....is about over, and I have not written any emails to speak of to any of you, so here's a quick synopsis.
Most of you know that Dad/Gpa and I went to Ohio to be with Glenn, Pam and Katie for a couple of weeks during the last of July and half of August. Rachael went with us, leaving her personal activities and time with Brooks and her boys and girl (4 boys, 1 girl!!) for exactly a month, hoping to be of as much help as possible to Pam and Katie while Glenn had to be back in St. George. That was a great and loving sacrifice, and yet she kept telling Dad/Gpa and I over and over how grateful she was that we gave her that opportunity! Thanks YOU....so much, Rache.
Katie has been brave and in my opinion, VERY tolerant with a lot of pain and inconvenience and endurance. I believe that this was possible because of her own faith and the faith and support of her parents and sisters, brothers and nieces and nephews, as well as the extended families of Stones and Whickers, and her friends. It has been a long, painful and yet sometimes very boring time for her! There was never a moment (except during the actual surgeries) when Rachael or one or both of her parents were not with her, except at the very last when she felt stable enough to wander some in the Ronald McDonald House by herself. She is truly a blessed and loved young lady!
We stayed in a "hotel" that was actually an old hospital.......in fact, still operating as a medical clinic and light surgery hospital every day. They made the 3rd floor into rooms for families to stay in while they were supporting loved ones in the Children's Hospital. It is less than a block away (as the sparrow flies) from the hospital. We were quite pleased when we checked out and found out that because they gave us a weekly rate, we only ended up paying $33.33 a day! The accommodations weren't perfect, but considering the absolutely horrible road placements in a very UNplanned city............I was so grateful that we didn't have to navigate to a regular motel every night and back again the next day! We had to buy a GPS there just to hope to get from one place to another, as even landmarks seemed to change locations! (Ry's note: it was SO cold at night in that hotel...that Rache took the following photo of our Daddy sleepng in Mom's hoodie. :))
We had a good time seeing some new things, such as the Cincinnati Museum and the Zoo. The tickets for all of the things that any of us attended were donated by different organizations, to the Ronald McDonald House, for whoever wanted to use them! I couldn't walk around those big places, so Dad had to push me in a wheelchair, and that made the Zoo quite miserable for me, even though I enjoyed the things we saw. It just wasn't good for Dad to have to do that, because that Zoo is very, very hilly. Had I known that, I would have stayed home and let the rest of them go! He was pretty worn out that night and the next day. Pam pushed Katie, too, as she wasn't strong enough yet, and it was hard for her, too, but of course, she didn't have nearly as much weight to manage. I will check the terrain before I do anything like that again!
My favorite thing was the Wright Brothers' Museum and field. They had a display of the history of parachutes there which was fascinating, too. Those two little boys (Wright Brothers) had NO idea what part they were playing in history! In fact at one time they declared that this flying business would never work, or something to that effect! I was especially impressed with a quote from one of the boys that was on a large display in the museum. It said, (paraphrased) "The secret for success is to be born to good parents and grow up in Ohio." Not a profound statement, but such a humble and sincere and grateful one!
Katie, Rachael and Pam also got to attend a Cincinnati Reds game after Dad and I left, and I think Katie's very favorite thing was probably the tennis matches that they witnessed on the following Saturday. They all got too much sun that day, but for Katie, at least, it was worth it!
Rachael worked for hours and hours on a special necklace she wanted to finish for Katie during the month. I don't know if she got it done or not, but it was quite beautiful, even unfinished! That takes so much time and focus and coordinated hand work! Not my kind of thing to DO, but I sure do love to see the finished products! Rachael also gave Katie a piece of amethyst that she broke off from a larger piece that she has at home. She (Rache) has studied a lot about the healing and encouraging properties of different stones and rocks...she'll have to explain about the amethyst.
When we went to church with them, we met a Dr. who specializes in the research of DNA and cells, I believe it is, and he had taken a sample of Katie's blood and sent it off for research on Treacher Collins. I hope we get to hear about any findings they gather on that project. He is very interested in Katie''s case.
Well it is now Monday Morning, and we have heard that the Glenn Whickers and the Rachael Gibbs got home safely, which was wonderful news! Yesterday evening, we went to the Waltons for a little celebration for Nathan's birthday and got to have a nice visit with them, which is rather rare even though they live 3 miles away! Then later, Jeff and Lynda and Taz paid us a visit, which is also rare! What on earth has happened to the front-porch-rocker visiting? Time seems to be our problem, and time is such a sneaky thing!
Love you all,