Day 32. From my Journal. Sunday January 1st 2017. The Lord has been looking after our safety. We had somewhere to eat this morning. All the places in town are closed today it seems, except for Bdzhika Coffee Shop. This morning we met a man from Lithuania at the hotel. Not sure what he is doing here in Ukraine but he told us his car was broken into in broad daylight in the street and all his belongings were stolen. Thank You Jesus for Your protection!
Day 33. From my Journal. Monday January 2nd 2017. Slept somewhat poorly. Our next door roommate kept yelling out at intervals on and off through-out the night, Just yelling! He was so loud! Today I feel extremely discouraged. ‘God, why are You not taking away the pain in my teeth? It’s been three full days now! ‘My faith is under attack. Do You even hear me!’ Do You care God?’ My whole jaw feels like it’s being broken apart in a vice! My bite is off and I feel like I need about 4 root canals at the same time! Rob went out to a pharmacy the evening before last and bought me painkillers that actually need a prescription at home! Using iTranslate he was able to tell the pharmacist what he needed. The medication helps but I have to take 2 of them every 4 -6 hours to get any relief and by 6 hours, the pain is almost unbearable again. They are only treating the effects, not the cause. My jaw throbs with every heartbeat!
We stopped at the Bdzhilka Coffee Shop to get something to drink so I can take my painkillers and also to ask the girls there if they know of a good dentist. I find even the thought of taking these type of pills difficult as I rarely take any medications at home and I certainly don’t like taking something as strong as these unless I need them, which I do at present. Rob asked about a dentist on iTranslate and then Victoria answered on her tablet and between them they figured something out. I am a little concerned about having dental care so far from home, but the pain is so bad at present, I’d let anyone look at my teeth if I thought they could fix the pain! Victoria brought out a business card to our table and gave it to us but it’s in Russian and I can’t read it.
She left us, then came back out of the kitchen after a minute. She had put on her coat and told us both to come with her; she was going to take us to see the hospital dentist. We followed her down streets and over broken pavement to a building that looked like it was straight out of the 1960’s Soviet Union. We went into the dark interior and down a corridor with cracked and worn tiles on the floor. Victoria stopped at a heavy wooden door, knocked once and went inside, not before indicating to us to sit on the wooden bench by the door. We could hear her talking, then she came out again and I was shown into the dental surgery. Then Victoria left us there and went back to her coffee shop.
Some of the roads we walked to get to the hospital. Victoria with her sister Ola and myself. We went back and thanked her and told her that Jesus had put her in our lives and how thankful we were for her!
Everything was basic and old fashioned in the extreme! Plain old metal chair with no padding or cushion. Dental drill with three pulleys and belts and the dentist, a large middle-aged woman in a spotless white starched coat. All the dental instruments were just sitting there on a little table in a large chipped white enamel basin with a blue rim. Rob told me later that he took one horrified look and hoped I didn’t have to have any work done here as he wasn’t sure of the sterility of instruments or even if they were cleaned between patients! No sign of an autoclave.
The dentist didn’t speak a single word of English so I explained to her using iTranslate and some Russian what the problem was. I told her I had just taken 2 codeine tablets so the pain had diminished somewhat but as soon as the medication wore off it would return in full force. She nodded and indicated for me to sit in the chair and lifted an instrument from the bowl on the small table. She proceeded to tap my teeth with it. I thought I was going to jump out of the chair at one point! I considered telling her to just pull out all the teeth on the right side of my mouth as I didn’t know which tooth was the problem and they all hurt so much! I thought she could probably do it right now without any freezing as the pain couldn’t get much worse! After a few more scrapes and taps, she told me in Russian that I had no cavities. I already knew that! I’d had a dental cleaning and examination just before leaving for the Ukraine. She gave some orders to a woman sitting at a small wooden desk at the back of the surgery. I heard the word Amoxicillin and a couple more I didn’t recognise. Then the second woman there gave me two small pieces of paper with hand written instructions on them. They looked like post-it notes!
Then the dentist indicated that the visit was over. Rob offered to pay her but when he tried, she pushed the money back at him, waving it away. She did accept a big hug from this grateful Canadian and it was the first time she smiled, her stern face transforming as she hugged me back! We eventually found a pharmacy in that part of town, and after filling the prescription for Amoxicillin, Septra DS and Claritin, (which cost us a total of $8 Canadian). Rob and I just stood on the street and wept and prayed, hugging each other. God hadn’t forsaken me or Rob! He sent us these 2 angels just when we needed them to show us how much He loves us!
This is just outside the hospital where Victoria took me to see the dentist. We went back so I could get a photograph of it. See how I’m smiling now that the pain has gone!
We walked back to the coffee shop to get some hot tea so I can take my medications. I hope the antibiotics start to work really soon. It’s hard to enjoy interacting with the children when it hurts so much! Walking about outdoors is also difficult as the cold makes the pain worse. The dentist has indicated that I have a bad sinus infection causing inflammation and pain to the nerves in my teeth and jaw. This is probably related to the several colds I’ve had over the last couple of weeks. Well at least now I know what I’m dealing with.
The Bdzhilka Coffee Shop.
Day 3. From my Journal. Tuesday January 3rd 2017. My pain is so much improved today. This is only after 3 doses of antibiotics! So thankful! Rob and I both had a horrible nights sleep last night though. This was related to our noisy neighbour of the previous night bringing some girls back to his room and they partied until 0245 am! I am so not impressed! Rob and I decided to walk across town and have pizza for breakfast this morning just because we can! $7 for an extra large pizza and this includes a bottle of water for me and a Pepsi for him! Yum! I feel I can eat again today and I’m starving! I have barely been able to eat for the last 4 days as the very act of chewing hurt so much! This journey has taught me so much about myself, my failings and what I like and don’t like about myself and my spouse.
We are hoping to call Inna when we go to the Orphanage today. The children are getting very anxious about all the delays. Still waiting to have the Court appointment. Debbie is praying and has recruited some prayer warriors in Alberta. We need people to come before the Throne! It’s not over yet! We had a really good visit with the children this evening. The second coat we brought for Declan is still too big! Another trip to the markets is needed to exchange it! Our phone ran out of money and thankfully Yura was able to help us. He put 40 Hryvnia (Greev’na) on it, about $2. We called Inna and we have the approval from SDA to adopt! Praise the Lord for that! Now off to supper!
On the way for Pizza! I can’t wait!
Day 35. From my Journal .Wednesday January 4th 2017. A couple days ago Rob had suggested that we needed a little change in routine and had made arrangements with Yura (our driver) to take us to the coast of the Black Sea. It was only about a 30 minute drive south of Bilhorod Dnistrovskyi. So today Rob and I went to Zatoka Beach (Ukrainian version of a Black Sea resort) with Yura, our driver, (slash bodyguard)! We had decided that we needed to take at least the morning off just to do something for us. It cost us $20 Canadian for the whole morning and was so worth it!
So glad we were able to do this on such a beautiful day! I love seeing and smelling the sea: but it does makes me miss Ireland! Our faithful Yura drove us about 1/2 hour to reach Zatoka. He parked his van and took us to the cutest little coffee shop right across from the beach. We had something there to warm up and then walked along the promenade and onto the sand. Yura really took our safety seriously as he never let us out of his sight. We would walk off a bit and there he would be, peeping around the corner to make sure we were ok!
Rob having a coffee to warm up and in the second picture Yura (our driver/bodyguard for the 8 weeks we were in Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi) and Rob.
I’m sure Yura is getting used to us crazy Canadians who want to go to the beach in the middle of winter! We were the only people on the beach and it was such a beautiful day! The temperature was only about -4. Maybe for locals that was a little cold but to us, who are often used to Manitoba winters where temperatures drop to -35 and more in January, it felt like a summer day! Rob walked down to the water’s edge where a wave soaked his shoes in seconds. I played it safer and didn’t go quite so close.
Rob and I enjoying the Black Sea at Zatoka Beach.
On the way home Yura took us along a sand road, more of a dirt track really and showed us the wild olive trees that surrounded us. He had installed a translation app on his phone and asked us would we like to visit the Shabo winery as it is famous for wine making in that region. We saw many fields filled with grape vines but in winter they are all dormant. We toured the winery and bought two bottles of ice wine to take home to Canada. We don’t ever plan on drinking them but to have them to remind us of the beautiful day we enjoyed at Zatoka Beach.
On return to Bilhorod-Dnistroskyi, Yura took us around to the edge of town to show us his home in a run down apartment block. We also saw the school he attended and where his parents live. Our dear Yura is such a sweet man! We learn he lives with his wife and daughter in a tiny apartment and that he has always made his living driving his van. When people like us come, that is steady income for him for a few weeks. When we add up what we give him on a daily basis it works out to about $4 dollars in our money. For that he takes us to the Orphanage in the evening and collects us again. When he’s not driving us, he taxis other people around the area. Rob gave him a tip (another $20) on that day he took us to the beach and we bought him a bottle of wine too at the winery. He was so grateful, he went all red and just smiled a huge smile!
The apartment where Yura’s parents live & the site of an underground church we visited with Yura.
When we returned from our excursion, we went to the markets and exchanged Declan’s coat once again for an even smaller size. Yura collected us later for our evening visit to go the Orphanage to see the children. Declan tried his coat. Finally it fits on the third attempt! He’s so small! The visit with the children went well and we left, feeling that the day had been amazing all around! So blessed by the different scenery and all that we enjoyed today! We have just so much to be thankful for! Blessed beyond measure! Thank You Jesus!….. end of Journal entry….