Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Back from Albania…Brought Sickness Too

Gary and I did end up getting a little of something toward the end of the week.  Before we left, I mentioned it to the national director’s wife, and she said that evidently it was a virus earlier in the week because it had spread around.  Well, we brought it back with us.  Thankfully the worst hit us both after getting home.

I did not eat much yesterday, but what little I did eat or drink did not stay in my body.  It was the same today.  I ate breakfast and then a few crackers about 3:00 this afternoon.  After the crackers didn’t stay I decided to call the doctor to find out how long I could go without anything in my body while being pregnant.  They told me to come right away for an infusion.  So, we headed to the doctor.  He did an ultrasound (which they always do here when you see them), and thankfully the baby was fine.  That was a big relief.  He said I needed a 1.5 liter infusion.  We went in the room to get it, and the nurse said it would take 2 hours.  Mine and Gary’s mouths dropped with shock.  We had no idea it would take so long.  She said that I could get a bigger needle to make it go a little faster, so I said yes.  It ended up taking almost 1.5 hours.  We brought food for Ethan with us, and Gary took him to Burger King and ordered dinner for himself.  He loves Burger King, and we never go, so he was glad about that part.  They told me that I needed to come back tomorrow for another infusion.

I hope this will end soon.  I don’t like getting home from a trip and only being able to lie in the bed or on the couch for most of the days.  I had a long to-do list for this week written before we even left for Albania.  So far, it’s not getting done.  I know, such is life.  Thankfully, Gary isn’t leaving for another trip now.

Ethan’s 1st Time at the Beach

The classes are held in a hotel that is just a few hundred feet from the beach and Adriatic Sea.  After being here for 3 days we finally made it to the beach.  Ethan didn’t want to play in the sand and didn’t really seem to care about the water.IMG_6085Ethan wasn’t in the water long before he noticed this boat and wanted to get in it.  He enjoyed playing on it much more than being in the water.IMG_6094Ethan being the captain of the boat.

IMG_6097Once we took Ethan over to the showers to get the sand off, he was in hog heaven.  He enjoyed playing in the shower more than anything else.IMG_6100

The interesting thing was that when I went to get Ethan from childcare the next day, Ethan was sitting in his stroller without his clothes.  The girl who had been watching him said that she took him and another boy to the beach, and they ran to the water and got wet.  She handed me his shorts which were wet and had sand all over them.

Gary and I thought that maybe he just wasn’t interested that first time.  So, we took him again during the free time that afternoon.  It was the same thing as the day before.  He didn’t have any desire to play in the sand or water.  He just wanted to get in the boat and play.  I wish that I could have seen Ethan go toward the water earlier in the day because he just didn’t seem to care about it either of these two times that we took him.  Course, we are both fine with this since neither of us are beach people.  We would MUCH rather be in the mountains.  And, we would rather be at a pool than the beach/ocean.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Sickness Has Hit

We’ve been here for 6 days, and this is the first time that I’ve gotten internet access, so I just posted what I had originally written for the previous post.  I ended up revising this post, below, so that it is updated for today (Friday).

Well, sickness hit many of the staff after only being here 2 days.  Many people were wondering if it was a virus going around or food poisoning.  Since it lasted 24 hours or less, and it wasn’t passed around to anyone else, the conclusion is food poisoning.  I’m not sure how some got it and some didn’t when we’ve all eaten the same thing, unless it was just one batch of something that was bad.  I think there were about 15 who were sick (out of around 100 people in our group).  Our team leader was hit the worst.  He ended up getting put on an antibiotic for a bacterial infection and later was taken to the hospital.  He had some internal bleeding.  His stomach and surrounding areas are very sensitive due to him having colon cancer 20 years ago, so when he got sick, the throwing up caused him to tear something internally.  The doctors put the tube down his throat the next day and said that there was no bleeding, so it must have healed.  He was released around lunch and then taught in the afternoon.  Thankfully, the national director was with him the entire time to translate and help.  Albania has a social medical system (like the rest of Europe).  The kind of care you tend to get in many of the Eastern European countries depends on what kind of money you give the doctors and nurses “under the table”.  We found out that it is a big deal to have connections in Albania to get good care too, so the national director was able to do some of that as well.  It is sad and frustrating to hear stories from the staff about the corruption with the medical social system, so I am thankful that Trent was able to get good care (at least we hope that they didn’t miss something or misdiagnose something… which did happen when he had internal bleeding and was in a Hungarian hospital a little over a year ago).   

We (the Americans) can’t drink the water here, but since many Albanians were sick too, that wasn’t the problem.  Gary, Ethan and I are drinking bottled water and brushing our teeth with the sink water.  Before everyone got sick I was already praying for God to keep me and the baby healthy, especially since this is technically a 3rd world country (however, not like many parts of Africa).

I wasn’t able to tell if I got the sickness that everyone had or not because I already have many of the symptoms with being pregnant.  I do think that I was effected some at first, but not as badly as some others.  However, my stomach started giving me problems a day or so after everyone got sick.  I felt bad for a couple of days and fine this morning until lunch, when I started feeling bad again.  I think some of it for me is eating different kinds of food (which doesn’t normally bother me so much).  Many of the foods are greasy, so Baby Rickard probably isn’t very happy about that.  Gary was affected a little too, but not badly.  Ethan didn’t seem to be affected too much until today.  So, hopefully that won’t continue for him.


Before I get into our trip to Albania I will say that maybe I didn’t do things so wrong after all with the hot water heater.  Gary tried to add water into it on Saturday, and it started leaking again.  Thankfully just a little this time.  However, we had to leave the house for Albania without it being completely fine and weren’t able to shut the water off to the house.  So, I hope and pray that it will be fine.

Soon after arriving to the hotel in Albania, we opened our curtains, and there was an ostrich just standing at our window.  I was quite surprised.  Ethan and I walked by them this morning.  As we got closer he kept pointing to them, but didn’t want to get too close to them (which I was glad because I think they can bite and kick).IMG_6067 IMG_6069 Ethan and the ostrich checking each other out.

It’s very different being here with the Albanians this year than it was last year.  One, we are in a different location than what we’ve done the last 4 years, so that makes things a little more challenging in some cases.  Second, last year Ethan wasn’t even crawling.  We could sit him somewhere and he stayed.  This year, he is running everywhere.  The area around the hotel is much  larger than where we used to stay.  I don’t think Ethan has ever seen so much space, which I’m sure looks like freedom.  We have a fence around our yard (as does everyone in Hungary since it’s the law), and all the other places where we are either have a fence, or we are inside with walls.  Here, there is a hotel, a building where they serve the meals, and then a lot of smaller buildings with rooms which is where all of us are staying for the conference.  On the way to dinner a family stopped us to give us their pack and play to use.  We stopped and focused our attention on them for a moment, and then all of a sudden Ethan was gone.  There were a lot of people around.  This happens at church, but we quickly see him and know the limited area that he is in.  So, this was our first experience that I assume all parents have at one time or another with it happening out in the open.  Gary went in one direction, and I went in the other.  After a few minutes we found him.  We aren’t worried about him being kidnapped over here like we would be in the States, though it is still a possibility.  But, it is more of a concern here with a pool and the sea nearby.  I was definitely wishing that I had one of those kid leashes yesterday.  We will probably need one on our next trip to the States, because Ethan goes up to anyone and holds his arms up for them to hold him.  There were several waiters who held him at dinner last night.  The cleaning lady held him today and even played with him some.  We will have to do some major stranger training for the States too.

Our dinner time didn’t start until 8:00 last night.  By the time they got everyone served and we were finished, it was close to 9:30.  Then we needed to go set up the pack and play and get Ethan ready for bed.  So, he didn’t go to bed until 10:00, two hours after his normal bedtime.  You would think that he would have showed signs of being tired after having only slept for 15 minutes in the car on the way to the airport in the morning and only 10 minutes in the van on the way from the airport in Tirana to here.  But, no, at 9:30, he was running and dancing around (music was playing outside of where we ate dinner).  Many of the Albanians have already commented about how much energy he has.  One of them said that he looks like Gary but takes after me with the energy and social part.

There is one area that has a wireless connection, and I’ve been told that it is real slow.  So, thanks to Julie, I can work on some blog posts on my computer without internet access and just post them when I get connected.  So, who knows when these posts will appear.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

When Husbands are Away

Well, I’m definitely ready for Gary to get back from Ukraine.  Just one more day!  Yesterday was one of those days where you say, “Of course, this happens when Gary is gone.”  I woke up at 3:30 am and couldn’t go back to sleep until 5:00.  Ethan woke up an hour earlier than normal and was screaming, so it wasn’t where he could just stay in his crib for awhile.  I thought that I would get him out and let him play some while I went back to bed, but as soon as I got him out he signed to me that he was hungry.  So much for my idea.  Little did I know that this rough start to the day would be how the rest of my day would be. 

We have to add water to our hot water heater about once every week or two.  So, yesterday morning I added some water.  When I tried to turn the knobs back off, they just kept turning and turning and turning.  And, of course, the water kept filling and filling and filling.  Finally I got the knob turned all the way and the water stopped, but it had filled the heater way too full.  I didn’t know how to empty the water, so I just hoped that it would be fine.

After Ethan’s snack I took him in the bathroom to wash him up and the floor was flooded.  I immediately got a mop and bucket to clean it up.  As soon as I started mopping Ethan came in and slipped in the water landing on his bottom.  He wasn’t hurt, but I did realize that I would need to put a gate up to keep him out of the bathroom.  Well, he didn’t like that one bit.  He normally plays while I do things around the house, but for some reason he was quite upset over this.  He just sat outside of the gate, watched me mop and cried the whole time.

I mopped up 2 bucketfuls of water.  It was still leaking, so I put some tupperware type containers on the floor to catch the water.  I ended up having to go in and empty the containers about every 10 minutes before they overflowed, and since they still didn’t catch all of the water, I would have to mop up about 2-3 cups of water from the floor.

When I put Ethan down for his morning nap, I decided to get a shower in hopes that it would use up hot water and would cause the water level to go down.  It did cause the water to stop coming out for about 20 minutes, then it started leaking out again.  So, I called someone to call a repairman.  The repairman already had a full schedule and didn’t even say if someone would actually come out and definitely didn’t give a time.  I figured that it would cost a lot of money, and since I didn’t know when someone may just show up, I couldn’t go to an ATM to get money.  So, I asked a friend who lives behind us if they had money that I could borrow.  Thankfully they did.

In the meantime, I had invited some moms over for a salad lunch and had debated cancelling it.  I didn’t, but wasn’t able to get the patio and outside chairs cleaned up like I had planned to do during Ethan’s morning nap.  So, we just ate inside.  That worked well since I had to keep running into the bathroom to empty containers.

So, 8 hours after I found the bathroom flooded, the repairman came.  It took him about one minute to fix the problem, and I felt really dumb.  I had turned the knob completely the wrong direction, so it was tight, but tight the wrong way.  After the water was everywhere I had even gone in to double check that the knobs were tight.  It didn’t even dawn on me to try to turn them the other way.  After all, I had been doing this for 2 years.  Ahhh!  Pregnancy brain!  I just thought, if Gary had been here, he could have come home from the office and would have probably thought to turn the knob the other direction.  Thankfully, the repairman only charged $15.  That was a lot for the little time, but he made the trip out here too.  If I were in the States someone would have charged a lot more for this type of thing.  Now, we’ll have to wait and see how much our water bill is. 

My back hurt yesterday due to having to mop and bend over to squeeze the water out, etc… so often yesterday.  Thankfully, Ethan slept in later than normal today and when he woke up he stayed really quiet for a while.  So, I got to sleep in.  I actually could have slept longer, but someone called and woke me about 8:30.

Well, I didn’t have the best attitude about this yesterday when I was having to constantly go into the bathroom and empty containers and mop the floor, but I do remember thinking at one point that I was thankful that I could even stand long enough to do that and thankful that I wasn’t nauseous like I have been.  Had this happened while Gary was in Bulgaria last month I don’t know if I could have physically done it.  So, I do have many things in this situation to thank God for.

I left the mop and bucket in the bathroom.  After breakfast this morning Ethan went in and started “mopping” and then carried the mop and bucket around the dining room.  I guess he watched me mop so much yesterday that he wanted to do it too.  Here are a few pictures that I took of him “helping out”.IMG_6063 IMG_6064 IMG_6066

Friday, August 6, 2010

More Pool Time

While Gary was in Bulgaria a group of us went to the pool.  It was a hot day and the water felt great!  I think those who are reading this know that I am pregnant.  Zsuzsi’s mom, Edit, is also pregnant, so the water felt REALLY good to us.IMG_5981Ethan looks like he is trying to block Zsuzsi from going where she wants to go (like he’s playing basketball or something).  I love his facial expression.IMG_5986I thought this was a great facial expression from Kate.  Just as cute as her suit.IMG_5987This was the best I could do to get a pic with all of the kids in it, and even in this Tosha wasn’t around and Evan had already walked away.IMG_5992

IMG_5993Ethan loved where the water was shooting out from the wall.