Monday, March 30, 2009

If you want to help...

We're putting together an email list for the people who said they'd be willing to help out if we need something. For now, we're not sure what we need help with, but there are a few things coming up.
When we do know what we need, we'll put out an email to the list. Whoever wants to respond, can. If you can't, then no worries for not responding. If you'd like to be on the list, please contact me at buffalojulie@ hotmail.com.

I've also put a couple ideas on the sidebar as well.

Thank you to everyone's prayers, encouragement and offers of assistance! It is truly overwhelming to know there's so many that care.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Home Again

This photo was taken last summer - they were both sick and I didn't know it. Flint is gone...but my husband remains. He got out of the hospital yesterday afternoon and today was his first day at the dialysis center. He is on the LONG road to recovery which will (hopefully) end in a successful kidney transplant.

After Sunday, Monday was a little better. He had dialysis again and blacked out again mid-way into it. We were both tired that day and his parents came, they looked sad. It was hard to try to to be upbeat. I was overwhelmed with phone calls and people coming, it was more emotional energy that I didn't have. Doug's parents left after dinner. Doug and I started to watch a video on transplantation and we both fell asleep. by 8pm the lights were out.

Tuesday was better, the neurologist came in to see him and said that he was not having seizures. He thought they were vasovagal blackouts because of lack of oxygyn to the brain and a stressed body. Thankfully, he hasn't had one since.

Wednesday he was ready to go home but his blood pressure and heart rate were too high. They planned for dialysis the next day and then he could go home.

We arrived 6 days before on a warm and promising spring day and left to cold and windy wintry weather. The ride home tired him. I was happy to have him home but it was also hard. We were now coming down from "survival mode" and being strong through the crisis. Now is the time of transition - into a whole new life that we couldn't have imagined a week before.

Today we went to the dialysis center and he had his first session. It went well, the people seem to know what they're doing. The paperwork he had to sign had all these disclaimers - so he could know what kind of problems could happen. At the end of each description was the words "or death" but in one instance said "heightened mortality rate." What can you do? If you don't do it, then death is sure. This is truly living dangerously!

On the plus side, I found a great knitting pattern to make a felted kidney. I think I'll make one for the person who is able to donate their kidney to my husband. Maybe, if I'm ambitious enough, I'll have one for each of the people who put their name on the list.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Kidney Kapers - Day 2

For anyone who doesn't know, my husband is in the hospital with kidney failure. I thought I'd blog a little about this, not only to help me remember but also to update anyone that I haven't been able to get back to yet (which is quite a lot). The days are so busy with nurses, doctors, visitors, episodes, etc., that it's hard to have time to call people back. Now that I have a little down time, it's already 11:30pm.

Before last week Thursday
Hubby was feeling sick. He has only been sick 2-3 times since we were married, at that was a day each, max. He was sick off and on for over a week, I finally made him go to the doctor's office.

Thursday
Hubby tells me that they need to do further tests. The doctor says he has non-specific symptoms. (Funnily enough, this is the same thing they said about our dog, Flint.) He could have lupus, lyme's disease or some kind of arthritis. My mind reeled with the possibilities that each of them posed. In retrospect, any of those would have been a cake walk. An appointment was made a few weeks out.

Friday
Hubby is called in that morning to go to the clinic for more tests THAT AFTERNOON. He comes home and says that they need to do an EKG and had that scheduled. He tested positive to 2 of 40 some tests for Lupus. We go out for pizza (rough week) and then go play Settlers of Catan with some friends.

Saturday
I was getting ready to leave for my discipleship triad when hubby says, "listen to this message." A doctor from the clinic said that he was in kidney failure and needed to go the hospital right away. We looked at each other, then got ready and went.

The emergency room doctors confirmed that there was something very wrong with his kidney (he only has one), he needed to be admitted to the hospital. We waited about 7 hours for a bed to open up in the critical wing. After we got in, the doctor explained what the diagnosis was; kidney failure. He just needed to confirm it with an ultra sound. He had he ultra sound that night, and I got to see a whole new side of my husband. His younger brother and his wife visited. He seemed in good spirits and I left to go home at 10pm.

Sunday
I gathered up what he needed for his stay and what I needed for the day. Stopped at Brugger's Bagels and indulged in a bagel sandwich (do I know how to live it up or what?). When I got to the room, the doctor was there, explaining what would happen that day. Hubby would get a fistula (tube) for dialysis, and then have dialysis later that day. He was still low on blood, but the doctor didn't want to do a transfusion yet because it might lower his chances of getting a transplant later. He had a little episode of nausea and wasn't coherent for a few seconds, very scary. He was fine right after that, though.

Hubby's parents stopped by and he got his tube put in. An Elder from church visited, then everyone left before the dialysis. Shortly after dialysis started, he had another episode. This one was very bad. He vomitted and then convulsed. He told me later that he didn't remember what happened, that he was dreaming. He came to when the dialysis nurse was shakig him. That was the worst episode so far. The dialysis continued at a slower rate. Consequently, it made the blood clot in the tubes so it had to end a little early. He's also low on hemoglobin, so any blood loss is not good.

My sister and her husband stopped by while hubby finally got some food. After they left, hubby got up to use the bathroom and came back not feeling well. He had his third episode. Again, he vomitted, dreamed and was out. He didn't become aware again until he heard me call his name.

The doctors think that the episodes (or what I call seizures) are from his lack of calcium. He has so many low blood levels that his body is doing weird things; rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, tingling, muscle cramps, etc.. He's on more calcium right now, so I am hoping that tomorrow will be better.

Each hour seems to bring a new thing; new information, test result, symptom, visitor, etc. I've decided to stay the night and am in fact wearing some of the clothes that I brought for him this morning. It seems such a critical time that I don't want to leave his side right now, I'd only worry at home and wouldn't sleep. Plus, it's at least an hour each way driving.

The real kicker for me that showed me how bad he's feeling, is his hat. They took his hat off during the dialysis episode. I offered to put it back on him but he shook his head. He hasn't asked for it back yet.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

It's finished this time, I mean it, mostly.

I bought the yarn for the Printed Silk Cardigan as a birthday gift last year. It was almost finished for a long time, the hang up has been the neckband. It was too big and drooped and sagged badly.

My birthday is coming up again (like, every year), so I decided that I wanted to finish this to wear on that day. Last night I sat down while dinner was cooking and CUT into the button band. It's been so long since I last did it, I forgot how I ended it. After chasing down a few dropped stitches and almost destroying a buttonhole, I was able to pick up the stitches again.

This time, I followed the instructions. Amazing how that makes it work out so much better! I went down to a size 3 needle and was very careful to pick up just the right amount of stitches. I even did the sewn off binding thing.

Voila!

It's not a perfect fit, but it'll do nicely for my second finished sweater. The shoulders drop a little and the neckline seems to gape open when I bend forward. I may change the buttons out to something a little lighter to help with the gaping and potential drooping as the cardi wears.

But as I like to say, it's better done than perfect!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

New Favorite Song

We sang this in India during our morning team time. Whenever I hear it, I remember our time together.

At the Foot of the Cross
Kathryn Scott

Verse 1:
At the foot of the cross
Where grace and suffering meet
You have shown me Your love
Through the judgment You received
And You've won my heart
And You've won my heart
Now I can

Chorus:
Trade these ashes in for beauty
And wear forgiveness like a crown
Coming to kiss the feet of mercy
I lay every burden down
At the foot of the cross

Verse 2:
At the foot of the cross
Where I am made complete
You have given me life
Through the death you bore for me
And You've won my heart
And You've won my heart
Now I can

Trade these ashes in for beauty
And wear forgiveness like a crown
Coming to kiss the feet of mercy
I lay every burden down
At the foot of the cross

Trade these ashes in for beauty
And wear forgiveness like a crown
Coming to kiss the feet of mercy
I lay every burden down
At the foot of the cross


Bridge:
And You've won my heart
And You've won my heart
Now I can

Trade these ashes in for beauty
And wear forgiveness like a crown
Coming to kiss the feet of mercy
I lay every burden down
At the foot of the cross

Trade these ashes in for beauty
And wear forgiveness like a crown
Coming to kiss the feet of mercy
I lay every burden down
At the foot of the cross


I lay every burden down
I lay every burden down
At the foot of the cross
At the foot of the cross
At the foot of the cross


To hear the song, watch this youtube video.

Edited to add: I just finished watching the video and at the end, the scripture verse was the one mentioned in my previous post. How cool is that?

New Yoke

Last night I had a couple interesting dreams.

First, one about our team in India and how we were watching a video about a play they did and ended with info about a school there.

After that, it was about a fort where a legion of soldiers fell into the river. They all had blue face masks from whatever was in the river, they looked like masks from Greek tragedies. One man puked and then fell over dead. The lady next to him freaked because she would die the same way.

When I woke from that dream I was a bit disturbed. My husband was sleeping but seemed as if he was having a bad dream too. I prayed over him and then he relaxed. It was 4am.

Then I dreamed that we were at this seminar thing at a fancy auditorium. Our church was there and was hosting it. People shared things and there was some good teaching. My husband was there, we were sitting together. Then, one of the "fringe" people from church stood up and shared about how he had struggles and how through the power of some object that God gave him, he could overcome. His girlfriend shared about her wedding ring that she knew had been lost and had something missing, returned to her whole. She showed it around in a brass and glass case. I kept looking around to see if our pastor would come and interrupt, he said he would if things got weird. But he was busy in his office and wasn't there. People gave this man a standing respect. One many in the crowd was telling the people to be calm and don't follow blindly. After that, the worship team came on stage. They were just about to worship and one of the guys started getting into it and at the same time, the leader started to speak. The one who had just started to speak said that he was going to pray to get rid of any spiritual residue or something but they could pray after. As they started the worship, the leader fell on the ground, puked and convulsed. The whole team was going through similar things.

At this point I woke up and felt as if I myself was being spiritually attacked. I felt as if I was in a different bedroom. My mouth was being held closed almost, so I couldn't speak to cast it out. I wrestled with whatever it was a bit and had the feeling that there was more than one. I woke up completely, it was 6am.

Again in the night I felt as if something was attacking me, not letting me speak. The last time, I got up and it was 7:30am.

I got out a Bible and spent some time with God and prayed. The Bible I picked out was my mom's Bible. I hadn't looked at it in a long time. She had a bulletin in there from our old church, the scripture was the one about, come to me you who are weary and I will give you rest, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light. I prayed that I would fully take on that yoke. That the place that was uprooted recently would now fully accept the weight of his yoke. I got out my prayer shawl and placed it symbollically on my shoulders.

I have loved you with and Everlasting Love.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thou Shalt Not Covet

Just last Friday at my LYS open knitting, I said aloud, "I don't like to knit lace." And this is true, with some exceptions. What I don't like are those repetitious patterns that make you want to stick the needles in your eyes after a few inches. That's why I like cables more, it almost seems more random and interesting.

Along comes the new spring Knitty. What is the first picture that I see? A very lovely shawl. In the info about it, the designer mentions that it's modeled after Elizabeth Zimmerman's pi shawl. I love EZ things! And like a glutton for punishment, I scroll down and look at the pictures.

Wow.

Shipwreck, the name of the shawl, looks like aged metal yet flowy. If there was ever a shawl that I'd be willing to poke my eyes out for, this one would be it.

However.

5,000 beads....
3 skeins of boring undyed sock yarn...
You dye the shawl AFTER you finish it...

If I ever start this one, please give me some eye protectors. Or else I'll be walking around in my shipwrecked shawl with an eye patch saying, "Argh, that shawl shivered me timbers."


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Manipur

I'm hoping to go back to India next year in April to Manipur. The people look a bit like me, in fact some Indians thought that I was from Manipur and tried Hindi on me! The pastor's wife is from there too and we spent a bit of time talking about her home and culture. It is different to be among people that look like me. I'm so used to seeing white people!

Here are some resources I'm looking at:
When Melunah was sharing pictures with me and telling me of her home, it just sounded so much more like Minnesota than Goa was (which is very tropical). Then when I saw some photos, it reminded me of pictures in my storybooks of the Korean countryside. At that moment it felt as if God tapped me on the shoulder and said, "look, it's a little of Minnesota and of your birthplace. It will almost be like going home." That's when I knew for sure that I was to go to Manipur. I had that sense a few times before when Melunah and Cris talked about going.

In the meantime, I need to get into shape. And I need to practice how to use a squatty potty and how to wash yourself without toilet paper. If I can do all that and stay bug-free, I think I'll do just fine going to Manipur. Actually, I'll probably do fine anyway, it just would be good to be prepared!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Knitting in India

12 women, 4 days

First day of knitting, casting on and knitting



3rd or 4th day, showing them a new technique

Each time someone understood how to do a step, they immediately turned and helped the person next to them.
Even our team leader got into knitting. Don't worry, she got better. She had 8 dishcloths done by the time we left.

I taught knitting for 4 days to about 12 women total. Some traveled 2 days to get there and stayed with a friend. One woman said that if her husband knew she came, he would beat her. This really astounded me because I take it for granted here, the ability to learn different crafts and hobbies. It's not so easy in their area if they didn't grow up with it. What is really neat is that it crossed cultural boundaries, that people of different castes/classes gathered together. They normally wouldn't rub shoulders.

Another neat thing was that the women planned to continue to meet together each month. Sometimes they will have to do the 2 days of travel to reach the farther places. One of the leaders said something to the affect that "we have huge responsibilities in our families and need the encouragement of each other. We as wives are equal in responsibility to our husbands." Basically, we need a woman's support group. This again seems so common in the western world, but there it isn't. I felt like I was witnessing a feminine revolution!

My focus was the knitting, a couple of the other women on the mission team had the focus to work with the orphans and Bible students. I helped them when I could and spoke in front on a few occasions. It was mostly a seed planting and encouragement mission. I would definitely go back if it worked out. As it is, I think I may go back to a different part of India altogether, an area where most know how to knit already.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Pictures are up


There are about 525 pictures from India between my camera and the leader's. I'll post a couple as samples, to see them all click here.Ready to board the plane, with all the luggage.

On our first Sunday, the children surrounded us and prayed for us.




The windsocks that the children made...were promptly put on their heads!


The Children in the Orphanage


Women's knitting class


Team at the Taj Mahal

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Good Dog


I had thought that my first post back home from India would have been about my trip to India. But it's not, it's about my dog, Flint.

He had been sick since the Monday before I came home, not able to keep down even water. He had lost weight and was listless, barely able to wag and greet me. Hubby took him to the vet the day after I was home. My suspicion was that he had eaten something that was either not good for him or was tying up his insides. The news was both good and bad.

Bad because it was a death sentence, he had a tumor in his liver. Good because I know now that there was nothing we could have done for him.

The vet offered to continue to keep him until Monday on IV when he could have more scans and then perhaps surgery. None of which guaranteed that he'd be better, only that they'd know exactly what it was he had. The tumor looked quite large already. The expenses were adding up too; already over $500 with another $450 just to keep him 2 more days on IV to lead to surgery that may or may not help.

Though we loved him, we chose to not give further treatment because of the expense. He had perhaps a week and if he really revived, a month.

He came home a little more perky and when dinner time came, he was sniffing at the food like usual. But minutes after dinner, I found he couldn't keep it down. After that, he worsened. He wouldn't drink water, he had no energy to walk back to the house after doing his business, without coaxing. His tongue was dried up and I found other evidence of his ill health. I felt that he wouldn't last the night and was only suffering.

I talked to a lady at an emergency veterinarian, it was now after 10pm, the Saturday after coming home. I told her the symptons and asked if I was being too hasty in thinking of having him euthenized. She said she couldn't tell me exactly the right time but that the signs that I mentioned were that he was ready to go; only, were we ready to let him go?

No, of course not. I had come home, expecting to be greeted by my dog. He would be jumping up excited to see me and to sniff all the smells when I got home. He would be part of my companionship as I re-adjusted to being in the US. Instead, I had a dying and listless dog. But I was ready to let him go because his suffering was greater than my need. We drove that night to the emergency vet clinic, even thinking that he may not survive the trip.

At two minutes to midnight, he lay down to sleep forever.

We both knew that it was the right time, he could barely get out of the car, when he usually would be jumping out before we could open the door. He even lay down on the floor of the exam room and not sniffing and running around. We gave him a relief to his suffering.

I was a mess. From the mission trip to being sick at the end of the re-entry process into the US, my emotions were topsy turvy. But I know it was the right thing at the right time.

Had there been signs that he was sick? Probably, but we had attributed them to him getting older or being out of shape. How we had worn him out when camping. How he would sleep more, even not realizing we were there until we began petting him. How tired he was after a jaunt in the woods. Perhaps he was worsening day by day but we didn't know what it meant. He may have been stressed because I was away longer than I've ever been, which triggered the end.

At least I got to see him before the end and he was almost like his old self for a few hours after the vet. He kept my husband company while I was away.

He was, in all, a Good Dog.