rotating header

Monday, May 27, 2013

Spain, mostly safe and sound . . .

A quick post from our "company conference" on the Spanish coast.   Hundreds of people, hugs, name-tags, memories.  Rocking worship.  Exposition.  Seminars.  Bustle.  Meals.  Ocean breeze and freezing cold water.  The buzz of conversation, the murmur of prayer.  New babies, and honoring our founding mother Rose Marie.  Family feel.

But as with anything that has world-impact-potential, not without struggle.  The  biggest one for me is being here fragmented as a family.  It's the first time to come without LUke and Caleb.  Their absence is an ache, an off-balance unsettled missing of something.  I didn't realize how hard it would be.  And until a few hours ago, we had only Julia with us, having left Jack in Kenya for two extra days.

We let Jack stay behind for RVA's major Rugby event of the year, the Blackrock tournament.  He had a blast and scored the winning try in quarter-finals and set up the winning try of finals, so a great day for him, really fun. His JV team won the lower tier of this varsity tournament, and the Varsity team came in second in the top tier.  All well and good except that he then had to travel alone, through Dubai and Portugal to get to Spain.  And unbeknownst to us, Portugal has some stringent requirements about minors.  So when he showed up at the airport in the dark of night in Nairobi, dropped off by a taxi and all alone, the airline refused to check him in.  Thankfully he pulled out his emergency phone numbers, someone found us here in Spain, Scott emailed letters and scanned passports.  Then we checked back and he was still stuck because (surprise) the printer was down and the airline was struggling to print the documents . . but finally he was allowed through.  The rest of the trip went well.  After that stressful beginning I had planned to take the hour drive with Rachel (Matt's new wife) to meet him at the airport. 

Only at lunch, ironically a time set aside for all the medical people in WHM to eat together, I started feeling really peculiar.  Had I not been eating with a bunch of doctors including one world-famous toxicologist I might not have every known that I was having a classic food poisoning reaction to bacterial overgrowth in poorly refrigerated dark fish, called scombroid reaction.  Evidently the bacteria makes histamine.  Here is a medical text on exactly how  I felt:

"Signs and symptoms of scombroid toxicity usually begin within an hour of eating contaminated fish.  The symptoms resemble and IgE-mediated allergic reaction.  The patient may suddenly experience flushing, a sensation of warmth, and erythematous rash, palpitations, and significant tachycardia.  The rash often is especially prominent on the upper torso and face.  Headache, blurred vision, respiratory distress, and dizziness have also been described."

So after a nice slug of benadryl and ibuprofen I passed out for the afternoon, missed the airport run, and Jack had to figure out who Rachel was (which he did when he asked her for a pen to write down the number the WHM people gave him when he called again feeling slightly abandoned on arrival, and as he wrote the number they realized they were looking for each other . . ).

Still have a seminar to help teach, and lots of great conversations ahead, reunions and thought.  But all this reminds me that it's a battle.  Our speaker gave us the story of Gideon, fearful and flawed, to remind us that God uses the weak.  That's us, for sure, limping in and dependent.


lisa said...

Oh my goodness. So sorry to hear you were sick but thankful you were surrounded by doctors and thankful you're feeling better. Thankful Jack arrived at last. We were living in Portugal when they instated the strict law about unaccompanied minors. I believe it has to do with Portugal's bad reputation as an easy country to traffic kids (especially from Africa!) through to the rest of Europe. It meant both of us parents had to be at the airport to send our young teens on flights, or have a notarized letter from the other parent if only one of us could be there... Enjoy your time!

Alvin said...

This is cool!