Friday, April 3, 2015

My First Two Weeks

It is my (Jana) turn today.... finally after two weeks of not feeling like I could sit in front of a computer long enough to type a message, I am here, ready to share a bit of my first two weeks abroad.  First - I can't believe it has been two weeks already since we first arrived in Hungary... I guess when you feel as bad as I did.... time flies.... or at least it isn't filled with so many great memories that you aren't able to write them all down at one time :)  

We had our time in Hungary all planned out - two days at the Word of Life Castle in Tolamas Hungary, then two days touring and enjoying the beautiful city of Budapest.  The arrival went just as planned.... Joel's friend Chubba (not really how you spell his name, but how it is pronounced) picked us up and as usual... Ella made an immediate friend as he say children's songs all the way to the Castle.  We toured the grounds which was so fun because Joel had served there several times and I had only seen pictures.  We had a restful evening and tried our best to stay up as late as we could to help transition to the new time.  I made it to 7:45 pm I think.... and that was a full out struggle, but about 4 hours later I was wide awake with the rest of the family and we were hungry so we woke up and snacked for a bit.  It was at this fun snack time that I took a bite and out came my temporary crown (which at that point, was a major issue - what will I do.... oh my....needless to say it became a second thought with the other health issues that were about to rear their ugly head).  

I woke up on Saturday not feeling well at all..... the room was spinning and I could not even walk across the room.  I tried to be social as planned that day, but as soon as I left the Castle for lunch, I would have to return due to the vertigo that seemed to be plaguing me.  I slept most of the day, hoping to wake up well... not so much but I did make myself go with the family to Chubba's house for dinner to at least have some time out of the room.  

Sunday it was another day of hoping to recover from what I thought was jet lag.... not to much... we headed to Budapest that day which I was able to not keep from getting sick (a miracle of God) since Joel said I looked green upon arrival... let's just say driving is a little different over here and then add vertigo...not so good.  

Thanks to some great friends who are doctors and physical therapists I was given ideas of what to do and what to take to help me feel better.  I did my exercises faithfully with little change... I would have also taken some medicine, but just the week before the Government made an edict that no store would be open on Sundays.... (and the village pharmacy was not open on Saturday either).  I did feel a little better that night - so we went downstairs for dinner and then went to the pool.  Ella had a blast and I didn't get sick so once again I was excited.  

Our plan for Monday morning first thing - get some dramamine and tour the beautiful city.... once again - plan fail!  I was in bed all day, but thankfully Joel had a free night stay in an amazing hotel that overlooked the Danube River so even though I didn't get to go outside I could at least look out the window from my bed.   Tuesday was transport day when Mariana and Daniel were coming to pick us up.  We packed up the car and headed off.... It was a very long afternoon with about 5 hours driving and two longer stops.  We finally made it once it got dark, and we arrived at our apartment.... after being in the car with vertigo for five hours, it was a sight to see me try to walk up 3 flights of steps which were being worked on and were a mess.  

Wednesday - still no improvement and so Mariana with her connections made a few calls and got me an appointment with a neurologist that next day.  Seriously - that would never happen in the US - you have to wait for months to see a specialist.  

Thursday - back in the car (urghhh) and off to the hospital with Mariana and Alexia.  We arrived to what felt like chaos to me.... though everything was spinning so I am sure that made everything feel even more chaotic, plus I was a little scared not going to lie!  I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  They walked me in and their is one elevator that tons of people are rushing to get on.... we had to go to the 9th floor.   Once there Mariana went to talk to someone and off we headed down the hall.... there were patient rooms, offices, lab rooms, but all on this floor, lots of people were just standing in the hallway waiting... confused, I just closed my eyes and followed as told.  She found the doctor and into the room we went.  There were four ladies in the room... but no one was speaking English so I still had no idea of what was going on.  Long story short.... the doctor did a bunch of mobility tests (just like my neurologist does, that that made me feel good) and then they took me to another room to do another.... I had a feeling as soon as I failed the one test.... this isn't good, it is my MS... I was going into the day really hoping for an ear infection that was making me have vertigo. But the Doctor ordered and MRI and said we will try to get you in as soon as possible (actually she only spoke Romanian so I have no idea what she said, but I am guessing it went something like that :))  The first she could get was Saturday... urghh that meant I couldn't start treatment until at least Monday.... She didn't like that so she made more calls and said today at 4 pm.  And make them read the results today!  

So off to the MRI place in the afternoon.... I arrived and I actually signed something... for the first time.  Seriously I never filled out a paper at the hospital - crazy!  My MRI was rough.... let's just say I had a panic attack - I am so claustrophobic and I was scared and dizzy and they put this cage on my head with big foam pads on my ears.... take me out, take me out...please!  I almost cried - but I didn't! And I guess the MRI tech felt bad for me, so he said yes when I asked him to hold my hand (desperate times, call for desperate measures)  It was so hard not having Joel with me through all this, but he had to stay at home with Ella, and she was starting to get very worried about me.  I made it through!  And then with a little convincing, the doctor read my MRI and concurred that it was another lesion that was causing the vertigo.  They gave me all my records and told Mariana to call the doctor with the report.... that also would not happen in the US.... doctors talk to doctors... I can't believe they just gave me all my records.  The other thing... you have to pay cash, but an MRI in Romania is a drop in the hat compared to the US.

So Friday, it was back to the Doctor to begin my 5 days of IV steroids..... my last treatment had been in 2009 so I remembered much of what would happen but I knew it would be a new adventure in Romania.  Again we arrived and had to go to the farthest room in the hospital to a little room.  My nurses name was Lydia and she was very nice.... I did learn the word Hurt in Romanian because they kept asking me.  After two hours I had my first treatment almost in the books.... it was different, they don't have all the rules and protocols that we have as far as cleaning and sterilizing and injections and such.  As we were leaving the doctor gave us a note with what to buy for the next treatment.... yes - you have to go to the store and buy your own meds.... and you also need to buy your own needles and and other things you need to make that happen.  But as we were getting ready to leave, Lydia said (in Romanian) that her sister worked downstairs in the pharmacy and could ju

st get it for us..... oh my - well that was nice.... Lydia found out we were Christians and she is one too and wanted to help.  And she did the same thing again the next day.... so we ended up only having to buy two days worth.  

Sunday's infusion therapy was the worst for me, and for Mariana - the nurse poked me several times and then forgot to tape down the port so towards the end of the treatment it just fell out.... so glad I had Mariana - she said we are done and walked me out - she wasn't going to let her hurt me more.  

Monday and Tuesday was a much better treatment experience as I got to have my treatments in our apartment.  One of their friends was a nurse and came over and set me up.... she used children's needles so that was good because my veins weren't happy.  

My IV Hanger in our appartment
Five Days of Treatments, 9 pokes of the needles for ports, and one very steroid filled and puffy person.... I am on day 3 of post steroid treatments.... as usual I have been blessed to experience all the fun side effects of the steroids which can last a week or two after treatment is over.  

I am grateful - Mariana said that God really did a miracle and worked out all the details because my experience in getting treated was a total miracle of God because the system here is so broken.  God worked out every detail!  I am grateful for the doctor who agreed to see me for free!  I am grateful that I am feeling better..... It will take time before I can walk normal again and be able to have my balance but I am hopeful for a full recovery.  I am grateful to be able to laugh in the midst of hardship.... humor is great medicine!  I am grateful for Joel who was willing to be both Mom and Dad over these last weeks as I try to recover.  I am grateful that God has a perfect plan that we can be a part of.  And lastly I am grateful he has called us to this place, for such a time as this.... I am already seeing how God is using this situation to draw both myself and others to Him.  

Two weeks down and so many exciting things to come!  

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