Monday, July 30, 2012

News of the new

Well, it's been difficult getting good connectivity to the internet. Hence blog updates have been sporadic. But I see that the last few days' worth of updates finally made it through and posted here. Apologies for duplicates.

Anyway, there's lots to tell you. After Brian's lumbar puncture, he did fine, other than a little fever which the nurses worked to keep down for a day or so. He got IV fluids and lots of cool towels. Strangely, the doctor that frequently visited insisted that the room be kept hot (like around 27 degrees C/ 81 degrees F)! None of us really saw the logic in that, but hey, it's a different country with different ways.

Brian has been doing quite well with his therapy. In fact, Beike offered to send him along with Grainne, Shane and Sean to a facility in Qingdao, China! There he could receive even more advanced physical therapy, along with acupuncture, massage and occupational therapy to round out his stem cell therapy even better. We asked Brian if he wanted to go and he happily said yes, so Sunday evening we quickly packed all our things and headed to the airport. Beike paid for our four tickets, but Nevis and Jonathan wanted to come too, and they very generously not only accompanied us, but paid their own way even though they have to head back to Ireland on Wednesday!

After an hour-long flight on China Eastern Airlines (quite nice), we were greeted by two of our patient coordinators, Zora and Charlie who drove us back to the hospital Brian would stay along with whoever's turn it was, and also to the hotel nearby (a Holiday Inn!) where the rest would spend the nights. As soon as we arrived the nurse and attending physician, Dr. Alina, interviewed and assessed Brian very thoroughly. That is, of course, until the doctor passed out. Literally. She fainted right there in Brian's room. None of us knew what was going on. It turns out she was pregnant and had a sudden severe bout of morning sickness right at that moment. Poor thing was mortified!

So here we are in Qingdao, China, about 500 miles southeast of Beijing, right near the coast. We'll continue Brian's stem cell treatment here and his increased regimen of attendant therapies. He's excited to be here, as are the rest of us. Quindao is a beautiful city, not as overwhelmingly massive as Beijing. Every street seems to be lined with well-kept gardens. Brian is in the VIP room on the 8th floor of the hospital. We're happy to say that Farhan and Anita and their daughter Zahra from USA along with Juan and Carolina and their daughter Gaby from Colombia are here too! It turned out that the children needed anesthesia for their lumbar puncture, and there wasn't staff specialized enough at the hospital in Beijing to perform the procedure, so Beike flew them out to Quindao too! It's like our little family is reunited! Sadly, though, with the joy comes some sadness. While we are here in Quindao, we had to leave behind our beloved other family members, Claudio, Daniela, Brisa and Nacho from Argentina and Jowad, Baidaq and Sirer from Iraq. Below is a picture that Baidaq sent along with an email that made us cry. It's painful to be separated from those whom you've grown to love and care for, and our little China family is evidence of that. We with them all the best, and we miss them very much.

Hopefully we''ll be able to keep a decent bit of connectivity to keep the website updated. Again, apologies for the delay and for the duplicate entries. Brian is doing well, and if you'd like to write to him, we read him his fan mail daily! Send emails for Brian to either (Grainne), (Shane) or (Sean).

More soon!

Quindao (purple marker) in relation to Beijing (blue marker)

Brian's new hospital in Qingdao
Leaving Baidaq, Claudio and the rest of our new family is sad for all of us.
Corn flavored lollipops? They're actually pretty good.