February 21, 2005

Tyler's Surgery

Tyler was recently diagnosed with hydrocele, which essentially means that he had a very small hernia. Scott talked with a doctor in the States and used a medical referral service provided by Intel to make sure that we found a hospital with high quality care. After several doctor's visits and a consultation with a pediatric surgeon, we decided to have the operation in Israel.

The surgery took place at a private hospital less than a mile away from our apartment. We didn't even know there was a hospital there (Tyler's trip to the emergency room last year was at a public hospital, also about a mile away from our apartment). Everyone called it Alicia hospital, which we thought was a funny name for the hospital. It wasn't until we got there that we realized that it is called Elisha hospital, which makes more sense in this Biblical land.

Our friend Heidi drove up from Herzliya to watch Brooke during the surgery, so we could both go to the hospital. We had to be at the hospital at 7:15 AM. It was a good thing it was early because Tyler wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything. Once at the hospital, we paid upfront for the operation (3,551 shekels). In the lobby, Tyler found the business card for an ambulance service, which thrilled him. He carried it with him throughout the day.

The ambulance card

After checking in and paying, they sent us up to the surgery level, where they got Tyler ready for the operation. We can usually understand everyone with a mix of Hebrew and English, however, only a few of the nurses spoke English. Fortunately, the nurses that didn't speak English spoke French. It was the first time that speaking French has really come in useful in Israel.

Everyone was really nice and kept telling us how cute Tyler is. We dressed Tyler in a hospital gown and waited for the surgeon.

Tyler studying his ambulance card

The patient and his mommy

Scott put on a smock, shoe covers and a scrub hat so that he could help Tyler to the operating room. Dr. Shoshani, the surgeon, came and talked with us for a few minutes. We also talked to the anesthesiologist and then Scott signed all the paperwork.

All dressed up

Dr. Shoshani told Tyler that they were going to go play. He said he had a balloon to blow up and a TV for Tyler to watch. Tyler and Scott then went with the doctor to the operating room while Tiffany went to the waiting area. The balloon was part of the breathing apparatus and the TV was the vitals monitor.

They asked Tyler to blow up the balloon through the breathing mask, but Tyler refused, so Scott pretended to blow in the mask. Tyler was a little freaked out, probably because it all looked strange and there were 6 or 7 people clustered around the operating table. Scott eventually promised Tyler a new Lego set if he would calm down and breathe into the mask. Scott held the mask on Tyler's face until his eyes began to flutter and then they asked Scott to leave. Tyler still had the ambulance card gripped tightly in his hand, so they said it was OK to leave it with him.

Tiffany waiting patiently

Scott then joined Tiffany in the waiting room. At about 8 AM, one of the French speaking nurses came out and told us that Tyler was fully asleep and the surgery had started. About half an hour later, the doctor came out to tell us that he was done and that it had gone well. Scott went with Dr. Shoshani to the recovery room. The surgeon answered Scott's questions and detailed the only post-operation restriction - no baths for two days. Remember, this is a pediatric surgeon, so he knows the futility of trying to restrict a 3 year old from running, jumping and playing.

Tyler was snoring in a bed with padded rails and he was attached to a heart and oxygen monitor. The nurses warned Scott that Tyler would thrash around when he woke up. After 10-15 minutes, Tyler woke up and started thrashing around. The nurses helped Scott hold Tyler to calm him down.

Tyler in the recovery room

After a few more minutes, Tyler asked for his mommy, so the nurses went and got Tiffany. Tiffany asked Scott if Tyler should have his blanket and she spelled out b-l-a-n-k-e-t as she asked. Tyler immediately asked for his blanket. Tyler does this more and more; we are afraid that we can no longer communicate by spelling! Scott ran and got the blanket out of the prep room. At this point Tyler insisted that they take the IV out of his hand, which they wouldn't do, so he was mad. Fortunately, they had kept track of the ambulance card, so we were able to give it to him when he asked for it to make him happy.

Post-op comforting

At about 9 AM, when Tyler was a little more alert, they moved us to a more comfortable recovery room. The room had a TV with children's shows on and another little boy who had just gotten out of surgery.

Tyler was grumpy and kept demanding to go home. He also refused to drink any water. He pulled off his blanket and gown and said he didn't want to get dressed. Everyone was worried that he would get cold, but the room was at a comfortable temperature. They asked us where we were from and when we said we were from Oregon, they understood why he wasn't cold. By the way, it is common for people here to tell us to dress our children more warmly. We think it is funny when we see people all bundled up on a cool, but comfortable day.

At 9:30 AM, they took out Tyler's IV. He was gradually starting to act more himself, getting interested in what was on TV and talking to us. We pulled out some candy that we had brought and Tyler demanded some. Fifteen minutes later, Tyler was back to himself. We let him unwrap the Lego set and waited until 10:30 AM when they let us go home.

Tyler showing off his prize in the hospital lobby

When we got home, Tyler was acting so well that we decided to go out to lunch with Heidi and James. We went to Sea Waves, our favorite Chinese restaurant. Tyler even ate quite a bit of food.

A few days after the operation, Tyler started picking at his incision because it itched and pulled out part of a stitch. The doctor said it was OK, but we decided to put a band-aid over the stitch. Tyler put the band-aid on himself, but put it lengthwise along the incision!

We met with Dr. Shoshani one week after the surgery and Tyler checked out great. We paid Dr. Shoshani 4,000 shekels for performing the operation. In total it came to 8,511 shekels (about $1,900) for the consultations and operation. We thought it was pretty reasonable. Our insurance company paid the claim right away. We are glad we decided to have the operation in Israel and grateful that everything went so well. Tyler is fully recovered and is a little too proud of his scar on his abdomen. He likes to show it off on occasion.


"I don't want to blow up a balloon that has a thing over my nose." - Tyler did not want to put on the oxygen mask.
"Nylon" - hospital gown
"I have a red string on my tummy like on my pants." - A few days after the operation, Tyler picked out one of his stitches.

Posted by sjbowden at 10:06 PM

February 8, 2005

Recovering from the Holidays

The house was too quiet after Scott's parents left, even with all of Tyler and Brooke's noise. We missed Grandma and Grandpa's company and help. At least we had lots of Christmas presents to keep us occupied.

For days after our cable car ride at Masada, all Tyler could talk about was cable cars. This only increased after another cable car ride at Rosh HaNiqra. Scott decided to help Tyler build a cable car of his own out of Duplo Legos. It was the perfect solution and kept him very content for a few days. Thank goodness for new Legos.

Lego cable car

We had a nice quiet start to the New Year. It's not a big holiday here since Israelis celebrate the Jewish New Year in the Fall. We were glad it was over the weekend this year so Scott didn't have to work on New Year's Day.

Over the next coule of weeks, we all got sick and spent as much time as we could resting.

A girl and her daddy

Brooke loves her big book of Nursery Rhymes. She likes to sit and read it and even tries to carry it around, but it's almost as big as she is! She loves books and is a very cute little reader.

Big book, little girl

Lately, Brooke has been much more photogenic than Tyler. Everything she does is very cute. She likes to pose, but she's usually quicker than the camera. We are always happy when we catch her just right.

Ballet pose

It's fun to watch Brooke do some of the same things Tyler did. He used to ride his dump truck this way too. It's just the right size, and Brooke was having a blast riding across the tile floor.

Heavy cargo

Every once in a while, Tyler gets in a "line 'em up" mode. The edge of the counter was the perfect height for his Matchbox line up. He loves to sort through all his cars and match them by color or type. He has plenty to choose from!

Tyler's line of cars

Brooke's great grandma gave her a doll that happens to match her own sleeper blanket. She is really starting to enjoy dolls and stuffed animals. She hugs them, pats them and then throws them down. At least it's cute while it lasts.

My baby and me


"label teg" - table leg
"I lost my friends" - Hide and seek
"Oprah is fun" - Tiffany had to turn on the TV after Scott's parents left.
"I don't know if I like giants. Do I like giants?" - Where did that come from?
"Telephone piano" - xylophone
"Surpresent" - You know ... a surprise present
"Daddy, why did you mess up my curls?" - Scott tried to comb Tyler's hair
"He has golden hair like me!" - Referring to the other blond boy in his class

Posted by sjbowden at 10:00 PM

February 5, 2005

Northern Israel

After our busy Christmas vacation within a vacation, we didn't push ourselves as hard for the rest of Scott's parents' stay. The day after Christmas we took them to one of the big grocery stores, Cosmos. It is supposed to be like a Super Target, with clothes, food, etc. We then came home and prepared Christmas dinner, a day late. We burned out our little rechargable mixer trying to make chocolate pie. It came out OK, but not as smooth as we like. Our coarse sugar here didn't help either.

We took Scott's parents to Rosh HaNiqra up the the coast, near the border with Lebanon. It was a beautiful day, quite a bit different from the cold and rainy weather that we had in Jerusalem.

Overlooking the Mediterranean

At Rosh HaNiqra, we met several people from the States. Scott's dad asked if they were visiting Israel for Christmas. Oops, they were Jewish!

Everyone in the Rosh HaNiqra grottoes

Scott's parents in the caves.

Tyler, of course, loved the caves and the water.

Tyler entranced by the water in the caves.

One of our friends who just returned to the States, recommended that we take Scott's parents to a restaurant called Adelina's on kibbutz Kabri. It was a fabulous meal. We went for lunch so it was very inexpensive. For dessert we had a lemon creme brulee.

In front of the restaurant.

When Scott's parents received their mission call, President Monson suggested that they visit the missionary graves in Haifa. There are graves of several LDS missionaries and members from the late 1800s who died of disease and are buried in the German colony cemetary. Scott and his dad also visited the site of a mission home in Haifa from the same period and Stella Maris, a Catholic church over the supposed site of Elijah's cave.

Scott's dad in the German colony cemetary

Headstone of one of the missionaries that served in Haifa, Adolf Haag

We were very sad to have Scott's parents leave. We had a very enjoyable vacation with them.

Scott's parents leaving from the Tel Aviv airport


"I wanted you to stay and keep the home clean so we could go with daddy." - Tyler wanted to somewhere with his daddy.
"Has it been two weeks already?" - Tyler was sad to have his grandparents leave.
"Now there are only 3 people again?" - After Scott's parent's left and Scott went back to work.
"I'm just checking to see if the fridge is still cold." - Explaining why he kept opening the fridge.

Brooke-isms (things she does):

folds her arms, bows her head and mumbles - Whenever we bless the food.
blows kisses - particularly at bedtime
brings her jacket to Scott or Tiffany - when she wants to go out

Posted by sjbowden at 10:18 PM

February 1, 2005


Merry Christmas!

We know this is late and we didn't get Christmas cards off this year, but we wish you a very merry Christmas anyway!

On Christmas Eve, after seeing some sights in Jerusalem, we drove to the BYU Jerusalem Center. There we met with about 120 church members from all over Israel. We were supposed to go to Shepherd's field (a hill overlooking Bethlehem), but it was pouring rain and very cold. Daniel Rona's tour group joined us in the Jerusalem Center and Daniel Rona spoke about Bethlehem throughout history and at Christ's birth.

Christmas Eve in Jerusalem

It was a great experience for the church members to get together. They rarely see each other. Transportation to get everyone to one place can only be arranged for special occasions beause of the distance and cost.

Here is a picture Scott's dad took with a telephoto lens from the Jerusalem Center.

A view of the Dome of the Rock

After we all had dinner together, we drove back to Haifa and went to bed. On Christmas morning we went to church. We decided to save opening presents for later in the day because we figured that we wouldn't be able to get Tyler out the door after seeing his new toys.

We had a short meeting consisting of some hymns and the children acting out the first Christmas. Tyler was a reluctant and wiggly shepherd.

Branch Christmas program

The children sang some hymns in Hebrew and then we had refreshments of cookies and hot chocolate.

Branch Christmas program in Hebrew (video)

The Powells, the missionary couple for our Branch, gave each child a present. They did a great job choosing something specific for each child. Tyler got a dump truck and Brooke got a doll. All of the children were thrilled, many of them received very little for Christmas.

Branch members with their Christmas presents

After we got home from church we ate lunch and put Brooke and Tyler down for thier naps. We told Tyler that Santa would come during his nap. While they were asleep we set out the presents and relaxed.

The Christmas tree with all of the presents

When Tyler woke up he was very upset that Santa wasn't there. He really wanted to see Santa. Fortunately, he was fine once he saw what Santa had brought him.

Did Santa come?

Santa brought Brooke a stroller to push her dolls in. She uses it more like a wheelbarrow, to carry whatever toy she thinks needs to be moved from one side of the room to the other.

Brooke loves her present

Tyler got Bob the Builder Legos from Santa. He was also excited about the plush monkey Scott's parents gave him because it was like his friend Arwen's.

Tyler hugging his new monkey

We took a break from opening presents to have a dinner of waffles. We guess it is because our kids don't know any better that they let us interrupt present opening.

Both Tyler and Brooke loved unwrapping presents. Brooke had lots of fun just wrapping Tyler's new clothes around her.

Brooke loved Tyler's clothes

A scene from Christmas (video)

Tiffany got an olive wood nativity, jewelry and clothes. Scott got books and a new board game, "Settlers of Zarahemla," a spin-off of "Settlers of Cataan."

Christmas presents


"Donkey" - reindeer
"When does the bunny come?" - Already counting down to the Easter bunny
"I want to watch 'Herbie Goes Ba-racing'" - Tyler got the Herbie DVD collection, including 'Herbie Goes Bananas'

Posted by sjbowden at 9:43 PM