Back in US of A

On December 11, we flew from Saigon to Portland, Oregon where my friend drove me directly to VA Emergency (where I had to wait five hours) before I was seen by a doctor who sent me upstairs as an in-patient.

I stayed six days at the VA in a somewhat isolated room because the bacteria I had could only be treated by ONE antibiotic.  The bacteria was particularly easy to transmit, so everyone had to protect him/her self against my urine.

I was later told that I had experienced kidney failure, at least once, but they kicked-back in (not a medical term) quick enough that I could keep on as normal — no dialysis.  Thank goodness!

I was sent home with a picc (IV inserted in one’s arm for up to a month) which allowed Mai to attach an external ball filled with the antibiotic once a day for 14 more days.  Out-patient is much more comfortable for the patient and much less expensive for the hospital.  No use staying in the hospital just to get an IV every day.

BTW, I may have the catheter removed on Dec 30th.  Hope so, it’s getting frustrating (not to mention painful) having the damn thing in there.  It’s my TENTH catheter.

I’m still recovering, so this is not a very lucid post, filled with good grammar nor clear content — but I did want to post an update on the blog.

Mai’s Side of the Hospital Saga

FYI: This is a long post — may break it into 2 or 3 posts tomorrow.  Too tired tonight.

These are Mai’s emails which she sent to various friends during our hospital ordeal.

Nov 6th:
Chris got rid of constipation a few days ago. The pharmacist gave him two doses, but the morning it supposed to work I was in town to get some things done, I stopped at the pharmacy again to get him another dose because to me it didn’t seem working. When I got home I heard Megan said dad had a surprise for you, it turned out that he got over with constipation. What’s a relief.

I’m up almost all night last night, now I am exhausted. I told Chris I let Megan taking care of him today. I need to rest. If I’m sick who would take care both of us.

When an adult is sick they are as fussy as a sick child. I almost ran out of patience last night. He is sleeping right now. Hope he feels better

Nov 10th:
We are already in contact with our long-term US friend here. The director of the Medical University Hospital children are going to the International School which was founded by our American friend. He said he will call the director and ask for the best doctor at the hospital to do the operation. Haven’t heard from him yet. In the meantime it’s raining so hard that it makes me more worried– what happens if there is a flood and we have to go to the hospital again during this time. Try to be calm but when I heard the intense rain pouring on the roof it makes my heart ache. I hope we will pull through this somehow.

Heavy rain due to a tropical depression. Most parts of central of Vietnam are flooded.  My mom’s house is right in front of the Perfume River. The forecast said that heavy rain will continue until tomorrow.

There’s more »»»

My Ordeal (Part I) — ICU in Vietnam Gov’t Hospital

I’m back to being able to do some computer work, but it’s been a long, very painful journey. The next several posts will outline our experiences — Mai was 100% part of the medical experience.

Upon arrival in Hue, I started having medical problems — very painful bladder infection together with a small kidney stone. For one whole day all I could do was moan from the intense pain and pace the bedroom until the medication took affect.

Then I couldn’t stop urinating. Mai bought some adult diapers for me, but medically I was slowly getting sicker. I kept having a fever.

One night, I couldn’t stop shivering no matter how many blankets Mai piled on me, so Mai called the ambulance which took me to emergency at the Central Hospital.

There’s more »»»

Huế on Oct 22nd.

Megan & Em Win

Guess we’ve been in Huế for over a week and it’s been raining heavy almost every day and sometimes during the night.  Sometimes so hard that you can hardly hear each other talk due to the heavy rain noise on the tin roof.

Mai received an acupuncture treatment yesterday for her constantly cold feet.  The acupuncturist told her that her cold feet was due to a weak kidney and he started a once-a-week, seven week treatment for her. She also has needs to drink ten pots of some herbal drink.

Victor will be happy to hear that I’ve installed Ubuntu 13.10 onto Mai’s Dell computer (which was missing WinXP network software drivers). Works wonderfully.

I worked yesterday installing NextGEN WP gallery plug-in and had a new photo gallery configured.  Alas, something happened and I had to reinstall the whole test site without the NextGEN gallery plug-in.  Lost over a day of work. Bummer!

Last night was the first night which I slept without major coughing fits.  Each day is a bit better.

There’s more »»»

Been sick for a few days

P1090816_CW1024First Megan got a cough while we were in Portland, then Mai got the bug after we arrived here in Saigon and then I finally came down with it — much worse than the other two.

Have been sleeping day and night for the last three days and finally am starting to feel a bit better. The worse part was having absolutely no energy and a gawd-awful headache. I still am extremely sensitive to sunlight (an wouldn’t you know it, it’s a beautiful sunny day today in Saigon).

All-in-all, we’ve stayed in Saigon much longer than we had planned due to one or another of us being sick. Hopefully, we all can feel healthy enough in a few days to head north.

Feel well enough to eat my normal Phð this morning for breakfast.

Pictured here eating yogurt with a spot of it on my nose (which is why Mai took the photo).

Back in Cold, Windy & Snowy USA

Mai's Newly Crochet Shawl

[The photo is Mai wearing her newly crocheted shawl while she is crocheting slippers.]

We had such wonderful weather in Chapala, Mexico, but since Mai was not comfortable due to police in black masks and 50 cal machine guns, we decided to come back early to the USA.

We picked up the Jeep in El Paso and drove to Alamogordo, New Mexico where we stayed for approx a week.  Since I was having a toothache, we decided to drive south to Deming and then down to Mexico to get some dental work done.  (Click on ‘Continue Reading’ below for additional details.)

We then drove north to Albuquerque so that I could register with the Albuquerque VA Medical Center, buy Belgian chocolate from Trader Joe’s and order things that we needed from Amazon.

There’s more »»»

Some Homeschooling Curriculum Choices

The following homeschooling curriculum choices are not necessarily the choices which are best for you, but I did want to show a selection which we explored and why we decided to use certain ones.  This is certainly not a comprehensive list, nor possibly the best  choices.  However, it will start one on the path of investigating various possible curriculum trade-offs depending upon the student’s and family’s unique needs.  These are not particularly Christian-oriented, but several of the curriculum offer either secular or Christian tailored courses.  Good Luck — locating the homeschooling curriculum which best fits your needs is a never-ending task, but it’s your choice and not some faceless bureaucrat.

Time4Learning is only $20/month which works out well for us because sometimes we are one the road and do not have quality internet connectivity. Also Megan said she needed more structure so that she knew how much she had to accomplish each day.Time4Learning has a parent area where we can print out what she has accomplished each day, week or month. It is the main curriculum which Megan uses every day.  The only downside is that it does not have 7th or 8th grade science.  It also does not have writing automatically included but Time4Writing is available for  an extra $99.

FreeWorldU[niversity] is unique in at least two ways  — it uses flash cards to teach and is free unless teacher supervision, course tracking, etc. is required, then it costs $90/month. Megan enjoyed using it but it requires a lot of mouse clicks which would better if keyboard shortcuts were available.  We will use it to supplement our main curriculum. There’s more »»»

Megan Cooks Mac 'n' Cheese

Megan loves Mac ‘n’ Cheese! Since Mai hates buying processed foods, she purchased a box of pasta elbows, a package of Swiss cheese and some Parmesan cheese and turmeric and paprika (for color).

Due to the altitude, they had to cook it for 21 minutes instead of the 11 minutes in the recipe.

The last time, they cooked it several weeks ago, it tasted too pasta-tasting because it wasn’t cooked long enough and they had put too much flour.  Mai said Megan had to develop better tasting habits.

Megan had to eat the last batch because she wouldn’t throw it away, but this time Megan said it tastes WONDERFUL!

All FOUR QUARTS of today’s Mac ‘n’ Cheese.

Reheating something like Mac ‘n’ Cheese is one of the few times we use the microwave — we never use it for cooking food — only occasionally reheating food.

Cloudcroft RV Site

Here’s a photo of the general layout of our RV site.  Not very large, but OK for us.  Lots  of  pine trees around us and the air is very clear due to our altitude of 8,650 ft.

The locals call the rainy season in June and July the ‘monsoon’ season, but it generally rains only a few hours in the afternoon.  However, it occasionally rains during the evening and night — love that sound of rain on the RV roof.

According to the drought map on the internet, we are in the middle of the SEVERE DROUGHT area, but here in   Cloudcroft, you wouldn’t know it. Weather-wise, everything is quite comfortable and very beautiful when the sun shines.

Megan is now 2″ taller than Mai and has much more the body shape of her German great-grandmother who she is named after – Emilie Reich.  Looking at Megan one wouldn’t believe that she is 50% Vietnamese.