Monday, August 25, 2008

Hello Kitty...Hello USA

It is Saturday the 23rd of August. I guess I had better bring some resolution to this adventure, at least for this round; because clearly this is an ongoing path I’ve discovered.

Where to begin, where did I leave off? Hmm…Well, it was an adventure and considering that Hong Kong is having another Typhoon right now, I can basically say we were fortunate. We were fortunate both in the terms of the Olympic Games and the trip home.

So, I mentioned Amy had minor surgery to remove a small bruise around her knee that thought about trying to get infected. I say that because they were never actually able to culture a bug while we were in the hospital for a week, it just acted like it was infected. So, she has two small incisions on either side of her knee. Mind you, I say small, but I’m not the one with two holes in my knee. Now the challenge was to get home before Amy thumped the pain doctors upside the head. At the hospital, each task was performed by a specialist. Sometimes that became a bit annoying to live through.

In this hospital, nurses do not start IVs, they wait for specific doctors to show up and start them. This is okay until you start to think about the fact that the experience level of the Doctor who is on duty at 2 in the morning on a weekend… Now, having alluded to some decreased level of capability here, I have to note that generally I was very impressed and comforted by the care that Amy received while at Prince of Wales hospital. She had the chief of the ER checking up on her, as well as various other practioners she saw through out the week and continued to follow up, even though it was not necessary. I probably was the least happy with the pain docs. The Doctors and the Nurses were unable to either provide or change pain medication without the specific direction of the “pain team”. I will leave this part of the story with the comment that I forced the Pain Doctor to stay and endure the procedure of changing Amy’s dressings, along with her, just so he had an understanding that his decisions had consequences.

Thanks to the hard work and diligence of the US Doctors and the Hospital staff, all coordinated by the members of the USEF, Amy was able to finally leave on a flight back to the US on Wednesday the 20th (the 19th back here in the USA.) In traveling back to the States, Amy had a Doctor, I mean a nurse, I mean a Doctor, I mean…some jokes are lot more funny when you actually understand the story behind the punch line. Suffice it to say that the medical transport/insurance company that the USOC uses could stand to be a little more organized in their procedures. This is where I give the big thanks to all those people mentioned before, because without them we’d still be in Hong Kong, or perhaps have ended up somewhere else, a little less helpful, like Timbuktu.

It is a bit ironic that the fire department transported Amy to the airport. With their help and that of the Doctor flying with Amy to make sure all went well (a requirement of the USOC insurance) we got to the airport and through security in a timely manner. We eventually got on an airplane flown by EVA airlines. he first stop was Taipei, Taiwan. To add to the humor/surreal nature of all this, the plane had a big “Hello Kitty” printed on the side of it. After having spent nearly two hours flying on this aircraft, I am having “Hello Kitty” nightmares. There was a big picture of Hello Kitty on the bulkhead directly in front of us. Hello Kitty was telling us not to use our cell phones on the plane. We laid our heads on Hello Kitty head rests. Hello Kitty toothpicks speared my lemon in my drink. And the final bit, to push anyone over the brink into Hello Kitty hell (although, after all the rest of the gear, it was strangely satisfying in ending the Hello Kitty torture) was the Hello Kitty toilet paper.

If I ever have children, there will not be a Hello Kitty in my house, and I do not care if I will end up in some book entitled “Daddy Dearest.”

After the Hello Kitty adventure to Taipei, we had to hop onto another EVA aircraft and fly 11 hours back to Seattle (this one, thankfully devoid of any pink kitty cats). With Amy’s knee about twice the size it was, due to not being able to properly elevate it for that long, we were met by a limousine for transport to the hospital (again part of the insurance requirements of the USOC.) Now, imagine that you are the triage nurse at the Evergreen Hospital Emergency room. Here you are: this woman shows up with a Doctor (who by the way looks younger than Doogie Houser), a parcel full of MRIs, Xrays and CT scans, a story about Olympics, falling, surgery, antibiotics, and her first words are this is a little complicated…What do you do? You guessed it, put a mask on her and send her back out into the waiting room. Eventually she makes it back to the ER proper, where the Doctor, and probably rightfully so, isn’t all that eager to deal with this confusing issue. Eventually all was made right, Amy’s orthopedic surgeon (shocking I know, Amy actually has an Orthopedic Surgeon; she actually has two that she highly recommends) had arranged for a direct admit which in short order was accomplished.

It is now the evening of the 20th here in the States. Basically, we made it to the hospital 30 minutes after we took off from Hong Kong. If you are okay with losing roughly 15 hours of your life, it isn’t so bad really.

A few, Jack in the Box, Oreo Milkshakes later and Amy was able to come home. She still has her two small incisions to be closed on Monday, if all goes well (not to mention the requisite Doctors appointments associated with said procedures and follow up.)

Mom’s home: the terriers are happy, the blind beagle is happy; and the ponies at home are going…damn, the vacation is over.

So (I know, needle pulling thread…) the place looks great. Lauren has been doing a great job making sure we still had a farm to come home to. I would like to thank Dee (the owner of Upson Downs) for hanging in there while her barn manager was gone for the last 9 months. Katrine and Allyson are still in England waiting for a flight home with Pogi and Leyland (as well as McKinlaigh - the silver medalist!) Not really happy with the bloodstock folks about the delay, but a monopoly is a monopoly.

As I close this part of the adventure, I get to ponder a few things and wax quixotic. Thank you to friends and family who both cheered and provided support (in some cases, way beyond their means) for this dream. To those who have patiently waited for bills to be paid long after they were due, thank you. The impact to these businesses was every bit as difficult as it is to us to try and go to the Olympics. To those making sure our bills got somewhat paid on time, thank you. If you were patiently dealing with all the things that we have let slip while we were gone, lucky us. Those that took the time to read this blog, I hope you enjoyed it and could feel at least some part involved in the adventure since it wouldn’t happen without that involvement. To Mark and Craig, thanks Docs, while the medical side is important, the friendship is infinitely more satisfying. And to the friend who offered to fly out to Hong Kong just so I would have someone to sit next to, thank you, for it is amazing who you end up standing next to when you are running the high hurdles.

To my brothers, sorry I wasn’t around and I will see you shortly. To my crews and fellow BCs thank you for allowing me the time away.

I think I probably will have to spend less on marriage counseling this time around (see, it isn’t only Beagles who are moderately trainable!) Again this is probably more due to my friends and family teaching me the things I need to learn in life, than any one thing that I have learned on my own.

If you find it within your power, please support the businesses that have helped to support this adventure ( ). We need them to be successful, so we can continue to rely on their generous support to Team Tryon and in most cases, horse sports in general.

Cheers and best wishes to all.
- Greg

PS. Apparently the $%^$A%!* delegation was suggesting some sort of super bug was causing Amy’s condition in Hong Kong. They apparently wrote to the US State Department wanting clarification or some other information. As usual, we can all learn a lesson here. First, quit being so nosey; and two, sometimes it is prudent not to be so quiet about yourself and be a little more forthcoming with information. Again, marriage counseling rears its ugly head; I and Amy have to learn to talk more!

I was going to use the actual country’s name in this blog, but after thinking about it for a few days I decided against it. I would love to make a snide comment, but in the end, in the absence of information, stuff gets made up either innocently, or deliberately.

Again, take care!


The Gingerbread Kat said...

Thank God you all are home! I've been sick with worry .... "Silence is NOT Golden". Gadzillions of Hugs.
~K, up the Rd.

natb said...

Thanks Greg. Have so enjoyed your blog and hope you continue your funny blogs. On to 2010!

Mary said...

Thanks so much Greg for your humorous, entertaining, and informative blogging. I have seen Amy and Pogi at Rolex and was so looking forward to watching them live on my computer (thanks to NBC) and appreciate your telling us all at home the real scoop.

I hope that you and Amy and a horse make it to the WEG in 2010 so I can read more of your blogs...although I'll actually be there in person for that show.

Thanks again!


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