Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Love, Kristen - Week 21 and a half - Discharged from the hospital!


I was discharged from the hospital a few hours ago.

Diagnosis: Sinositis with Labyrinthitis, Allergic Renitis, Asthmatic Bronchitus

They did a second blood test on me last night. The only concerning things were my iron levels and potassium levels (Potassium--1st time 3.4. Second time 3.3 even after Potassium pills and bananas. Normal is 3.5--5.1. It's not severe, but it is concerning). I'll be given potassium supplements and iron supplements.

The doctor believes that my condition is mostly due to allergies--pollens and pollutants in the air. Dr. Patrimonio is working on getting it under control though so that I can go back to life and work as usual. She tells me though that it may take some time and that we need to be patient, especially since she believes that I've had this condition for a long time (possibly 15 years). I didn't notice as much before because although I would get a little sick at season changes, especially spring, I thought it was normal. The symptoms were not consistent until I came to the Philippines and was in a completely new climate, and with new vegetation. That's what she believes at any rate. The chest x-ray showed nothing significant, but she is not surprised by that, and is still giving me the clinical diagnosis of asthmatic bronchitus.

Note from Mom: Kristen gave us a list of several medications she is taking currently. Our Filipino doctor here in the USA did reach Kristen’s doctor in the Philippines last night. In short, he feels comfortable with all she has done and is doing for Kristen. They actually did some of their training at the same place in the Philippines and knew some of the same people.

Follow up Appointment:

April 1, 2011. Will call the day beforehand to schedule a time (scheduling with Dr. Patrimonio is a little different). Will do another blood test: CBC, Platlet count, K+

Current Plan:

Dr. Patrimonio wants me to stay in Iloilo for awhile. There are only 27 sisters in the mission currently, and only so many areas that sisters are allowed to go to (we are almost always in cities, in the safest part of the city), so that makes it a little difficult especially this week with transfers. President and Sister Pagaduan visited with me in the hospital this morning before I was discharged to discuss the options. President has not had an opportunity to speak with Dr. Patrimonio one on one and only has what Sister Pagaduan has told him, and the AP's, so he was really needing information to make the best possible decision. Right before I was discharged though, Dr. Patrimonio insisted that I stay in Iloilo just so that I am closer to her. She does not want me traveling a lot as she feels that it will only aggravate my condition for now. She wants to see me again on April 1st, and after that appointment she will determine how often she feels she needs to see me. If it is not too often (once every two weeks or longer between visits), President will send me back to Kalibo, and Sister Sablan and I will continue to travel to Iloilo when needed. That is all dependent on next week though. President recognizes that an emergency transfer may need to take place and is preparing for that, but for now everything is still temporary.

So the temporary plan is for me to stay in Iloilo with the "city sisters," and Sister Sablan will travel back to Kalibo on Friday with the missionaries who will be transferring up there. Dr. Patrimonio has given strict orders that I do not work for at least five days. I can go out and buy what I need for today, but other than that I am to stay home and rest and recuperate. There are four city sisters, one who I know from the MTC--Sister McDonald, and three others who I have met before. Two will be transferring this Friday, so whoever comes in will have to be informed of the situation, but that's a minor detail. Anyways, they are all very understanding and cooperative. They are happy to help out. I felt very bad about the situation because I realized that the time each companionship would spend in their areas would need to be cut in half because they'd have to be in a tri-some for at least 5 days, and take it slow the four days I may be able to work, unless perhaps they can get someone from the local ward to stay with me. Sister McDonald reassured me though that they do not mind and that she actually feels this will help them manage their time better. So that made me feel better. It'll all work out. This is what Heavenly Father wants after all.

The sisters back in Kalibo are packing a suitcase for me to have for this week. The zone leaders in Kalibo will bring it down tomorrow night. I'll just live out of that for a week, and then go back to Kalibo or have the rest of my things sent to me if an emergency transfer needs to take place.

Sister Sablan and I are still companions for now, but will be separated of course for at least this week. She'll be in a tri-some up in Kalibo with Sister Budge and Sister Villaester.

Hospital Stay:

I was nervous to stay in the hospital in the Philippines, just because I had no idea what to expect. I found it though to be a really good experience...or at least as good of an experience as a hospital stay can be. The staff was extremely friendly and patient. They took their time to explain things to me and never minded answering my questions. Sometimes they would get a little intimidated and feel that they needed to speak English to me and so they'd get flustered, but that was only a few nurses, and we would just tell them to relax and speak Ilonggo. I'm decent at understanding Ilonggo, although I can't speak it very well yet, so I was still able to communicate and understand. Sister Sablan is fluent, so she was able to help me understand whatever I couldn't on my own. About 90% of the time though the doctors and nurses just spoke English to me and it was excellent, especially Dr. Patrimonio's. She's actually Chinese/Filipino. Just thought I'd throw that in there.

Anyways, the hospital was very sanitary, and the room was very comfortable. Sister Sablan and I took pictures yesterday. I'd send them to you, but they're on her camera and she does not have her USB cord with her. So I'll have to get those to you at a later date. You'll see once I send them though what I nice set up it was. I had air-conditioning and a warm shower too :). The first time I showered it was with a bucket still though because I could control better where the water sprayed and not hit the I.V. It was great once I was able to take a regular shower though. 

Because we were paying with cash, our situation was a little different after about day 2. They had charged as much on the bill as they could for cash-only paying patients. After that Sister Sablan would have to go to different departments within the hospital to pay for medicine, I.V. fluid, lab tests, etc. because of the hospital's policy for those who do not have insurance--they basically want to make sure you can still pay. It was funny the first time because they woke her up at about 2 in the morning on the 2nd night to ask her to go to the pharmacy downstairs to pay for the antibiotic or something. Haha, poor girl. I didn't even know until the next morning. Just an interesting thing I thought I would add.

Ummm...what else. Everyone was very fascinated by us. We were in a Catholic Hospital, and probably the only patients in there who did not take communion each morning. Besides that, we also got several visitors, President and his family, the AP's, Office Elders (for money), and local ward Single Adults (Sunday for Sacrament). We wore our nametags, didn't watch T.V., studied, chatted, and were always happy and pleasant when the nurses or doctors came in. Every day we were asked questions about what we do and what we believe and it was fun for us to be able to answer those questions. We couldn't proselyte of course, but with at least a few of them we felt a strong spirit. Perhaps in a simple way, Heavenly Father used us to help prepare them to receive the gospel down the road. The nurses were always happy to hear that we don't party (smoke, drink, party hard) and told us that they don't either. The nurses were about 25-26, at least those who's ages we found out, and so they enjoyed being with us as our ages were close, especially the female nurses. The male nurses were friendly although seemed very business oriented, but they were nice, and so we still had a good time.

I loved my study time in the hospital. I read a couple Ensign articles, and focused my study on 1 Nephi 8-14. Oh I loved 1 Nephi 13! It's so fascinating...Nephi was shown so much. There's no way Joseph Smith could have written the Book of Mormon! It's just too...for lack of a better word right detail, in emotion, in....I don't know...It just makes sense! It was also fun to find where the Book of Mormon starts in the Bible (2 Kings 24-25) and read what was going on in Jerusalem before, during, and after Lehi and his family left. So that was a real blessing. I also read some good quotes in the Ensign...or scriptures quoted in the Ensign rather. They gave me comfort and hope. They are Ether 12:27 and Proverbs 3:5-6.

Oh, while in the hospital I learned that Tatay June (man learning about the church in Kalibo) went to church on Sunday for the 4th time. He can be baptized :). He also went to a priesthood activity on his own :). We'll probably push his baptism date back a little, since we don't want to rush the finishing teachings with him, but it's great. I don't know if I'll get to see the baptism or finish the teachings with Sister Sablan, but I'm very happy with his commitment and desire to follow the Lord. I very much admire him.

I know that this is a strange situation. I never, ever expected this to happen to me in my young adult life, let alone my MISSION! Not at all. But, the Lord has a purpose for it. He has a plan, and I'm actually slowly beginning to see it unfold. There's so much I'm learning from all of this. To first, relax and know that He is God, to know that He is there. To know that He is watching over me and cares for me and will never leave me alone. During this whole ordeal, before, during, and now after hospital stay, I was never left comfortless. He always provided the help I needed, whether physical or emotional, at exactly the time I needed it. I don't know exactly why I was sent here to the Philippines, or why I was even meant to go on a mission. Missionary work can be so hard sometimes, and I recognized this morning that if I wanted to, I had the perfect excuse to go home--medical. However, I knew in my heart that that would be a lie. My condition is not so severe that I need to be sent home. It can be taken care of here. So I decided to reassess why I was really out here. What was giving me the drive to keep going. What was my motivation. And after some time of contemplation, it came down to this: "I'm here on a mission, because I know that there is so much that I can gain from it, and also so much that I can give." The more I gain, the more I can give – the more I give, the more I gain. For now, that is my motivation, on top of it being what the Lord wants.

I love you all. Trust in the Lord. Be happy :).

Sister Danner