Friday, June 22, 2012


I had the opportunity to go on a medical mission to Honduras this past May 25th-June 3rd. I've been interested in a medical mission and of course enjoy traveling and I figured this was a good time and I would like to have kids sooner or later. Our group was made up of 8 nurses, 2 physicians, 1 pharmacist, a physical therapist, an archatecht, 3 builders, a Spanish PhD who worked with the orphanage, and 3 or 4 other members who helped in the pharmacy and interpreted.
So on the 25th we met up at Dr Caldwell's home at 2am and started our trip. Our flight to Houston was fine but we had a short layover so kind of had to run to the next gate. But we made it and arrived in San Pedro Sula, Honduras around 10:30am. After waiting in an excrutiatingly long and slow customs line we finally got all of our stuff and loaded into the vans. We drove a LONG 4 hours or so to La Ceiba where we stayed the night. We stayed at this place called Hotel Canadian. It was a really cool little place, they are kind of geared towards mission groups. It was right on the ocean and had 2 amazing warm pools which were very welcoming after a full day of travel!

The next day we did a clinic at "the dump" which is a community that sprung up after the city let people build over an old landfill. As I wrote in my journal "it was crazy, hot, and chaotic!" Pretty much sums it up. It was there I realized how hard it was going to be not speaking Spanish and not having enough interpreters. But we got it done and probably saw several hundred people in a few hours. I also spotted a few dogs and ducks wandering around the area.

After lunch we got on the road en route to Limon where the clinic is. We stopped in Taccoa for grocceries for the week and finally made it to Limon around 7pm. We picked our rooms which are on the floor above the clinic.

The clinic is right on the ocean and has a big long porch off the back that looks over the water. Pretty picturesque!

The local staff take good care of the clinic and its visitors. They cooked 3 great meals a day, made our beds, and did our laundry daily.

Even the grounds were kept up with beautiful bright flowers!

After settling in we visited the orphanage that the group does a lot of work for. The kids came running up to us at the barb-wire gate and before I knew it there was a little boy with his arms around my waist that clung to me until we left.

Talk about heart breaking and heart warming at the same time! There are 48 orphans at this horribly run down place and 1 old lady who takes care of them! They also had 2 nice dogs and 3 tiny orange kittens I loved on while were were there.
The next day was sunday and my roommate Sherril and I went to a church service next to the clinic. We didn't understand a word but it was neat to see. The clinic is right on the beach so I enjoyed some time in the warm water and soft sand. Although the enjoyment is limited due to the awful sand fleas that bite you as soon as you get to the beach. We visited the orphanage again and made tie dye shirts with them. That evening we went back for another church service and this time a guy from our group Brian (who served his mission in Peru 20 yrs ago) interpreted for us. They talked about David and Goliath and I was touched when all the people got up out of their chairs to come shake our hands, talk about Christ like!
The next day was our first clinic day. Each day half of the group would stay at the clinic in Limon and the other half would go to an outlying "city" to hold a clinic. I was with the away group the first day and we ran a clinic in a church.
We had to totally set the clinic and pharmacy up out of church pews. Make me not want to complain about our ER back home! Douglas and Roberto were our interpreters and they were wonderful! They are brothers who live in Limon and work for the clinic. We saw 176 patients from 9am-3pm. After the clinic we went back and I went down to the beach where I found a gang of 4 dogs playing with each other. Unless they are tied up they don't belong to anyone and just wander and scavange for food (hated seeing that). But these dogs seemsed so happy and playful with each other. 2 of the dogs came up to me and played and 1 brown puppy turned out to be my little beach dog because he stayed and played and came back 2 other days! Of course I had to take him back to the clinic and feed him :)
The next day we stayed at the clinic and saw about 150 patients.
It certainly is a bit more organized in the clinic which is nice and the people were all very patient and not complaining about their wait as people in the states do. Much appreciated! As far as what we could do for the patients, we took their vital signs and chief complaint and prescribed a lot of vitamins, tylenol, allergy meds, worm meds, some malaria treatment, birth control, and gastric meds. There is no testing or imaging to be done and since the physician was having us nurses practice as providers it was a tough transition to not be able to do anything more than to guess what was wrong and give some medication. But it's all they have and no one was severely ill anyway. I enjoyed the beach again after clinic and then a great dinner with Honduran style pastels that reminded me of Brazil!
The next day our clinic was in a school in Rio Meio which was a long and bumpy hour drive away in the school bus. The plus side though was taking in the sites.

There was no power there so we had to bring a generator.

We didn't see as many people because the mothers were picking up government checks we were told. But I did see several cute seros (pigs).

After the clinic was more beach time (this time I actually really got in) and dinner.
We were on the road again the next day for a clinic in Piedra Blanca.

The set up was not good...apparently these people had never had a clinic so our location was basically someone's house and front porch. But we had to make it work.

The disorganization stressed me out but thankfully several of the guys who came with us created a line and a little bit of organization. That was until a truck full of school kids pulled up and just flooded the porch!
So the pharmacy and lab was in the living room, Dr Caldwell in a dark bedroom, and us nurses on the porch with the translaters. We saw...300 patients! I guess it was the most they have ever seen in one day.(notice the line of people all the way to the road in the picture below)

We saw a lot of kids at this clinic.

While venturing to the "bathroom" (and I use that word lightly) I was not very happy to see a few chickens tied to bricks and a big daddy pig and 4 babies in a cement enclosure with no food.

So of course I went back to the cooler and found a half eaten apple and threw it to them. Wouldn't you know it rolled right down the drain tube out of their cage and down a hill! You would have thought I was playing plinko!

I was devastated! So I gave them my chips before I realized their were pork rhinds...oh well, they ate them and were happy as was I!

After the clinic we enjoyed the beach and my puppy came back and played!

I wish I could have found a way to bring him back or to know that he got taken care of. But for now, he will be my Honduran dog :)

I saw some hungry momma chickens and their babies outside the clinic (they also have to scavange through garbage for food as no one feeds them). So I found some bread for them :)

After dinner we went to the orphanage for their program. They had balloons up and were wearing their shirts we made them.

The older "ninas" did a dance to Justin Bieber and the young "ninos" did "if your happy and you know it."

They were sweet and crave any attention they can get.

We brought cake for them and I gave my piece to the kitties and dogs who were obviously hungry.
Each of the kids wrote us a letter that they gave us. This is the sweet girl who wrote one to me. She came back to the clinic with us to get some stitches removed and had her arm around my waist the whole walk :) Even though I couldn't say much in Spanish it was wonderful to feel her love toward someone she just met!

The next day, June 1st we left Limon early and got back to La Ceiba around 11am.

(saying goodbye to my favorite translator Douglas)

(saw this cute little fella on the drive to La Ceiba. He was hanging out in front of a gas station so he could feel the cool air when people opened the door. smart cookie!)

We stayed at La Canadian again and after getting checked in, a group of us went on a zipline trip! We stared by driving up a super steep hill in the back of a truck and then zip lined down 18 different lines to the bottom.

It was really neat to go through trees and the best part was when the guy pulled on the line and bounced us up and down! There was a 78 year old lady named Kathy who went with us and she gave her guide "Boston" a hard time the whole way down, cracked us up!
After we finished the zip line they took us up to these natural hot pots that were very picturesque and got warmer and warmer as you went up until you got to the top pool that was actually steaming and boiling from the volcano below it. It's hard to believe that natural pools can be that warm!

After returning to the hotel we got in the ocean which was much calmer and warmer than Limon. We were able to pull up starfish and sand dollars right under our feet! I really enjoyed that swim! We had breaded fish for dinner that night and found a nice momma dog to give our leftovers to :)
The next morning we drove another 4 long hours back to San Pedro Sula. The only plus to that drive was a stop at the mission where I met Blackie and Mack who were 2 very well taken care of big dogs.

I also spotted 2 LDS church buildings which is always heartwarming for me.

In San Pedro we checked into a nice hotel in the city. Our room had a great balcony looking out over the square and an old church.

Most of us went to a souvenier market for a few hours which was okay. After a quick cold swim in the pool we went to dinner.
Our last group dinner in Honduras was at...TGIFridays :( Talk about dissapointing! Most of us would have prefered a local place but that is where we ended up. The music was SO loud we were all screaming (and if you know me you know I wasn't tolerating that very well) and the food took forever. I was very much ready to come home after that. Not a great way to end the trip but we had a group meeting back at the hotel where they kind of did a spotlight on everyone and a thank you. That was nice.

The next morning came all too quick and we made our way to the airport.

Our flights were fine and besides rushing again in Houston we made it back safe and sound. I'm grateful for the opportunity to go on this trip. It wasn't quite the "life changing" work I was expecting but a good experience all the same. I'm grateful to be a nurse and I'm grateful to live in America where we are beyond blessed!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Grandpa Ron

**Just a heads up, this is a long, journal like, personal post so it might be a bit much to read. I just want to write so I can remember as much as possible.**

It all started on May 15th after I got to work and checked my email and found a message from my sister asking if I'd heard about Grandpa. I hadn't heard anything and of course she wasn't available to fill me in so I called my Dad and he told me that Grandpa wasn't doing well and that he was being seen by hospice and they gave him 10-14 days. I guess they thought he may have had some strokes and had been in bed for a few days. We all knew this was coming but this was a more sudden decline than we'd seen. I was conflicted because my brother was coming to see us in a week and I was supposed to go to Honduras 9 days from then so I talked to my boss and was able to get bereavement time. I knew I probably would not make the funeral but wanted to see him while he was still alive if I could get the chance. So after work I booked a flight (which thankfully I had award miles to use) and left for Utah that afternoon.

I remember sitting in the Lansing airport and talking to my sister on the phone. She said "sis he looks worse than I thought, I hope you make it in time." She put the phone next to him and I was able to talk to him for a minute. I told him that I was coming and that I loved him. I heard his breathing but he was able to respond with a moan like noise. I think he was able to get out an "I love you too" which was tender to hear.

Thankfully I made it to Salt Lake in time, my sister and her kids picked me up and she took me down to good old Springville to see Grandpa around 9pm. Poor guy, he was just skin and bones. I kind of knew what to expect but it was still sad to see him like that. I'm so used to walking in and seeing him in his chair in the living room but he was in his bed, propped up with lots of pillows. He was breathing hard and slow and I sat down next to him. I held his hand and kissed him and told him how much I loved him and what a great Grandpa he was. I told him to please take care of my babies with Grandma (that was so hard to say). He would acknowledge that I was talking to him and sometimes open his eyes. I told him we all loved him and he was able to mumble "I love you all." There were several other family members there and his sons were taking such good care of him. He looked like he was sleeping so I hated to wake him up so often but I spent several minutes with him at a time just sitting next to him, holding his hand, and talking to him. A few of us decided to lay down around midnight and at 12:45am my dad woke me up and told me Grandpa had passed. I guess my Uncle Mike went in to check on him and told him that it was okay to go and that he loved him. Mike said he opened his eyes and looked at him then exhaled and was gone. Just like that. As peaceful as it gets. Of course I wish I had been in there with him but it was hard to know how long it was going to be and we are all glad that my Uncle Mike was the one to be with him since he's taken care of him the last 3 years. We spent a few more hours with him as a family and then the funeral home came and took him and we got a little more sleep.

I'm so glad he waited for me before he passed! It's selfish but I think he knew I was coming and waited. He has missed my Grandma tremendously since she passed in 2008 and spoke often about being with her again. This is what he wanted. His bishop told us at the funeral that he visited with him 2 days before he passed and my Grandpa told him he wanted to be released from this life... :( So grateful for the Priesthood! His bishop and my Uncle Robert were able to give him that blessing. Once again, I'm so glad he waited for me!

The funeral was on the 21st. He didn't look like the dear Grandpa that I knew but I know why and that's okay. He still looked beautiful in his temple clothes in a nice wood casket with the flag draped over. We set up a picture display during the viewing and had little chocolates for everyone with a message that said "While you remember Ron, enjoy one of his favorite treats"

Grandpa LOVED all things chocolate! I even made a chocolate bar wreath. (I will miss sending him chocolate shakes and brownies).
My dad said the family prayer, we closed the casket and began the funeral. The service was great. My Uncle Steve did a wonderful job recounting his life and told some great stories I'd never heard before. One story I like was when my dad was young there was a neighbor who had some mental health problems who would come into my Grandpa's garage and take his yard tools and every night after he was done with them my Grandpa would go get them and quietly put them back. I guess my Grandma told him to just tell the guy to stop doing taking them but my Grandpa never did, he just showed love to him :) What an example! Steve also told the story about how he and my dad rigged up speakers next to their parents room one Christmas and broadcast a wake up message starting at 2am. I guess my Grandpa yelled up to them that if they really wanted a merry Christmas they better stop :)
My mom spoke also and told another story I'd never heard. I guess early in her first pregnancy she started to bleed and of course was scared. She said my Grandma and Grandpa came right up and he and my dad gave my mom a blessing and she went on to carry the pregnancy that resulted in my sister and I. I've heard my mom tell the stories of them coming up often during her bedrest period to help her from going crazy. My Grandpa then went on to bless us as infants, witnessed our baptisms and sealings, was there to buy our temple clothes and be with us during our first time in the temple. They were both such a major part of our lives! I cherish the times I watched them love my sister's babies and will forever wish that they could have met and cuddled mine. But I know that they are loving them now and rocking and singing to them just like they have done for all of us. They sure loved babies!! {tears}

The service at the cemetery was nice.

I enjoyed looking up at the angel that Ryan and I hung from the tree over the grave last year for my Grandma. It definitely reminded me that I'm sure she was there too.

There was a bagpiper which I guess my Grandpa always enjoyed and 2 young men who bestowed the military honors.

I didn't even know that he was a veteran until after he died but the honor was appreciated. My Uncle Robert dedicated the grave, I gave one more quick touch and kiss to the casket and then had to get back to the airport.
(I have to share that I recognized Heavenly Father's hand in the timing of all of this. I just happened to have upcoming time off and was able to use bereavement, I just happened to have enough bonus miles to fly, I just happened to find a last minute flight close to home, I made it in time to see him, I was originally scheduled to fly back the day before the funeral but after being prompted by Ryan to call the airline I did and told them the circumstance and they apologized for my loss and changed my flight no problem.)

I'm so so grateful to have been their Granddaughter!
I truly believe that there are not better grandparents out there. So many of my childhood memories are enriched with them and their home. It was sad to say goodbye to that house where we spent so much time as a family. It was my Grandma's parents home before it was theirs. It began with their family and will end with their family.

I'm so grateful for the example my grandparents set for us. I'm grateful for the temple and the saving ordinances that binds them and us together forever. This loss has been easier to handle and a more peaceful transition knowing that they are together and happier than they probably have ever been. I hope I can live my life, cherish my eternal companion and raise my babies to the standard that they did.

Thank you Grandpa for everything. Please stay close, take good care of my babies and watch over us until we meet again! Love always, your Stephie

Ronald J. Allan
1928 ~ 2012

Ronald J Allan, 84, of Springville, Utah died May 17, 2012 at home surrounded by his loving family.

Ron was born April 1, 1928 in Springville, Utah to Nephi Ronald and Juliet Allan.

He married Ann Whiting in the Salt Lake Temple. They celebrated 56 years of marriage together.

Ron graduated form Springville High School, served honorably in the United States Army, served an LDS mission to England, graduated from Brigham Young University, and was a dedicated teacher at the Grant and Springville Middle Schools for 33 years. In addition to teaching, Ron worked at the Art City Drive-In and the Hobble Creek Golf Course.

Ron enjoyed wood working, hunting, fishing, and all things chocolate! But his true love was for his family. Ron and Ann lived for their family. Their home was the gathering place for many holidays and family parties.

We are comforted to know that Ron has been reunited with his sweetheart, Ann, whom he missed so much since her passing in 2008.

Ron and Ann were the loving parents of 5 boys, Steve (Ann), Richard (Jololene), Michael, Marc (Elaine), Robert (Carla) and incredible grandparents to 14 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held on Monday, May 21, 2012 at the Springville 2nd Ward chapel, 1785 East 400 South, Springville. Viewing 9:30-10:45 am with the service following at 11 am. Burial to take place at the Springville Evergreen Cemetery. Condolences may be shared with the family at: