I started the week off first thing on Monday morning with some MOHs surgery on my nose to remove the Basil Cell cancer that was there. It was only local anesthesia so I didn't have to starve myself and the surgery was scheduled to begin at 8:00 a.m. but in typical Ashton fashion we arrived early and they started the surgery about 7:45. They had told me to come prepared to stay all day since MOHs surgery entails that they take the first cut, send it off to pathology to see if they got it all, and continue to take cuts until pathology reveals that they have clean margins on the tissue that was removed. I was LUCKY - they got it all with the first cut and then the surgeon sutured it up very neatly with the hopes of minimal scarring. In order to make my nose look as normal as possible, he did some trimming and pulled it all together promising me a skinnier nose. He asked me if I would mind if my nose was thinner and I promptly replied that I'm good with any skinny part on my body;-)
By 11:30 we were back home and I was feeling pretty good but the medical team told me to stay home that day so I took some extra strength tylenol and took a 3 hour nap. When I woke up, this is what I looked like.
They had to use so much novacaine to deaden my nose that it felt like a 3 foot square on the front of my face for about 4 hours. When that wore off I could tell that my heart was beating well - I felt every beat in my nose!
Since I had such a long nap in the afternoon, I stayed up after my bedtime (until 10 p.m.) and took some more tylenol and headed to bed. By that time the doctor had called at about 8 p.m. to check on me and when I told him my eyes were beginning to swell he said, "We did tell you that you are not supposed to lie flat, didn't we?" Uh, No. So for future naps and nights during the recuperation process I will be sleeping with pillows behind me.
I woke up feeling really good on Tuesday morning....just a niggling of pain. So this time I took some ibuprofen and went to the office. When I asked Elder Ashton if there were bills laying on my desk waiting for payment, he said I got more mail than anyone in the office on Monday and probably had about 20 bills waiting for me......I only had 19. I did good on Tuesday and stayed in the office the entire day, but was glad to relax when we got back to the apartment. It helped that I had these beautiful flowers to look at - President and Sister Baker gave them to me and they really are beautiful!
This is what I looked like when we got back to the apartment on Tuesday night....
I was developing some natural eyeshadow (top and bottom) and my eyes were starting to swell.
With the help of Extra Strength Tylenol and several pillows behind my back, I slept very well on Tuesday.
Wednesday morning I woke up feeling OK, except that my eyes were narrow slits in my face. It looked like I had two baby water balloons under my eyes and there was much more purple. But I felt pretty good and really needed to get the rent payments processed so they would get to the landlords by May 1 so I went into the office. It was hard to hold my eyes open as they continued to swell but I knew I needed to finish processing the rent. I finally finished that just before lunch time, so stayed home that afternoon putting ice bags on my eyes for 10 minutes every hour. That helped and by Thursday I was looking much better (comparatively)
On the way to the office Thursday, I noticed that we had new types of blooms popping out all over....and we had already noticed that there is yellow pollen everywhere. Elder Ashton has been trying to keep his shiny red truck clean but it is impossible. Most of the time it is covered with a coating of yellowish green pollen.
White dogwood trees - you can see that this is in the yard of a well-kept brick home. This home is on the edge (right next door) to a pretty run-down section of town. I am always surprised at what seems to be the lack of zoning here.....and we very rarely see anything resembling a subdivision. Most are just single family homes that people have built wherever they purchased a lot. But even the homes that are kind of run-down generally have beautiful trees or plants in their yards. As I was driving by some of these the other day the thought crossed my mind that most humans look for beauty around them and try to surround themselves with it if they can.
Pink dogwood.....I can't decide if I like the white or the pink dogwood trees better. The white ones remind me of lace, but the pink ones bring an immediate smile to my face - they just say SPRING
Thursday was a good day in the office - with just enough work to keep my busy. Elder Ashton was busy preparing for a visitor from Fleet Management to come from Salt Lake on Friday and for his next teaching assignments in North Carolina coming up this week. He will be taking a new mission car down and exchanging it with a set of missionaries who have about 52000 miles on their car. That means he will leave his shiny red truck here with me and he will be gone Tuesday through Saturday. I haven't done much driving by myself since we got back here but usually do OK if I ask Siri for directions.....so, if I venture out I better make sure Siri is charged up and ready to go!
Friday was a really challenging day. Elder Ashton and I arrived at the office just before 8:00 a.m. and he was trying to get ready for Brother Jensen to come. I tried to start my work and found that we could not get on the internet. Elder Ashton went down the hall to reset the router and I tried restarting the computer but nothing worked. I had an Elder call at 8:15 a.m. to say that he lost his church issued debit card. When that happens I need to call Salt Lake immediately and cancel the card. They want to know the missionary ID, the last 4 digits of the card number and the balance on the card......all of which I get from an internet based program.....couldn't get to the internet. I tried calling the FM (Facilities Management) group that is supposed to take care of those things and got no answer. Before we could try anything more, Brother Jensen was there and he finally hooked his laptop up to his hot spot on his phone so he could discuss some things about the software with Elder Ashton. I kept trying to find different contact numbers and tried calling them but NO ONE was answering there phone. One brother from FM group finally called me back and told us one other thing to try and said he was in the Washington DC area helping with the Mission President's seminar. He said if his suggestion did not work he would try to get in on Monday and might be able to figure out what was wrong by noon. But GLORY HALLELUJAH! When we went to church this morning (in the same building where the office is located) I checked and we could get on the internet. I hope it is still that way tomorrow morning :/
On Saturday morning Elder Ashton went riding his bike. I slept in, then got up and started the laundry and went to the grocery store by myself. I think this is only the 2nd time I have done that in the 6 months we have been gone from home and I found that I still remember how to shop for groceries (jk). I only forgot 3 things and had to send Elder Ashton back for those later!
Coming back from the store I happened upon another pink tree that I have been trying to figure out as we drive by multiple times a day. And, since I was by myself, there was nothing to keep me from stopping to examine it more closely. I have no idea what it is.....but I think it is beautiful and the flowers remind me of tissue flowers I used to make from kleenex tissue when I was a girl. Do any of you remember those?
Since my nose was all bandaged up, I couldn't tell if they had a scent to them....I remember we used to spray a little perfume on the ones we made :)
Saturday was filled with regular Saturday chores of laundry and cleaning - plus we had the Elders for dinner. For Elder Ashton it was almost like a regular work day. He must have had 6 or 7 phone calls from missionaries (they locked their keys in the car in Greenville, NC., they needed to change out cars, etc., etc., He went to the office twice in about a 3 hour time frame before the elders got here for dinner. The Elders had asked that we go with them after dinner to teach an investigator, and I was fine with going but sure not looking forward to putting on a dress again on Saturday! However, when the Elders were here eating dinner, they got a text that the investigator decided he didn't feel comfortable with more strangers coming to his home. Yeah, no dress for me this Saturday! After the Elders left, I asked Elder Ashton if he would take me for a little drive to old town Portsmouth to see if I could find any historic buildings. Portsmouth has been around a long time and has some interesting history. In 1620 John Wood petitioned King James in England to allow them to construct a community in the Portsmouth area as it had been determined this would be a good place for building ships. The surrounded area was settled as a plantation community and it was established as a town in 1752 by the Virginia General Assembly. Even though it was officially established as a town until that time, there were a good number of inhabitants in the area. We came across this Baptist church on our short drive last night.
I thought it was interesting to see that this Ebenezer Baptist congregation has existed for such a long time! I had hoped to capture more of the stained glass windows but the sunlight was in the wrong place so I was not able to do that.
We drove around a bit more and saw quite a number of historic homes and businesses. I liked the one below the best of those we saw yesterday.
One thing we have noticed back here, especially in the historic places of towns, is that the wires all run overhead, nothing underground. I really liked the architecture on this house and the color scheme. I did notice that it is REALLY close to the house next door!
Today at church we learned that we have two sisters who have been investigating the church and will be baptized in the next couple of weeks. It was interesting to hear their stories. One is a young mother (looks to be in her late 20's) who walked into church about a month ago and said she wanted to be baptized. I don't know how she first learned about the church but she has been taking the lessons and getting lots of push back from family and friends. Last week she came and you could tell she had been crying and I heard her tell the missionaries that things were really hard at home. This week they announced in sacrament meeting that she will be baptized next Saturday and she has a grin a mile wide on her face! The other sister is from the Phillipines and is probably 60 or so. She married her husband who was a US serviceman over there and came to this country. She said her husband was a member of the church but he must not have been participating because she said she lived in the house across the street for 30 years and never went into the church. Her husband died a few years ago and she started looking for something more. She said, "I have been Catholic all my life but when these two young men come to my house, I know I need to change." She said some of her family is not pleased with her decision to get baptized on May 2 (her birthday) but her comment was, "Be happy for me. We all need to find our own way. I grown woman now and know this is right for me."
I wonder if I would have the faith of these two very different women?
I am strengthened by the faith I see around me....the investigators, the missionaries, the President and Sister Baker, and the members. And although I find myself grinning sometimes at the southern colloquialisms I hear from the pulpit, I can feel of the goodness of the people's hearts. We had a Patriarch from our stake speak to us today about the apostasy and the restoration and how it all fits together. He has been a Patriarch for 35 years and I really like what he had to say.
And the last picture of this week's Rocky Balboa adventure. I get the sutures out tomorrow and think as the swelling and redness from the surgery dissipate that I will like my slimmer nose. I can't run the steps of the building in Philadelphia like Rocky did but I think I manage the black eyes and swollen face almost as well as he did ;-D