Saturday, June 13, 2009

Back from Asia, and still alive

I've been on a tour of Vietnam, Thailand and Burma in the last 34 days so haven't been able to add entries into this site. See my photo in front of "Bride on the River Kwai" in Thailand. So many memorable moments on this trip. In Thailand I especially like the elephant ride through the jungle and river, then the bamboom raft down the river. In Vietnam I especially enjoyed the overnight stay on a traditional boat at Ha Long Bay off shore from Hanoi. Interesting was the CuChi Tunnels used during the Vietnam War.

Unfortunately, on the last day of the trip, when we had just flown back into Bangkok, Thailand from Burma, I suffered a bowel strangulation from adhesions and rushed to the hospital when I realized the abdominal pain was more than I could stand on the 16 hour plane trip. At the Vibhavadi Hospital in Bangkok, it was at first thought I had gastritis, but after going into shock at the CT Scan, I was admitted to ICU and into the Operating Room. Dr. Naratip removed two feet of my small intestine, and sewed the ends back together. After three days in ICU with the terrific Thai nurses, my daughter, Alisa, joined me in my ward room for the next seven days of recuperation. Then my travel insurance paid for a plane ticket with doctored order "reclining ability" and I returned to Hawaii in Business class! It was definitely needed. Alisa was in the section behind me, but on the same flights. I am very grateful to my daughter for coming to Bangkok to take such good care of me. And without her "Blackberry" cell phone with internet capability, we might still be in Bangkok. Finally after over 6 weeks I was back home in Hawaii.

I'm grateful to be alive and so happy to be home again. Thanks to Beth for helping me out for the first few days I was back. As planned before my Asia trip, my two grandchildren, Emily (15) and Braden(12) arrived to visit me in Honolulu for three weeks. See photo of Emily, me, Beth, and Braden. They have been taking good care of me, and we have done lots of the fun Hawaii activities including beach time (including surfing lessons at Waikiki for the kids), Kualoa Ranch activities, Hanauma Bay snorkeling (I sat under a palm tree), and tomorrow they are going to have a Dolphin Encounter at Sea Life Park. Finally Braden and I will visit the USS Missouri ship. They return home June 19th.
See photo of Alisa and me on May 30th with Koko Head in the background, and Photo of Emily, myself, friend Beth, and grandson Braden on June 1st.

At the end of June I'll again go on a volunteer medical mission with "Operation Smile" to repair cleft lips and Cleft palates in Nicaragua. It will last 10 days, and our operations will be aboard the USNS Comfort, a U.S. Navy hospital ship. I'm looking forward to the unique experience of operating and living aboard the ship for 5 days.

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