February 5, 2009
The sunrise looking toward Lake Nakuru as we flew over the Masai Mara in Kenya in a hot air balloon. It was breathtaking. So quiet and peaceful. The animals hardly knew we were above them. Kenya is known through out the world for the National Game Reservers it boasts. Having been there I can see why they are so well known for their animals. There are so many. Everything you could possibly want to see you can see in Kenya. However, if you have a bad back you might want to wait until the roads are a little better.It is a work in progress. After the safari I felt as if I had mountain biked Africa!
This elephant was what they called a "rouge" he was very mean and would attack jeeps and safari members...we kept our distance. The natives call him Jimba! I was so nervous to be around him, I saw no reason to make him angry!!!
Notice the torn skin on the knees of the giraffe. Something obviously wanted him for dinner!
I loved the cheetah cubs. They were adorable. We were able to get very close to them. it was awesome! Mom was always very close by...
This is a little 9 month old boy with a cleft lip and pallet. We were able to fix the lip and hopefully will be able to repair the pallet this November. He will be able to suck on a bottle now and at least eat normally. He will also look like a normal little boy which is very important for village children.
Okay, this post is not for the faint! Sorry, I should have warned you!!! I have had many of you ask to see some pictures of the actual surgeries that we did in Africa The pictures are graphic so I am sorry if they freak some of you out but, this is what I do...This is Jackson. He is a 26 year old young man who was hit by a car on the streets of Kakamega. As you can see by the X-Ray he has a broken Femur and an open Tib/Fib fracture...for you that are not medical that means that the bone is coming through the skin! you can see that in the pictures. Pam, my sister-in-law is the nurse in the pictures ( I am the photographer...yea). She is trying to hold an unstable thigh while prepping a lower leg for surgery. It is hard work. She is AWESOME! I have to put the camera down in a few minutes to help her but boy, did I have fun snapping pictures for awhile! The top two pictures show the external fixator that was placed to put the bone back together and hold it in place while it heals. Jackson will be up and walking around again in about 4-6 weeks without help! If we had not been there he would most likely still be in the hospital in traction sharing a small cot with another patient. His leg may not have ever healed to the point of being able to hold his weight again. The first thing he said when he was awake enough to speak was "asante, asante sana. (Thank you, thank you very much).
Wow! You can not believe how high these guys can jump. They make MJ look like a white guy! Maybe our NBA players should adopt their diet and exercise program and see if perhaps they could improve their game...
The head dresses are just for show...their heads are shaved. It is much to hot to have long hair on the Masai Mara.
This is a picture of the gourd that contains the "food" that they eat. Milk mixed with the blood of the cow.
The women were beautiful and oh so nice. Very happy and content. I loved being around them. How they love their children!
Home sweet home...comes complete with all sorts of amenities or the lack of...I have to say it was cooler inside than outside. Probably a good thing when you consider what the house is made of!
The Prince was willing to trade all of his herds for Shea. He was not married yet and he really wanted her to be his 1st wife (which is a great honor). I think the offer will still be on the table this year when the medical team returns! Go Shea!
So I have been asked to speak at several different functions since returning from Africa about my experience there. It is difficult to sum up in 30 or 40 minutes what it was like. Words seem to fail miserably when it comes to describing my feelings or what actually took place. To try and explain how we did surgery in a 3rd world country with no modern equipment in a hospital that was built before WWI doesn't even begin to do it justice however, we managed and managed quite well. As you can see the highlight of my experience was the children. I LOVED the children. They were always happy and respectful and so full of genuine curiosity. I wanted to bring them all home with me! After the long days of back breaking and emotionally draining work you could always count on the smiles of the children to bring your spirits back to a "high" again. It didn't take long, their smiles were contagious! The pictures below are of the children of the Masai Mara. They are a people that live on the African tundra, I call it a tundra because it isn't really a desert and it's not really mountains either. It lies just above the Serengeti in Kenya. They survive only on the milk of the cow, goat and the blood harvested from the jugular vein of the cow...I am not kidding. They eat nothing else. By adding the blood to the milk it enables them to go for days and days without food while they are tending to their herds away from the village. Their animals are their livelihood. They treat them with great care and respect. In their culture, your wealth and prominence is determined by the number of herds you have. Their houses are made of cow dung, no joke...Think about that the next time you think you need a new home! They wear the color red and purple so that they can be seen from a distance by their tribe members. It is such a simple life in so many ways but, I am not sure that I could survive knowing what I know of the world. The children are required to go to school and have been taught about a different way of life but choose to return to this one in most cases.
Just a note: In the picture with me and the young man...He is the prince! I am in his house. He is holding the long "gourd" type looking thing that has the mixture of milk and blood inside. He wanted to know if I would like to have a swallow or two...I declined. Also, I added a picture of the tribesman who were fascinated by the fact that we were doctors and nurses...they wanted our surgical masks, gloves and hats. I couldn't resist taking a picture of them. They really thought that they were something all dressed up like surgeons!