Monthly Archives: February 2013

Three o’clock in the morning, is there a doctor in the house?

Sunday morning January 27th 2013, 3am.  Suzanne was having difficulty with some pretty serious pain which had started much earlier in the evening.  It was serious enough that we called our PCMO, that is the Peace Corps Medical Officer, and also woke up our host dad who is a doctor.

They conferred and thought it might just be spasms so an antispasmodic medication was given to her.  The hours passed. Things seemed to quieted down, but by 5:30 AM the pain was back with a vengeance.

Another call to the PCMO and it was decided a trip to the hospital was necessary but which one?  Near our site is a well equipped medical center. But in Tbilisi, near the Peace Corps office, is another hospital which is prefered by the PC and which is excellent.  Arguing for the closest site didn’t win.  The PC doctor felt they didn’t have the ability to do some procedures and didn’t want us to lose time there.  As this decision is being made Tom pulls out a suitcase and starts putting clothes in….meanwhile, Suzanne is trying to give him suggestions on what to take while trying to control the pain.

Now here is the good part…. the Peace Corps arranged for an ambulance to come to the house.  Once there they checked Suzanne and cleared her for the trip to Tbilisi.  If they had detected anything to prevent this, the trip would have been to the medical center near our site.  So it was off to Tbilisi on a 5 hour trip with an occasional siren sounding to move us quickly through traffic.  As we are settling into the ambulance, we realize the whole family is now up and very concerned for me.  Our host mother sees only one blanket in the ambulance and runs to the house for another one for Suzanne.  In the pitch dark of early morning we are all settling in and saying goodbye to our host family.

I’m not sure how I managed to stay silent during that ride.  I had been given no meds of any kind.  Tom says I fell asleep but I don’t remember doing so.  We arrived at the hospital ‘Medi-Club Georgia’ and very quickly I was evaluated, given a CT scan and learned I had acute appendicitis.  Since I was stable the decision was to operate the  next morning.  The operation was a laproscopy and went very well.  The rest is pretty boring…a 4 day hospital stay in a very, very nice room with minimal meds and interruptions.  The staff was excellent and the food okay (a soft diet).  The only real issue I had was that I didn’t sleep very well the whole time I was there.  There were very strict visiting rules but Tom managed to circumvent them, clever sleuth that he is, and be with me most of the time.  “No eye contact” was his method!

Finally, I was released but needing to stay in Tbilisi til the stitches came out…about 5 days.  Tom had been staying at a hostel that the PCVs used but said it wasn’t appropriate for recovering so he booked us at the Holiday Inn.  It was wonderful as I slept well and we went out for short walks each day extending them just a bit.  Today the stitches came out and we have tickets on the early train tomorrow for Batumi/Gonio.

One final note…I  have achieved great status among the PCVs as surviving surgery in a foreign country.  Thru no effort of my own.  All the plaudits go to the Peace Corps doctor (Dr. Tamara) who was with me every step of the way as my advocate, my advisor, my friend.  She was tireless especially since our other doctor was on vacation and there were 3 volunteers in the hospital! I am so very grateful for the regulations that are in place for our benefit and for the first rate facilities chosen for our care.  And I am totally confident that every PCV would be offered the same assistance in whatever health situation they may find themselves around the world.

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Winter vacation in Costa Rica.

We flew from Tbilisi (Georgia) to Munich, Munich to Newark, NJ, and finally to San Jose, CR.  A 40 hr. voyage with time in Newark to have a great visit with my sisters, Julie & Gina who come just to see us for a few hours.  I’m not sure how we were awake and still functioning.  We arrived in CR late at night so went quietly to bed.  The fun began about 7:15 the next morning when Kylan knocked on the door and greeted us with big hugs.  What a tremendous feeling!  Auden was awake already but he didn’t know us so we warmed up to each other gradually.

Family time was our intention and we had lots of it.  Everyday we walked Kylan to school and went to get him at lunch time.  That gave us mornings to spend letting Auden get to know us.  We read lots of books, played with baskets of toys, watch him zoom on his little bike and explore his neighborhood.  It didn’t take long to connect.  When A. went down for a nap we had lots of time with K.  Both boys are adept at the Ipad and loved sitting with Grandpa to find new games, practice the alphabet or listen to Thomas the Train stories.  We took walks, went to the park, took K. to swimming and gymnastics, and did lots of bike riding.  We spent one day at the beach playing in the surf (which was very warm) and digging in the sand.  Both the boys are going to be great swimmers!

Enjoying some of the foods we missed so mcuh was such a treat….Steve’s great pancakes, sandwiches, pastas, even cereal was delicious with bananas and strawberries.  We had a personal tour of the Peace Corps office in San Jose.  And the new supermarket at AutoMercado was beyond temptation and full of delicious  things to eat.  We also were able to visit PriceSmart ( a big box membership store) where we purchased new sheets for our bed and some huge bags of dried fruit.  We had a fun day at the BioPark where we explored some animal habitats that support environmental concerns and finished with lots of energy in the playground.

Stephen and Dana took a leisurely night away from home with us there which they enjoyed. As our time was winding down, Stephen had to leave on a business trip to the Maldives for “17 sleeps” as K. would say.  We had such a good visit but, at last, it was time to return to our work in Georgia.  We left on Sunday, January 20, early in the am before little boys were awake. That makes leaving just a smidge easier on Grandma.  We landed back in Batumi, as planned, on January 21st …..tired souls but feeling  so very blessed for this special Winter vacation.

Here are some pictures of our days in Costa Rica.

Relaxing in Auden's room with family photos.

Relaxing in Auden’s room with family photos.

Driving a big rig.

Driving a big rig.

Kylan and Auden in their fort on the beach.

Kylan and Auden in their fort on the beach.

IMG_1640

A quite beach on the Pacific side of Costa Rica.

A quite beach on the Pacific side of Costa Rica.

Auden in his new Georgian shirt.

Auden in his new Georgian shirt.

iPad time with Grandpa.

iPad time with Grandpa.

Story time with Grandma.

Story time with Grandma.

Look what Santa brought!  Family enjoys watching Kylan experiment.

Look what Santa brought! Family enjoys watching Kylan experiment.

Time for Yoga?

Time for Yoga?

Am I photogenic or what?

Am I photogenic or what?

What would you like to hear?

What would you like to hear?

"I love Grandma and Grandpa so I love Georgia."

“I love Grandma and Grandpa so I love Georgia.”

Look at my spinning wheel.

Look at my spinning wheel.

Where is Alice?

Where is Alice?

Kylan getting ready to dive.

Kylan getting ready to dive.

Grandma and boys playing on the iPad.

Grandma and boys playing on the iPad.

Brothers.

Brothers.

Resting during our day at Parque Deversiones.

Resting during our day at Parque Deversiones.

Just in case it rains.

Just in case it rains.

Where is everybody?

Where is everybody?

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