Friday, October 19, 2007

Scary Moments Part II

Scary Moments, Part deux?

First of all, an update on Megan...

MEGAN- Meg's continues to be great... no sign of any problems. We are praising God for HIS healing touch.

SCHOOL- Studies continue to get harder as more and more is expected. Please pray that we are able to expand our relationships with French people to find one or two that would be willing to be "language coaches" for us.

KID's SCHOOLS- Joey, Megan, and Sam are dealing with some of the normal things (bullies, locker room issues, and homework), but, being the "new & different" kid, the normal stuff becomes tough to deal with.

MOST RECENT "LOST IN TRANSLATION" MOMENT- We wanted to get some rotiserie chicken from a butcher/grocer for dinner. These are often in a very visible "bin" on the sidewalk in front of a store. I (Steve) was with the kids as we rolled up to just such a place. There was no one around and all the items needed to do self service were right there- the bags, the tongs, the ladel for gravey, etc. So, thinking self-service was the way to go, I selected a chicken, put it in the bag, scooped in some gravey, and closed up the bag. It was at this exact moment (closing the bag) that I found a very angry butcher bounding out the front door, yelling at me, and then pushing me firmly to the curb and grabbing the bag of chicken out of my hands in one motion. The yelling in French continued as the kids and I looked on, very alarmed. I even noticed that his co-worker appeared in the doorway of the shop with an average sized butcher knife in hand! In the moments that followed, he calmed down as we used my limited French and his limited English to understand one another. Apparently, they will have an occasional chicken thief and are a little touchy about things. I now know to never ever assume that anything is self service until I have asked!

TRANSPORTATION: We've had some bumps and bruises and very chilly mornings to deal with on our bikes, but there is light at the end of the tunnel- we will be purchasing a 1990 Nissan Vanette in "OK" condition, from a former student. In fact, he's also a pilot/mechanic who is headed to Cameroon with SIL- the place where I will most likely doing the maintenance on the aircraft, once deployed to Gabon. A neat connection.

That's our update for now! Have a great weekend, everyone. Steve

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Scary Moments

Here at our language school in Albertville, France, Saturday mornings are evaluation days. A chance to display what we've learned from our weeks' worth of studies.

I decided to make it to the classroom extra early today to do some studying prior to the test. I arrived just before 7am, made myself some coffee in the game room, and then made it up to my classroom giving me just over an hour and a half to study. About an hour later, Joey came into the classroom, out of breath, saying "you need to come now! Megan doesn't know where she is and mom needs you!"

As I was studying at the school, here is what was unfolding at home: Megan, upon waking up, had blurry vision, even after putting on her glasses. She's near sighted, but couldn't even make sense of things close up, nor could she make sense of any written words from a book she's been reading. She became very frantic and, as she walked around the apartment, realized that she couldn't figure out where her room was. Crying, she found Alace, who started to realize that this was an emergency and sent Joey for me, on bike, at the school.

As Joey and I got back to the apartment, we made some phone calls and secured a ride to the hospital. The reason that Alace hadn't made those calls prior is this- we just had our phone service come on line a couple of days ago, and we're still getting used to having access to phone numbers. I found some numbers and within about 10 minutes, we a teacher at our school walked through our apartment door and we were on our way. While we waited, Megan's condition became very drowsy and she was unable to recall some basic information as we quized her. As soon as she really started to concentrate on answers to our questions, she would start to doze off in my arms. As you can imagine, this disturbed us greatly. At this point, I prayed for her aloud and then sang "How great is our God" and rocked her back and forth. She was very limp in my arms and it was such a helpless feeling as a dad who can usually figure things out for his kids. Many things were racing through my mind- meningitis, a freak virus, a stroke or related issue.

We are blessed that the only emergency room in Albertville is only about a mile and a half from our home. We had no idea this was the case, so we were blessed that our teacher, Verena Teko-Agbo was our driver. The hospital took great care of us and promptly got Megan to a bed, made an initial analysis, took some blood to run tests, then put her on an IV. All throughout the ride, Megan continued to come in and out of awakeness. We would ask her questions, so of which she could answer, others that she struggled with, mumble some jibberish, and then doze off again. As expected, when she saw the hospital workers, she perked up a little and was not happy about needing a needle prick in the arm.

As this was going on, Verena stayed by our side as our interpreter and we were happy to find that many of the hospital staff spoke some English. Others from the language school (CEF) started to show up to pay a visit and pray with us. It was such an outpouring of love and support- we were, no doubt, the most visited in the ER. Lisa Nikky, another student training to join the team at the Bongolo Hospital in Gabon, came quickly as well. It was so comforting to have her there, as someone highly trained in the medical field.

Over the next hour, Megan continued to go through phases of dozing, then sitting up, sometimes vomiting, and then laying back down. The doctor returned with news that the blood tests came back all normal and the next step would be a CAT scan. As we wheeled her down the hall to the scan, we noticed that Megan had perked up slightly and was able to answer questions about herself, what day it was, and what had been going on that day. This was greatly encouraging. The scans went well, with Alace in the room with her, and I in the next room, watching the computer images of my daughters head. The technicians and doctors looked at them and I looked for any signs in their mannerisms for bad news. However, these tests came back normal as well.

Megan was then assigned a room in pediatrics for continued evaluation. The doctors noticed a marked improvement in her state. She hadn't thrown up in a while and was smiling and very responsive. The analysis of the doctors seemed to be pointing toward a possible reaction to a sever migraine. There is a history with Alace and her mom to similar instances, however, never at such a young age. However, with many other things ruled out, this was looking like a possibility.

Throughout the afternoon, Megan ate some bread, kept it down, and continued to joke and be her funny, spirited self. More visitors came and, around, 5:30pm, the pediatric doctor released her. We were advised to monitor her closely for any behavior out of the ordinary. Tonight we will be waking her up every two hours to ask her some questions and ensure that she's ok.

Today was a scary one for Alace and I. Feelings of hopelessness and fear came and went many times. It's amazing that we are back home this evening with our daughter who is bugging us to go play with friends and go climb trees! We are thankful for the return of her health and praying for it to remain.

It was so great to see such a huge outpouring of support from the community of faith here in Albertville. We've only been here a short month, but people came forward quickly to help get us to the hospital, comfort us, bring us lunch, let us borrow a car for the afternoon, pray over Megan, and take care of Joey and Sam. Thanks so much to those that helped us our and prayed for this situation.