Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Accident

It has become clear to me over the past year or so that when my parents got in an accident last summer while they were living in Mallorca, I haven't talked about it a ton here on the blog.  I mentioned it here and here but not much more than that.  I have friends who ask me about them and that is when I realize that I might talk about some lighthearted things here regularly but the more major things are harder to talk about.  I was dealing with a lot last summer and just didn't want to really write about the accident specifically.

A few weeks before their accident they rode their Harley up to the airport to see me on a layover.

Just because it would be good to record here, here is my experience mixed with some emails that my Dad me.

Last June I went to the Bahamas for work and when I received a call from my Dad the Monday after I returned, it was the middle of the day and thought it was no big deal that he was calling.  He told me on the phone that he and my mom had been in an accident but that they were fine.  He just wanted to let me know and that he'd call me back the next day to tell me more.  I was asked to not tell anyone in the family (obviously my sister knew about it) because he didn't want to worry anyone unnecessarily.  Some of you know that my mother has been through a lot in her life and has been in the hospital during my lifetime more times than I can count.  I didn't think too much of it - all I knew was that both of my parents had broken legs.  Not too big of a deal, right?

The next day I was walking in the West Village and I called my Dad to see how they were doing and that is when he told me that my mother was probably going to lose her leg.  He said that he'd talked to my sister an hour or so before and she said that she and her kids would start coming up with pirate names ASAP.  It is in moments like that that I am grateful that crying in New York is OK in public.  Apparently my Mom's leg (from the knee to the ankle) had been pretty much destroyed.  She still had some ligaments and was able to move her toes, so they were exploring their options, but that it was a 50/50 chance that she was going to lose her leg.  Someone knew of a microsurgeon in Valencia.  

Here is my Dad's account.
Nancy and I arrived in Palma de Mallorca on the 7th of June.  We had decided to go for a ride on our motorcycle with some friends on Saturday, June 11, here in Palma.  We had had an enjoyable day and were returning back to the ranch to pick up my boss to take him to the airport when the accident happened.  We were going through a turn in the road when the turn became very abrupt and I was unable to negotiate the turn and entered into the oncoming lane.  We were hit broadside by an SUV.  Nancy's right leg was severely damaged, they used the term catastrophic, and my right leg was broken also.  It took about 45 minutes for the ambulance to arrive as we were on the far eastern side of the island near the village of Cala Llombard.  Upon arrival at the hospital they took Nancy into surgery and she was there for about 5 hours.  Because it was Saturday there was only one surgical team and I had to wait till her surgery was done.  It was a difficult 5 hours to wait but it all worked out.  

Nancy was in the ICU for two days but eventually they brought her into my room.  Her leg, similar to mine, had a large metal brace on it holding her leg together.  During that week, June 13th, the doctors visited us every day and I could tell they were not very pleased with what they were seeing with Nancy's leg.  Through some discussions with the plastic surgeon it was decided they would contact Dr. Pedro Cavadas in Valencia to see if he would take Nancy as a patient.  Following a review of her file, Dr. Cavadas said he would see Nancy and on Friday, June 17, she was sent by medical ambulance to Valencia.  On Saturday morning, June 18, Dr. Cavadas examined her and determined she had a good pulse in her foot, she had feeling in her toes and could move her foot.  He said he could help and scheduled surgery for Monday morning, June 20.  During the surgery, which included cleaning away the damaged soft tissue, they took some muscle from her left back and placed it in the wounded area.  The surgery was successful and on the following Thursday, June 23, they grafted some skin from her right thigh onto here damaged leg.  Dr. Cavadas said that Nancy's healing process would take approximately 10 months.  He has been much more positive than the other doctors regarding the possibilities of her recovering which we feel is directly a result of all the prayers that have been offered on our behalf.

Nancy will stay in Valencia for several more weeks.  We are anticipating she will have additional surgeries to repair the bone in her leg.  I will go to Valencia on Sunday and spend a week with her and to talk with Dr. Cavadas. 
The Relief Society has been the greatest blessing of this whole event.  They come an help Nancy with every meal and then a sister spends the night with her, EVERY DAY.  Bless Joseph for giving Emma this charge.  They have been incredible. The Branch President has been very helpful also and supports the Relief Society in all they do.  Imagine, they have done this without even being asked.  The missionaries came to give Nancy a blessing and the next thing you know they are there helping wherever they can, a true blessing.
My parents with the nurses and Relief Society sisters who stayed with my mom every night.

My parents planned on coming home in August and asked my Dad's sister to come to Barcelona to help them on the airplane, etc. as my mom was still completely immobile.   My dad's sisters realized that their passports were expired, so one of our dear family friends in North Carolina, Blythe, was practically on the next flight to Barcelona where she met with my parents and helped them on the flight.  They were only able to get on a big enough plane for my mom to recline from Barcelona and the closest that they could get to Utah on such a big plane was San Francisco.  My aunt and uncle picked them up in a 15 passenger van that they had taken the benches out of and the 5 of them drove to my parent's house in Utah.  By the time they had arrived at the house, the boy scouts had built a ramp up to the front door and they had arranged for people to come stay with them for the next several months.

From Dad in late July:
This will be the last update before we head out from Spain to Utah.  Nancy is progressing well and is anxious to get home.  She will go directly to the University of Utah Hospital where they will determine what the next course of action will be.  We will leave on Tuesday but because Delta Airlines was very uncooperative regarding our flight to Salt Lake City we had to change to American and will now go to San Francisco and then to SLC by van.  It will work out fine.  My sister Ilene and brother-in-law Mike will make the trip with us and it should be an adventure.  Blythe will accompany Nancy and I from Barcelona, Spain to assist Nancy.  We are grateful to her for her willingness to help.  We will let you know how the trip goes but for now we are just looking forward to getting home.
Dr Cavadas came to see Nancy a couple of days ago and told her that her leg was doing well and that the trip should not be too difficult.  They will put an inflatable cast on her leg to keep it straight and aid in keeping it elevated.  That is all for now, we will let you know when we are home.
In September I went home to see my parents while my aunt was there taking care of them. 

From my Dad in October:
Since returning from Spain we have been somewhat uncommunicative basically because there hasn't been a lot to tell.  I often think of a Harry Chapin song called, "A Better Place To Be" where he sings, "I am the midnight watchman down at Miller's Tool and Dye, I watch the metal rusting, I watch the time go by."  Our healing process is something akin to watching metal rusting.  Although we have made a lot of progress it is still going slow.  

We visited with Dr. Kubiak last Thursday and he had some incredible news for Nancy.  After reviewing her x-rays he said the bone in her leg is miraculously healing.  There were evident signs that the bone is growing back together and he had no explanation.  He said it might not grow all the way back together but for now he isn't planning on any surgery.  He did say he might remove the wires holding her kneecap together but other than that he said we should wait and see how much her bone grows back.  She will still have a long recovery but with the physical therapy she is receiving she hopes to be walking without crutches by the end of the year.  It would be great to have her walking again.

I had hoped that I would be able to go back to work the first of October but there has been a short delay.  The three screws put in the bone to hold the rod in place have been quite painful and the doctor said that until they heal, the pain will not go away.  He prescribe oxycodone but I am somewhat hesitant to take such a strong narcotic.  In any event, it has been a small hiccup in the plan to go back to work.  However, I will be going to do an advance for a visit we have in the coming months.  I plan on going back now in early November.

We have been fortunate in that my sisters have been able to come and help as well as a neighbor and several other friends.  We have some friends from California that have volunteered to come while I am gone to Colombia.  All in all we have been very fortunate to have people willing to come and help us.

I received this video in November.

Here we are at Christmas.  Everyone is standing on their own!

 Along the way there have been so many friends who have done amazing things for me.  Scott and Annie were in Utah in early September of last year and drove 2 hours to spend a few hours with my parents and make them breakfast and visit.  I told Scott that I needed him to do that for me and he was there.  My dad had surgery in Salt Lake and was there in the hospital by himself for a few days, so Kristy took him pizza and hung out with him at the hospital.  I think often of the Relief Society sisters in Spain who spent the night at the hospital with my mom for a month so that she wouldn't be alone.  Would I do that for someone here in New York?  I don't want to answer that.

My mom had surgery a few weeks ago to take the wires out of her knee and is doing well.  My dad no longer walked around with his crutch like Tiny Tim and other than my mom's "Frankenleg" you probably wouldn't be able to tell that anything had ever happened.

Just wanted to publicly say thank you to everyone who has prayed for us, given me a hug, or just been my friend while all this has been going on.  We are just extra grateful for the blessings we've been given.


Friday, July 27, 2012

DJ Sizzle

At work I am the DJ.  {most of the time}

Do you have Spotify?  If not, why?  It has changed my life.  You can pretty much listen to whatever you want, whenever you want FOR FREE.  Don't have it?  Download it immediately.

When I moved to San Francisco all of my CD's were stolen out of my car and I have mourned their loss ever since.  I didn't want to buy the songs on iTunes to just listen to them.

Want some great playlists?  Here are some that I put together. 

Country Faves I might be listening to this one until the rest of forever.  This playlist is my soul.

Summer 2012  What I'm listening to this summer.

Lurve  Shmoopy.

Need some Paula Abdul?  90's Dance

What I was listening to in January

Girly music

Melissa's Wedding Playlist 2007

Let me know if you like this and maybe I'll keep sharing some in the future.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thoughts & Such

1. Did I tell you that I'm going on a safari in South Africa in early 2013? 

photo credit here

I'm going to Johannesburg, Cape Town, Victoria Falls, and on a safari for a few days with my friend's family.  So excited.

2. There are 122 steps that I take ONE WAY to my apartment from the time I get off the subway every day.  If I ever break a leg, heaven help me.  You would think that after months of walking up and down so many stairs that I'd be in shape, but you'd be wrong.

3. Have you read Unbroken yet?  If not, please do.  We read it for book club this last month and it was amazing.  I typically don't really have interest in WWII but I could not put this book down.

4.In the last week I also read East of Eden.  Holy cow.  800 pages in a week; that is how addicted I was.  If you have read it, email me and let's talk about Cathy.  WOW.

5. Now, some photos:

Me and my roommate Mala at Jen's bridal shower.

Jen got engaged and had an engagement party all within 24 hours.  Dear Jen, You are beautiful and I want to be you.  Love, Me.

Margie was in town so we got to hang out in New Jersey.  Her 10 month old son had a crush on me; it was amazing.  It was SO good to see her.  Hard to believe that we've known each other for 13 years!

Scott and Annie came over for tacos and then I made them box each other on the Wii. 

Heather and I went kayaking on the Hudson for 3 hours a few weeks ago.  Luckily there were no river sharks.

My yearly Maui Jim's.  Thanks, Four Seasons!
6. The other night I was talking to an anonymous friend and she was telling me that she worries about her parents' mental health as they are getting older.  The conversation went something like this:
Her: I think that my dad is losing it.  Do you worry about your parents at all?  I mean, your dad has always seemed to have a really clear mind. {5 second pause}...How's your mom doing?

I may have laughed for at least 10 minutes straight.

7. This weekend I am going camping in the Catskills.  I am also going tubing down a river, which is what made me decide to go since you know how I feel about camping. {I love not camping}

8. A recent topic of conversation for me lately is how hard it is to live in New York and I'm not talking logistically.  Yes it is expensive (cereal at the store by my house is $7.50 for a box) and we will not discuss how much I pay for my room, but I mean emotionally.  It is rare that people actually settle here.  Maybe it is because of the cost or maybe it is because of the space restrictions or the amount of stairs.  Most of the friends that I had when I moved here are gone now, off on other adventures in other cities.  At any given moment any of my friends could tell me that they are moving and it is almost expected.  New York is something to conquer; people move here and either conquer it by making a ton of money and buying a piece of property here or by doing so well career wise that they get an even-better offer somewhere else and move out as fast as possible.  Defeat happens - people get tired of the cost, of their jobs that aren't actually that great, or they decide that they want to be closer to family out west. 

I haven't decided what New York is going to do to me yet.

And let me make this much clear: we all love it here.  Despite the cost and the jobs and the emotional instability of it all, New York is amazing.  The food, the people, the entertainment, the Type A personalities that make wonderful things happen, the proximity to whatever your heart desires.  I love this town.  I'm sold on it.  Two years in and I'm so glad that I took advantage of the opportunity to come.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

For Brandy

I've lived in my apartment since the middle of April now and am finally getting around to posting some photos. I cleaned my room this weekend since I was stuck inside all day due to the heat and I was glad for the relaxed weekend to recharge and get some things together.  Brandy asked me the other for some photos of my apartment, so without further ado, I present to you, my third apartment in New York.

Yes that is a bunk bed.  My roommate and I have gone back and forth a few times about taking it out, but it is just so darn convenient when I have guests that we haven't done anything about it yet.  For Scott's wedding when Melissa, Aaron, Liam, and Matt came to town, we all slept in this room.  Matt and I on the top bunk, Melissa & Aaron on the bottom and Liam in a suitcase next to the dresser.  We should have gotten a photo.

{The shoe rack is on the back of the door.}

The upstairs hallway that leads to Courtnie's room and my bathroom.  Also, there is a staircase on the right that goes upstairs to the roof patio and then downstairs.


  The living room


A view from the couch.  In my last apartment we had a full size fridge and a half size dishwasher.  Now we have a full size dishwasher and a small fridge.  Not sure which combo is better.  At the end of the hallway is Mala's room and the front door.

I'm real happy in this apartment, folks.  My roommates are fabulous and funny and kind. 

Did I mention that this apartment is on the 5th floor?  My bedroom is technically on the 6th floor.  You'd think that you'd get used to the stairs, but let me reassure you that I still get winded every time I make the climb.  And my bathroom?  No ventilation in there, so I only go in there under duress in this heat.  

Let me just say that ending up in this apartment has been a major blessing in my life.  Any given night of the week you could find my roommates and I line dancing, playing wii tennis, playing Just Dance, or just laughing.  Life is good. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Trip to Utah

Last weekend I was in Utah.   It was a super quick trip and I was with my family pretty much the entire time.  I went specifically for my nephew Sam's baptism {safari shirt} and Sophie's baby blessing.  Kristy came down on Saturday evening to take some family pictures for us.   I made some of them black and white since no one could be bothered to plan ahead and get us in coordinating outfits. 

 Here we are - Jared's parents are on the right.  I would like to note that Hannah and Daniel had to stand by me in the photo.  :)  You know that I bribe them with candy, right?

Here is our little fam.

This weekend was packed full of good things.  My favorite things were items as follows:
Taking photos while cuddling with Hannah, age 5.
{I would also like to note now for future reference that at Sam's baptism on Saturday, Hannah looked at me and said: "When I grow up I am going to live in New York with YOU."  I looked at her and said "Please get a job in a hedge fund so we can have a nice apartment."}

Let it also be noted that Daniel said he also wants to move to New York and live with me.  I will agree to it only as long as he continues to make such awesome faces for the camera. Daniel, age 3.

My Aunt was also in town for the family festivities and she is obsessed with puzzles.  When I lived with her about 8 years ago we would do puzzles in the evening while watching baseball with my uncle.  She and my dad stayed up until 3:30 am working on this puzzle.  I think I took this at 11:45pm before I went to bed.  We were still working on it at 11am the next morning.

The biggest reason that I came to Utah was to meet this little one, my new niece Sophie Jeanette.  She is a cute little thing and LOVES to snuggle with her Aunt Steph.

And speaking of people who love to cuddle with their Aunt Steph...

two of my babies...

and two of my babies...
my little "sister" jessica had a baby a day before my sister did and I got to be the doting Auntie all weekend long.
{serenity is on the left and sophie is on the right}

Hannah and her Great Grandma.  Hannah would say "Grandma Zundel, ..." and my mom would answer; and she would quickly say "Not you!"  This girl loves her Great Grandma.  In fact, I think that they are big fans of each other.  She is such a good Grandma.  I can't blame Hannah for loving her so much.

Here is LeOra with Sophie and Serenity.

I hope you haven't had baby overload yet.   Boom.

My coworkers didn't know about the infamous Utah Green Jell-O so when my sister brought it over for lunch on Saturday I had to take a photo.  

With Uzi, it is always like no time has passed.  We haven't lived in the same city for over 5 years but I feel like I communicate with her in some way almost every day.  Zundelac is just here to stay, I guess.  Uzi came down to take our family pictures as I mentioned before, and she stayed to eat tacos with us afterward.  I had to leave for a date so I just left her with my aunt and uncle, grandma, and parents.  No bigs, eh, Uzi?

My Uncle even requested a photo with her.  ha.  
When Uzi and I were roommates I'd take her up to their house for tacos sometimes and we always had a great time.  I sat outside with my uncle on Sunday morning over breakfast and we had a long talk about life - I'm a lucky girl to be in my family.  My Uncle Mike is probably the funniest person I know - there is always laughter if he is around.   And just so I can write this down somewhere, my Grandma was expressing some concern to him and he told her that he had a few prayers up his sleeve and that he was God's backup so there was no need for her to be worried; he was sitting right there.  And he said all of this with a straight face.  He's so crazy!

And just a few other cute photos from the weekend.  LeOra is 98 and will be 99 on 12/12/12.  Isn't that awesome?  I'm not sure why she isn't smiling in this photo; she is laughing most of the time.  
Sisters and sisters.

These kids are just the best.
{Riley age 11.99, Will age 9.99, Sam age 8,  Hannah age 5, Daniel age 3.99, Sophie age .2}

This last weekend was great.  On Sunday afternoon I sat around the kitchen table with the 3 oldest Gunson kids and it reaffirmed to me that they are just as much my siblings as my sister is.  I love them all so much.  We discussed my dating life and it was quite entertaining.  It felt like old times.  I'm glad it was around the same table that we grew up around.  

Hey Utah,  You were awesome.   I'll be back.

Baby you're a firework

My Fourth of July this year was great.  Did you know it is my favorite holiday?

I woke up yesterday earlier than normal so that I could go on an outdoor adventure with several friends up in the Hudson River Valley.  We went on a leisurely hike out to some marshlands and then walked back the other direction to a nice waterfall.  It was quite relaxing and it was nice to be with friends from New York in a non-New York setting.

In the afternoon we came back to the city and then prepared to watch fireworks at a friend's house that overlooks the river. 

See past Fourth of July posts here and here and here and hereAnd last year's pics.

One thing that I haven't mentioned so far...yesterday was the hottest I've been in a long time.  Do you know what it is like to take a cold shower for 20 minutes, step outside and then be sweating again immediately?  Let me tell you - good times.  I was grateful to be back at work today for the air conditioning alone.