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Tuesday (holy-cow-am-I-glad-this-day-is-over) Update: 03/04/08

Today was a weird, scary, frustrating, upsetting, unsettling, head turning, did-I-just-see-that type of day. It started out much as the others have, with the usual treatments and they went well. The cupping session went much better today, since we shaved a bunch of Matt’s hair. A different doctor (I really need to learn all their names) performed the treatment today and he really got the cups to stick. As you can see from the pictures, each one sucks up quite a bit of skin and it turned purple. Those purple circles are still there on his back and arm! He says they aren’t sore though, so I guess that’s good…they just look pretty bizarre!

The acupuncture treatments went really good today as well. I put another video out on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPmNUl1oWkQ

In the afternoon session though, Matt’s tremor was acting up more and I had to sit and hold his hand to try and calm it down. We have discovered that a little Norah Jones helps sooth him as well, so I always play that on the computer when they are done and Matt has to lay still. The doctors discussed the tremor and the medication that he is currently taking and have decided to take him off it and start him on a Chinese herb to try and help. The doctor told him that it would not taste very good, but could help…so we said we’d give it a try. Matt has been such a trooper. When eating the ‘all meat’ pizza he just said ‘when in Rome’ and ate the whole thing. He has such a good attitude. Which really came in handy as our day took its weird and super frustrating turn.

A worker from China Connection came by and said that she would take us to the bank this afternoon. Since I had drank my last Coke Light, and I was getting tired of not having soap in the bathroom (Irish Spring shower gel just ISN’T the same), I was super excited for the chance to finally get some cash and then head to the store. Having this money would also give me freedom to run out and get anything at anytime. Well, just as we were set to leave, the nurses were all clucking and telling us that we couldn’t go. It turns out that all the patients were having tests and the family members needed to stay and go with them. So, I headed back to the room…disappointed that I’d have to wait another day to get my money and supplies. Two hours and two treatments later, we finally headed out for Matt’s ‘tests’. At this point I was more than a little irritated that I had no idea he was going to have any tests and I didn’t even know what the tests were. Well, my slight irritation quickly multiplied as we headed down to have these tests.

First of all, I have to say that the area of the hospital which we have been in is pretty nice. Not quite the same as American standards…but pretty close. They clean everyday, and keep things very tidy. Well, we soon realized that the rest of the hospital was NOT up to the same standards as our section…not even close. I don’t know if I can adequately describe the things I saw and smelled as we made our way down to have an ECG and an ultrasound of Matt’s heart. Dirt, grime, garbage, people, people, people, people smoking, broken tiles, beat up walls, and more dirt. It was quite an eye opener. Several times Matt and I just stared at each other, exchanging looks of fear and astonishment. I guess Grandma put it best…it was a hell-hole. I guess I can only appreciate more that this section of the hospital is light years ahead of the rest of the hospital. After the first two tests, performed in dark, dingy rooms we were escorted to an x-ray room where Matt had a series of chest x-rays, and then on to have an MRI.

Matt has had several MRI’s in his life…but I’ve never been asked to stand in the room with him. Have you ever had an MRI? Seriously, who designed this machine? The noises aren’t just loud, they are RIDICULOUSLY loud. What is the point of all that noise? It’s like two guys took the sounds from a shoot-em-up video game and captured it for this scanning device as a sick inside joke just to drive people nuts. Annoying – and I was more than a bit freaked out about having to stand there holding Matt’s hand while he laid in there. I just kept praying for strength, and patience. I prayed that God would give me peace about leaving Matt here…I was really struggling with the thought of leaving him here. I was so ready to just pack him up and take him home with me…it was that bad. And with all these people around who don’t speak English, I just felt so lost and the thought of Matt having to endure something like this without me there just about brought tears to my eyes. After the MRI, we bumped into another couple who are here for treatment. They have traveled from Australia. I shared a little of my fears with Debbie, the wife of the patient Michael. She looked about as wide-eyed and frustrated as I felt…but she said all she could do was trust and pray that something good was going to come out of this experience. I told her yes…and she asked me if I was a Christian. I think that might be the first time anyone has come right out and asked me that…and I jumped at the chance to say YES! She said she was too and that all we can do is trust and pray. She looked at Matt and said ‘something good is going to come from the land of China for you guys’. I’m pretty sure God placed her there in that moment to help reassure me that we are in the right place.

And as we came to our room, our nurse noticed some items on the floor outside the door. Stepping inside, I realized it was a bottle of hand soap, some wipes, and a bar of soap. Mary, bless her heart, had gone to the bank on her own after Tim was finished with his tests and then went and bought some things for themselves and also picked up some of the things I had told her we needed. It was so nice and just what I needed…SOAP!!! I was so touched that she thought of us, knowing that we wouldn’t return in time to go out (it took over 3 hours to complete all of Matt’s tests). We stopped down to visit them and thank them for her thoughtful purchase. She waved it off and said she was just glad she got out to get some things. Mary will be staying with Tim the full three months, and knowing she is here to help look out for Matt makes me feel a little better too. I think it’s just starting to hit me, how hard it will be to leave him here, in a strange land so far from me. I hate thinking of someone else having to be here with him all the time to help, and yet I want him to have this experience and the many benefits I know it will bring. I just pray that God gives us the strength to endure this short-term sacrifice for a long-term gain. Please, please, pray for us. Pray that a good and capable helper would be assigned to Matt. Someone that can easily handle his needs and also be someone Matt can trust and maybe even become friends with. That is my biggest concern right now, so please keep that in your thoughts.

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