Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Story of Why Alicia Passed Out

For those of you who don't know I (Alicia) passed out on Tuesday evening around 6 pm. I want to thank all of my friends and family who have been praying for me. For the most part I am doing fine. I just don't have my normal energy and I am battling a headache that comes and goes with different pain levels. I am sure in a few days time it will be better. As today went on I discovered more areas on my face that I must have hit that are so sore and my neck is pretty stiff but that too will heal in time. Many have asked "why" I passed out. Sorry to keep you waiting but this is the first time I have really had the energy to sit and type. So here it is ...

Several years ago I passed out for the first time. Since then there were random times. Places I have passed out ... San Angelo fair, home (more than once), on the airplane as we were waiting to get off the plane, at target, and almost at a football game. I have hit my head a few times before but never anything more than a goose egg. It has been over 3 years, I think, since I have passed out. At one point I went to the doctor and he told me I had Vasovagal Syncope. I am fine it is just something that happens from time to time with certain "triggers" like dehydration, stress, pain, stomach aches and list can go on and on. I feel it come on and some times I can breathe my way through it. Passing out is not the problem. When it happens I am only out a minute or so. The problem is when I pass out I tend to fall and that is where the danger comes in.

Tuesday night we had just finished eating dinner (McDonald's) and we were sitting on the couch relaxing. My stomach started hurting and I didn't feel so great. I headed to the bathroom and immediately felt light headed. I tried to breathe through it and I started asking Jesus to help me through this and not let me pass out. I yelled for the kids and Mark, yelling their names and help (all our walls are brick so sound doesn't travel well). Luke came running and I told him to go get daddy I was about to pass out. He ran out to get him. The next thing I know I am on the ground and Mark is rubbing my arm talking to me, telling me to wake up, calling my name etc. I opened my eyes and knew I had passed out. My head hurt and I just didn't feel good. He then told me I was bleeding. Apparently, I feel forward straight on my forehead and hit the tile. Brit walked in the bathroom in front of Mark and I was laying on my face in a little blood. Mark rolled me over and then I came to. They called a friend here who was able to tell Mark where to take me. She called and told them we were on the way. I hurt so bad, my head, my left cheek bone and my tongue. I was also nauseated. Luke got me a bucket to take in the car, Brit got me a wash cloth to put over my cut and we headed out. Brit sat in the back with me. I was alert but just felt like I needed to keep talking. Didn't matter what just needed to keep speaking. Then I started to throw up. Poor Brit was trying to help me but found herself almost getting sick. So she rolls down the window and holds her head out trying to gain composure. We finally get to the clinic and Mark helps me out of the car. My head is throbbing and I can feel blood dripping down the back right side of my head. The wash cloth that is on my cut is stuck to it and I am holding the side of my head. We walk up to the door and a security guard asks how we are doing tonight. I chuckled and told him that I had been better. We go in and the receptionist has Mark fill out some paper work, I ask to sit down and then I decided I need to go the bathroom. After that the doctor told me to go lay down in the room. He asked what happened and then he started to look at my head. He said that I was not cut on the back it was just the blood from the cut on my forehead. I laid back and he started to clean me and give me the local injection to numb me. He poked me 7 or 8 times and then started to stitch me up. Meanwhile the kids and Mark are in the room with me. We are talking to the doctor etc. Luke left the room and came back telling his daddy he didn't feel well. The doctor told him to sit down. All of a sudden he threw up right there on the floor by Mark. (Today Luke told me he was watching the doctor and when he got the the third stitch he didn't feel good so he walked out to the waiting room. He said he sat down and felt dizzy so he put his hands on his head and then went to tell Mark.) Meanwhile, Brit just saw her brother throw up and she was trapped in the room. She got out of the only chair in there and then walked to the other side so she could just focus on me. The way she kept herself from throwing up was laughing. Poor Mark, got Luke to sit down and then he went to get a mop and start cleaning up. Then doctor finished my cut. He said it is a little over two inches and it was not a clean cut. I had also torn a blood vessel so he had to stitch that as well. We headed home. So that is the story. I am fine just part of my life sometimes. I am so thankful that Mark was here and not in Mozambique at the time and that we were able to get the help needed. I am also so thankful that my injuries are not worse than they are!

On top of all this Mark had two tests to take in Seminary on Wednesday. Amazing how the enemy will use anything to distract. Praise the Lord he did the best ever on his tests.

After calling both our mom's yesterday we posted on facebook. Here was Mark's status (it made for some fun comments and a few good laughs) ...

Mark Raley ... wife Passes out...gash on to country so had to call friend to find where to go... blood soaked hair... trip to doctor's office... kiddo gets sick when mom gets injection... dad cleans puke while wife gets stitches...daughter just laughs during the process as a way to deal with stress...WOW What a Night!!!

There were several comments with questions ... Here are a some of the questions and a few of the answers ...

Q. Why did you pass out
A. See above

Q. Are you ok?
I am sore but I will be fine

Q. Do they know how to do good stitches over there?
They did fine

Q. Did they give you anesthesia?
Yes they gave me a local

Q. Did you have to bite on a piece of leather while they stitched it?

Q. Did they have to shave any of your hair off to do it?
No, they didn't

Q. Who found you on the floor?
They were all on their way but Brit saw me first

Q. Who drove you to the hospital or vet clinic--whichever they have over there!!
Mark and it was a human clinic!

Q. Did I see Dr. Mark?
A. No, it was one of his partners

Q. Are you eating?
A. Yes, not as much/slight nausea off an on today but did eat 3 meals.

Q. That must have been scary for the family
A. Yes, not much fun for them to see me like that

Thank you for your prayers. Here are a few pictures for you.

Monday, May 17, 2010

We are so blessed ... Bonus the Hippo Video

Psalm 116:5 (NLT) "How kind the LORD is! How good he is! So merciful, this God of ours!"

We have been so blessed this year with the gift of a very long visit from some of our family. In mid-January we found out that someone had given money to send our parents out for a visit. So we immediately started making plans. Mark's mom came 2 weeks after we were told about the gift. Then 3 weeks after she went home Alicia's parents arrived. It is hard to believe the year is almost half over and we were blessed to have family here for most of this half. Several people have said they were praying for us as they all went home. Several have asked if we are doing OK. We are thankful for the prayers and yes we are doing OK. In fact, we are doing good. It is hard to explain it other than like this ... God is so kind and He is so good and He is full of mercy and He is our God! He gave us a great gift, a very unexpected gift and one that we will treasure forever. Yes, it was sad to say good-bye and yes we did have a few tears but in the end it was a gift that blessed us more than words can really say.

When I sit and think about the memories we have with Diana, Bob and Gayle here in Africa it just brings joy to my heart. This is the place the Lord has called us to. This is the place that we fell in love with so many years ago. This is the place we now live and call home. We are so thankful that they now got to see what we have talked about for so many years and experience our life here. Again, all praise and glory to our God who is so good. We are praying they get to return soon and that more of our family will be able to come and see and experience all that God is doing in our lives here in Africa.

Bonus ...

This past week we found out that we have a new neighbor ... that's right a hippo moved into the pond (or dam as they call it here) at the end of the block. On Wednesday we were driving home and we noticed there we a lot of people at the top of the dam looking around. We didn't know what it was and decided to head on home. Then on Thursday we noticed a police helicopter circling around the area. I just assumed it must be a crime scene. Friday we took my parents to the airport in Joburg and when we got back we noticed one of our neighbor's Facebook status said something about a hippo walking down Marshall street and one of the comments said that she should have seen the tracks left in another neighbor's yard. We immediately grabbed our flashlight to check it out ourselves. We talked to our friend who put it on Facebook and she said it was true and we went to look at the tracks. They are so big that my whole hand fits in with room to spare. Sunday night another neighbor showed a video to us. Crazy ... this is one of those times we say ... You know you are in Africa when ....

Here is a picture standing in our driveway looking towards the dam. If you can see the stop sign the dam is right behind it.

Here is the article I found in the local newspaper ...

Stray Hippo in Polokwane; May 12, 2010
A stray hippopotamus has been seen in a dam near Polokwane, Limpopo on Wednesday, police said.

Environmental officers were called to capture it, Colonel Ronel Otto said.

"I was there when it emerged in a small dam next to a park."

She was not sure whether the hippo was captured.

"It is not a police matter, so I left and I am not sure what happened to the hippo."

The SABC reported that environment affairs department officials were working around the clock to capture it. Residents were warned about the animal and urged to contact authorities if they spotted it. - Sapa

Here is the video that was taken on Friday evening. It is five minutes but if you watch it all you will see the hippo moving and jumping in the water.

We did not get to see the hippo and they say that it has left the area but pictures and video are better than nothing.