Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Life Saver

I've said this a million times, and at the risk of sounding like a broken record I'll say it again.  I absolutely love my husband.  There are a zillion reasons why, but today I'll share one specific reason.  He is, quite literally, a life saver.

Heading home from Christmas and News Years with the families in Oregon we had a layover in Houston.  We grabbed dinner and sat together chatting while watching an NFL game we cared nothing about.  About 45 minutes before we needed to head to our gate we decided to head that way anyway.  As we strolled down the hallway we suddenly heard people shouting ahead of us.  A man had just collapsed on the floor!

I tapped Tim's arm and pointed toward the man, "Tim, look, that guy just collapsed!!".  Tim, being the cool-headed one of the two of us, calmly took off his backpack and set it down, stripped off his coat and set it down, then walked assertively toward the scene of the incident.

And... I collected Tim's belongings and got out of the way.  Yup, I'm trained in CPR and First Aid, but somehow I just figured I'd better watch our stuff.  Obviously Tim's more of a Good Samaritan than I am.

Tim took control of the scene.  The guy was unresponsive, was not breathing and didn't have a pulse.  Tim started compressions.  Someone brought an AED from the wall and Tim and another guy got it hooked up.  When they took his shirt off we saw that he had a large scar on his chest - evidence of previous bypass surgery.  The AED advised a shock.  And shocked him.  His body shook and his arms and legs wiggled.  I felt like I was watching ER.

After 15 minutes, the Paramedics finally arrived and by that time the man had a pulse and sporadic breath!  He was still unconscious but there were signs of life which was encouraging.  Tim stayed on to help with the transition of care, giving all the information he knew about the incident, what he had done to help and his contact information.  And I stood back and secretly took photos with my cell phone.

Continental Airlines held the plane for us and we boarded still in a state of adrenalin rush.  Tim felt good about using the skills he had studied and I felt extremely proud to call him "mine".

But we still wanted to know what happened next.  The man was 64, of European descent and was traveling from Los Angeles.  But that's about all we knew.  He was traveling alone, so we imagined that if he regained consciousness he would do so without anyone by his side.  We wanted to know he was OK and with someone he loved.

Two weeks passed.  Then Tim got a call from a woman with a British accent.  She said she was the daughter of the man whose life Tim had saved.  This was the news we had been waiting for!  The doctors had told her that only 5% of people who experience this type of cardiac event survive if the event happens outside of a hospital.  But her father was one of the very lucky few.  He had woken up two days after the incident with no brain damage and was going to be completely fine!  They surgically inserted an automatic internal cardiac defibrillator (AICD) to help restart his heart in the event of a similar event in the future.  The woman said Tim's quick action saved her father's life.  

Pretty good reason to be proud of and love your man, huh?

Monday, 25 January 2010

Christmas and New Years

One of the great things about DC is that if your job is at all tied to the federal government this place pretty much shuts down for the holidays.  Every federal holiday.  This means an abundance of 3 day weekends and the week off between Christmas and New Years.

So, we headed out West and spent Christmas and New Years in Oregon visiting family and friends.  We had to fly on Christmas Eve, but we caught the same flight as our friend Anna so we at least enjoyed the company of a good friend all the way to Portland.  And even the small child throwing up in front of us (and all over Tim's coat under my seat) on the last leg of our journey wasn't going to dampen our spirits.

We spent the first few days in Portland with Tim's aunt and uncle and got to see just about all of Tim's side of the family while we were there.  And then we spent six whole days with our immediate families together on the Seymour ranch in Haines.  It was a very low-key and enjoyable time together.  There was lots of food, good conversation, card games, even some crafting.  And it snowed!

AND while we were there, we celebrated the fact that my mom kicked breast cancer's butt!!  She had her last treatment just after Christmas and just like that the worst of it was over!  They just got back from Hawaii, celebrating and enjoying the warm weather.  I'd say that's a pretty good way to celebrate making it through such an ordeal!

It was a little hard coming back to the fast pace of DC after such a relaxing time in Oregon.  But in many ways our time there reaffirmed to us both that we are exactly where we belong right now, and exactly where we want to be.  That's good to know.

There are far too many photos of Christmas and New Years to post here... but a good collection of them can be found here

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Halloween visitors

This is Tim's aunt Cindy and her man Byron.  They're pretty fun folks.  And they came to visit us in DC!  Granted, that was back in October and I'm just getting around to sharing the news now, but still.  They came over Halloween weekend and we had so much fun!

We took them to Eastern Market where we ate yummy food, saw a super cute pumpkin-costumed dog and purchased fresh veggies for Byron's home-made dinner that night.  Can I just say YUM?!?

We also walked out to Roosevelt Island and enjoyed all the Fall colors.



And went to the Newseum - my new favorite museum in DC!!

Then stopped by Ford's Theater and the house across the street where Lincoln died.


And stopped by the White House at sunset.  We even saw the president's helicopter come in for a landing then quickly take off with the president inside and the other two decoy choppers.  Pretty cool!


And every night we went to Capitol City Brewery at Byron's insistence.  Gotta have that local micro-brew.

On our way to and from all of these places we naturally stopped by the monuments - Washington, Lincoln, Korean War, WWII, the Navy Memorial etc.  And stopped in at the National Archives to see the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.  For some reason we also have the Magna Carta at the moment.  So we got three documents for the (free) price of two!  Lucky us.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

So, you're becoming Catholic?

Shortly after we moved to DC, Tim began attending Mass at St. Peter's of Capitol Hill.  It's this really beautiful cathedral between our flat and the Capitol.  I loved walking by this beautiful, old building when I first visited DC in January.  And now that we've taken up residence nearby, I love hearing the church bells when we have the doors open to let the cool, fresh air flow in.

But, for Tim, this place holds more meaning than a beautiful facade and the ringing of church bells.  To him, it's a place of peace, faith and inspiration.  He has long felt drawn to Catholicism, but recently decided to take action.  For several months he attended Catechism classes on Saturday mornings among other activities.  It's been really interesting and somewhat inspirational to watch him grow and find his place in the faith community.

So, a couple of days after I returned from El Salvador we had six of Tim's Catholic relatives in town for his confirmation.  Our marriage was "validated" in the Catholic church on the 21st with Tim's cousin Joe and his wife June as witnesses, and then Tim was confirmed on Sunday the 22nd of November.  We had a really great time with family in town and it was special to have them here for the Confirmation service. 

Tim's cousin Mary Hellen, Great Aunt Clare, Grandma Barbie, Tim, Father Burn, Joe, Aunt Kat and June after Tim's Confirmation.

Much more could be said about all the discussions Tim and I had before his confirmation and those we continue to have now.  But really, all that needs saying is that two people who love one another don't have to be identical in the ways I thought they did growing up.  We don't have to believe exactly the same things; differences can spark important conversations and make us stronger.  And I wouldn't have it any different.  So, a big congrats to Tim, and here's to many more years of learning from one another as we change and grow.

Friday, 22 January 2010

The New Left and Jesuit Martyres

Since I promised updates, let's start from the beginning of the months of silence and work from there.

In November I got to take my first trip to Latin America with my organization, the CDA.  We took a small delegation to El Salvador to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Jesuit Massacres there.  It was my first trip to El Salvador and I traveled with people who had been involved there during the civil war 20 years ago.  Their stories and familiarity with the country brought a whole new life to our trip.  Many of them had close encounters with death and were reunited with old friends for the first time since they left during the worst years of the war.

Our delegation participated in the official vigil at the University where the Jesuit priests were massacred,  attended official government ceremonies and met with numerous governmental and community leaders to discuss the future of the country after the recent FMLN victory in the presidential election.  We also traveled to the countryside to take aid to those who were affected by the floods which happened shortly before our arrival.  It has been interesting to watch how the Funes government has responded to the needs of El Salvador - keeping an eye toward the poor and the helpless.

To see all the photos from our trip, click here.  For the grouping of photos I whittled down for facebook, this is your link.

Just a couple:

LOVE this girl.

In front of the presidential palace.

The Alfombras commemorating the massacre.  They are made of meticulously placed sand.  This is on the campus of the university where the Jesuits were killed.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

...New Post Here...

At the urging of some of you, I'm jumping back into the blogosphere.  November and December were really rough on me, mostly due to work but also due to my extremely hectic social life (*winks*).  And Tranquila Seeker suffered.  But no more!  Check back soon for updates on what's been going on in the last couple of months - there's been a lot, obviously.

More soon.