Sunday, April 26, 2009

where we are moving in July

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Evelyn with Leida at the hospital

As they were shaving off her hair, I couldn’t believe how much Leida was smiling. She’s not really known for her smiles, and at times could be argumentative when you spoke with her, but as her hair fell softly to the ground she was joking with us and behaving like a little girl.
Leida is an 82-year-old lady who has come to Sunday meetings at our corps since before we came to Tallinn three years ago. She would tramp in with her hair disheveled, leaving a distinctive odor in her wake, and sit in the first chair of the fourth row on the left side of the chapel. Nobody seemed to know her well, and her abrupt way of talking and her appearance tended to put people off from trying. Still, every week she would faithfully show up.
I would greet her and offer her a songbook (which she always refused). Evelyn would say hello and try to chat, and that was the extent of it for a while.
Then Evelyn invited her to our Pensioners’ Club, and she actually came! It caused quite an uproar on her first week there, as the other pensioners were visibly put off by her presence. The unwritten, assumed seating assignments would have to be adjusted and no one wanted her at their table. We found her an open seat and she enjoyed the soup and the singing with everyone else, seemingly unaware of the stir she had caused. She was just happy to be there.
After that, she came every week, and when she was invited to our Women’s Club, she came to that too. She never really participated as much as took it in, sometimes with a bit of a scowl or a bemused look, but always glad to be there.
It was hard to learn much about Leida. She didn’t like to share about herself, and when you talked with her there didn’t seem to be problems with her mental health. But occasionally she would come in with a hand bandaged because she had fallen on the street, and her clothes never seemed to be clean. We offered to let her bathe and wash her clothes at the corps, but she said she had her own place and she was fine. Still, we worried about her.
Then one week during church one of the soldiers who was sitting behind Leida abruptly got up and moved to another seat, looking flustered. Later she told us that she had seen some bugs crawling on Leida.
For several weeks we spoke with her about this problem, saying we wanted to do something to help her for her own health as well as the health of others. But she wasn’t interested. Evelyn and our social worker Andrus tried to visit her in her one-room flat in a dingy old house. She wasn’t home, but there was a man renovating the apartment who said she had family. That gave us hope.
A few more weeks passed and we continued to see the lice crawling all over Leida. She was infested, scratching endlessly and clearly uncomfortable. So we spoke with her again about doing something, and asked if we could have the phone number for her family. At first she was resistant, but finally said she would give us the number for her “daughter,” although she couldn’t remember her name. That seemed especially odd, but a few days later Leida gave us the name and the number of a woman.
We spoke with the woman and found that she had been a friend of Leida’s son. He was a drug user and died a few years back, but she tried to watch out for Leida and had even cleaned her one-room apartment and washed her up a few times in the past. She was also concerned about Leida, but didn’t know what to do because each time she cleaned up, the head and body lice just came back. We agreed to work together to help Leida.
We went through several attempts, all of which fell apart because of Leida’s resistance. But finally with the help of Inge, our candidate for officership who is the director of the Army’s homeless day center, we were able to connect a city social worker who said that she would help us to make preparations to assist Leida.
She arranged for Leida to go to a hospital where she would be treated for the skin problems that were the result of the endless lice bites. She also arranged for workers at a city social house to clean Leida up before she went to the hospital. Leida’s friend promised to clean up the apartment, and then we contacted a company to disinfect it. Now we just had to get Leida to agree to the plan.
When we spoke with her, we were amazed that she liked the idea! The fact that she was going to a hospital somehow made everything okay in her mind. But the hospital only had one bed available and we had to take her the next day or else wait at least another week. The problem was that Leida likes to walk around town during the day, and we were afraid that we wouldn’t find her.
The next day, Leida’s friend went to the apartment and sure enough, she wasn’t there. But the friend didn’t give up and went to a local shopping center where Leida likes to sit around, and there she was. The friend called Andrus and we quickly drove to pick up Leida.
She was almost bouncing when we met her and helped her into the van. She was like a child going on an adventure! Then we drove her to the social house where they were going to get rid of everything on her that might be infested with lice.
The workers in the run-down, Soviet-era building were surprisingly kind to her. They took off the black furry coat I had seen her wear for at least two years, sat her down and pulled out the clippers to shave her head. Everything that might be infested with lice had to go. As the shaver began to take away her hair, she sat patiently and even made jokes with the ladies. She made loving comments to Andrus, calling him “kallikene” (darling). The black and grey locks gradually disappeared until her head was nothing but stubble. Then they cut off her clothes (which were so stiff from dirt that there was no other way), stuffing everything into a trash bag to be thrown away. They dressed her in clean clothes, put a new hat on her head to keep her warm, and we headed off to the hospital.
She desperately wanted a cigarette after that experience, but we told her that she had to wait because it was 45 minutes before the hospital admitting office closed and we had a 30-minute drive, if the traffic was good.
We made it in good time to the town outside of Tallinn where the hospital is located, but then could not find the building. After numerous stops to ask for directions, we finally found the hospital building, and Leida, who had been laughing at our attempts to find the place, walked calmly into the building.
We were three minutes late, but the doctor didn’t complain. She already had Leida’s papers ready, and asked her to sit down while they got ready to wash her up.
When we left her, she was beaming as she sat on the bench in the waiting area of the hospital. She shook our hands and kept saying over and over, “Thank you. Thank you very much!”

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Easter pictures

On the day before Easter, we colored eggs together. Here is the kids with the dye powder before we started.

Then it was time to get to work!

Elizabeth was very creative with her efforts.

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Peter was very careful as he dipped his eggs.

On Easter Sunday, the Easter Bunny came and left lots of goodies.

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In the afternoon, Elizabeth hid eggs in our backyard so that Peter could have an Easter egg hunt.

Peter with all of his eggs after the hunt.
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Monday, April 13, 2009


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Sashenka news

here's the news

100% transient synovitis

but there's a serious possibility that he has legg calve perther disease

or epiphysis

if he has calve perthes, if it doesn't heal, he may need crutches in the future
but the doctor said usually this only happens after the child is over 5 and they discover it
for now, all we can do is watch him, and get more x-rays this summer
the orthopedic surgeon met with an American professor, and said when they blew up the x-ray, that it looked like early signs of legg calve perthes
just hoping for the best, because all we can do is wait and watch him closely
but he wants us to go to Boston Children's Hospital
the doctor was pretty concerned today
and spent a long time going over everything with us
he told us we need to watch this very closely
there's nothing we can do but pray and wait
because we really don't know what he has
but hope it's not the worst
the doctor says he's supposed to keep resting
so we have been out with him and make him stay in the stroller or on Sasha's shoulders (which is hard because Sashenka is a runner)
the point is, we dont know what's wrong
but the possibilities...
but there is definitely something abnormal
and hopefully it's the least serious
we did notice that often when he would jump or skip, he'd keep his right leg straight
we always thought it was so cute; now we see it's maybe part of his hip problem

Monday, April 06, 2009

Sashenka update from Mary-Kay

We're not sure 100% what is going on, but his blood work showed an infection, and x-ray showed inflammation in the hip joint. There are 2 possible types of arthritis that it could be, and we are hopeful that it is the less serious of the 2 which can be treated and will go away. Fortunately today some American drs. will be at the hospital, everyone was off on Sun.

The baby is now limping like he has a wooden leg. Often he wants to be carried and not use his leg at all, and it's always worse after sleep. Hopefully he'll wake up this morning and be more himself. The dr. didn't say it was a caused by a cold, he said that it could be from a bacterial virus. He wants to watch the baby for 2 more days to be more clear.
We feel good we are here bc they are doing everything well, at a high level.

It's5 AM here and was woken up by the Muslim call to prayer, which they blast from speakers around the city. Fascinating really. Istanbul feels like any European capital, but has a lot more ancient ruins, and the huge mosques everywhere remind us we are still east. It really is a beautiful place. We are thrilled bc we had McDonalds.

Baby is waking up now, he is in bed singing.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Sashenka -- good news!

Sasha wrote:
baby will be fine
nothing serious
Transient Synovitis
caused by cold

Saturday, April 04, 2009

hospital Sashenka is going to

Sashenka needs prayer

Mary-Kay wrote: "My son woke up and his right leg was paralyzed. The head doctor of UNICEF, a dear friend, brought us to the country's chief neurologist, and in short, they are telling us to med-evacuate him for tests in the west. We're hoping it's a freak think that will disappear, but making arrangements to fly out tomorrow."