Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Dr. Ribus/Albert Einstein Hospital Dec.17, 2014

After meeting with Elder Costa, we had an appointment to see Dr. Ribus at the Albert Einstein Hospital.  Driving to the hospital brought back so many memories, as we traveled the same streets as before.   As you rounded a corner and followed the street up on a hill, was a beautiful state of the art building.   It was just like yesterday that we were there.  But this time, under very happy circumstances. I was so excited for Dr. Ribus to see Britten and how well he was doing. 

While we walked down several familiar halls to get to Dr. Ribus's office, I admired all the architectural
 structures as I had noticed them before.  The hospital was such an incredible, beautiful building.
We waited with anticipation to see Dr. Ribus.   When the Secretary called us back to his office, Dr. Ribus took Britten's hand and said, "Wow!  Look at you!"  He then shook our hands as he welcomed us to sit down in his office.  He just kept looking at Britten in awe.  After a few minutes he said, "I would never have imagined this possible!" "I am so happy for you."
The secretary had told us Dr. Ribus had a very busy afternoon with 2 surgeries and a young boy he needed to go attend to, so we didn't expect much time with him.  Steven and I were so impressed though as Dr. Ribus was very patient and wanted to visit with us.  He had so many questions he wanted to ask Britten about his recovery.  As they were visiting, Dr. Ribus said again, " I am just so impressed with you.  Your recovery is just very impressive."  He was very impressed that Britten was back in College.  We told him that school is very difficult for Britt, but he is doing it with an amazing attitude.  He asked Britten what he thought he wanted to go into?  Britten said that it has been very difficult deciding what to do.  Before his mission, he wanted to be a Dentist.  But now with his limited eye sight, and the difficulty of school...It makes it very challenging.  Britten told Dr. Ribus that he thinks he is going into Physical Therapy.  Britten said, "I want to help people, and my PT's helped me so much, learning how to walk and get around.  I think that is something I want to do."
Dr. Ribus commemted, "well, you will certainly be able to help people and understand what they are going through...I think that is a marvelous decision for you."
He then asked Britten why we came back to Brazil?  Britten said with a smile on his face, "To see you!"  Dr. Ribus just looked at him, not knowing what to say.  Then Britt said, "I never got to tell anyone goodbye, so I'm just coming back to see all my friends, Elder Costa, You, the nurses and to speak at a fireside."  Britten told him, "I've been able to speak at a lot of public functions and for church fireside, and I love doing that."  "I feel like I am able to help people."  Dr. Ribus said, "I'm sure you are!"  "That is good...that is good."

We told Dr. Ribus that we had a DVD we would like to have watched with him, but we knew his time was limited.  We gave it to him and hoped that Dr. Caponi could watch it as well. Dr. Caponi was Britten's internal doctor while he was battling phnemioa, diabetes inspididus and other conditions.  We saw him on a daily basis, and appreciated his compasion in treating Britt.  Dr. Ribus imformed us that he was out of town for a few months, but assured us he would get the video to Dr. Caponi as soon as he got back.  Dr. Ribus said, "He would have loved to see you."

Dr. Ribus was grateful for the DVD and said he was excited to watch it himself.  We also gave him a Card with Britten's picture on it.  Britten told him that on the back of the card was a email that he had sent home, just 4 months before his accident.  Dr. Ribus eyes went to the card and as we were talking and I could tell he was reading it.  It was great seeing his face as he read it, as he showed much expression.   It was so wonderful to have a great visit with a doctor that we have love and respect for.  He was thrilled that we would come back to see him.  He graciously took pictures with us and then gave us his number, if we ever needed to get ahold of him.
Thank you Dr. Ribus and staff for your kindness your compassion and competant care.  We love you!

We left Dr. Ribus's office and went to a different wing of the hospital...the ICU.  I was so excited to see the nurses that we grew so close to during our 4 week stay.  They had become part of our family  as we watched them take care of Britten.  They treated Britt as if it was their own brother, as they were so kind and gentle with him.  The compassion they should us was heartwarming and I looked forward to seeing them each day.

The front desk paged Simone for us and we watched her come around the corner with a big smile!!!
We were all smiling as well, as she came into the lobby.   Hugs were exchanged that were very meaningful, for she also had been a part in Britten's recovery.  After hugging Steven and I, we indroduced her to Britten.  Britten looked much different now, than in the hospital 2 3/4 years ago.  Beside's that, Britten needed to be introduced to them, because he didn't remember them. He was in a coma...sleeping! 
Simone gave Britten a kiss on the cheek and big hug, while she patted his back and head. She stood back and just looked at him. She was so happy to see us, as we were her.  Britten said to her, "It's so good to meet you."  "I've been practicing my Portuguese so I could talk with you."   Simone asked him some more questions.......

Simone took us back to the ICU so we could see others nurses that helped care for Britt.  Walking back to this area was all too familiar.  I could see into the room that Britten was confined in, as they were trying to keep him alive.   My heart sank to see another patient lay in the same room.   My thoughts went back to Britten.  Wow, what a long road it had been.  Being in the hospital seemed like yesterday, and yet the past 2 3/4 years has been a blur.
Simone brought a few of the nurses to meet us, and it didn't take them long to recognize us.

There were a few other nureses that weren't there and we were so disappointed to not see them.  We spent so much time with them as they cared for Britten.
We gave Simone a DVD of our testimony and Britten's story.  She was so thrilled that we would think of her.  As we were visiting with Simone, some of the other nurses took the DVD from Simone's pocket and put it in the computer so they could watch it.  It was so wonderful to see the look in their eyes.  Some other nurses came around and marveled that we would come back to see Simone. 
They started to get emotional as they said, "No one ever comes back after they leave the hospital.  We never get to see the outcome."  They were so happy and overcome with emotion at how well Britten was doing. 
It came time for us to leave and it was more difficult than I had ever expected.  We may never see these wonderful nurses that we grew so close to in the hospital.  Our memories at the Albert Einstein Hospital and the staff that took care of us, will always hold a special place in our heart!

After we left the hospital, we decided to visit the place of the accident.  Britten had always been curious of where and how it could of happened.  We found the street were it was described to us, and got out of the car.  As we stood across the street from the accident site, we watched as buses and cars flew around the corner.  Sometimes it looked like the buses were on 2 wheels as the slipped  around the sidewalk.  It came into play of our minds, exactly how Britten's accident could have happened.  The buses sent chills throughout my body as they flew by us.  There was closure in our minds of how this could have happened, and it was okay to leave that memory behind us.

What a beautiful day it had been, meeting with Elder Costa and Staff, Dr. Ribus, Simone and other nurses.  Our hearts were full of love for these wonderful people that had become part of our lives, and part of Britten's story.  We closed the day with Felipe and Iza at a delicious Brazilian Barbque. And Yes....#rollmeoutthedoor!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Elder Costa Dec. 17, 2014

Steven, Britten and I had much anticipation for this day.  We were going to meet with Elder Costa, the Area President of Brazil and the doctors and nurses at the Albert Einstein Hospital today.
Felipe picked us up at the Hotel and was going with us to meet the doctors and Elder Costa.  While we were driving Felipe shared with us what happened after he dropped us off the night before. Felipe and Lohony (who had also just returned from a mission) shared their testimony's with Andre.  Andre was so moved with the spirit he felt, by learning of Britten's miracles and every one's testimony's.  He said, "I have this good feeling and I want this in my life.  I want to learn more, so I can feel like this always!"  My eye's welled up to hear of Andre's desire to learn more of the gospel.

Before our appointment at the church offices with Elder Costa, we decided to have lunch at the temple.  There were 9 sister missionary's eating lunch there also, before their return home that evening.  It was wonderful to be able to visit with them about their missions and where they were from.  What a small world it is, as one of the sisters, was from Smithfield, Ut... just a couple miles from us. Crazy!  We took pictures in front of the temple and then went to the Church offices that are located right behind the Temple.  It was wonderful to be in the Sao Paulo temple and the temple grounds again!

We entered the Church offices and we had to show our passports at the front desk to be cleared, before they took us up to see Elder Costa.  This was all so familiar as I remember so well our first visit here.  We entered the front office and there was Elder Costa standing down a long hall with a huge smile on his face and his arms held out to greet us.  He showed much enthusiasm to see Elder Schenk as he gave him a Huge Brazilian Hug!  He welcomed each one of us the same way...even Felipe.
To sit in his office for the second time was amazing and something I never dreamed would happen.  My heart was overflowing as smiles and laughter filled the room.  Many stories and feelings were shared and later I wished I could have recorded the conversation.  Elder Costa shared many things with us.  He shared how the people in Brazil loved Elder Schenk and how his miracle had touched the lives of many.

We asked Elder Costa, "How much time he had for us", because we knew of his busy schedule.  He replied, "I have a very busy schedule today, but for you...I have 10 hours!"  It was incredible the love we felt from this great man.  We then asked Elder Costa, if we could share with him, Britten's story that we put together on DVD?    He said, "Of course".   It was thrilling to watch his face as he was moved with the video.  When the video ended he said, "I have a great idea. We need to put this on the church website for everyone to see.  Brazil needs to see his miracles, and it would help so many!  But we will need your permission."   I hesitated a minute and asked Steven and Britten what they thought about this.  I told Elder Costa that we have spoken at several firesides where we have shown this video and several times people have asked me if they could get a copy of it or if it was on the inter net.  I told them No.  It's just kind of for us and family.  Just not ready to put it out there for everyone to have.
 I turned to Britten and asked, "What do you think?  Are you ready to have it out there?"
We all looked at each other and decided.... maybe it's was time.  Elder Costa was so excited and went
to get Alex who would be over this project.

While Elder Costa was gone we had a wonderful and moving visit with Ozani and Nellys, Elder Costa's secretary.  Nellys is a most beautiful woman and could be mistaken for the Brazilian version of Angelina Jolie!  Nellys told me that she will never forget the look in my eyes when we came to see Elder Costa after Britten's accident.  She said, "I can't even imagine the pain of a mother receiving this news about her son."  She said, "When you and Steven left Elder Costa's office to go to the hospital, we all joined together and knelt in prayer for Britten."  

Ozani shared with us his personal experience of Britten.  He told us that they kept some news from us when we came after the accident, as they were just trying to protect us.  As he continued to share with us some of the details, he got choked up and was having a hard time containing his emotions.  He asked to be excused.  It was so difficult for him to relive those first few days, as he was with Britten.
He said when he went to Santa Casa Hospital to see Britten, he was completely wrapped in bandages.  He said he couldn't see anything... couldn't see his eyes or any of his face...anything.   It was not good. He told us it took them about 4 hours trying to get Britten ready to be transported from the Santa Casa hospital to the ambulance that was transporting him to the Albert Einstein Hospital.   Britten asked them why it took so long.  Ozani and Nellys said, "because YOU were in such critical condition!"   "So many people were there trying to help you."

They got Britten transported to the Albert Einstein Hospital and Dr. Ribus examed him and ran the test on his brain.   Dr. Ribus said, "I do not have good news for you. There is nothing we can do for him.  He has No blood or oxygen flow to his head.  He will not survive."  Ozani stood there with tears running down his cheeks, just looking at us.  He said, "Dr. Ribus asked President Moriera and I to sign some papers so they could take Britten's organs to be donated to others."   Ozani said, "That is not our roll to make that kind of decision.  His parents are coming.  We need to wait for his parents. When your parents arrived here the area Presidents were fasting.  I was there when your parents met with Dr. Ribus. Dr. Ribus said, "We have a different scenario now....Something happened. A miracle happened......  Ozani choked back some tears and said, "It is a miracle.....It's a miracle."

Words can not adequately express the feelings that was present in that room. 
Nellys then said,  "I know and believe modern day miracles happen, but I had never seen one.   And now, to have witnessed one personally... is incredible."   Tears, hugs, smiles and laughter were shared as we were all reminded about this beautiful miracle we had witnessed!  

Ozani then took Britten around the church offices and introduced him to many.  Britten told me later, "Wow, it was so crazy to have women crying and then give me a hug.  I didn't know anybody and yet they all acted like they knew me."  Oh course, they remembered Britten and were part of the fasting and prayers offered in his behalf.
Elder Costa returned and told us that Alex was gone, working on another project.  He told us that he would be getting with us later, so they could put it on the website.  What an incredible feeling, to think that Elder Costa would want Britten's inspiring story to be seen by many!
It was so wonderful to be with Elder Costa and his staff and to feel of their love for us, as we felt the same for them.
I looked around the room I and saw several different pictures of the Savior.  The Savior's love was present that day!  And we have felt His love over the past 2 1/2 years.  He has been with us!  He has given us strength to get through the rough days.  And He has helped us find peace, comfort and Happiness!
Thank you Elder Costa, Nellys, Ozani andTelmo.  It was a pleasure to spend an afternoon with you and we feel it a great privilage to know you.

My heart was so full of gratitude for the wonderful couple, Scott and Jenae who made this possible. They felt prompted by the spirit to have us return to Brazil and share Britten's story with the doctor's, nurses, Elder Costa and to speak at some firesides. To be able to share our testimony's and Britten's miracles has been an experience we will never forget. Lives have been touched, and testimony's strengthened through their kind efforts.
We appreciate Scott's time, talent and inspiration, in putting together a video (in Portuguese) of Britten's story. You can't watch it with out feeling the spirit and shedding a tear. We also want to thank Aline Bakr and Tanner Dance for doing the Portuguese translation.