Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Funny Thing About This Hospital Trip

So, there we were in a town called Swellendam when we got the news that Caroline had died. (Final work team building trip and had already searched for a church in Bredasdorp) We took the children to our friends at church in Cape Town (220km trip), fetched my mother and made the long drive to Johannesburg. Because I don’t use public toilets, I decided not to take my IBS herbs early on Sabbath morning so I wouldn’t need the church toilet. I hadn’t used any on Friday either as we made the almost 300km drive to Swellendam from our home. Late Sabbath morning we were still driving to Johannesburg and IBS was not on my mind. I was just getting teary while we (mom, hubby and I) sang along to hymns like, “It is well with my soul.” Sunday, we were still driving to Johannesburg so still didn’t take my herbs. Nor did I drink enough water. NOT GOOD.

We arrived Sunday afternoon, went to see the boys and their cousin who was the first to find Caroline in the state she was in then went to leave our luggage at the guesthouse. We arranged to meet another cousin (who had been involved in the accident that killed her mom and our brother) at around 6pm back at the boys’ home. Got some lunch, took some to my mother, told her I wasn’t really feeling great so needed to go lie down.

And the pain just HIT. JUST LIKE THAT. EXTREME PAIN. IN MY ABDOMEN. BURNING.TWISTING.CRAMPY.

At first I thought it was just a bad IBS attack. Then I thought it was that plus hunger so tried to eat a bit. Nope, no can do. Poor hubby was already looking up the nearest hospital while I told him I’d be fine and to eat. Poor man didn’t take a bite. The pain wasn’t dissipating so I told him I couldn’t take it anymore. Time to cancel our afternoon visit with our cousin. She told everyone. Everyone panicked. Our older boy (he’s 18) went hysterical with fear and worry. (WHY did they tell them? Can’t they tell he’s in a delicate state? At least the 16 year old’s brain damage has removed much of that understanding of ‘deep’ stuff and their implications) My mom panicked. Wanting to come to hospital. She told my sister who wanted to immediately drive with my 85 year old father over 1000km from Cape Town to see me! (I later told her that when I’m with my husband, he’s the only human I need anyway so they should never have to worry!)

Off I went while practising my “Active Birth” breathing (breathing so you don’t scream in pain ;-)) into the car and to hospital. Got to hospital and tried to hide in a corner so people wouldn’t see the tears silently streaming down my face as I tried to stand upright. Sat down, curled over into a ball. Called into triage where I had to fill in a form. By the time I got to the section about Ebola countries, I couldn’t write anymore. Had to take a break, apologise to the nurse and pull it back after pushing it away during a particularly painful spasm.

Go into the emergency ward. Wait. Bent over in silent agony. Nurse tells me to lie down on the bed. Pain was too much. Sat up. Nurse came in. Gave me a cup. Gave my sample to her. Wait. Hear them telling the doctor there’s blood and protein in my urine. And I thought, “All this pain because of a silly bladder infection? How did my daughter not feel this terrible pain when she had one??” They organised a pain drip and said they’d like to also do an abdominal x-ray.

And that’s where the ‘fun’ began. It would have been more fun if the doctor hadn’t caused terrible pain when inserting the drip. (BEWARE of Dr. Wineburg at Netcare Milpark, she JAMS that needle as if she’s trying to get the tubing into your hand too. It was painful. And seeing as it was a second attempt in a different part of my hand,-a nurse had tried at first-it didn’t help. By the time the stomach pain was gone, I was in agony in my hand.)

So anyway, there I am wearing a long-sleeved, stretch fabric T-shirt. No buttons or zip. A male technician calls me to go to the radiology department and asks me to remove all metal. I ruefully tell him my undergarment is underwired and he tells me it shouldn’t be a problem. “Huh??” But hey, I’m not trained in that so I left it. What do you know? It WAS problem. He suggested pushing my undergarments to the side. Umm, do you know how that would still cause issues with the images??? And the other problem? I couldn’t take my top off on my own. I still had the drip attached, my arm was in too much pain from the violent insertion of the drip and angle  in my hand that to just try yank the drip, tubing etc through my NOT LOOSE sleeve would not have worked. HE certainly couldn’t help me disrobe and I considered asking him to call my husband to come help me. He opted to call a female nurse instead. First one sleeve, with me unable to help in any way, then the other with lots of ‘ouches’ along the way when the tubing got pulled as we were trying to manouevre out the sleeve, pull it over my head etc. When we were done, she complained about how difficult that was and I told her I’d just keep the hospital gown on so we don’t repeat the rigmarole.

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X-ray showed that along with my lovely bladder infection, I had a lovely IBS flare up going on in my intestines and on top of that, my poor stomach was enjoying a lovely inflamed lining aka gastritis. Whew, that explained the all-over pain. After we were done with directions for treatment of the infection and wondering what caused the gastritis (inflamed stomach lining) and talking about treating the IBS, it was time to leave.

Did they let me keep the hospital gown?

They didn’t let me. I had to leave my beautiful hospital gown there and get back into my boring clothes ;-)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

i can’t stand the pain

Friday night we were in Swellendam, trying to figure out where the nearest church was. We were there for my husband’s work team building ‘thing.’ (Yes, again) Friday I couldn’t sleep. I spent the whole night tossing and turning. At 2am I saw missed calls from Gloria and from my mother.

(For those who haven’t been here since the beginning… My father-in-law passed away in 2009. Our brother based in Johannesburg decided to drive up together with his two sons, our aunt and her two children. His wife stayed behind. En route to the funeral, they hadn’t gotten very far, an overtaking vehicle smashed into them, killing each parent and maiming the others. The two boys were worst off. The younger one, Lindani (16) , was so badly damaged that up to today, he has obvious signs of brain damage. His speech is slow and sometimes unintelligible, he cannot move except for his head and one shaky arm. His older brother (now 18) lost his lower body movement but is able to use a wheelchair. Their mother earns minimum wage and our family has been trying to help her where possible. She got her niece, Gloria, to come take care of the younger one while she went to work each day. The older one was at school and is now doing a learnership with an insurance company.)

So, I saw this missed call from Gloria and assumed the younger one had passed away. But when I asked…it was their mother. They were now motherless, but oh God, what happened was the worst thing I could ever imagine. In fact, I couldn’t imagine it.

Gloria went into the bathroom on Friday night. To get there, you need to pass through the bedroom. The bedroom floor was wet. Bathroom floor too. The hot water tap was still running and in the tub, head down, was their mother and aunt. She was in the HOT water. Gloria tried to get her out, she couldn’t. They ended up going next door for help. Oh people…As they were trying to pull her out, her skin fell off. Her skin was peeling even as they put her in a blanket and took her downstairs to wait for an ambulance. As they carried her, her skin was trailing in the corridor, later to be cleaned up.

Waist up, she was burnt. Her flesh gone. We don’t know why she fell in. We don’t know. What I do know is that her son, her niece, saw things they should NEVER have seen. They waited with that body for HOURS. The ambulance people took their time, only to pronounce her dead and then the undertakers took hours to come. How do you deal with that?

Her skin is still there in the house. They hadn’t swept (cleaned??) it all up. Her niece is traumatised, cannot sleep. Her son is traumatised. The younger one…he senses something is wrong. When we left them, the older one sitting on the floor where he dragged his useless to, the niece crying and saying she is now being left behind, it was one of the worst moments ever. Daggers in my heart. Shards of glass piercing my soul. Yes, she has relatives there but we were the ones who loved them. Who helped with disposable diapers. Who checked on them and gave money. We love them. They know it. They always knew we were there but now because of money, I can’t be THERE-literally. I cannot.

And oh, the pain of knowing how much worse it must be for them…It hurts. I couldn’t weep when I was with them but now it feels as if the dam is going to burst and I will drown in my tears. I cannot be strong for them anymore. They said she always spoke about me and how I love her. Oh God, her children!! Her niece!! Our hearts are torn and shattered.

I knew 2015 would be awful. I said it. But my Lord, these children have suffered so much. Please help…We cannot bear the pain any longer. I need heaven. I need the balm in Gilead.

Friday, February 20, 2015

So what’s next?

March 5 will be the day the social worker comes to do the home study. I heard it involves a lot of legal talk. Then the 25th is when we spend the day there having a group session. I know bonding will be discussed. And how to tell the child they’re adopted. I’m pretty sure some of it won’t be relevant-things like being a different race to your child. Then again, maybe everyone who’ll be there will be adopting within their race. Then the final step before being declared adoptable will be the panel meeting on the 27th.

The children are excited and as mentioned in the previous post, now that we have chosen a specific gender, our girl is in name choosing mode. Not sure how that will go because DH has said that he will choose one name-not sure which language he’ll go for but I know it won’t be seSotho (my father tongue) I’m going to choose a Hebrew or Sotho or maybe one of the Nguni languages. We shall see which one I’ll discard when the man has decided ;-) And it had BETTER be a good name! He didn’t fail me with the boy though so I have faith in him.

I hope I’ll stay sane till then!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

“So You’re NOT Crazy?”

asked my son when I was telling him about our psycho-social assessment this evening.

Yeah, we’re fit to parent.

So…We got there. I went to the ladies’ and the social worker told my husband that things will be moving fast next month.

DH went off with a social worker to do an individual interview around our lifestyle, goals for the children, family etc. He seemingly did an extraordinary job because she kept referring to what he said when it was my turn ;-) He even mixed our vegan lifestyle with the NEWSTART program, justified our homeschool choices, spoke about how it is not necessary for couples to have fights…No wonder there wasn’t much to say/ask when it was my turn! I answered about how I balance mothering with ‘me’ time, his work hours, what kind of a father he is, relationship with family etc. It was interesting. The first question was about my childhood memory. I got all soppy when DH revealed that when asked about my parenting, he said I’m the mother he never had and would have loved to have. Wow!

Anyway, while he was in there, I was busy answering questions on the computer. About my personality, whether I like to help people, whether I like to help, caring, want people to achieve their goals, things like that. Also darker things related to possible suicidal feelings, and paranoia etc. We got a laugh out of the, “Do you feel like your friends want to stab you in the back?” If we did, they wouldn’t be our friends! Oh yes, the dreaded ‘sex’ life came in too, nothing too personal. Just trying to get a picture of your life and relationship over all.

After we’d each filled in the questionnaire and had the individual interviews, we then met with her as a couple and went over the forms we filled in last year. Regarding questions about incest etc. Here we changed our minds. The physical and cognitive risks are too high. Same with maternal alcohol consumption. Those challenges when we already have children who might feel marginalised just aren’t fair. We don’t ever want our children to feel that they aren’t important or feel uncared for-and it’s likelier with an adopted child.

All in all, it was fun. Unlike others, we didn’t learn anything new about ourselves as individuals or as couples, and I was told to spend a bit more time on “me” as an individual, not as “me the mother always parenting.” Easier said than done now that we live out here!

By the way, if you want to throw a baby shower..it’s going to be a girl! 3 months old or 4..Hey, a girl can dream. There’s always a first time!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

When I Encounter Racism

it does hurt.

But then again, there are so many non-black people who are kind, happy, caring and considerate that their existence helps me ‘ignore’ the others. I wish it could make me forget them too, but that’s impossible.

The other thing I tend to tell myself is that they obviously have issues. And for all I know, maybe they’re just as rude to people of their own race but use different insults and have different complaints against them too. I’m not in someone’s head. I can’t tell if they hate my skin, or they just hate..period. And my skin happens to be a convenient target.

The devil will always have his people. It’s hard to always turn the other cheek, but knowing that not everyone is cruel is a help. Taking the high road demands much humility, but Jesus took the high road and why can’t His followers? Paul did too. Stephen did too. May we ever be like Christ, even when it hurts.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Just Because I’m Quiet(er)

Didn’t you know that just because the wife is submissive doesn’t mean her husband doesn’t pay attention to her? I don’t know where the idea came from that men who are ‘heads’ indeed don’t listen and care what their wives say. If she’s created to HELP, then I will accept her help. If she’s there to be my partner and team mater, then I will respect what she says.

I posted this on Facebook and the response was interesting in that the one lady said exactly what is true. Those who ask such questions ARE the types who generally have negative things to say. They are the types who want to argue against your lifestyle-a lifestyle that bothers no-one and doesn’t infringe on their rights, nogal! They are the ones quick to label your husband as a dictator, or you as a doormat. My post was :

“When you're the less vocal one...

When we planned our long trek to Tanzania in 2009, people asked if I agree with my husband's plan to undertake such a long journey and be so far away from family.

What they didn't know is that he had left it up to ME to find a mission place that would accept us and at least give us a stipend so we could feed our children.

Yesterday someone asked if I was OK with him deciding to move us so far out if the city to a place over 100km from family.

What they don't know is that he left all the house selling, driving up and down from CT to these Swartland towns to view and let me choose our home. He just sighed the papers, THEN decided to see it.

We may be soft-spoken, but our men know who is Queen.” ;-)

It’s sad that people don’t get that a husband and wife can actually marry each other precisely because they are similar. And when both of you are founded on the same principles, then obviously your choices will be aligned. Why is there this idea that one was pushed? The idea that the poor little woman had to ‘'acquiesce’ to her husband’s (unreasonable) demands? Or that if it’s obviously the ‘wife’s choice,’ the husband is being led by the nose by his dominant wife? Why can’t it be assumed that these are two loving adults who *gasp* want the same things in life?

Submission doesn’t mean having no say. Headship isn’t about unreasonable ‘authority.’ It means you’ve married a husband, who like the husband of the Shunammite woman, loves and respects you enough to build that room for Elisha if it be God’s will. It means he wants what’s best for you, himself, the family and the community at large. And if your idea fits, he will run with it.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Oh my darling, Clementine…

We have a clementine in our garden. A clementine sapling that we bought last week…Don’t worry, there’s a layer of compost below that unfriendly looking soil.

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DH did a wonderful job (with some help) digging up the ground cover the previous owners had planted and moving other trees to the perimeter of the garden.

We had planted spinach, tomato, green pepper and carrots. Sadly, the poor red cabbage could not withstand the Swartland sun and succumbed to heat exhaustion. They will be missed. As will some of our spinach plants that are permanently wilted. I know we will try again when we have been able to purchase shade netting-this gardening this is expensive!

As for trees…We got almond, peach, orange and fig. More will follow soon. The previous people also had untended pomegranate and lemon and avocado so we will work on those too. I’m enjoying the garden work. Not only because we have food (BY faith there’ll be food when they’re older!!) but we still have green grass and flowers and a mini plant jungle. It’s a small version of what our ultimate aim is if we ever buy a smallholding or farm. Hey, we can dream!

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So, that’s what we’re up to. Homeschool includes learning how to tend to veggies and fruits. FUN!