The Georges in Peru

Chicago

14 Sep 2020

We made it to Chicago to visit Sarah and Zach!  They live about a mile from their medical school campus in the Pilsen neighborhood, not that they can actually go to campus for classes due to COVID.  Their neighborhood is mostly Mexican and everyone is bilingual.  No one bats an eye if we speak English or Spanish.  

Mary Beth has kept on her walking regimen, walking 5 km in the mornings and 2 more in the evenings.  We found this amusing display on our walk this afternoon.

Tomorrow, we head to Michigan, where Paul will work at his Aunt Sandi and Uncle Mike's vet clinic.

Everyone in the Family can Legally Drive!

30 Aug 2020

Thursday, Paul and I went early to the Saline County courthouse and found 12 people in line ahead of us but after only an hour's wait he passed his test and we walked out with his learner's permit!  Yay!

Friday and Saturday was our garage sale and we sold 75-80% of our things, so that made us happy.  Over 50% of the shoppers were Latinos, so we had lots of opportunities to speak Spanish over the two days.  Ben came over from Lincoln and Alice (Allen's sister) and Keith came from Omaha to help out, so it was a fun, mini family reunion.

Mary Beth went for a walk yesterday morning and decided to try jogging a little bit.  She decided to run from electrical pole to electrical pole, but after getting to the first one she felt so good she decided to run to the next one and then one more!  Her heart felt freer than ever before!

Garage Sale

26 Aug 2020

Since 1999, Neal and Carolyn Pavlish (Allen's sister) have been storing our household belongings for us while we've been in Peru.  Every five years when we returned to Nebraska, we would take our things out of storage and put the kids in school and live in America.  Now that the kids are out of school, and we need to share the time between Canada and the USA, we will probably never rent a home and furnish it with our things again, so we are selling nearly everything we've been storing.  It is both a liberating and grieving time.  Hopefully, our things can be a blessing to some immigrant families or college students furnishing their first homes or apartments.

If you live near Crete, Nebraska, drop by and say 'Hi!'  We'll be at 639 County Road 1700, Crete Nebraska (4 miles west and 1 mile south of Crete) Friday and Saturday.

Update

15 Aug 2020

So here’s a news update on our lives.  Paul’s been doing school-work, getting up at 6:00 a.m. some days for classes.  I think he’ll be happy once we begin moving east into a different time zone.  Mia has been working on making her drug cards for nursing school.  She jokes that she’s doing drugs so watch out.  Yesterday, we joined Sarah and Zach via zoom for some of their orientation for UIC med-school.  It was good to see how excited they are to begin this new life stage.  Ben’s moved into a new house with some friends and is ready for his last school year to start.  Allen’s been working on organizing our lives and keeping the house-work in check.  He’s cut out most of his Peru work in order to take care of me, but still has a bit of project and missionary-related work.  Since surgery, I’ve finally been able to do two courses that SIM requires which I was unable to do before because of my health.  I’ve also been going on daily walks, stretching, and practicing my breathing.  Today I walked a mile for the first time, which makes me feel quite satisfied.

Paul and Mia are making causa for lunch.  Causa is a common Pervuian dish made with layers of mashed potatoes, tuna, peppers and onions.  

Monday update

10 Aug 2020

Tomorrow marks two weeks since surgery.  Mary Beth is getting faster on her walks and can do more things for herself.  Today she went shopping with us, using the electric cart at Walmart.   To help with post-op pain, the surgeon did cryoablation of her intercostal nerves in her chest.  That's fancy talk for the doctor froze her nerves so it wouldn't hurt so much after the surgery.  Some of those nerves are starting to wake up now and when they do, Mary Beth feels like they announce their presence with shooting stars of pain.  In some patients, the nerves never wake up leaving large numb areas, so Mary Beth feels this is a good thing long-term.

We are so glad we were able to get out of Peru when we did, as this week's flight was postponed indefinitely.  We have several missionary friends that were planning on leaving on this flight. 

Artistic Arizona

04 Aug 2020

Today we went to another Mayo Clinic campus to get some autonomic tests done (like a tilt table test where they take one's blood pressure lying flat and standing up by moving the bed while the patient is motionless) and I was reminded again of how beautiful Arizona is.  There are amazing rocky ‘desert’ gardens all over the city, artistically and creatively bringing out the very best this landscape has to offer.  Cheerful red and yellow flowers, prickly cactuses of many shapes as well as unique emerald- and fall-coloured trees with the most interesting leaves I’ve ever seen.  Tall stately palms add contrast as well, and the roads are lined with walls engraved with interesting designs that catch and hold the eye.  It’s a little easier to be cheerful today, because the miniscule improvements of the last week are adding up into substantial improvements, including walking in to my check-up today and sitting upright in the waiting room which felt like a huge achievement.  I also took a 15-minute walk around our neighbourhood!  At our appointment yesterday with Dr. J., she said she was quite pleased with my progress which also improved my spirits.

This picture was taken this morning on one of the beautiful hiking trails (Piestewa/Squaw Peak) Phoenix is known for.  I am looking forward to soon being able to join my family on these excursions.  

Getting better

02 Aug 2020

Mary Beth wouldn't say she's feeling good yet.  She's still in a lot of discomfort, but today was a better day and I think she's getting close to having a 'good day'.  We had to go get another COVID swab at the hospital for her followup appointments tomorrow.  This one didn't seem nearly as uncomfortable as the first.  She really enjoyed sitting up in the car and looking around at Phoenix for the first time since we've been here and is getting faster on her walks around the neighborhood.

Please pray that she would be more comfortable.  

Home from the Hospital!

30 Jul 2020

Yay!  Mary Beth was released to home from the hospital today around 2 pm.  Here you can see her with nurse Carley getting into our car to go home.   'Home' is used loosely here, since Mary Beth had never been to where we are staying before I brought her here.  But she is glad to be here none-the-less!

She is still having some discomfort and taking pain medicine but glad to be 'home'.  She said that she is having less pain than she expected from what she had read about the recovery process.  But she is by no means pain free.  She was having a lot of pain at 5 pm, so I gave her another Tramadol and it helped right away.  She is, importantly, able to stand up without her heart rate going up significantly, so the surgery has already made her markedly better.  Thanks for praying!

Post Op Day #1

29 Jul 2020

Mary Beth is doing well and having a good day.  She's able to stand or sit up without feeling like she is going to pass out. Last night she shed tears of joy when she said that she took what felt like the first deep breath of her life!  We are so thankful that she had the surgery here as her case was more complicated than usual.  The surgeon wrote in Mary Beth's operation note:  "This case was substantially more difficult than usual". Because of COVID I can only visit her once a day, but I don't think there is a time limit to my visit, so I'll be here from 1:30 until 6:00 pm.  She's sleeping right now (3:00 pm).  She will probably go home tomorrow, if they can take out the chest tube today and if she does well overnight.

The kids and I moved from the hotel next to the hospital to a house on a golf course about 30 minutes away.  We feel like we are being spoiled.  

Surgery Day!

28 Jul 2020

The day has finally arrived!  A month ago MB decided, "I want to go to Mayo.  I'm going to tell God that's what I want, even though it doesn't look like it is possible.  He likes to give us what we want if we ask for it."  So she started praying to be able to go to Mayo and here we are against all odds!

We're hoping that Mary Beth will suddenly be able to stand up without being light-headed and having tachycardia (fast heart rate) again.  We were told that it very likely won't be instantaneous, especially since she will be sore immediately after surgery, but we are hoping for a quick improvement.  We were told to realistically expect 3 weeks to 3 months to be back to normal.

I was given a tracking number to follow Mary Beth's progress like a marathoner with a chip in her shoe.  She is the top yellow in the right column ending in '434'.

1:36 pm

Everything went well.  The surgeon said she had to put in 3 bars instead of 2.  She said the heart was being compressed even more than Sunday's echocardiogram had demonstrated.  I'm not surprised, having taken care of her and monitoring her heart for the last 2 months!

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