I'm here! Oh man, did it feel good to get off that last plane knowing I was going to be outside, breathing fresh air any minute! Little did I know that "minute" would be a bit delayed.
The day was full of "You've got to be kidding me God!" moments. Like my flight from Minneapolis to DC, and the person I sat next to. You see, for Axel's upcoming surgery, his surgeon planned on using a synthetic product called BMP in Axel's neck instead of taking a bone graft from his hip like they do with the younger kids. But BMP has been in the news recently, and after doing what research I could about it, I'd asked his surgeon so specific questions, which he answered, but I was still feeling uneasy about it.
Until yesterday. (was it yesterday? I don't know what day I'm on. That flight was on Friday LOL) Anyway, the man I sat next to was really nice. He and I spent the entire 2 hr flight talking about our families. He has two boys, and of course I used to have a houseful of them at home. I had shared about Axel, and the upcoming surgery, and about our dilemma over the product that was going to be used in Axel's neck. All during this conversation, the man didn't share WHY he'd been in Minneapolis, just that it has been a business related trip. Finally, about 20 minutes before we landed, I asked, "So what exactly do you do for business that brought you to Mnpls?"
He's an attorney for Medtronic, the company that produces the product going in Axel's neck. He gave me a lot of information (at least what he was able to share due to legal issues ) about the stuff that's been happening with the FDA investigations surrounding BMP. "Don't let them put that product in your child's body." he said. Although the FDA hasn't pulled it from the market for cervical spine repairs, he said it won't be long before it is. Now he's not a malpractice attorney, he is defending the company who PRODUCES the product.
I ended up emailing Axel's surgeon somewhere on the trip and told him abou the conversation, and that based on that plus what I'd read a month or so ago, NO, we do not want that product put inside our child. I did get an email back from him saying he's comfortable with our decision since it is an informed one. This means Axel's surgery will have a different component to the healing process (he'll have to heal from hip surgery at the same time as the neck stuff) but that's how the little kids are done so I'm confident all will be well.
One flight down, two more to go. In DC I met up with Kaci, Rochelle and Lisa. (The rest of the team will follow on Tuesday) Kaci ended up on a different flight from the rest of us so she had a much longer day that we did! The three of us arrived at 1:30 yesterday afternoon, but Kaci didn't arrive in Belgrade until 11:30 last night. It is an exhausting trip when everything goes 100% according to plan. Throw in surprises and by the time you get here, you're shot!
At the Frankfurt airport we waited forever to go through security. Rochelle managed to get into a different line and zipped right through while Lisa and I stood...and stood...and stood in line. FINALLY we were allowed to go through. Germany's security thingy really doesn't like all the hardware in my wrist and always sets off bells and whistles, resulting in a *very* thorough pat-down. Boots off to be xrayed independently, etc. I consider it a little bonus entertainment (unless I'm late, like I was when bringing Axel through! With him they brought the talking photo album into the bomb room for inspection! LOL)
Finally they let me pass, but then I had to get my bags that had gone through x-ray. Lisa had tried putting my stuff together for me to save some time, but the liked my computer backpack a little to much. This very gruff german woman made me start taking things out. "You have scissors in there." she said. "I DO???? Really???? I started digging and couldn't find them, but could see them on the xray picture. Here they had slipped into a pocket. "OH! My good hair scissors!" I said. "I have NO idea why they are in here." And I didn't! She said, without a hint of humor in her face, "Next time you loose something, come here and I will find it for you."
So our flight arrived right on time, never having any delays. We waited for our bags to come out at baggage claim and my big giant green duffle was the very.last.one, and was wrapped with tape saying "security" all over it. Hmmmmm I'm thinking the fact that the thing was flashing inside from all the toothbrushes, visible through the zippers, might have been an issue?
It was no surprise that I was stopped and asked to open the bag. The toothbrushes....all 380+ were examined one by one. Who was I bringing them to? WHY were they flashing? Didn't I know these would have to go through "sanitation control" because they're going to children? I had to fill out forms, and the toothbrushes were boxed up and sealed inside. We can pick them up on Tuesday.
Mary from COCI picked me up, then another friend of hers, and we went to eat, then grocery shop. After sitting in LOTS of traffic we arrived back here for the evening about 7:30-8:00. By that time my eyes were rolling in my head as I tried to carry on a conversation with Mary in the car. I took a quick shower, skyped with Dean and the kids, and headed to bed. I think I was asleep before my head hit the pillow. That was 31 hours awake, for anyone who's counting. I did sleep on the 90 minute flight from Frankfurt to Belgrade, but I'm not sure that quality counts. LOL
So now you know I'm here, and alive. It's 4:30 a.m. and I'm ready to go back to bed for a bit. It's almost 5:00 a.m. and I'd like to get a couple more hours sleep. It's going to be a GREAT day!!!!