We arrived here in Johannesburg last Saturday night at about 5:20 PM and it is now Tuesday the 2nd of March and we thought we had better drop you a line to let you all know we are alright. We had hoped that we would be able to Skype you before now but no one has volunteered to let us do that. So this morning we thought we would drop you a line. I am writing this on my laptop here in the mission home and will go to the mission office with my flash drive and send it as an attachment.
Yesterday was preparation day here in the mission field and even though we were in the mission it was to hectic to get a chance to ask to use a computer to write to you. The assistants were doing the weekly reports as well so things were too crowded to even ask. For one more week they have three couples in the small office plus yesterday Mom and me and the assistants usually don’t spend all day in the office but yesterday they did. Mom and I are so glad we are going to the little office in Botswanna and not be in the mess we saw yesterday. They gave us a copy of the mission roster to take with us and wow they need to clean it up a whole lot. But we even said to each other that we could and would live with it and not say a thing. It seems to be running fine even if things aren’t like Mom and I would have them. The new arrival list and departure list really isn’t a list. It is just the next transfer and doesn’t go beyond that. Oh well tomorrow we are out of here and head up to Botswanna and we are happy to do so. We have had several talks with President Poulsen and he is giving us a lot of leeway to do what we think will be the best.
He wants us to take the next few months getting acquainted with the area and wards and branches and work with the YSA which is the Young Special Adults ward and get it up and running better. He doesn’t want us to take a ward or stake calling because he wants us to float and get a feel for all that is happening in the area. He wants me to get a large map and outline the missionary work and look and see how the branches and wards lay out on a map as well. It is a lot of ground work but we are excited to do so. I asked him if I could make a small transfer board to keep track of the missionaries in that are as well and he said that would be a great idea. He wants us to be up and running and learn from the Olsen’s as we get a chance. The biggest thing on his agenda is to be what we can be to the wards and branches and YSA then learn from the Olsen’s. He said we have three months to learn from them.
With love from Dad and Mom
I didn’t get this sent off today so perhaps I should add a little to this letter. Today we spend the morning and early part of this afternoon at the Area Offices meeting the people that we will be dealing with by phone while we are in Botswana. It was well worth the time we spend with each of the people we meet. We also got to see Elder Colin H. Bricknell in his office. We reaffirmed that we were going out to dinner with he and Jenny tonight along with President and Sister Poulsen. But shortly after we left the Area offices we got a little lost coming back from there. The GPS system that is brand new keeps losing its power and we tried to reset it and when we got it running again it had the wrong address. I kept feeling it was taken us the wrong way but before we turned around we had gone a long way the wrong way. About this time I began to feel a pain in my chest on the right side. I told Mom about it and surprising to me it kept getting worse. By the time we got back to the mission office I could hardly breathe. I was hoping that when I got out of the car I would feel better, but that didn’t help at all. We went into the mission office and Mom told me I should tell someone. It just happens that Elder Watts who is new as about two weeks ago works in the office along with his wife has been on a fire department and he is a trained in EMT. I told how I felt and he said I should go to the hospital and have an X-ray just to be safe. I was hurting bad enough that I didn’t put up a fuss. Two of the Elders (the couple elders) gave me a blessing and the assistants took me to the emergency room. They gave an IV right of the bat and gave me some pain medicine right away. While this was all being done Mom was going through the credit card and debit card routine to get permission to treat me. When she had done this they then took me back to x-ray my lungs. By the time I was getting x-rayed I was beginning to feel very little pain. The doctor looked at the x-rays and found nothing so she gave me three prescriptions to get filled and sent me home.
Needless to say we didn’t go out to dinner that night as Elder Bricknell and President Poulsen and Sister Poulsen came into the hospital to see me. By this time it was about 8:00 PM to late to get everyone and go to dinner. We decided to go Wednesday night instead. Well after being home for about a half hour and Mom and Sister Poulsen gone to get the medication and President Poulsen left for a meeting that he was going to skip because of going out to dinner. President Poulsen got a phone call from the doctor that had just release me and said she had read the wrong blood work and wanted me to come back in.
I guess we are very grateful that we did as we had to do another x-ray this time through a donut type machine and they found that I had multiple blood clots. I asked if I had to be admitted and the doctor that read the x-rays said if you don’t you could be dead by morning. They admitted me and gave me a shot in my stomach which is a powerful blood thinner. I have had one every twelve hours sense then. They also give me a small pink blood thinner pill I need to take every night between 6 and 7 PM every day for about ten days then we will see. I was admitted into the thoracic intensive care unit as was told to stay in bed. This was all on Tuesday evening. The next day I still didn’t have any pain but the doctor wanted me to stay in the ICU longer. The next morning which was Thursday the doctor said I could go into a regular ward. I liked the ICU better as I had a room by myself and in the ward I shared a room with 5 other guys. No privacy except to go across the hall to us the toilet. One guy really started the evening snoring very loudly and by the time I got ready to go to sleep he had settled down but it was not a pleasant night.
Mom came in to see me just after I got into the new ward and she couldn’t find me. One of the office ladies brought her in and she went to all the floors before she found me on the same floor I was on in the ICU but just in a different wing. She walked from the mission home in the afternoon to see me and told me that President and Sister Poulsen had left for Botswana for the zone conference and she hated to go back to an empty house. She had to walk and let herself through the sliding gate and in the back door of the house and I could tell she was very nervous. Before she left we had a prayer together. I really worried about her as I could do nothing and didn’t have a phone number to get hold of her to see if she got home OK or not. About an hour after she left this would have given her plenty of time to get home it rained as hard as I have ever seen it rain anywhere. I again offered a prayer that she was home in the mission home safe and warm and dry. I went all afternoon and night hoping she was alright.
When the doctor came in this morning I asked him what procedures were needed for me to follow to get out of the hospital? He said just a couple of days so I could get the shots that I needed and take the one pill each evening. I then told him that my wife and I are new in South Africa and she is alone in a strange house and walking to see me a couple of times a day. Would he please consider releasing me and I would come back each morning and evening to get the shot and take the medication. He smiled and said that would be fine I will release you so you can go home yet this morning. I was very grateful and needed to call Mom as I didn’t have any cloths.
I looked in the phone book and found the mission home phone number which was the only number listed under the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints except for one ward building. I couldn’t find the mission office, the area offices or anything. So I called the mission home and Mom didn’t answer after 25 to 35 rings. This all didn’t help the feelings I had last night after she walked home alone in the afternoon. I didn’t know what to do. I looked in the phone book again under Mormon, yellow and white pages and didn’t find anything else. I finally went back to the crowed room and would have probably cried but there were too many people in there with me. After thinking and praying I remembered that Mom brought my little black notebook that I always carry and I had put Elder and Sister Olsen’s phone number in it as we were to call them an hour before we crossed the border into Botswana. I called them and they gave me the mission office phone number and finally I got Mom’s phone number and it was wonderful hearing her voice on the other end of the phone.
I am back with Mom in the mission home and tonight Elder Watts is going to give me a shot and I can take my own pill about that same time. He will give me a shot night and morning through Sunday night at 7:00 night and morning. We will go to there apartment or flat as they call them here.
Well that brings you up to date so I am doing great and feeling just fine but the experience is something else. If United States hospitals are a 10 and Ukraine hospitals are a 1 then South Africa hospitals are about a 5 or 6.
I will write again later when something else happens in our lives. I have a doctor’s appointment next Monday and again next Wednesday and then I hope we can go to Botswana. Today is the 5th of Mar. 2010 on a Friday.
With Love from Dad