Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hui Jia !! ! Vamos a casa ! Let's go home !

After a very successful total knee replacement in Matilda International  Hospital in Hong Kong. Mark said thanks and goodbye to the staff on the 2nd floor, the ones who took care of him for nine days.

Monday, June 14, 2010

An Open Letter to my Mom from Hong Kong

June 13, 2010

Dear Mother,

Here we are in the Matida Hospital in beautiful Hong Kong three days after Mark's total knee replacement surgery and all is well.  

We are so grateful to our wonderful Lord for His lovingkindness and loving care and for being our strength in weakness.   His eyes search to and fro throughout the whole earth to show Himself strong on our behalf, His children.

Mark has had trouble with his right knee for a long time, and last December slipped on the ice making it worse.  So he finally went to an orthopedic surgeon in Beijing, who is actually from Hong Kong and only goes to Beijing twice a month for consultations.   Dr. Kong is a wonderful, soft-spoken surgeon with an excellent reputation.   Our school insurance pays for the whole thing except for transportation and my lodging.

The last month of school for Mark was a busy one...spring trip with 7th graders, final exams, many meetings, preparations, packing up his classroom for the annual painting of the school, farewell parties, graduation, regular Bible studies, regular English corners with Chinese friends....SO, we scheduled the surgery for after school was out.   

On June 9 we flew from Tianjin to Hong Kong.  It was turbulent about a fourth of the time...but we made it !!!    Then it took three busses to get from the airport to the hospital which is located on the top of a lovely green mountain.  Since Hong Kong was a British colony they all drive on the left hand side and there is definitely a strong British flavor even though there are mainly Chinese people here. Very international city.

This is a small, very modern hospital where most everyone speaks English.  Random fact:  The movie, Love Is A Many Splendoured Thing was filmed in 1949 in the same area as this hospital.     Mark's room has a beautiful view of the harbor and skyscrapers and every day the weather is different...cloudy, clear, misty.   We love it.   But today the visibility is about zero and I feel like we are in a cloud. It's hot and humid outside, and inside the AC is too high so I am wearing Mark's terrycloth white hospital robe.    

The night before the surgery I had some fears and anxieties, especially hearing the anesthesiologist talk of all the worse case scenarios as well as the best case ones.   I know that the Lord is always in control and that our times are in His hands, but I was struggling.  I prayed and read the Word, and in the middle of the night the Lord gave me the words in the song of How Firm a Foundation...
FEAR not I am with thee O be not know the rest.   I truly felt upheld by His omnipotent hand and had perfect peace.

It was a long long four hours that he was in surgery, and I took a mini bus to a local grocery store to buy some food for me.  I'm staying in a nice room very close in the same complex as the hospital.   I came back and waited in his room til he got here .....I was so glad to see him awake and smiling...although groggy and tired.   You know what it's you have been through surgery, and also have seen Daddy go through it.

The Doctor is amazed that Mark has felt little or no pain.  He has felt discomfort in lying flat on his back for long hours.  Every day they have him up doing simple exercises with his leg.....

I went up to the 3rd floor maternity ward yesterday to see the babies. It's a very small hospital and very homey.   There were only three babies up there, and then they rolled in a brand new little baby boy and I saw the American father beaming as he took photos of them weighing and measuring his little son and then wrapping up in swaddling clothes and laying him in a little crib.  Precious moment I got to witness.  Then the next day I went up again and saw a young Asian mother walking down the hall with her little baby girl in her arms I was looking in the window, she asked,  "Which one is yours?".   REALLY !   I gently said, "Oh I am just up here looking at the husband had surgery downstairs recently."   I was flattered.      

This same lady told me that she has an 11- year old son and is from another city in China, not far from Hong Kong.  Her husband is a business man, so they could afford to have the baby delivered in this hospital so she can have HK citizenship.  In the mainland they can only have one child.  So people who can afford it find loopholes.   She did tell me that her son is worried that they won't care for him as much now that the little sister has come.  He has been "the little emperor" for so long.     

Yesterday I went to a very famous place called The Peak , only about 5 minutes away from here.  It's a huge shopping center and lookout point with amazing views of Hong Kong harbor.  We are way way above all the skyscrapers and sometimes above the clouds !      I wandered around the shops, bought a few things. I wish Mark could have been along with me.  Not fun by myself.

I wanted to find a place to get a manicure  (in our city they are everywhere) but this place is quite POSH, so I asked a shopkeeper and she pointed around the corner to a place called "Vunderful Feesh"  (Wonderful Fish)....I went to see what it was and found that it was a place where you sit around a little pool with your feet in the water and little fish eat off the dead skin cells of your feet.   I had heard of it before, but just didn't want to do it.   I probably would with a bunch of fun women.  Friends say that you go away with your feet feeling amazingly smooth and soft.    

The nurses here are so nice and friendly.  One is a young Filipina nurse named Girly.  She said she is 6th of 8 children and her mother said she couldn't remember all the she just said Girly.   Her little brother's name is Boyly.   Really !

I'm hoping to venture out on Monday or Tuesday into the central part of the city to an outdoor market area just for fun.  And there are several good Christian bookstores , too.  Most of the time I am right by Mark's side, but he doesn't mind me leaving for a few hours.

Guess what !   Dan and Danielle are expecting a baby boy in November !!! He will be the first Prescott grandson.  AND  Tim and Allyson are expecting another baby in February !!!  Hannah and her siblings told us on SKYPE the other night and we were so excited.  That will bring it up to 15 by next year !
(We always include baby Luke in the count)

Well, if all goes well, there are four days left in the hospital and then we will go by taxi back to the airport and someone with a wheelchair will be there to help Mark get to the plane.  We just have economy plane seats so we hope it won't be a problem.  THEN when we get back to our apartment he will have to walk up two flights of stairs.   

I miss you and can't wait to hang out with you and Deborah.

I love you,


"Your lovingkindness is better than life thus will I praise You"  Ps 63:3

Meanwhile back at the farm in Georgia

Here is the latest from Tim's e-mail report in his own words:

Well well well.
It has been a while since you got an update from us. This entry picks up just days after the last one.
Remember, Hallie, the milk cow? Sure you do!   Well, days after we saw her leave and days before we saw her come back (in boxes to be put in our freezer) a new cow joined the family.
It is a long story, and I will try to brief it. She was for sale and we bought her!
But in reality it was not that simple.

We tried to buy this particular cow from a dairyman in Madison, GA back in October of 2009. We visited the cow and left with a "Thank you Mr. Farmer. We will discuss the matter and get back to you soon."

In that "soon" period our little boy Luke was born and died within hours. Our lives, as you know, were shaken and as you can imagine, buying a cow was the last thing on our minds at the time. When the dust settled we tried to get back in touch with the farmer but found that we had lost his number. We were out of touch for three months and had given up on the cow.

Out of the blue, Mr. Farmer contacted us and said that he would be glad to send us his extra milk for free. For the following months I would commute to Madison (45 minutes away) about twice a week. I would leave some 20 gallon drums that he would  fill with his extra milk (for our hogs), and on the days I would go get them I would also take some large mason jars to collect some milk for our own house use. Our own milk cow, Hallie, was producing less than a gallon a day and drying up so we appreciated the 
extra milk.  The milk stored in the large drums went straight to my thankful pigs.
The farmer and I spoke about cow number 56 often. The reason he had originally offered to sell her to us is because he was getting out of the business. When he contacted us about sharing milk with us she was no longer for sale. Why this cow?

Well, she was a 'show' cow in earlier days (not that she is old now). Her showing did not consist of competition but rather of "show and tell" type events like kids days, or old folks visits. She was the only one he chose out of his herd to go with him because she was docile and friendly. He also spoke of her 'rating' and 'pedigree' and her calves and milking. All of these things were positives and in my visits to pick up the milk I was able to watch her closely. She was always on the back of our minds but we no longer had high hopes of having her.

A few months ago, however, we decided to ask again about buying her. We reminded him that we had tried to buy her last year but had lost contact. He took a while to get back to us, but when he did we were devastated to find that he wanted two and a half times more than he had originally priced her. Frustrated we declined to buy.  Weeks went by and again out of the blue he offered to sell her to us at just one half more than the original price. She was bred back with a heifer (had just been (AI) artificially inseminated with sexed semen: guaranteeing a female calf) so we finally decided to buy her before he changed his mind again. I tried to coordinate a surprise for her to show up on our farm with a pink bow on Allyson's birthday (HOW ROMANTIC!) but two days before he was to drive her to my farm
I received a text that felt like another (of many) kick in the gut. He matter of factly told me that the cow came back into heat (meaning she didn't take to the AI from the previous month). I said "Well certainly you will sell her to me for the original price, then, if she is not bred back with a heifer calf" (By the way, it may be a good time to explain here that when it comes to milk cows, a new baby boy is barely worth $20 at birth and a girl is worth $200-$400 or even thousands depending on other factors) 
"NO, price is firm!"
I growled to myself again. It is really impossible to describe to you the array of emotions I have felt with this particular friend. Allyson has been able to experience this 'array' with me and well... all I can say is "WOW".       I said "We'll take her!"

And soon after, our new cow "56" "Donny" came to our farm, and we were all thrilled.
She came with Jersey registration papers. She was bred back to Smart Bull which didn't guarantee a heifer but at least she is bred back. She came with a chain around her neck which makes her much easier to handle than our previous cow.    She milks 5+ gallons a day. She is friendly with everyone as you will see in the pictures. She is a better cow than the other one in ALL respects although I must say, I liked the taste of Hallie's milk better.

The very best part of the story is that I have finally been able to use my portable milking machine.
A Godsend!     Milking is still a chore but it is no longer painful and at times tormenting. I did have to hand milk her for a month until I got my milk machine back from someone who borrowed it. Milking that many gallons by hand is quite draining. So, I am MOST grateful for the assistance of the milk machine.

So there, you have officially met Donny. A name we continue to struggle to get used to but the cow has fit in very nicely and we are all very pleased with her. If you come visit, you will finally be able to interact with a nice cow. Allyson and the kids were fearful of Hallie as she sometimes charged at them and didn't like to be petted. Donnie enjoys company, enjoys petting and I even hug her quite often.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Hospital Room with a View

Mark had a total knee replacement on Thursday, June 10 in Hong Kong, China.   He is under the care of the orthopedic surgeon Dr. Kong who works at Matilda Hospital here and goes to Beijing monthly for consultations.   Since Mark had severe osteo arthritis in his right knee which was getting worse with each passing day, surgery was recommended.   About 4 days after school was out we flew from Tianjin to Hong Kong for the week stay.  What a beautiful place !  The hospital is on Hong Kong island near the Peak, a very famous place here.  This is a very old hospital, but also very modern and highly professional.  We are very pleased with everything here.  We are also so thankful to our loving Father for His unfailing love and compassion to us, and for all our family and friends for their encouraging words and prayers for us.  I had been struggling with fear and anxiety the night before the surgery.  The next morning the Lord gave me this verse before his surgery: "God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble, so we will not fear."  Psalm 46:1
  After his first physiotherapy treatment...getting up and walking for the first time...he felt no pain, just tightness.   Stay tuned for more news.