Sunday, January 20, 2013

A screeching halt

Our new home away from home
The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray. This was the week I was to resume my duties but as I returned to health, Darlene collapsed. We cancelled our week’s classes and on Thursday morning Darlene was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia.

Outpatient care for me, hospital care for Darlene. I ran a fever, a bad cough and was fatigued and exhausted for two and a half weeks. I was treated as an outpatient. Dr. Stewart had lined me up with an internist at a private Korean-owned hospital. The physicians and staff are all Mongolian.

Chest x-rays and blood work showed that I had pneumonia in both lungs. The targeted medications worked and my symptoms gradually went away.

The hospital was modern and met our US standards of care. Part of Dr. Stewart work in Mongolia is to investigate all health resources and ascertain their quality before making educated referrals. He watches over all the missionaries in Mongolia including the senior couples. Here is a picture of me receiving my diagnosis of pneumonia.

Getting a crash course in radiology
That was on a Monday. By Thursday, Darlene was a mess and came with me for a dual appointment. She was also diagnosed with pneumonia but her exhaustion and level of functioning was to the point where she needed to be hospitalized. 

She needed what the hospital could do for her. It took a while before she began to perk up. She has watched movies, preferred food brought into her instead of the hospital meals, got up and walked, studied Mongolian and has had numerous visitors.

The first member of a senior couple to be hospitalized in Mongolia in recent years
Visitors. People have been very sweet with their food and company. The members and senior couples have bent over backwards to express their concern and bring her food and treats. She’s had jumbalaya, lemon-flavored chicken, cake, chocolates, chips, Asian pears, tuna fish sandwiches, bottles of fruit, and special fruit drinks to supplement the hospital diet. We expect that she will be coming home tomorrow. She will have to take it easy at least for another week.

Everything on hold. We had to postpone our trip to Choibalsan because of these developments and also our dinner with the family of the Chairman of the 3 Telecommunication companies that sponsor us in Mongolia for English teaching. Our classes for this upcoming week are also postponed. We hope to be in full swing by February. What man proposes, God disposes.

Some of our daughters will visit us in Mongolia! We heard some exciting news that two of our daughters are coming to Mongolia on April 12 and will be staying for over a week. A third daughter is contemplating making the trip. Tawny served her mission here and will be attending the 20th anniversary reunion of missionary work in Mongolia.

Tawny and her husband Brian visited Mongolia in 2007

There are a lot of exciting plans as missionaries and Mission Presidents from different eras will be coming to celebrate and revisit their mission field. I will be attending the planning committee that is putting the reunion together.

Shopping for specialty foods.  I did some major shopping (from a list) with the other senior couples on Friday. We started out by going to the Mongolian version of Costco. It was great! By now, we’ve learned to pay top dollar for some products you’ll never see otherwise.

We are frugal for the most part and know how to shop for bargains at the local markets. However, we learned the hard way that if you really want a particular item and you see it, you buy it - because you may not see it again for a long, long time. It was a fun time for me without “adult” supervision.

Meals out, meals brought to me.  On Friday night I was invited to go with Dr. Stewart and his wife and the new couple, the Englands from Oakley, Utah. They will be the new employment and Perpetual Education Fund couple for Mongolia. He was a former adoption attorney along the Wasatch front in Utah. A Mongolian translator for the Doctor, Eggy, came along.   

We went to the City Nomads restaurant, a top of the line restaurant that features Mongolian dishes and entertainment for the tourists in the summer. 

The Englands, the Stewarts and myself - Eggy took the picture
The more intrepid of us (I do not include me in that category) ordered horsemeat and sheep’s head. I include a picture for your enjoyment and amazement. I sampled every dish and I was satisfied with what I ordered, Thai goulash. Darlene was glad she wasn’t along.
Sheep's head served in a skull - don't look too closely or you'll get indigestion
Some sweet sisters from the church brought me a meal on Saturday after first bringing food to Darlene. It was tasty. The Gardners invited me along with the Englands for a Sunday evening meal. The Gardners live one floor above us. Nothing too exotic except the dessert was Russian Chocolate Ice Cream. It was exquisite.

Finally I go to church. I attended church on Sunday at Sukhbaatar Branch. I missed being there. The members are so warm and loving. They asked about my health and expressed concern for Sister Farmer.

This boy gave the sweetest, heartfelt prayer - he is rambunctious, loud but spiritual - kind of like Mongolia
The primary put on the program with a 9 year old boy pictured above giving the opening prayer in Sacrament meeting and another nine year old girl gave a talk on modesty. These kids are precocious in their spiritual development. 

We also had three outstanding talks on Family History. The members here never cease to amaze me.  

Our special Sukhbaatar members at Branch Christmas party

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