Monday morning, I woke up early and Pam was still asleep so that was good. She did join me in the living room a half an hour later and felt better. Her breathing was more normal, but she had a lot of abdominal pain and thought it was just muscle exertion from yesterday. I told her I wanted her to stay home today and that was a relief for her. I planned to take care of some obligations we had this morning with the USO and then come home about lunch time. First of all, I bought a Birthday Balloon for Cheryl Vandiver and then drove to the mission office, hoping to drop off a letter we received from the leasing office concerning lease renewal. The office was not open so sent the letter via text to Elder Grieve and he said he would get right on it. I made a stop at Costco and bought a dozen Roses for Cheryl and then continued to the USO. People were all over the place at the USO and I remembered today was the opening day for Steeler tickets. I checked in with Joyce Schellhorn (Director) and told her about Pam and my plans for the day and then gave the Balloon and Roses to Cheryl and she seemed to be pleased. I drove to the Beach and there were people all over the USO and I remembered “Steelers” tickets went on sale today. It was also a “No Dough” dinner night so they were going to be busy. I jumped in and worked on physical preparations for dinner—washing the tables, set out the “sneeze guards” on the desert and salad tables and put out the utensils and napkin dispensers. Today’s meal was Mexican, and Cheryl had brought a number of items for the food tables—Mexican table clothes and hats. It made everything look festive. I did a few other small jobs for Joyce and then at noon left to come home. At home, Pam was in the bedroom and we visited for a few minutes and she was still not feeling very well. She was hungry, however, and I went to a local Arby’s and bought some salads and came home and we ate and then Pam tried to rest. At 4:00 pm the pain was still giving her fits and I said we needed to go to an emergency room and get her checked out. She finally agreed, and we got dressed and drove down Merrill Road with the intention of going to the Medi/Express emergency room about 2 blocks away, but decided to go to Doctor Hoffman’s office which was across the street and see if she might be able to see Pam. I talked to the receptionist and she couldn’t be seen today but could be seen tomorrow morning at 9:00 am. So, we decided to wait for that and returned home. We spent a quiet evening and Pam sat up for a while, but finally lay down and went to sleep about 8:30 pm and slept through the night.
Tuesday was National Voting Day so the USO was closed and we didn’t have any commitment there. We hoped to get to the bottom of Pam’s abdominal pain. We arrived at Dr. Hoffman’s office at 9:00 am and had a nice visit with the doctor and she examined Pam and indicated some kind of lower bowel infection. She referred us to another facility— “Crucial Care, Emergency Medical Doctors” a facility that specialized in emergency treatment. They had Board Certified Emergency Medicine Doctors with Cat Scans, their own Labs, X-rays, and treated everything from minor to major cases. We drove to the facility by President Lee’s home and were welcomed by 3 receptionists, one was Virginia Wilkes, formally of the Jacksonville Beach Ward. She was recently baptized and married the son of Greg & Alisa Wilkes and they live in the Arlington Ward. They did a little paperwork and looked at the referral from Doctor Hoffman and whisk Pam away. During the next two hours Pam had an MRI and was told she didn’t have Appendicitis, but had Diverticulitis, which caused severe abdominal pain, fever, nausea and a marked change in bowel habits—all which Pam had. It could also be treated with medication. We left with a hand full of prescriptions and instructions and drove to Costco where we filled the prescriptions. We arrived home about 4:00 pm and during the next hour prepared a meal for the Fort Caroline Sisters—Johnson and Wasden who arrived for dinner at 6:00 pm. Pam was tired but was feeling fair and was a gracious host to the Sisters. We had a nice meal and visited with them about their homes, families, etc. After they left, Pam got ready for bed and I cleaned up the kitchen. We called it a night about 9:30 pm.
Wednesday morning, the pundits were out discussing the election and it appeared the Democrats won the House and the Republicans strengthened their hold on the Senate which was surprising. Mit Romney won in a landslide in Utah and would replace Orin Hatch in the Senate. I received a text from Tara Alexander who said her house had been robbed and wondered if we could go and take some pictures. We went over to her home and indeed the back door to the family room was broken, glass everywhere but inside the house looked amazingly clean. Wes’ gaming system was all gone but we didn’t see anything else amiss. We talked with Tara and she said the police had been there and did their forensic work when the man who was taking care of their dogs called her. We spent an hour taking the window apart and dropping all the glass onto the floor and outside on the porch, and then cleaning and vacuuming everywhere. Their friend, Clifton Martwick, also a member of the Arlington Ward had been taking care of their dogs and discovered the break in this morning and called the Police. Pam and I went to Home Depot and bought a piece of plywood and some self-taping screws and returned and covered the open window in the back door. Tara was expected back in town around midnight but was going to stay somewhere else for the night. When done we had some lunch and gassed up the van and then returned to our apartment for the rest of the day. Pam was tired and needed to lay down.
Thursday morning Pam stayed home, and I went to the Temple with 3 Elders from the Kingsland Zone who met me at the Fort Caroline Chapel. Elder Nicholas Birch, Elder Craig Jenson and Elder Jacob Kunde. Both Elder Jenson and Kunde were finishing their missions and Elder Birch was at the halfway mark. We had a word of prayer and got underway and enjoyed a good drive. I learned that Elder Birch was from Saratoga Springs, Elder Jenson from Bakersfield, California and surprise, surprise, Cloras Jenson was his grandmother. Elder Kunde was from Idaho Falls, Idaho. The Elders played some road games on the way and most interesting was a “Gospel Baseball” game and I was impressed with their knowledge of the Book of Mormon. At the Temple, we met President & Sister Lee and other missionaries as they arrived and there was a lot of back slapping and hugging going on as friends met each other again. The entire group moved to the front of the Temple for pictures. Elder & Sister Waite and Schroders were in attendance from Gainesville, but no other couples. Inside the Temple I discovered my recommend had expired and thankfully President Lee had his book and we did a quick interview and he issued me a new one for the duration of our mission plus a few months. Finally, I was in the Temple and what a relief that was. Kind of a weird feeling to be rejected! I changed and met the other missionaries in the chapel and then we were escorted into an ordinance room for the session. In the Celestial room we had about 15 minutes to contemplate and then moved to a large sealing room where President Duke, counselor in the Temple Presidency, spoke for a few minutes and then Sister Lee and President Lee gave us some excellent counsel. Finally, we changed back into street clothes and departed the Temple grounds for Café Rio and lunch! We were not disappointed as the food was excellent and they handled the large crowd easily. The missionaries chatted up all the other visitors to the restaurant and had a good time. After eating we loaded up again and head home on the last leg of the journey. I dropped them off at their car and they had an hour’s drive into southern Georgia. When I arrived home, Pam was fine and had a good day. She was feeling quite well and the pain in her abdomen was gone. We were grateful for the blessings of Heavenly Father and good medicine. I brought Pam a Steak Tostada from Café Rio and she savored it for some time.
Friday morning, we went to the Akumin imaging facility on Fort Caroline Road for a bone density test for Pam. Unfortunately, the equipment to do the test was not working and we left with another appointment for next week. We drove on to the USO and were amazed at what was going on there. We hadn’t been to the USO for 4 days and the main room was filled with food, the storage room by the office filled with bins and boxes of candy and about a dozen boxes of candy out in the foyer—all donations for the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. Pam took a seat in the office and helped Cheryl with some Christmas projects and I helped out Joyce Schellhorn (Director) on getting things more organized. Initially cleaned up a pile of boxes from the food donations by Beams. It was a shame to have to break down the boxes because they looked perfect, but recycling companies won’t take boxes that have had food in them. When done I worked on two electrical issues with two lights. I solved one, but the second will have to have a more experienced person check it out. We had patrons coming in all morning, including Tony Head, to get food and meat and the pile of food on the pool table diminished quickly. At 2:00 pm Dave Ostrum needed a ride to NAS Jax to pick up a USO truck, so Pam and I finished what we were doing and provided the ride. The traffic wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be and had a nice visit with Dave. From the USO office at NAS Jax we retraced our steps across the St. John’s river and continued to our apartment. I made some calls to the Fort Caroline Elders about dinner tonight. They responded that Elder Saxton was Gluten intolerant, so the food we had prepared would not work. We ended up inviting them to meet us at a nearby Golden Corral and had a nice meal and Elder Saxton was able to choose what he wanted. Elder Smart was his companion and we had nice visits with each of them. Elder Smart was from Draper and attended Corner Canyon High School and Elder Saxton from North Ogden and attended Weber High School. After Elder Saxton gave us a spiritual thought we left and said our goodbyes and returned to our apartment. It had been a busy day and Pam was quite tired.
Saturday morning, we drove to the Naval Station for the arrival of the USS Farragut (DDG-99) representing the USO. We arrived at the Carrier Pier C-2 at 9:30 am and the Navy Exchange employees had set up a tent and were distributing candy and water families. They had so many employees helping that Pam and I were kind of redundant. When a gate was opened to the pier, we joined others looking for the Farragut as it came into view out on the eastern horizon and its progress into the channel and finally to the pier. We were entertained by a pod of dolphins out in the channel. Once pier side, the gangway was quickly set in place and the USS Farragut was officially home and the crew permitted to disembark. It was fun watching wives and children greeting their husbands and fathers and brought back a few memories of our reunions when squadrons returned home. We left at 10:30 am and while on the base drove to the Heads home, but their car was gone so didn’t stop. We continued to the Lagaes and they were home and we visited with them for about 30 minutes. On the way back to our apartment we gassed up the van and had some lunch. Checking Facebook, we noticed an entry from Nikki Head indicating she was in an Emergency room. It took a while, but we learned she was at the Baptist Medical Center emergency room and was in the process of being transferred to the Naval Hospital at NAS Jacksonville. Later we talked with Nikki on the phone to see if we could help out with her kids or transport Tony anywhere, but they were set. She had an infection that was causing pain and needed hospitalization for IV antibiotic treatment. Nikki’s mother had come north from Orlando to help out. We also had a nice visit with Tara Alexander and she was home and felt secure. She had arranged for a friend to replace her door but would have to wait a little while to purchase a new door. I let her know we could help with the door and hopefully get it installed sooner rather than later. At 9:00 pm we joined other missionaries for the Transfer Call from President Lee. Elder Vaughn conducted and after some preliminaries President went through each zone and district detailing the changes. Our zone had a number of changes and it will be enjoyable getting to know the new missionaries.
Sunday morning, we got ready for church and drove to Jacksonville Beach and attended church there. We met Tyler Gneck in the foyer and visited with him, and the Jarvis’ were in sacrament meeting, but we didn’t see any other families. During Sunday school the Lagaes joined us in the Gospel Principles class as did Gary Noblit. In the final hour we had a combined meeting and the “My Path for Self-Reliance” program was presented by a member of the stake with hopes of encouraging members to take one of 4 classes. Shay Tuttle joined us in the chapel so what we thought was a sparse showing by military families ended being 5 families represented. Alexis Connelly was in Arizona, Nikki Head was in the NAS Jax hospital, and Jennie Black was visiting Rich, so they were not expected today. We left Jacksonville Beach and drove to NAS Jax and located the hospital and visited with Nikki Head. Tony had just left with their children and Nikki’s mother was with her. She didn’t look too red hot and we hoped the antibiotics kicked in soon to cure the infection and relieve the pain. From the hospital we made our way north to our apartment and spent a quiet afternoon and evening.