Saturday, June 15, 2013

Appendicitis or God's Provision?

I have been prone to stomach aches and indigestion since I was in high school. Between 2&4 times a week I have to use antacids. So last Wednesday night when I began to feel the burn, I just popped some tums and hoped to feel better soon. 

At the end of our Bible study, we were asked to pray and ask God what he thinks about something in our lives...decision, choices, etc. I have been struggling with feeling busy, overwhelmed and tired. So I asked God to help me see what the priorities are. My stomach was already hurting as I was praying. Everyone left and told James my stomach hurt. However, the pain was different. It's usually on my left side, and I can move the gas bubbles down. But this was a different pain on my right side. Oh well. It was bed time. About 1am, I woke up suddenly with strong pains on the right side and I really needed to pee. 

Oh no...a bladder infection. Maybe that was it. But no I didn't have other symptoms except pain. Hmmm...I also occasionally get ovarian cysts usually on my right side. Maybe that was it. Maybe it had ruptured. I read about symptoms, but they didn't really line up. Hmmm...then suddenly the appendix came to mind. Oh no. Not in Poland. Not in the middle of the night. Who would I call? What would we do with our kids? Where would I go? We decided to wait until the morning after we took the girls to school to go somewhere. I know I know. This could have ended badly. 

Long story short, I went to a private clinic in Gdańsk and they worked me in. The doc was about 60 but he spoke English well. Thank you God! He referred us to the surgical ward at a hospital. We went to the surgical floor, and they ended up sending us to the ER but called and told them we were coming. I didn't wait at all most of the day. I saw a few docs, had blood drawn and had an ultrasound. This is a teaching hospital so the young students were a little hesitant to diagnose appendicitis until the main doctor came. But he said he felt like we should remove the appendix. The next day one of the students told me we got it at the right time. It wasn't awful but it was getting close. 

The weirdest part was waking up in the recovery room. It was like I was waking up from a dream. I felt under the covers on my stomach. Then I kept talking in Polish and saying, "Oh I'm in the hospital...I keep forgetting." I'm not sure how many times I said that. Haha

So of course I took pics through the day and through my hospital stay. Wish I had a pic of the appendix. My belly button is not the same. Makes me sad but I'll use it as a reminder that God took care of and provided for me during this time. Is this His way of telling me I need to slow down and rest? Maybe. James said that's all I can do for the next several days as I recover. :) 

Oh and also my precious neighbor who is a drug rep for Pfizer just happened to be at the hospital as I was being admitted. She helped talk with the doctors and came again today as I was being discharged. She made soup for me and got extra bandages and stuff. Ella was able to stay the night with our other friend, Ute and Blix. Again, thankful for God's provision. 
Just got hooked to the IV. Not sure what I got but it did take some pain away. 
Just after surgery. Don't judge. I wanted to document it all. 
I woke up starving the day after. I was desperate to eat. I told every doctor and nurse. Finally about 10:30 someone said I could have soup for lunch. This that I am holding was soup...what?!? No it was like watery/milky rice stuff...which I promptly threw up. 
Our sweet colleagues came by to visit and brought cheerful flowers. 
Oh here's the soup...bitter pea soup. Gag! I did eat about half. 
Yea!! Real food today. Although I only ate 2 pieces of bread. Still thankful! 
Here's a belly button shot. Maybe when the swelling goes down a bit it will look a little better. 

I definitely feel less pain then I did Wednesday night and Thursday but I am tired and weak. This is taking longer to recover from than when I had both babies. So I will take the next few days to rest and spend time with The Lord. :) 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Worship and Grill

This weekend was so busy for me...I was quite overwhelmed, but today was the last day and it was wonderful!! Something was happening in our church building, so our church met in various homes today instead. We had a group at our house that was pretty much most of the people from our small group. We started with a teaching time. We broke up into girls and guys groups. A girl named Ola lead our group. We talked about the passage in Luke that talks about taking care of your own business before you point out things in others.

After our small group time, we had a grill. Everyone brought food for the grill plus sides. We decided to make American hamburgers. We like to use a certain marinade, Stubbs Beef Marinade, in Texas, but of course that is not an option here. I found a copycat recipe that was pretty good but I had too much meat to marinade ratio. I need to use more marinade next time. Anyway...we had chicken, pork, shish kabobs, and on and sides. WOW!!! Everything was delicious.

After we finished and after chatting for a while, we decided to take a walk around our neighborhood and through the forest. It was so nice outside. The girls picked flowers...some wild, some that people had spent money and time planting! But we had such a good time. We love these people!!! They are so special to us and I am thankful each week when we get to hang out with them. :)

Ella and Grześ decided to take a swing on some trees swings we found on our walk. 

Macie picked all these flowers for her teacher so she wouldn't be sad. I am afraid the flowers will be sad before they make it to her teacher.  

Dinner on the grounds...literally! 

Grill Master


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Cooking with Ella

A few weeks ago, Ella went to a friend's birthday party. It was at a fancy restaurant and they got to go in the kitchen and work with the chef and prepare a few dishes. Ella said they broke up into groups and got to choose what ingredients to use in a pasta dish. Then they made cookies and fruit pierogi. After they finished all the parents got to eat it. They did a good job! The chef was so complimentary of their behavior.

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This was Ella's group's pasta...chicken, spinach, a cream sauce...mmm! 

This chef was BRAVE to let a bunch of 9-10 year olds in his kitchen.

Hey El!

Filling the pierogi

Ella is closing it up tight!

As usual, Ella can't do anything without getting messy!

Fruit pierogi with a strawberry sauce!


Food in Poland...and Europe as a a little different than in America. I can find or make substitutes for just about anything I would want to make at home. But eating out is a little bit different. Don't get me wrong. The food here is really good, and I have been introduced to new foods that I really like. But sometimes I just want food from "home." Two meals I really would like to have that they just don't do well on this side of the world is Tex-Mex and steak. This post is all about one meal I had that helped curb my craving for food from home.

After sailing Sunday, I thought we had left-overs at home to eat for dinner. Well James informed me that was not the case. So what were we going to do? We had heard about an "American" restaurant in Gdańsk so we decided to give it a go. There was sirloin and porterhouse STEAK on the menu...and prepared a few different ways. Oh the price kind of scared me a way at first...I mean if I am going to pay $15 for a meal I want to know it is going to taste good. Steak here is a bit iffy...but I decided to take a chance. Check out the pictures below...

I got not only about an 8oz sirloin steak, but also 6 onion rings, a spinach and tomato salad, corn on the cob and real baked potatoes...not cheese but butter and sour cream. Not bad for $15.

Is that a perfect looking steak or what? 

And this was what was left...I shared a potato and the onion rings with James and my corn with Macie.

So the verdict? Oh My Goodness...this was hands down the BEST steak I have eaten in Poland and one of the best maybe ever. Yumm-O!!! We will definitely go back...without the girls next time. :)


Saturday evening we had a neighborhood meeting with our neighbors to discuss some changes in our trash and recycling process and cleaning the foresty area behind our house, as well as other businessy things. (Do you like the adjectives I am creating?) After the boring stuff, we had a grill on this land. It was a nice time for us to meet other people that live in our small neighborhood. One man proposed that we all go sailing on Sunday on his boat from the Marina in Gdańsk to the pier in Sopot. We were asked a few times if we would go. I kept thinking we should be going to church but on the other hand this was a nice opportunity for us to visit with the other neighbors. So after a bit of pressure from a few people, we ended up agreeing to go.

I am so glad we did. One, it was a great Polish lesson for the entire day, and 2) it was a beautiful day for sailing!! The girls had a good time exploring the sail boat. I think that it could sleep 20 people fairly easily and it had a small kitchen and THREE bathrooms! We sailed about an hour and a half and then stopped in the middle of the water and they opened the great big sail. We just floated for about 15 minutes and then continued on to Sopot. When we got there, we had about an hour and a half to wander around. The problem was that if we left the pier, we would have to pay 24zl to come back on since you have to pay now to walk on the pier. So we decided to just stay put. But staying on a pier for an hour and a half with Macie and Ella and 2 other girls the same age as my girls got to be a bit boring. Macie and her friend Tola were CRAZY!!! I think it was from the candy they had eaten the whole trip plus the ice cream they had while we waited. Finally we got to get back on the boat and head back. I am glad we were able to go. 

Since this day, we have been able to say hello and talk with our neighbors more than we had previously. Success!!

Sunbathing on the stop of the ship...nothing better!

So many places to explore.

It's a little small to see, but the white boat is the one we were on. Nice, huh?