Monday, June 10, 2013

"The smile on his face was enough, no greater reward."

Let's start off this email with the craziest experience so far on my mission.
I witnessed a man having a seizure. Scary.
So Mickey is epileptic, as he's told us quite a few times. He has seizures, or "epileptic fits" every few weeks. We went to see him on Thursday. He let us in, and he seemed happy to see us. 
But something was off we could tell. He couldn't really answer our questions. We'd ask him something, and he'd say "Well, you see, it's just...ya know...well..." and filler words like that, never actually responding. 
It was getting worrisome, so I asked him if he remembered his name. He did the same thing. So we knew something was up. This went on for about 10 or 15 minutes, with us trying to figure out what was wrong. 
I feel dumb in hindsight; I was saying a silent prayer to figure out what to do, and several times I had the feeling that maybe this was a sign leading up to his epilepsy. I felt like I should call 999 (911 equivalent) and tell them the situation, but I kept putting it off.
Then after about 15 minutes of us asking him questions and me shrugging off spiritual promptings, it started. 
He was sitting on the couch (luckily) and he started staring off into space and his lower lip began to twitch. As soon as that happened, I knew that my feelings were confirmed. His hands started to shake a few seconds later, and then his whole body started convulsing. Then he started yelling uncontrollably as if he was in some extreme pain. It was probably the scariest experience of my life. 
As soon as we knew what was going on I called 999. When the man picked up he was asking for the phone number and address where I was calling from, and a bunch of other questions. 
Panicked, I asked "This man just had a seizure, what do I need to do?!" He told me to just let it subside while the ambulance was on its way. 
Once the trembling had stopped, and he was breathing heavily, the operator guy told me to keep an eye on him, make sure he's breathing and let him know if anything changed. 
So basically we sat there on the phone watching Mickey breathe and cough until the paramedics arrived. They sorted everything out; gave him an oxygen mask, took his blood pressure, and eventually he came to. 
His eyes were open and he would look at whoever was talking, but just as before he wasn't saying anything. They took him to the hospital and we went our separate ways. 
Still gives me chills imagining the look on his face when it all started.
We went by his house on Saturday to see how he was doing. The paramedics told him what happened. Apparently he thought we looked in his window and saw him laying on the floor after the seizure, but we told him the whole story about how we were there and we saw the whole thing. 
Looking back on it, elder Gomez and I realized that the timing was perfect. Our weekly planning session took longer than expected, so we showed up at his house later than we planned. If we had showed up earlier, maybe he would have been mentally sound at the time and we could have left right before it got weird. 
Not sure if we saved his life by being in the right place at the right time, because I figure he's probably been on his own before and he's survived. But you never know. 
Luckily nothing bad came from my ignoring spiritual promptings. I was reminded of a story President Monson told about a similar situation with a man in a hospital. I can't imagine how I would feel if Mickey had died or been hurt because I ignored those thoughts. 
Whew. Really made me think.
Alright. So other things that happened this week:
Elliot Cathcart is putting in his mission papers!!!! So excited and so proud of him.
Gertie is struggling. We had an appointment to teach her at Tom's on Tuesday...but she didn't show up at the place where we always pick her up. And again, not answering phone calls. 
We drove out to her house on Friday, and she wasn't there...we knocked on the next door neighbor's house to find out if she is ok. The man, Tony, was super friendly. 
He told us that Gertie and he are really close, and she often goes to him in times of hardship with her family. He said that basically Gertie's kids, the husband, and her in-laws are all giving her hassle about the separation still. He said she told him about us/the church, and he told her that she can't really have two religions, which is quite true. Also he told her that if the family found out about the church and how she's investigating, they would blame the break-up on the church and maybe even US. So that was kinda scary. 
Finally she answered the phone Saturday, and practically broke my heart. She started talking about that sort of stuff, and how she can't be a Mormon because she was raised Catholic and her whole family is Catholic and they wouldn't be happy if she changed religions. 
She kept saying, "I respect, 100%, the Latterday Saints...but I don't think I could be one" and stuff like that. 
I was about to die! Luckily thanks to the spirit I resolved her concerns the best I could...convinced her to not put this off forever, but to just wait till things die down with her family troubles. She said she knows what we teach is true and that the Book of Mormon is true, but she can't change. 
But I talked with her about how if she knows this is the right path, what would God say if she didn't follow it? She took that well, and was more open to the idea of changing someday at the end of the conversation. I was SO scared!!!! We can't lose Gertie. That was a stressful hour or so on the phone with her. But hopefully it's resolved for now.
Other big part of the week: DUBLIN! 
We went down on Wednesday for an All-Ireland conference with President Brown. Good stuff, very inspirational. Beautiful drive too. Took the whole day though with travel, the conference, eating, taking elders to the bus/train stations. 
The Derry elders crashed at our flat Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Good fun.
New name for elder Gomez: Elder Gobaz. Ian McConnell, our hilarious and sometimes insensitive and profane less-active friend, was calling him "Elder Mexicano" and "Elder Gobaz" just to get a rise out of him on Tuesday. I was dying. I am so tempted to call him Elder Gobaz now, but I'm sure he wouldn't be happy with that.
On Friday Elder Dustin went on an exchange with me. Such a great leader, helped uplift me and gave me some tips on how to deal with companion trouble.
It's been super hot here, around 23 degrees C. Not sure what that is in F, but it's hot. Lots of guys around town just walk around shirtless. 
Funniest part: Tom Henry, who loves to work in his garden, was shirtless as well. And he's not a skinny man. 
We were near his house so we dropped by to say hello, and he was like "Oh, I wasn't expecting visitors!" all embarrassed. He's hilarious. 
Quote of the week from Tom: (referring to his baldness) "An empty house has no need for thatchin'!" Hahaha. Good crack so he is.
Another Mickey story: on Saturday when we went to check up on him, he told us basically that he had no food, and that he wouldn't get paid until Tuesday. 
He never actually asked, but he kept saying "I get paid 400 pound on Tuesday so I'll have NO problem paying ya back!" 
We told him we couldn't, but that we could bring him some food if he really needed it. He said yes, so we brought over a bag of cans and frozen food and stuff we didn't need, and gave it to him. 
The smile on his face was enough, no greater reward. 
We told him that to pay us back he could come to church with us and then we'd be even. He said definitely, but when we went to pick him up with Tom Sunday morning he said he had a bad headache. Darn it.
We actuallly had a good chat with Ian yesterday. As usual, he promised to come to church and didn't. 
We went over with Tom to do hometeaching with them, and Ian was obviously drunk. 
We shared the little message and visited for a while. When we left, luckily Ian came out with us without Vera. 
Before I got in the car I put my hand on his shoulder and said, "Ian, what are you doing?" He says, "Oh, not much" I said, "No, what are you doing with your life? We can tell you're drunk." He admits, "A wee bit." 
So we, along with Tom, have a good talk with him about it. Finally. I was so sick of tiptoe-ing around it, but it felt good to be blunt with him. He knows what's true, he knows what's right, he knows what he needs to do. He just needs to DO it.
Well, that's it for this week. Crazy stories.
Love yous all!

Chillin in a forest.
Oh yeah. 
We found clovers (shamrocks?) in Ireland! Not four leaf, but still.