Puerto Rico San Juan

On September 14, 2013 I received my call to serve as a Mission Nurse Specialist in the Puerto Rico San Juan Mission for a period of 18 months. I am always up for a new adventure and look forward to sharing my journey with you.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Belated Happy Memorial Day!!

The past couple of weeks have flown by!  Well, the Elder with stomach pain had chronic appendicitis with an abscess.  After a couple days inpatient with IV antibiotics, he had an appendectomy and was discharged this week.  I think my car drives to the hospital on autopilot.  He is a great young man from Guatemala - comes to my shoulder!  He was treated at the Auxilio Mutuo Hospital in the Hato Rey area of San Juan by a surgeon who had performed hernia surgery on an Elder in February.  His hospital care was awesome - equal to or better than I have seen in the US in recent years.  Dr. Pelet is great, as well.....the fact that he has lived in the US and speaks English is a great benefit to me :o)  Elder and I spent many hours together 'communicating'....we both had to rephrase some sentences sometimes, but eventually got the message across.  He speaks no English except "Wow" and "Oh, my gosh!"  He is doing well.

The current health bulletin for the Caribbean is re: the Chikungunya virus.  It is carried by a mosquito with daytime bites.  I will be alerting the missionaries over the next couple weeks at Zone Conferences.  It is essential to use insect repellent on all uncovered areas.  It has already hit the island of Dominica and is expected to hit hard in the Dominican Republic, Caribbean, and even, possibly, the Southern US.  Symptoms are fever to 104 and severe joint pain (similar to severe arthritis which occurs overnight).  In some ways, it is worse than Dengue.

I have had time to fit in a couple piano lessons.  One student will begin playing simple hymns for prelude in her ward where there is only one other who plays a little bit.

Wednesday night was crazy....the scouts in my ward washed 5 mission cars as well as Sis. Allred's and my cars.  With 2 office Elders and the two of us, we moved cars to and from the office as well as the mission home.  Pres and Sister Zwick have been visiting the islands this week, so I was driving the President's Honda Pilot around running shuttles.  I felt like we were a band of car thieves.  All ended well, though, with a 10:30 pm dinner at Burger King.

My Bishop here has asked me to serve as Primary Chorister - it has been a while since I have done that :o)  We can't be called/set apart in the traditional way for ward callings, but are given "opportunities" to serve.  So much for the easy RS pianist role!  We have about 20 Primary kids and one sharing time.  These are all American kids....many of their dads are here with FBI.  As usual, it is a small world in the Church - Matt Foulger and family are here - his brother was Taylor's scout leader in Allen 4th Ward.

Tonight is a Relief Society Activity - Sis. Allred and I will observe the exercise and yoga class, but enjoy the salad dinner :o)  We are afraid that if we get down on the floor, we may never get up again!!!

Almost forgot --- we had a new Senior couple here BRIEFLY!  Let's just say that they were not a good fit for this mission.  The sister couldn't believe that she wasn't met at the airport with a fruit basket and the apartment (similar to mine) was not adequate.  Also, it was too hot here and there was too much traffic. They got lost driving to the office two days in a row.  To make a long story short.....the Elders were pleased with the opportunity to provide transportation for them to the airport.....they have been assigned to a mission in California!  (To make matters worse, SLC had not advised the Mission here re: their arrival/travel plans, so they arrived at the airport unexpectedly.  Fortunately, the Elders in the office hadn't left yet since that was the only phone number they had.  Then, President/Sister Zwick were ready to sit down to dinner at their home with a visiting Area Temporal Affairs director and his wife.  The Elders picked them up and took them to the Patterson's apt in my complex to drop off their luggate.  I thought the Elders were going to stop by my apt to grab a couple pina coladas (virgin, of course) on their way home.  Instead, they brought with couple with them.  I was in a house dress with slimy hair after cleaning my floors and the couple appeared in their missionary finest clothing.  The Elders later told me that they had to stall and waste time before they could take them to the Mission Home to meet the Pres.)

I haven't been anywhere new, so no photos this time......

Monday, May 19, 2014

Update - Finally!

Sorry, folks!  I hope you haven't been holding your breath waiting for an update!  A lot has happened since I last wrote.  Our Mission Pres/Wife were released on April 28 and they returned to Alabama where Sister Smartt will be treated for a new diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis.  Then, Elder Cornish of the Area Presidency came to preside over the mission until a new/interim president could be identified and arrive.  Elder W. Craig Zwick of the First Quorum of the 70 and Sister Zwick arrived on May 3rd.  What a joy and blessing to have close association with them and Elder Cornish.  Many of you may remember the April General Conference Talk re: the 18 wheeler on fire and the sister who jumped out with the baby.  Yep - Sis. Zwick is that awesome sister!  Then there were transfers, missionary visits and, ultimately, an All Mission Conference held in Caguas to re-group and instruct the missionaries.  It was a wonderful conference as the missionaries from the islands were flown in as well. 

 I was able to visit Mom in Florida for Mother's Day - left here 5/9 and returned on the 14th.  It was really strange being out of the mission.  I felt like I was in limbo and was anxious to return to my assignment.  The next 2 days were Orthopedic appointments for a couple of elders, the weekend and here we are.  I sat down to update this blog last evening and received a call re: an elder with stomach pain, so visited him about 10pm.  Fortunately, they were only about a 15 min drive from my apartment.  

The really great news is that I now have screens on all windows.  Since mosquito-borne Dengay fever is a risk in this area, screens are a necessity and I had none.  My landlord has been great about responding to the requests of the Mission after receiving a letter indicating that the contract would be considered null and void if he didn't comply with the requests.  My washer has been repaired as well after a month or so.  I had considered moving to a different apt in the complex on the ground floor which was vacated by the Pattersons when they were released, but opted to stay here in a brighter, more pleasant unit.  I decided I could climb the 2 flights of stairs for the this apt and not have to go through a move.  All apts in this condo complex have the same floor plan.  I have one missionary to visit today so far - twisted knee playing soccer last week.  One of these days I need to do a good cleaning of the apt.  The downside of all of the open windows is the dust/dirt that blows in from the Sahara via the Trade Winds.  It is like a fine black powder on everything and a real pain to deal with on the nearly white tile floors throughout the entire space.  I vacuum first and then damp mop.  That is a small price to pay for the opportunity to enjoy this beautiful island and the cool breezes. 

The photos this time are random pictures of an evening with the Senior missionaries before the Pattersons and Petersons went home.  Costleys go home in June which will just leave Sister Allred and me as the oldies. We went to the Crepe Maker for dinner, then the men decided they needed ice cream as well....so we caravanned (4 Chevy Cruzes) to Baskin Robbins. Word is that 3 new senior couples will be arriving within the next month.  They are greatly needed! Our new permanent Mission President will arrive July 1 for a 3 year mission.  Sending my love to all ya'll!!!
Dinner at the Crepe Maker (Elder Patterson taking the photo)

Elder Patterson/Retired Dentist from Idaho

Sisters Sigler/Stirland/Zwick at the Mission Home

Mom - Sebring, FL - Mother's Day