Monday, October 14, 2013

A really long post about a trip to Colorado, priesthood blessings, a temple sealing, an appendix, and swimming with alligators

Where to begin?
We've been hanging on to life's roller coaster with white knuckles these past several weeks.
In September, we traveled to Colorado to meet our new tenant and situate everything with our previous tenant.  Several days prior to our travels, my husband began to feel abdominal pain.  We weren't sure what it was, we'd tried some new black rice and chalked it up to the new food experience.

On Wednesday, just prior to leaving, he was really in pain and wasn't walking very well.  I called the missionaries from our church, and asked them to give my husband a priesthood blessing of healing.  They came, and gave him a blessing, and we headed for the airport.

At the airport, he was in a lot of pain, and I payed $9 for a tiny bottle of Aleeve.  He took two, and boarded the plane. During the flight, he squeezed my hand and I tried to distract him with a book on tape.  We discussed calling an ambulance from the airport, or driving straight to a hospital in Denver.  When we touched down however, he stepped into the Denver airport and said he was feeling better.  So well in fact, that after picking up our bags, he drove or 3 hours through rain over two mountain passes to our destination in Beaver Creek (one of our most favorite places in the world!).  It was past 1:00 am for our eastern time zone orientation.  We were exhausted.

The next morning, my husband went for a 4 mile run - up the ski mountain 2 miles, then back down 2 miles, and then went for a swim.  We had a fantastic breakfast together at one of my old favorite lunch haunts - the Columbine Bakery (best rolls ever!), and then headed down valley to see our cute yellow house.

We were amazed when we arrived.  The apple trees which had never produced more than 4 apples were full of beautiful crisp apples.  Our pear tree's branch was to the point of breaking due to the excessive amounts of fruit, and the other pear tree that had never given fruit was also laden with tons of pears.  Our raspberries were perfectly ripe (just waiting to be made into jam), and the carrots in the garden were sweet and crunchy.  Our girls didn't miss a moment, and were instantly outside foraging.  It seemed like time had just stood still.   Did I mention how much we loved our yard in Colorado, and gardening?  :)

We walked through our old home, and saw where our previous tenant had stolen our vanity from the wall (it was super cute), and cut holes in the doors for their dogs?, where our last tenants had put up shelving, and we really missed our super cute yellow house.

Because we were so close to the girl's previous school, we dropped by and got to see all of the girl's old teachers.  

Because it was lunch time, our youngest daughter saw two old friends in the hall on their way to lunch.  She ran up with hugs, and joined them in the lunch room at their table, and got to catch up with all of her old friends.  She was in heaven. 

Our eldest daughter was able to see her old teachers, as well as noting much of the artwork still around the school that she had done.

We stopped by our old favorite mexican restaurant (yes, they had horchata bless them!), and saw the same menu, ordered the same items, and then went to meet our eldest daughter's previous teacher who was at a different school.
My husband was having a hard time walking and was clutching his side.  So, I called his previous Dr. office and they said they could see him.  I dropped our daughters off at the school, dropped him off a mile away at the Dr. and came back to visit with the teacher.  As we left, my husband called and said that the Dr. office was sending him up to the hospital for a CT scan and blood work.

Blast from the past!  We had a white knuckle drive through Wolcott, in a yucky rain storm (the Bermuda triangle of the Vail Valley) while my husband insisted that he was just fine.  I took him to the hospital.  Yep, where he worked for 13 years.  Where both of our children were born.  One of our old friends was working in the lab and did a double take when we walked in.  The blood work was fine. 
 He had a CT, and while he was waiting for the radiologist to read it, his gums started to tingle, then he broke out with itching and hives all over his body.  They rushed him to the ER due to an allergic reaction to the contrast.

While in the ER, the radiologist spoke with the Dr. and we were informed that his appendix had to come out immediately.  So much for the party with old friends that had been planned for the evening.  We got to have a different party.
Dinner at the hospital
Our friend Joe came to the hospital and gave my husband a priesthood blessing, promising him that the surgery would go well, and that the surgeon would be guided.  They said it would take no longer than 1.5 hours.  We waited, and waited. Finally at 1.75 hrs. the surgeon came out and told me that his appendix had been "reaaallly" large, and had been wedged down into his pelvis.  It had been difficult to remove, and was a miracle that it hadn't burst.  (I believe it should have burst while we were flying, but didn't due to the blessing he'd received just before we left)

We saw him in recovery (even though he didn't remember later), and he sent us back to the hotel (another 1 am night for our kids).  The next morning, we picked up some stretchy old man pants from the store, and he was discharged, so we headed to Denver.

In Denver, our dear friends were being sealed together for eternity in the LDS temple.  10+ years ago, we'd witnessed our friend's civil marriage and were so excited to see them be sealed for eternity.  My friend had asked me to be her guide/escort as she visited the temple for the first time that day.  Unfortunately, the elements, (and appendixes) conspired against us.  Traffic and construction and potty/walking stops slowed us down and I wasn't able to get there in time.  I got my husband situated in a hotel bed, got some pain medication into him, fed the kids lunch, and got them settled down, working on their homework and had a quiet moment to think.  I had a sudden thought, and called the temple and received permission to meet our friends when they came out.  It was truly an amazing experience to be waiting and see them walk through the door, and to hug each other again.

The next morning, we checked out of our hotel, trying to figure out what our next step would be.  We'd originally planned to drive straight to Ut. to see our family and my ailing grandfather.  That didn't seem likely in light of the appendectomy.  We headed to the temple and were able to see our friends be sealed for eternity.  
 It was awesome.  My husband was barely walking, and so we sat on a bench to wait for our friends and figure out our next plans.  An old friend said hello and asked where we were staying.  We told her we weren't sure if we were going to stay in Denver or head back to the mountains.  She immediately offered her home.  After some discussion, we gratefully accepted her offer.  We headed back to the mountains that evening, and barely succeeded in getting my husband up the stairs. 
 He had an awful night due to the pain (his pain meds were causing indigestion problems, so he stopped them).  The next morning we sent our girls to church with our hosts, even though we'd hoped to stop at our old ward a little further down the valley.  I got to play nurse. As the kids got back from church, my dear cousin and his sweet family arrived - we'd hoped to see them, but couldn't make the drive.  They did a 6 hour trip to see us.  It was so nice to see them!  Finished up with a quiet evening, while I silently panicked, waiting for our bank to open the next morning, since someone had stolen our credit card and gone on a shopping spree at Armani in Orlando earlier that day.

On Monday, we had breakfast at Minturn's Turntable (our old post snowshoe gathering point).  While we'd expected to drop my husband back for a nap, he insisted he was fine, so we went up to Beaver Creek where the girls tromped around in the creek, looking for pyrite and faux gold nuggets.   

It was a beautiful day, with gorgeous weather, and we laughed A LOT.  It was so refreshing - we all needed that morning after the previous several days.  We'd been in limbo with where/what to do, trying to gauge my husband's health.  He insisted he felt fine, so we packed up, and headed to Denver.  Checked into our hotel, quick nap/homework, then caught a cab to the Denver Rockies stadium where we watched our favorite team beat the St. Cardinals.  We even got the last two free shirts they were handing out to guests.  Great seats. Great game. Finally found a cab, and made it back to our hotel.  We did laundry, and checked out the next day, and headed back to Florida.  Phew.  It was really nice to get home.

Two days later, my husband went to the Dr.  I pulled out the radiology report and read through it before our appointment.  At that point, I realized just how lucky he was.  His appendix had been 14mm.  According to google, 14 is the highest point on the scale and anything over 6mm is acute appendicitis.  My husband the "Overachiever".  Glad he's still with me.  :)

He ended up spending the next week in Chicago, and our ward had it's fabulous annual primary program, along with an open house afterwards for guests the next week.  The kids were really great - and I loved that we asked questions, and their answers were their parts.  One child knew that Heavenly Father loves him, because He gave him, "dragons, and my brother".  Another explained that the Fall (of Adam), was when Eve ate the poisoned apple (yes, we live close to Disney).

This week, I went for my Monday bike ride, and realized that I was feeling good.  So I turned around and did it again - my first 20 miler ever!  On Wed. I did it again.  On Friday, I noticed that both of our bikes had flat tires (I'd been using the spare after my tire burst).  So, Saturday, I got some new tires, and tubes, and repaired the bikes.  Yippee!!

During the past two weeks I've also been training for a 1000 meter swim across a lake and back - a lake with possible large reptiles (this is Florida).  I invited a friend to do it with me.  She was excited, and mentioned it to her husband (Rowdy Gaines, an Olympic Gold Medalist).  She wasn't super excited about the super early morning swim, but Rowdy invited us to a swim that was scheduled later in the day after his master series swim meet.
So this weekend, I and two friends, along with Rowdy and his wife swam across Lake Cane together.

 Was I the last one to cross?  Yep.  

Was it really hard?  Yep.  Did I see some dark shadows in the water? Possibly.  Did I make it? Barely. 
 But - I DID IT!  Not bad for a girl who could barely swim 50 laps in her pool in February, and who couldn't swim at all when she moved to Florida 2 years ago.
I'm so grateful to my friend David.
He swam the entire way there and back with me.  He encouraged me the entire time, and was really great.  I was a little embarrassed when I looked up and saw the silhouettes of all of the onlookers, and those who'd already finished standing on the dock waiting for me to finish.  Then I heard cheering, and my kid's voices,  
shouting "Go, mom!" "You can do it, mom!" Some of the sweetest sounds I've ever heard.

My next feat - the ward Fall Festival, followed by a month of company, Thanksgiving, and the Christmas holiday season. Cheers