Saturday, July 16, 2022

Lightning, Fire, Sickness, and More Oh My!

I will return to photos and stories from our wonderful 14 days in Europe but I need to write about what is going on now. I use this blog to keep up with life. 

As I mentioned, we flew home on Sunday, July 3. By Wednesday, July 6 I had developed a headache. I was worried it might be covid so I took a test -- negative.

I went on to work on Thursday - still had a headache but could manage. On Friday, the headache intensified so I took another covid test - negative. Through Friday night, the headache pain increased so we ended up a the freestanding ER near our home on Saturday morning early. They did a CT scan and said they could see old and new sinus infection. They pumped me full of fluids, tramadol, antibiotics and something else and sent me home and said, "You will need to see an ENT on Monday. You may need surgery to clear the infection."

We went home and were still dealing with jet lag so I did some laundry and napped. Mark headed to his mother's house late in the afternoon. It was his turn to spend the night -- especially since we had been gone 14 days. We made a plan for Sunday lunch at his mom's house and he made a plan to pick up Chinese take outs on the way for their dinner and Harvey and I curled up in my recliner.

I had received a birthday package while we were gone so I opened it and took a photo and sent it in a text to my niece with some comments.

It had begun to rain (I think) and so it was good cat snuggling weather until the loudest noise I have ever heard happened. Lightning struck our chimney right where I was sitting. Harvey ran to hide and I screamed. I wasn't sure exactly what had happened -- I just knew it was loud and bright. I started calling Mark at his mom's and I went outside to see what was going on. There were bricks from our very tall chimney scattered over the courtyard. I went back in and went upstairs and I could see a charred place on the chimney and I could smell "char." The neighbor on one side was cooking on his grill and the bricks from our chimney rained down into his courtyard -- up over the top of our house and down. Our neighbors from both sides were calling and I was trying to talk to Mark on the phone. All of a sudden, we realized there was smoke rolling out of the house. Jeff, our corner neighbor ran over. I found Harvey and handed him out the door to Jeff and I grabbed my purse and phone. I think I had on my raincoat. I was dialing 911 as were others. I told the fireman I hated to bother them because I wasn't sure I had an emergency and they said "Get every living thing out now." At this point, I do not think I realized we were going to have a fire. Remember -- I was sick.

Within second, flames were shooting out of the house and 5 firetrucks were at out house. Our local fire department should win every award imaginable. They were amazing. Neighbors, our son, and my boss and a few co-workers showed up. People wrapped me in towels. People took care of Harvey. Mark was finally able to get there. The storm had been raging and there were trees down and he had to go around.

Someone has a picture of the actual lightning strike. 

The fire was finally out and the firemen escorted us inside. We grabbed the cat litter box (that was on my mind!), cat food, cat water fountain, a few clothes, our passports, a checkbook, a random assortment of crap. We drove to Mark's mother's house. Oh - his cousin had "randomly" shown up and was able to stay there so that Mark could come home. His other brother was able to get there and stayed until 10 when we showed up. We had a horrible night. We both shed tears. The bed was uncomfortable and the power was off and we live in Alabama. Thank goodness the rain had dropped the temperature some.

Sunday found us dependant on friends. One friend came and stayed with Mark's mother so we could leave. Other friends and family met us at the house. More friends showed up with lunch. I continued to feel worse. Early that morning, I had gone online and found us a suite at an Embassy Suites near us. They allowed cats. I said that I needed to go to the hotel and lie down which I did. Later, Mark and I went to get the cat and our things.

our son wouldn't let me in to see
the two worst rooms on Saturday
night -- I'm glad I waited.

Monday morning arrived and Mark headed back to the house. I awakened with double vision which was weird. I felt horrible so I stayed in the hotel in the bed and slept most of the day. I was able to call and get an ENT appointment for Tuesday morning at 8:00.

Mark and I arrived at the doctor's office around 7:30. My eye was now swollen closed plus double vision. I don't think I have ever been as sick as I was on Tuesday. I couldn't sit up in the waiting room chairs. I would curl up like a child or lean my head sideways against the wall. Within moments of walking into the room, the first ENT stepped out and brought in an associate. Within a few more moments, they were calling the insurance company to approve another CT scan. After the scan, we were told to come back at 12:30. Dr. Chris Clark would be performing surgery on my sinuses. 

Our friends live a few minutes away from the hospital and she had left a key just in case. We went to their house and I literally laid across their bed and slept while Mark rummaged and made himself a Peanut Butter sandwich. They both came home before we left for the hospital so we saw them. I meant to take a photo. Their screen porch was covered with racks of our clothing - airing out the smoke. Her laundry room was full of our clothes that were being washed. More people have washed my underwear this week than ever in my life.

The surgeon and his team added me onto the end of a very long day of surgery. When I came to in recovery, I was literally the last one there. They had locked the office of the surgery center and Mark was waiting somewhere else (I didn't know that). Another of our close friends who is a doctor at the hospital was waiting with Mark when they brought me down to the car.

We headed back to our home away from home -- Embassy Suites. I had hoped to awaken on Wednesday with restored vision but that was not to be. I won't show y'all the worst picture which is the morning after the surgery. I had to wear a "mustache bandage" which is like a tiny mask string and you literally hang gauze over the string. You cannot blow our nose so you just have to let it run.

I can't believe I'm sharing this but
THIS IS US this week.

Thursday, we were able to get an appointment with an opthamalogist (who I LOVED). Mark was meeting with fire people so our friends once again came to the rescue and drove me to the doctor and held my hand and filled out the paperwork. The doctor checked the eyeball, etc. She agrees with the surgeon that the vision should be restored. Some people get it back quickly. Others not so much. Guess which category I fall into?

Today -- Saturday, finds me at the hotel by myself. Our sweet baby granddaughter's 3rd birthday party was today and I sent Mark with our gift of a pink tricycle. I've kept myself busy. I've been learning to type wearing a patch on the bad eye.

I wish I could explain the eye situation to you. The way the opthamalogist makes sense. The left eye is just not moving at the same speed as the right eye (normal). They will eventually move like the two side wheels on a car -- but not today. I think I have seen small improvements yesterday and today. I was hoping for a dramatic TADA but God has been whispering "be still" all week. I'm not good at being still -- especially on steroids.

I can't type this without crying -- we have been surrounded by the people of God. I don't talk alot about my faith on here but if you read much about me, you kind of figure it out. People have been with us every step of the way. Everytime I hit a low spot, I get a text or an email. We've been showered with gift cards. We've been given the gift of time . . .which is the most precious. Our children have checked on us and helped us. Mark has carried it all this week while I've simply been sick - maybe the sickest I've ever been.

As of yesterday, our house has been released. We are actively trying to find a place to rent. Rental properties are unusual -- let me just say that. I always think everyone lives just like I do and this is a reality check. No, Lisa. Everyone does not live like you do. We have to find a contractor. This is minor, but my class is coming down to the final projects. If I were home with a color printer, my silhouette machine, and every color of paper imaginable, these projects would be so fun. My professor may give me an extension. She has been very gracious. It helps that she can see I did homework even in Europe and I have an A in the class. She knows I care. When I wrote her the email about all that has happened, I actually said, "if this were from a young student . . .you might not believe it." This is definitely better than the dog ate my homework.

So if you are a praying person -- we ask that you pray for my eyesight to be restored and for us to find a place to live and a contractor. If you are a "good vibes" person -- please send those our way, too.

I will say this -- time to be still has made me think about everything. I need to spend more time with family and friends. I need to make sure I'm doing the important things first. I need to be first in line to help when someone else needs help.

Bad things happen. Life is sometimes fun and easy and sometimes life is hard and bumpy. Most everyone has good things and bad things in their lives. We just keep on putting one foot in front of the other and we keep on doing the next right thing. Right?

Hopefully, my eyes will get stronger and I can resume my fun travel posts but for today, this is where you can find us.

p.s. I'm typing with a patch on one eye - please forgive all mistakes, typos, things that don't make sense, etc.


  1. OMW, Lisa!!! I'm not usually speechless, but your ordeal has me stunned. Thank GOD none of you (including Harvey here) were seriously injured. As they say, things can always be replaced. Too, I'm so sorry for your sinus and eye issues. That business with the left/right eye sounds much like what Tom's experienced/experiencing. Once we get cleared by his cardiologist, I'm going to call Dr. Jackson at Callahan and hopefully get him back for another eval. (Is that the same lady you saw, by chance?)
    Lifting prayers!

    1. Dr. Sara Mullins - she does do surgery at Callahan and maybe the VA?? I'm changing to her. Her office is on 14th Ave S. I'm sorry Tom has been dealing with vision issues, too. They are not fun. Thank you for the prayers!

  2. Oh my goodness, Lisa!! I don't even know what to say here but know that you are now in my prayers... you and your family and wonderful friends. Do please keep us posted. Hugs & prayers!

  3. Oh my goodness!!! I am so sorry....keeping in prayer.

  4. Wow! That is quite the story and I am thankful that you're doing better now. I loved what you said about how people helped and this gave you time to really think. I too am going through some things and I have to remember what is important. Hope things start to get better for you!

  5. Sending prayers, positive vibes, and hugs from Waco, TX. Reading your post put some annoying tasks I am dealing with into perspective.

  6. Wow, this was quite the entry. I am sorry you've experienced all of this but you've also been very fortunate to get the care you needed as soon as you did and to have so many friends and family around you. I hope you are doing much better. It may be a long year, but you will be ok.