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Tuesday Update: 02/26/08

Well, we’re in our final days of life at our Des Moines house. It feels weird that in just a few days we will be traveling across the world, knowing that this is the last time Matt will be in this house. This house, where we have put so much of ourselves into updating and enhancing it. There are many projects, too many to list, which we worked on together. It will be sad to leave this house. It is good that we have such a wonderful new house to move to!!! I can’t believe that the time has finally come to prepare for this huge journey. So many people have asked us if we are ready, if we’ve started packing, etc…and I really don’t have much to say. We started laying out some of Matt’s clothes…but that’s about it. I think possibly I have actually procrastinated a little on preparing for this trip. I’ve done the necessary things…like getting our passports and travel arrangements in order…but otherwise, it hasn’t been something I really wanted to get ready for. I think maybe because it has seemed so way out there, and now that it’s this week, I’m just trying to finally get organized.

Things have been so crazy these past few weeks! Thursday we had dinner with Kim, Matt’s former therapist from Timber Creek, and her husband at one of our favorite local restaurants, Christopher’s. It was a delicious meal, with great company. We had a good time talking, catching up on things, and thinking about the upcoming trip. Matt was only sorry we couldn’t stay longer…he enjoys Kim so much. I told him we’d definitely see them at his homecoming party in June!

Friday my parents flew in for the weekend and helped me meet up with the transporter who came to pick up the Trans Am. I was so glad to have them with me as I made the final trip in the car, and watched it be loaded up on the trailer. Matt stayed home. We haven’t talked too much about it…which I think is ok. I took some pictures and showed him…but that’s about it. I think Mom, Dad, and I all got a bit choked up watching it. It was definitely the end of an era for us. Mom put it best when she said it just showed her how much he wanted to go on this trip to China, and how serious he was about it…it definitely says that to me. The sacrifice he was willing to make for this opportunity. I’m proud of him.

Saturday we spent the day up at Hope and Chad’s celebrating little Matthew’s 2nd birthday. We got him a tire shaped toy box…which he loved, and promptly tried to climb in. He’s very much into cars…weird, huh? I know three other men who couldn’t be happier with that! It was totally Matt’s idea to get him the toy box.

Sunday we went to church for the last time before our trip. Mom, Dad, and Meghan all came down to join us. It was good to have a chance to say goodbye to everyone before we leave, have lots of hugs, and warm well-wishes. Our pastor was also in church for the first time since having a major, 5 bypass heart surgery…so we were very happy to see and hug him before we leave! Afterwards, Hope, Chad, and Matthew came down and spent the afternoon and evening doing things here at the house. The boys worked on cleaning up the garage and PITCHING even more junk. I was SO happy that I didn’t have to get dirty doing that again!!! Hope and I ran to Lowe’s to get a few things for the house, and then we all ate a yummy supper of grilled hamburgers! MMM!! Hadn’t had those for a long time!! It was so good to see Mom and Dad one more time before the trip. I know they are so excited for Matt and will be praying for us both a lot in the coming weeks. I can’t say enough how much I love my parents…how supportive they are, as well as Hope and Chad. We are so blessed with loving family all around us!!

We’ve also been running around seeing a bunch of doctors too. Friday we were in Iowa City to see Dr. Olson one last time after Matt’s eye surgery. He said the alignment in Matt’s eyes is very good, and we talked about how we hope the Chinese treatments can alleviate the bouncing enough that his brain can finally fuse the two images together. He said he was very excited for Matt as well and couldn’t wait to see him again when he returns. Just before leaving the room, he turned to Matt, took his hand and said he’d be praying for him. It was so kind…and took us both by surprise. We are so lucky to have had so many caring doctors along the way!! Yesterday we saw Dr. Struck, the neurologist who has followed Matt since the first night in the ER. She said her mother travels to China and teaches English to pilots there, and she loves China, and thinks we will too. She seemed a little skeptical about how much the treatments can really help, but says she has seen some positive results from some other patients seeking alternative treatments, so she wished him luck. Today we are scheduled to see Dr. Kumar, so we’ll see what he has to say. Unfortunately, we got another 3-4 inches of snow last night and I’m starting to feel like I’m coming down with something. George is coming down to help snow blow the drive so I don’t have to be out doing that…which is a big help! I went to bed really early last night, and slept in later this morning in an attempt to try and fight off this bug. Today I also stayed home from the office and have been dialed in here…hoping to keep my germs to myself. So much is going around right now, and I have been trying hard to stay healthy. It’s not a huge surprise with all the running around I’ve been doing…I just hope that I feel better tomorrow!

Speaking of tomorrow, we’re planning to have a family dinner here tomorrow night…homemade spaghetti – Matt’s choice. Should be a good time, having his parents and grandparents over one more time before we leave. I know everyone has so many emotions about this whole thing…excitement, nervousness, and a little bit of sadness over saying goodbye for an extended period of time. I just hope we can all be as positive as Matt, who is just too excited for words about this trip and the possibilities it holds for him!!! I will be journaling throughout the trip…so I’ll try to get a post online as soon as I can when we get settled in Tianjin. With the time difference, I think it’ll probably be out there sometime Saturday morning. However, I make no guarantees…it depends on how much time it takes to settle in at the hospital…and how tired we are! It will be late evening Saturday there…but our bodies will feel like we’ve been up for over 24 hours! I hope we can sleep on the plane!!!

Anyway, that’s the gist of what’s happening right now…which is PLENTY eh? Thanks everyone for all the prayers…keep ‘em coming!!!


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