Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Did Your Time Drag by in 2008

If time dragged by this past year, you weren't just imagining it. The scientists at Greenwich in England have had to add a whole nano-second to our clocks. That means that the year 2008 needed to have more time.

As for me, I think it went by pretty fast. It was just a little over a year ago that we put Cyndi on the plane to go back to Utah after her Christmas visit with us in Hawaii. Her being in Hawaii with us on Christmas was really great and I think she had a great time as well. She was especially excited about all the "Lost" sites that I had researched out before she came.

I celebrated my 70th birthday while we were in Hawaii. It was a special day with special friends, those who dropped by the office during the day, and eating with them at the Ambassador restaurant in the evening. The PCC guides surprised me in the plaza with leis and "Happy Birthday" in the midst of the crowds there.

At the end of January, Cathy and Terry came over to visit us there as well. Where Cyndi had slept on one sofa, we pulled out the hide-a-bed for them. And topped it with an air mattress so it would be more comfortable. We were able to visit with them and go to all the great places on Oahu and still get our office work done. And the weather was great...not rainy nor hot.

On February 16th , after a great evening spent the night before at Sam Choys, a birthday gift with and from our friends and fellow missionaries, LaVere and Karelyn Adams, I got up to fix a birthday breakfast for Gordon, who was celebrating his 72nd birthday. I could feel my heart fluttering but didn't pay much attention to it until after it had gone on for several hours, I looked in the mirror and saw that my face was gray and I was in a cold sweat. I knew that was not a good sign, and told Gordon that we were not going to go to the New Zealand devotional that morning, but instead we would have to visit the E.R at the Kahuku hospital.

We drove over there and immediately the E.R. nurse admitted me and put me on a monitor. The EKG confirmed that my heart was in fibrillation. The E.R. doctor was one who flew in from another island several times a month. Thank goodness he had the presence of mind to call The Queen's Hospital in Honolulu and talked with a cardiologist. They could not stop my heart from fibrillating, and when the E.R. doctor asked about shocking my heart to get it to go back into normal rhythm, the cardiologist told me in no uncertain terms that he shouldn't do that because I could have developed some blood clots in my heart and shocking me would cause them to get pumped out and cause a stroke.

Meantime, Gordon called the kids at home and asked them to remember me in their prayers. We tried to call the Adams, so Bro Adams could help Gordon give me a blessing, but their cell phone was off. Finally, we found another missionary couple and that was Brother Wilcox. He came over to assist Gordon with the blessing. While Gordon was so worried, I felt very calm about the whole ordeal. I wasn't frightened and I knew that everything was going to be o.k.

Finally the E.R. people gave me coumidin to dissolve any clots that may have formed, and gave me some other heart medications...those of which they happened to have on hand. However, my heart continued to fibrillate. Finally about 11 p.m. the doctor decided to send me home after spending about 11 hours in their facility. He had wanted to send me down to Queens in Honolulu, but said that by the time the ambulance came up from town and got me down there that it would be about 3 in the morning and he didn't think that any of the residents on staff would be alert enough to check me out until morning. So, he gave me two kinds of medications (the only ones they had on hand) and told me to get an appointment with that cardiologist the coming week.

The next morning, Sunday the 17th, I woke up without any fibrillation, but decided to just stay at home from my meetings. Bishop Keala sent Gordon home after their Bishopric meeting and told me to be there with me. Monday was President's Day, and I knew that the cardiologist was off-island, so I continued to rest and research my problem. We called Gary Christensen in Utah, who was Gordon's doctor and I told me what had happened to me. I also told me that the doctor had given me amiodarone and metropolol as medications, and he verified what I suspected about the amiodarone. He told me not to take it unless I was near death. And he also told me not to try to come home on the plane until I was very stable. I had already stopped taking the amiodarone because of what I had read about it.

On Tuesday morning, I woke up feeling a heaviness in my chest and some pain. Knowing what the Kahuku hospital was like,we opted to go down to Queens. I checked in through their emergency room and was admitted to their observation floor. Dr Magno, the cardiologist, came into see me and started the a full workup of scans, EKGs, Stress Test, and complete blood work. They could not find anything out of the ordinary by then and so I was discharged on Wednesday afternoon.

What a birthday it had been for Gordon. I felt bad that I ruined his special occasion, but I was also very thankful that he was close by me all the time.

March was uneventful, except for the wonderful experiences we had with our BYU-Hawaii students, many of whom also worked at the Polynesian Cultural Center. They were so full of love and life. It was a joy to be around them.

In April, Christie and Randy and their family of six kids all came to visit us in Hawaii. Tyler who had just turned 8 was baptized by his father at Temple Beach in Laie, with both grandfathers as witnesses. It was a beautiful morning, 6:15 a.m., just as the sun came up over the ocean. The water was warm and calm. All of their children were there in addition to both sets of grandparents, a friend of Marsha's and Bishop Keala from the our student ward. Our friend, Karelyn, on her way to a seminary class that morning, stood up on the bluff and witnessed the baptism from there.

Casey who had just turned 12 a few weeks before received the Aaronic priesthood there on the beach as well. It was such a beautiful and sacred occasion for all of us.

Later on,at the end of April, Mike and his family came to visit. We got to meet Joseph who we had only seen each week on the web cam on Sunday afternoons since his birth the previous August. There again we got to visit all the Oahu visitor sites. Mike's family especially enjoyed the PCC and we spent three whole days looking and visiting all the various "islands" at the center.

May and part of June were spent in finishing up our work at the PCC so that the new missionaries could take over easily although they wouldn't be coming for about a month after we left. It was hard to leave that beautiful setting, the warm and gracious people there and hardest of all was leaving the students. I surprised the young sisters in Relief Society by telling them they could join me on my Face Book page. They laughed and thought it was pretty funny that an old lady would be on Face Book, but I have been able to keep track of most of the kids and still be part of their lives.

We came home on the 14th of June and I had a full-blown case of pneumonia. It took over a month for me to finally shake it. And, coming back to a high altitude after a year at sea level also took some adjustments as well. It was great to be back with our children and grandchildren, although we had seen most of them sometime during the year. Dave and his family and Steve came in the previous October. We regretted that Steve's family was not able to come, but hopefully we can go back with them sometime in the future. After all, Gordon and I have life-time admission to the PCC now.

The next six months have been busy with many doctor's appointments, surgery for Gordon, and Family History Conferences. We were able to visit Dave and his family in Tucson in September when Gavin had his farewell before he entered the MTC on his way to Thailand. Cathy and Terry were here for Melinda's 18th birthday at BYU Provo.

We went to Yellowstone with Steve and his family and Mike's family as well over UEA weekend, and we spent four days in December in cool, rainy California with Mike and his family and Cyndi.

Gordon is again teaching at the various Family History Conferences around the West. He is a popular speaker with topics on Beginning English Family History, Photographing your Family History, and Photography.

We hope to see some of our friends this coming year when we visit St. George, Denver, Sheridan Wyoming, Redding California and Logan Utah as well as Mesa again in Jan of 2010.

It has been a busy year. We have been richly blessed through it all in spite of having health problems that have taken months to resolve, if they are resolved, but we realize that while we are getting older we are still able to do many of the activities that we did before...just a little slower.

We realize that many of our friends are having difficulties too, but with our faith in God and our knowledge of His plans, we can endure. We pray that you too will recognize the blessings that are yours through this coming year, and that the year will not drag for you, but will be one of joy. We send you our love and if you can visit us, we'd love to see you. If you can't visit then go to our Face Book sites or to to see what else is going on in our lives.