Thursday, November 13, 2008

Promised Pictures

Here are a few of the promised pictures from Halloween, the soccer tournament, and the parties...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Tales from the O.R. and beyond

Or at least from the waiting room, which is where I am typing this.

SIDE NOTE: This post actually didn't get finished in the ER on the 4th. I am only finishing it now...

K (or actually Krista, since I no longer feel the need to remain anonymous) is currently getting a couple of pins placed in her wrist as a result of a honeymoon injury that occurred while we were horseback riding in a river in the Dominican Republic and her horse took a spill.

It's been an interesting, and completely event filled month since my last post, and this surgery is just one of the highlights. That's the reason for the lack of updates since then, but I'll try to fill you in the best I could:

Friday, October 10th:

That was the day of our wedding rehearsal. Krista and I both took the day off to get stuff done and people began arriving around lunchtime. Krista's mom and friends from Tampa were the first to arrive and we socialized a bit before heading over to the Morning Glory to unload our alcohol and help with the delivery of the folding chairs. After that was the rehearsal dinner and early thoughts that we may have made a mistake asking the kids to be the bridal party. They were in rare form, if there was something to argue about, they argued about it. If there was something to joke about, they made a joke about it. It took a third run-through just to make sure they had it down. Krista and I began talking about whether or not it would have been better to simply elope and be married by Elvis in Las Vegas. Once we finished with the rehearsal we headed back to our house for a small party with all of the guests who arrived early. It was a lot of fun, and great to see how Krista's guests meshed with mine. My Aunt Patty interacting with Krista's mom and her friends was the highlight of the evening.

Saturday, October 11th:

Wedding Day! And after a brief scare about not getting to the florist in time before they closed, it was as beautiful and perfect as we could have ever imagined. Everything fell into place. Even the "small stuff" that went wrong was no big deal, and ended up funny in the grand scheme of things. For example, after spending all the time and effort telling the kids to make sure they got their entrance timing right, I screwed it up for them when I pulled GB (Brendan from now on) aside to chat. It was about nothing important and I did it at the very moment he was supposed to walk in. Krista also had a moment of panic when she spilled her glass of red wine (that was supposed to help calm her nerves) down the front of the dress just before she was to walk down the aisle. But thankfully it didn't bleed in and wiped right off. No harm done.

And it wouldn't have mattered anyway. She looked absolutely gorgeous.

In my mind, the day was out of a storybook. The weather was perfect, the ceremony was beautiful, Krista became my wife, the kids were great, and in fact both Brendan and T2 (Taylor Morgan, or Taymo) gave fantastic toasts. I couldn't have asked for more.

Monday, October 13th:

It was early when we got started out on our Honeymoon. It was still 4-something in the morning when the alarm clock went off. But it didn't matter. We were on our way, together, without children, for a well deserved, week long vacation in the Dominican Republic. The flights were completely uneventful, which is always a good thing. We arrived in Puerto Plata on time and in great spirits, and after a 20 minute shuttle we arrived at the Riu Bachata resort. The place was beautiful and it didn't take long to get into vacation-mode. Sunshine, palm trees, swim-up pool bars, and Caribbean music has a way of doing that to you.

Tuesday, October 14th:

This day was nothing but relaxing. We missed breakfast simply because we had no intention of getting out of bed. When we finally got up we explored the beaches, the pools, the restaurants, and the bars. We got some sun, we did some shopping - experiencing the joys of Dominican bargaining along the way - "Cheapy Cheapy Williams!"; "99.9% off!"; "Almost Free!" Of course, nothing they offered was a good deal until we talked them down quite a bit, then still pretended we weren't happy with the deal and actually walked out of the shop. They would follow us out and take our offer, begging us not to tell anyone else you got such a "good deal". In the end we walked away with a fair price and a nice story.

Wednesday, October 15th:

On this day we took an excursion to Paradise Island. It wasn't the Paradise Island in the Bahamas with the giant casinos and resorts. Instead it was a tiny sandbar off the coast of a small town named Puerto Rusia. It was about an hour and a half bus ride out there, complete with a bus breakdown and occasional downpours. This day was the only day where we had really rough weather. Hurricane Omar passed the Dominican Republic about 250 miles to the east and we got one of the outer bands sweep across us. That meant lots of rain but almost no wind. At first I was worried that the rain would ruin the trip. But fate was on our side. We arrived at Puerto Rusia just as the rain stopped. We exited the bus and took a speedboat out to the sandbar, which is exactly what it was. A lump of sand with 4 tiki huts on it and nothing else. But the reef was beautiful, and would have been even moreso if it wasn't overcast. Still the whole thing was breathtaking. We stayed out there for 2 and a half hours swimming, snorkling, drinking, and just hanging out. Once we had our fill we headed back and found a few small channels where we went looking for manatees among the Mangrove trees. Unfortunately we didn't see any. Then as we returned to port, the skies opened up again and we had to run for the little shop that served as our restaurant before we headed back to the hotel.

Thursday, October 16th:

Thursday was sort of a lazy day for us. It was the epitome of what a vacation was all about. We sat around all day, played some beach volleyball, then ate and drank well into the night.

Friday, October 17th:

Friday was Ocean World. It was completely unlike anything else we saw in the Dominican Republic. While there was no doubt we were in a 3rd world country at any other time, while we were in Ocean World, this place could have been dropped right next to Disneyland and held it's own. Everything there was hands on. We stepped right into the stingray tank to pet and feed them. Then we put on snorkling gear and climbed right into the shark tank and swam with those. The sea lion show was better than you would get at SeaWorld and you could have one on one time with the sea lions afterwards. We didn't sign up for the dolphins but you could swim with those too for an extra fee. The dolphins would swim in pairs and push people along at high speeds by placing their noses on the swimmers feet. They would come out of the water and let you take pictures with them as well. Then there were exotic bird cages where you would walk in and the birds would climb on you or eat out of your hands. There was also a swimming pool right next to a tiger cage, separated only by a sheet of glass. You literally could be within inches of them. There was a lot more, and the day was one of my personal favorites.

Saturday, October 18th:

Saturday was another day we just hung out at the resort. The weather was beautiful and we spent most of the day on the beach or in the pool with several of the people we met, most of which were European. As Americans, we were definitely a minority. Through our time there we met about 5 other people from the states. The rest were mostly from England and Germany.

"Mary & Georgie"

"Christine & Nigel"

"Krista & Adam"


Sunday, October 19th:

This day started out as great as all the others. We had signed up for a horseback riding excursion that brought us through much of the Dominican countryside used in the making of the Jurassic Park movies. It was one of the more rewarding experiences, as we rode through some of the farming villages, kids would come running up to us calling for "chickele, chickele" or small pieces of candy. The scene was straight from those TV commercials where they tell you that you can improve the life of a child for the price of a cup of coffee a day. Kids in their underwear and nothing else. Kids using half of a plastic ball as a baseball cap. Kids playing with old bicycle tires. Adults walking down the street in bare feet and bags of laundry on their head. All through this absolutely beautiful countryside.

We stopped for lunch and picked up a few more riders, then continued on the more hilly part of the trip. And that is where the fun began, although innocently enough...

What happened shortly after these last few pictures was a trip through a rocky riverbed. And it was literally a trip. Krista's horse tripped over some of the loose rocks and fell, and Krista fell with it. While the horse quickly recovered, Krista ended up over the side and onto the rocks, breaking her wrist.

You could see the thoughts going right through her face.

Ow, that hurt.
Ow, it hurts REALLY BAD.
I'm sitting on a pile of rocks.
I'm sitting on a pile of rocks in a river.
I'm sitting on a pile of rocks in the middle of nowhere.
I'm sitting on a pile of rocks in the middle of nowhere, in a 3rd world country.
I'm sitting on a pile of rocks in the middle of nowhere, and my wrist hurts really bad, and I'm in a 3rd world country.
How am I going to get out of here?
I've got to get back on that horse and get out of here.
Am I insane? I've got to get back on that horse!?
How the hell am I going to get back on that horse?
Damn, my wrist hurts REALLY BAD.
I'm screwed.

The guide had a cellphone and called back to the ranch, who sent a car in our direction. However we still needed to get to a place where the car could meet us, and that meant Krista still needed to get back on the horse for a bit. She toughed it out and she rode about 15 minutes while another guide and I walked her horse to a point where this old Toyota pickup truck met us. Krista got into the front and I sat in the bed of the truck. We then proceeded through what was called a road, but included crossing two separate 3 foot deep rivers until we got to some semblance of a town. This town had a "clinic". What that entailed was an open air brick building, complete with a two nurses more concerned with the Spanish soap opera on the one visible working piece of equipment in the place - the TV. We walked in and the first thing Krista said was "You have got to be fucking kidding me!" Through the pain, she realized she had to go to the bathroom, yet the bathroom A) had no light, B) no toilet seat, and C) no toilet paper. It was the first test of our marriage. I had to help her get her soaked pants and underwear down so she could go, then help her get them back up again. If she wasn't in so much pain, she would have been mortified.

Once she was done, they brought her in to do a quick exam while I, using the little bit of Spanish I knew - nobody spoke English, went on a quest for some ice. The clinic didn't have any. I finally talked a nurse into walking a few doors down the street to a little shop to get some of theirs. I walked back in to watch them attempt to pull the curtain shut around the old gurney Krista was sitting on, only to watch them pull it right out of the wall. They just left it since we were the only ones there. From there, much to my surprise, they wheeled her to X-Ray. Yes, they had an X-Ray machine. Granted it looked like it was from 1940, but apparantly it worked. Gone were all American standards though. No questions about whether or not Krista was pregnant. No lead shields for her, myself, or any of the other people standing around. Just a couple of pictures. Once that was done, the doctor finally showed himself. He was a young guy wearing a "Same Shit, Different Day" T-Shirt. (No kidding.) After talking to him, I made out that A) her wrist was definitely broken, and B) they weren't going to fix it there. I also got something about pain meds, so I said OK. They then proceeded to inject something into Krista's butt. Neither of us to this day know what it was. It helped a bit though. Not much, but some.

From there, we thought we were headed to a hospital in Puerto Plata, but after calling ahead the hospital wouldn't even see us without an insurance and/or credit card. So the driver ended up taking us twenty minutes further down the road back to the resort. While this was far from ideal, the pain meds kicked in just enough to allow for Krista to decide it was OK to take a very quick shower and get into dry clothes before heading to the Hospital. Once there, we quickly discovered that again we were virtually the only English speaking people in the place. My Spanish, combined with our driver, who to the Ranch's credit had stayed with us the entire time, was good enough to get Krista checked in. Once we got to triage things improved marginally. First of all, the male nurse spoke some English which made communication immensly easier. Secondly, we were immediately sized up as "tourists," and "tourists" have "money" - which got us bumped to the front of the line.

The hospital, which while light years ahead of the clinic we had just come from, would make the worst hospital in the United States look like a palace. But to it's credit, they got us through the ropes extremely quickly. The doctor looked at the X-Rays we brought with us from the clinic determined that Krista indeed had a broken wrist and needed it re-set immediately. (Not that we couldn't tell that from the piece of wrist bone that was visible beneath the skin of her forearm.) That put us in a huge dilemna. On one hand, Krista needed something done immediately. On the other, we are in the Dominican Republic where we can't really communicate with anyone, and faced with the fact that Krista would have to be put under general anesthesia to have this done.

We sucked it up, held our breath, prayed to God that Krista breaking her wrist was the worst thing that was going to happen on our trip. That she wasn't going to die down here, or that she would wake up minus a kidney or something. Talking to people once we got home, they said that wasn't the best decision in the world. But considering our situation at the time, it was our only one. And in the end, it all worked out. They did the surgery and released her, all within 2 and a half hours of us walking through their doors. We even had time for a drink at the bar (coffee for Krista anyway) with the people we met that evening.

Monday, October 20th:

We had a morning flight home, and Krista was very much a trooper. What we thought were pain meds from the Hospital we found out later were anti-inflammitories. That meant she made it through the previous evening and the trip home on nothing but Ibuprofen. Even still, she made the best of the situation and forced herself to get dressed and done up. Nothing was going to ruin the end of the honeymoon. Reminding her that while it doesn't help now, down the road it's going to be a great story didn't seem to help much though.

The first half of the trip home was uneventful, but things got interesting once we reached Miami. After clearing customs, we discovered that one of our bags was missing. We were assured that what most likely happened was that someone else grabbed our bag thinking it was theirs, but when they re-checked it to their final destination the tracking number would automatically have the bag put on our plane anyway. We were skeptical, but didn't really have much of a choice. Then once we got on the plane, we learned we were going to be delayed by almost an hour since there were 27 people that were supposed to be on the plane who were delayed themselves coming back from Honduras. The pilot apologized to everyone over the loudspeaker, saying that if it was us that were held up, we would wish the plane would wait for us. So we waited, not like we had a choice. The problem was that Krista's arm was beginning to swell sitting there at the gate. Her fingers were getting cold and going numb. She was very uncomfortable. Finally the other passengers arrived, all at once, looking like they were returning from a party. They were loud, but in a good way and took their seats. Next to us, behind us, and in front of us. We quickly learned they were all doctors returning from a mission trip. And they all quickly noticed and decided Krista's cast was too tight and something needed to be done. Since Krista's hand was really bothering her, we put her in their care and they immediately took to the task. In fact they were all completely entertained trying to determine the best way to cut open Krista's cast to relieve the pressure while sitting on an airplane where no sharp objects were permitted. It was a challenge and these doctors were relishing it. First someone tried a pair of nailclippers one of them smuggled aboard. When that didn't work, finally a stewardess broke open an emergency kit and got a pair of blunt paper scissors. Imagine the kind you would give a kindergartener, only bigger and flimslier. The kind designed to be impossible to hurt yourself or anyone with. Yet the doctors set to the task of making it work. By the time we were set to land in Raleigh, they had made a six inch cut in the cast and broken the scissors. Then to keep the split open, I took the child-proof cap from a pill bottle and inserted it into the split. It looked completely ridiculous, but the doctors were satisfied with their work and Krista's pressure was relieved. We made it home, but while our missing suitcase didn't (for two more days anyway) we ended up with more of the story.

Tuesday, October 21st:

The honeymoon officially ended on Tuesday. We got home late and finally climbed into bed at 2am. I had to be at work at 8:30 that morning to "turn on" all the applications I had busted my ass to finish in time to leave for the wedding and vacation. Yet something was different. People weren't happy. And at 2:30 in the afternoon I found out why. My position and my department were "downsized" and I no longer had a job.

Yep, that's right. I am starting my new marriage now with two mortgages and no job. Lovely.

If you are ever in the market to buy a house in the Raleigh/Durham area, don't use Fonville Morisey Realty. I have a big problem with the way things went down. I felt like they took advantage of me knowing they were going to be eliminating my job before they actually did. They knew full well I had tons of stuff to do with the house and the wedding right up until the day I left on vacation. Yet with all that I had going on, I was putting in tons of extra hours getting work jobs done instead of working on what needed to be done. They were calling at all hours and I made sure I had everything they asked for finished so I wouldn't be leaving anyone holding the bag while I was out. I would have preferred they "downsized" me beforehand so I could have at least felt like I was helping Krista with what needed to be done. What they did was wrong.

Wednesday, October 22nd:

Krista got herself into see a specialist. The doctor agreed that her wrist needed to be dealt with in the Dominican Republic like we did, but also agreed that if there were other options we definitely should have taken them. He removed her cast and re-wrapped it looser with a new Halloween colored one. He told her to come back in a week to get it re-evaluated after the swelling went down a bit.

Sunday, October 26th:

My birthday. The kids let us sleep in, and then when we finally got out of bed they had breakfast ready, and scavenger hunts around the house for my gifts. On top of that there were home-made signs and cards filling the kitchen and living room. Krista made a roast for dinner and I had a hockey game later in the evening to round out my day. Throw in a Carolina Panther win and it turned out to be a pretty darn good birthday.

Tuesday, October 28th:

Krista got some news she didn't want to hear. The follow-up appointment with the specialist determined that it was best if she had surgery on her wrist which included inserting two pins into the bone to hold everything in place. She was not a happy camper.

Friday, October 31st:

Halloween, and Krista's birthday. (Pictures coming soon!) After work, Krista came home and helped get the girl's costumes ready. All three of them (Krista, Taymo, and DQ - Taylor) were female pirates. Yep, I had my very own personal harem of wenches. Brendan was dressed up as a beer keg and Trevor wore his suit from the wedding with a magic marker mustache, a fedora, and a toy rifle and went as a 30's mobster. And I wore a toga with nothing underneath. Ok, I had boxers. And a pair of shorts. And a T-shirt. And a white sweatshirt. It was cold!

After the kids went trick-or-treating we all had pizza from our neighborhood pizza party then Krista opened her gifts. Following that we had several of our neighbors over for a party which lasted until around 2:30am.

Tuesday, November 4th:

Surgery day. Everything went exactly as the doctor planned, according to the doctor. But Krista was very uncomfortable the rest of the day. Far worse than coming out of the Dominican hospital. Also, I saw copies of the X-Rays and the pins looked much bigger than I thought they would be and are actually external - meaning they protrude from her wrist, although they are hidden under the cast. On the upside, they will eventually be removed so she won't further set off the metal detectors.

Saturday, November 8th:

We had another party with the neighbors. This time we didn't shut off the music until well after 3am. And it really isn't a party until a neighbor falls through a glass table. Or we bribe Taymo to babysit all the kids - worth every penny of the $15 we offered her. (Again, pictures coming soon!)

Sunday, November 9th:

This day would have been rather uneventful, except that the dog woke up with an allergic reaction to what we are guessing was a spider bite. I wish I thought to grab the camera because Lefty looked like a shar pei. We gave him some Benadryl and took him off to the vet, who gave him more Benadryl and a Cortizone shot. And since the vet was in a PetSmart store we came home with fish for the tank and a hermit crab for Taymo as part of her payment.