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Three score and ten or more

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Here I am in Finland. I have taken pictures and kept a journal for our entire trip through London and into Finland, intending to regale you with my traditional witty repartee. Unfortunately things have turned very serious. Monday morning Janet and I attended the open house for the new Mormon temple in Helsinki, which was really a major reason for coming to Finland (Other than the fact that ever since our departure from Finland following my Fulbright grant here in 1967 we have said, almost every year that this is the year we return to Finland. Following that, we went shopping, sightseeing and generally had a good time. In the evening we went back to our rented cottage, ate some sour rye bread with cheese, took a Sauna and went to bed. About two AM I heard a sceam beside me in the bed, and Janet was sitting up in the bed clutching her chest. Dooctoor was all she could get out of her mouth. Unfortunately there was no land line telephone in our cottage, and our cell phones are useless in Finland, so I managed to get her into my rental car and we took off for Porvoo, twenty for kilometers away by a winding hilly country road. I drove that road, flashers flashing and horn blowing ar between 80-one hundred kilometers and hour (insanity, but I was desperate. ) When I got her to the Porvoo hospital, they gave her an EKG, measured blood gasses etc. but all were in the Normal range. It was finally decided that she might have an aortic aneurism, so they popper her into an ambulance and took her away. I was given driving directions to the hospital in Helsinki (Meilahden hospital) to which she had been taken, and carefull following the directions I was given I drove the fifty kilometer,only to end up driving, lost, around Helsinki for about two hours. I arrived at the hospital just after she was taken into surgery.

I called one of the people from my church, with whom I have had an email arrangement, and Jaana (the Finnish friend) came out to sit with me in the hospital (and to translate in those moments when my own Finnish was inadequate ). After about six hours the doctor who had treated her came in and explained that they had replaced and repaired a large section of her aorta where it connected to the heart, and she would be down to ICU in about fifteen minutes. After about forty five minutes he came to the waiting room to explain that, just as she was brought into ICU she began to have ventrical fibrulation on which the electric paddles were not effective so he had opened her up again and massaged the heart manually. We went into the ICU to see her, but minutes after we left she had more ventricular fibulation so they took her back to the operating room where she had her third surgery in seven hours and they gave her a dual bypass which opened up the blood flow and prevented further fibrilation.

Ed, Janna's husband came home, and after having taken me back to the cottage to recover our gear, is now putting me up. (or putting up with me). My dear Janet was stable all day yesterday, though they have not closed the incision in case of emergency. If she remains stable they will close the incision tomorrow and wake her on Saturday. I wrote my journal on my laptop, and Ed and I have not managed to get the laptop and his router to play nice with each other so I may or may not post anything more sometime soon. We were supposed to fly home Saturday, but I have already changed our tickets to November 6, which is the Earliest time she may be able to travel. I may have to change them again.

I am so grateful to our church, through which I made contact with Ed and Janna, and even more grateful to Ed and Janna and their ´children who have put themselve out, a lot, to take in a stranger and give me a place to stay while Janet is in the hospital. To those of you who pray, I ask your prayers, to those who don't I ask good thoughts.


At 6:07 AM, Blogger Ed Abbey said...

My thoughts and prayers go out to you and Janet.

At 4:25 PM, Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

10 05 06

I am praying for you and your wife and family. What a very difficult set of events. God bless you Richard. Thank Goodness that you are provided with friends in Finland that have shown you love and care.

At 6:44 PM, Blogger Gayle said...

Good thoughts, lots of them, and many prayers from me too! That's a terrible thing to have happen. May also God bless the people you are staying with, and bless you as well. Please keep us updated, and I sincerely hope and pray that your beloved wife will be okay.

Many blessings! I will also add her to our prayer list at church.

At 8:30 PM, Blogger Kathleen said...

My prayers and thoughts are with you and Janet. How wonderful that you have such kind friends in Finland. God bless you and Janet.

At 8:39 AM, Blogger Saur♥Kraut said...

I am and have prayed for your wife. I am so sorry to hear of this stressful situation. I am very thankful that you have good friends where you are. There's nothing worse than going through this alone. Please let me know if there's anything at all that I can do.

At 9:01 AM, Blogger KC said...



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