It has been a good week. I had plenty of interesting work but also
time to enjoy getting out a bit. I got some trimming done on the
trees in our yard as well as a start on the work of redoing the
peeling paint job on the pergola that I built last summer. To look at
the thing you would think that I must be one of the worst painters in
the world. I think it had something to do with some paint that I used
that has a lot of texture. No matter the cause, it needs to be
redone. I am so glad that Jeannie is back. Her return was delayed
by some nasty weather in Chicago. She was able to make it the next
day by getting a standby seat. It was the last one on the flight.
She had to go from Chicago to Minneapolis and then to Green Bay. Kind
The call every night has been fairly light. I have it this weekend
also. The OshKosh Air Show has been all this week and continues this
weekend. There has been a lot of overhead activity. Some of the
planes have been vintage. It is certainly nice to have the Sabbath
here again even though I am on call.
I wasn’t able to make it to church until the very end. I had a
patient in the hospital that required my attention. The church had a
potluck for pilots attending the Air Show. It was interesting to talk
with many of them.
I also got a very interesting email today. It was from the director
of publicity for the Green Bay Packers. She thanked me for the
composition I had sent her entitled “ A Packer Fan in Haiti.” She
included her telephone number so I called her and we talked briefly.
I hope this Haiti project might be the beneficiary of this contact. I
plan to meet with her when we are back in September to give her one of
the coffee table books.
My partner, Todd Smith and his wife, Carrie, had a backyard cookout
and book signing event for the people who came to Haiti in August last
year. It was a lot of fun. He is a great partner. Both he and Eric
have been totally supportive of me taking this year to work in Haiti.
I couldn’t ask for better partners.
This week is scheduled to be a bit lighter than last week except for
being on call until Thursday. Several patients came in that are
followups from my ER call this weekend. None are surgical cases. I
had some time to work in the back yard and that was good. We got
together with Randy and Carri Goethke at their house for pizza. They
really had a good time in Haiti with us in April. They would really
like to come back again after the first of the year. We are
tentatively planning that for January.
41 years ago today Jeannie and I were married in a ceremony at the Hill Seventh Day Adventist Church in Loma Linda. It was a double wedding with her identical twin sister, Jane. I was still in medical school and she was starting her last year of nursing school. We have had many amazing things happen in our lives during these 41 years. Our children continue to be a source of great joy to us. We love getting together with them. We were last together in December in SanDiego after we were evacuated from Haiti because of the election related violence in the streets. We have an incredible group of people that are our good friends and enrich our lives. Our first 8 years in Loma Linda gave us an opportunity to really enjoy getting toknow each other and do fun things together without the added stress of dealing with the challenges of raising children. We both finished our training and continued working at Loma Linda in the University medical center. Shelle was our first child and was born in the med center. She was a year old when we moved to Puerto Rico and began our 12 years of service as full time missionaries at Bella Vista Adventist Hospital. Cameron was born 2 years later and Summer a year and a half later, a bit unexpectedly. Those years living on a tropical island were a wonderful experience. We learned to speak Spanish and made many lifelong friends. Many of those great people, missionaries and Puerto Ricans and other Hispanics, are our best friends today. Today, we and our children love warm tropical beaches. Snorkelling is one of our favorite activities. Other watersports are a big part of our activities. Our son even became a professional kiteboarder. 21 years ago, we moved to the little town of Walla Walla, Washington where we lived for 16 years. My parents moved there also a few months later. We all loved spending time with them. My dad had a legendary garden every year. He also loved to play golf and I was able to enjoy many rounds with him. Our children’s school activities largely dominated our lives during that decade and a half. Jeannie and I also started going on orthopedic medical mission trips to the Dominican Republic. We found the people of the DR to have many more needs than the average Puerto Rican. Our children as well as many other students commonly came on those mission trips with us. A number of orthopedic surgeons and anesthesiologists also have worked with us in the DR. More than 12 years ago, I had an experience that brought me to realize many of my inadequacies as a marriage partner. It was a definite epiphany. One of my colleagues was somewhat unexpectedly divorced. They had four children the youngest under two years of age. We saw them all sitting together in church regularly and they seemed to be the All American family. It shocked me that his wife had fallen out of love with him and I realized that the same could have easily have happened to me. My ongoing relationship for many years with my wife had been based on me being the center of most everything. My rational was based on my perception of the importance of my surgical practice. I resolved to do everything to make sure that Jeannie would never find another man who could make her even a fraction as happy as I could. The acts of service, words of affirmation, giving of gifts, especially regular flowers, physical touch and quality time were elements commonly lacking on my part unless I had an ulterior motive or it was some special occasion. Speaking all five of those love languages regularly to Jeannie has made our relationship unbelievably rich. I consider myself one of the luckiest and blessed men imaginable. The last five years in Wisconsin have been wonderful. She and I have been able to make many new friends and we thoroughly enjoy doing things with them. We have a tandem bicycle that we enjoy a lot. Learning ballroom dance has brought us a special closeness that enriches our relationship. We continue to enjoy snowboarding, tennis and windsurfing as well. We both enjoy music a great deal. Concerts and other programs at the Appleton Performing Arts Center help to satisfy that interest. Now we have this unexpected year in Haiti. We feel very privileged to be part of this wonderful opportunity to help this work get more firmly established.
Jeannie left for California today. I have nearly a week by myself
before she comes to Haiti. She has been planning this time with some
of her best friends for several months. I am glad she does these
things even though I get very lonely for her when she is gone for more
than a day or two. My planning skills are certainly not legendary and
it makes things a bit hectic for me when I have to get myself ready
for the return to Haiti. I had some straightforward cases today in
the surgery center and they went well.
I had an early morning meeting related to the work I will be doing
when I return in November. It is exciting to have a new project that
suits my background, training, and interests. I also was able to meet
with Dr John Toussaint. He and his wife have committed to be involved
with the fund raising project for the Haiti Indigent Patient Fund. We
are planning a function with people that he and his wife know. I will
present them with what is happening here at HAH and the opportunity we
have. Then they will be able to decide if they want to be involved in
helping this program to be an ongoing success. I will use much of the
material for a Powerpoint presentation that I used last Friday. I
also talked to him about the coffee table book and the need to get
national media exposure.
Since today was my “day off”, I spent much of the afternoon and into
the evening working in the backyard mostly on the pergola. It is
pretty hard work scraping the peeling paint off the overhead beams and
ten holding a fairly heavy sander and creating dust and paint
particles that pretty much cover my head and neck and arms. I imagine
I look more like a Haitian to anyone who would just glance at me. I
have already repainted a couple of the posts and they look so much
Today was a pretty light work day. I had a clinic in the afternoon
that finished fairly early. I was able to get in a late round of golf
with Chris. It was my best round so far. It has been fun to have a
break from the concentrated work in Haiti and do some of the fun
things that help make life interesting. I also was able to get in my
last licks working on the pergola. I now have all of the 6 posts and
two of the three large overhead beams repainted. The final beam will
have to wait until I come back in September. It needs scraping and
sanding first then painting. I hope there is some nice weather for
doing that when I come back to Appleton.
One of the members of our church, Dorothy, drove me to the airport in
Green Bay this morning. We had a nice talk. She has an idea of
trying to get the church approved by the proper authorities to be used
as a shelter. She would like to use proceeds from the sale of her
house to help fund the project.
The flights to Chicago and Miami were essentially on time and
uneventful. Staying overnight in Miami breaks up the LONG day of
travel and I arrive fairly rested instead of worn out and needing a
couple of days to get my energy back. It is totally convenient to
stay in the airport hotel. I don’t have to leave the building and it
is located immediately next to the TSA screening area for my flight