Dawna Austin
We got up EARRRRRLY at 3am this morning, but it really didn't matter as I didn't sleep much last night.  Probably because I knew I was getting up early at 3am.  I tried to get Kirk to give me the shot this morning in our hotel, but that was a disaster, as I think he probably didn't push hard enough and was making me have experience pain for breakfast, rather than successfully giving me my morning dose.  It's not his fault.  I would have no idea how hard to push a needle to insert into someone's skin.  I shudder just thinking about it.   We packed up our gear.. and said goodbye to the gorgeous view from our room.
We met up in the lobby with a couple of other people heading back to Vancouver today.  We are all on the same two flights back to BC.   I asked if she could give me my shot.  I can't remember if she said she had never given anyone a shot before, but I do know that she had done it for herself.  She also had difficulty with me, saying that my skin was tough! hehehe .. so I bled a bit but I wasn't as scared as with Kirk.  I think that's just the way it goes with spouses.

I have felt pretty tired and weak the last few days, so I'm not quite sure what the cause of that is, but I have a few ideas:
  1. Our 8 hour journey into Krakow, which included 4 hours of walking! (Which I haven't done in MONTHS!)
  2. The copious amounts of coffee (and it's strong espresso here) I drink each morning for breakfast.  As Gerhard told me, when you go and socialize, you must drink (and smoke) the entire time.. it's what creates the atmosphere of socialization and fellowship.  I have to agree with that wholeheartedly (minus the smoking hehe)
  3. Lack of sleep at night.  Most of us keep waking up at 3am .. guess we never have adjusted to being 9 hours ahead of BC time.
  4. My body possibly adjusting to the procedure

The ride to the Katowice airport was uneventful .. and dark.  We basically watched the sunrise, well, we could have, if it wasn't cloudy again.  As always, it was a pleasure to have Chris drive us.  It was surprising how many cars were on the road at 4am. 

Once there we had to wait until 6:20am for our flight to leave and it once onboard, a nummy breakfast was given to us (and yes, more coffee!).  
The flight from Katowice to Frankfurt was very smooth and quick (about an hour and a half) which sunny skies, much of what we did NOT see in Katowice.  It was raining for most of our stay there during the past week.  We had a 6 hour layover in Frankfurt which I was NOT looking forward to.  When we had our 10 hour layover in Frankfurt last week, I thought I would die of boredom.  We did take a train into Mainz, which was lovely, but because I wasn't able to walk very long, we only could stay out a few hours.  We checked into our gated area and at that point realized that there were no shops, no coffee places or anything to do in our gated area.  It was a little secluded area, unlike most other gates.  So, we were stuck there unless we wanted to go through customs again, which we did not. So we counted dots on ceilings, people watched and generally contemplated going crazy for about 6 hours.   This time around, our gate is in a larger area, with lots of shops, internet access (YEAHHHH!!!!) and food, views of planes, and much more to do.  I feel SO much better about this layover!  Kirk and I went out of the airport for awhile, shopping and bought Jordan a birthday present!  I'm really excited about that one.  It is from Frankfurt .. so he will love it just because of that!   Got other stuff for the kids and some earrings for me (I haven't bought earrings in 15 years!).  Ya, pretty pathetic, I know.   Went to Starbucks and wanted to get an iced frap to cool off (it's HOT here, unlike Katowice), and then went outside for a little sun.
As if I needed that sugar rush!  Probably part of the reason why I feel so exhausted.  Walking through the airport, even though I'm tired, I still am not limping.  It's an answer to prayer.  My hands are still so warm that they feel like I have gloves on.  I haven't experienced that in years!  I don't really notice any other improvements, but the neurologist did say it can take months.. so I'm just trying to be positive and patient.

I was talking to another patient yesterday, one similar to my level of symptoms, and I asked him if he found it difficult to be around people who were more disabled than he.  He said yes, and I told him it was difficult for me too.  I met so many wonderful people this trip .. friends I'm sure will last forever.  However, it was very difficult for me to see their disability, because it provoked fear in me that I will someday be there.. in the same spot they are in.  It's a trust in the Lord that I still struggle with. Will He protect me from that? Or call me to that?  I know what I want for myself, but it's the death to self which I find so difficult.  One thing, however, is that the people who were in wheelchairs on this trip, had such positive attitudes about life .. I have a lot to learn from them!  I can only take one day at a time, and I pray that I can resist the temptation to open the door to fear.  It knocks loudly, and I struggle with that door 24/7.

I really enjoyed walking through the airport this time. With energy to walk, I found it a great adventure to explore.  I think it made Kirk a little stressed however.  He doesn't like the open-endedness of not knowing where you are going .. I, on the other hand, find it quite exciting to explore new places!  Here are a few interesting things I found in my travel of this international airport.  Apparently, in one sign no people are allowed to enter if they do not possess arms or legs? (ha ha):
Oddly enough, you walk through the airport and when you look up to the ceiling, you see these billboards, and I honestly thought these were real guys hanging off the billboards! Again, my senses were probably not clear as it was hours since my last European coffee intake!
I couldn't get over the bizarre shopping carts in this little pharmacy!    And of course, all over Germany you see this sign:
We asked someone what it meant and they said that in case of emergency, this was the way to safely exit the area.  Odd,  however, as in the train station,  it pointed to the train tracks (which would mean that in case a train wasn't there at the time, you could just escape the area by jumping down into the tracks. Hmmm

I can't get over how massive this airport is. After their new terminal is added (it is currently in construction), Frankfurt will become the largest airport in Europe!
Well, my internet time is almost up ($10 an hour!) so I should go. Our flight leaves in about 90 minutes.  I know I'll be too tired to post in the day or so, and the kids will be attached to me for the next month or so, making it difficult to type.  So, this is my time to get this done.

I have MANY suggestions for those who are contemplating this journey to see Dr. Simka in Poland, as well as a translation list for the nurses who do NOT speak English.  Feel free to email me and I will help as much as I can.

Would I do this again?  Yes, I would.  Even if this is only a temporary fix, it was such a blessed time with meeting new friends, and people who were on the same road as I.   I did not expect to meet any other people, or to have such great fellowship with them.  They are all so dear to me.

I pray this last flight is a safe one. I am NOT a good flyer, and every little bump I wonder if that is my last flight. Doesn't help with that terrible (and fatal) Air India crash a few days ago.  But the Lord has me in His hands, and that is all I can ask for.    Blessings to you all for reading this.. as I know it certainly hasn't been too entertaining. (I'm not
a writer at all, but just wanted you to know how my progress is going).  Sorry for making you listen to my holidays travels in the midst of the health information!

Now, for one more cup of coffee...
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