Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Making headlines

[Click the title of this post to go to the original news story online, at The Bellingham Herald website]

1st Christmas with baby was best, couple recalls
WWII pilot wasn’t told of child till his leave started


June Veith doesn’t remember meeting her father for the first time, but she has certainly heard the stories.

It was less than a week before Christmas 1943. Her father, Robert Swigart, had spent 10 months in North Africa, flying in a B-26 bomber. The then-lieutenant had just finished his required 40 missions and rushed home to his wife, Geraldine, and their 6-month old daughter, whom he had never seen before.

“At last, you were a family and that’s important,” June, now 63, told her parents Friday afternoon while looking through slightly yellowing photos of the reunion. “It’s always fun to hear your own birth story and all the things that set you apart from other people.”

For June to even be there was a miracle. She was born about 2½ months premature.

“I didn’t get to see her for 10 days and then when I saw her, she looked just like (Robert), but a skeleton,” said Geraldine, 84.

“It was lucky you were even alive,” she said to June.

Robert wasn’t notified of June’s birth until shortly before he came home because they were afraid she would die before he arrived.

“I think I was a little dumbfounded,” said Robert, now 87, of learning his child was already 6 months old.

Their first Christmas as a family was spent at Geraldine’s mother’s house in Long Beach, Calif., where there was a big tree and dinner. But, Christmastime surprises didn’t stop for the Swigarts.

In mid-December 1965, June was set to marry Dennis Veith, a Navy officer and Annapolis graduate. But Dennis’ ship ran aground and he wasn’t allowed to leave until the investigation into the incident was over. He missed the wedding date. But the family quickly rescheduled and the two exchanged vows on Dec. 26.

Other Christmases over the last 63 years have brought together all the family members, many of whom have settled in Western Washington. But Geraldine and Robert think of that first Christmas with June as the best they’ve had in their 64 years of marriage.

“This is just a happy time,” Robert said.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Here are the latest; me with Hope and Toni with "Uncle Rob".

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve

Trying to take a nice picture of Rob and I, here in NB on Christmas Eve. Best o' luck to me, eh? Silly man.

We went to the Christmas Eve service at Hope and Rob's church. Lots of wee folks, a family service.

Off to bed now, I suppose. Early to rise is going to happen anyway, with the kiddies in the house. Though we're technically late for early to bed, at this point.

The wee folk

My niece Toni is hilarious. She has this crazy face that she makes where she pulls on her lower eyelids. Once she saw it on the computer screen, it was the only face she would make. She'd be smiling pretty then, as soon as she saw the "3... 2... 1..." on the screen, showing that a picture was about to be taken, up goes the hands, down go the bottom eyelids. What a crack-up! You can also see my sister Hope and nephew Liam. Also, Rob in the first picture.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

In Canada

We arrived safely and I forgot to blog about it. Oops.

Rob got sick last night, yakked every couple of hours. Guess there's a norovirus outbreak on the east coast here. I haven't gotten it from him; not sure where he picked it up. We're staying home until tomorrow, make sure he's done with it. He's not eating yet but he's exhausted from the night's "excitement".

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The last day here

They had church this morning at Cross of Christ so we went. The power came on at 9:30; exactly coinciding with the start of first service. However, they were all set up to do it by candlelight so they did it with the candles anyway. There's a pithy something in there, somewhere. :)

Couldn't find a laundromat that wasn't packed to the gills so we're bringing dirty clothes to Canada. I hope there's no law against such things.

Charging our laptops now at the library before I wash the makeup off of my face in the bathroom and we head back to Woodinville. We need to pack and clean out our room before it gets dark, which will be within the next few hours.

Found lattes, though we didn't get to them until after 1PM. Victor's in Redmond, actually had milk to make them with.

As of Monday evening, we will be reachable by email only, just so you know.

Friday, December 15, 2006


These are photos from ... go there to see more. These show what most of the Eastside roads looked like this morning.

We're both fine. Yes, part of a tree crashed on the house where we're staying and took out the power box on the outside wall. But our smart friends called the power company right away and were at the top of the list when repairs began the next day. We, however, left town at 8:10AM, headed for a concert in Salem, OR. They still had no power when we left. It took us 2 hours to make the first leg of the journey, the part that should have taken us 30 minutes. A lot of that had to do with trees on power lines. We tried to get to 520 our normal way but had to turn around and come back the way we came. Eventually, I took out Streets & Trips with the GPS and just fly-navigated our way out of there; we'd come to a tree too fallen into the road to pass, we'd do a U-turn and try another way, route-changing on the fly. It was a bit crazy. No ... it was a lot crazy. Every tree that we drove under, I thought, "This is freaking nuts!" I also wish I'd had our camera, for posterity. But we prayed and drove on. Thank God our impetuous persistence didn't get the best of us. We made it to Salem safely. Saw Larry Norman in concert. Are now in the hotel, getting ready for bed. Praying for good driving weather tomorrow.

Hot shower, good. Place to plug in laptop, good.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Helping a friend make Christmas cookies for the neighbors today. After making candy-cane cookies, we ended up with more pink dough than white so I got a little wacky with the dough. Made a little baby Jesus cookie. He stays on the plate though because his head fell off. Looks like he's standing on my finger. Note the 2 extended fingers on his right hand. As Homer would say, "Sacrilicious!"

Monday, December 11, 2006

Rainy day journeys

Got a clean bill of jaw health from Dr. Maring this morning. The gums are sealing nicely and everything looks clean in there. No infection. Gotta use a weird syringey thing to clean it though. I can barely feel the wound areas anymore. 3 sutures fell out on our way to Dr. Maring's office this morning. Now, I only have one in my upper left gum. I'm glad the sutures are going; feel like little spider corpses in my mouth all the time.

After the doctor visit, went to pick up clearance letters from the sheriff's office in downtown Seattle. Parking was craziness, of course. The sheeting rain didn't help. The clearance letters are to show that we have no police record, for our Namibia visa. Then, we drove to Bellingham. Will work from Rob's folks' place for the next couple of days. Then back to Woodinville for a speaking thing on Wednesday night.

Making turkey soup right now. Or, rather, boiling bones and working up to making soup.

Friday, December 08, 2006

At the 1 week mark

I've decided that today is my last day of looking like death warmed over ... and I'm making the most of it, as you can see. The bruise is still there, a little bigger now, and I've got a little one on the other cheek now. Weird that the bruising would kick in so late. I hope it's not gangrene.

Wednesday was a full day, with the cookie swap in the morning and Advent vespers in the evening. In between, we pretty much drove from one place to the next. Traffic into Seattle was a nightmare; an hour and a half from Bellevue to West Seattle, bumper to bumper. We pretty much collapsed when we got home.

Got to see Rob's folks yesterday. We met them for lunch in Everett. We had Mosaic band practice in the evening and then came home and watched Casanova, the last of my wisdom teeth movies. And I took my last ibuprofen last night. I feel OK today. Still needing more sleep than usual but the pain is just chewed-too-much-gum. The sutures are getting floppy in there but I don't think I've lost any yet.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Afterlife of the party

Bruising. Light, greenish patch by lower left jaw, corner of mouth. Still tender, puffy. Went to the library to call the folks, let them know I'd recovered from the weird codeine thing on Sunday night. Picked up ingredients for soup for dinner. I wanted to go to the WELCA smorgasbord at Cross of Christ tonight but I'm still feeling gross and would have to bring a main dish ... and wouldn't actually be able to eat anything, or talk to anyone. Everyone would be, like, "MMMM ... this is so good ... I mean, sorry, Eshinee. It's not that good." Way to ruin a good feast for everyone ... bring the girl who can't eat anything that requires chewing. Oh, and who looks sarcastic when she smiles and can't always be understood when she talks.

Now, I must make cookies for the LWML event that Rob and I are going to in Puyallup tomorrow; an LWML cookie swap.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Days 3 and 4

So, this was around the end of day 2. Shiny happy people.

This was early yesterday. I was back on the codeine at this point, had been since Saturday afternoon. Was also feeling really groggy. Like, could use the mouse but that was most of my movement capability. Then, yesterday evening I started to itch. At around 9:30PM, my head started to hurt. That weirded me out. Like, I'm taking pain meds ... how can my head hurt? So I went to bed. Woke up at 3AM, head hurting more now, face starting to. Also, I am still really groggy and now am nauseous. I check out the patient monograph with my oxycodone. Itching, nausea, extreme fatigue, grogginess ... allergy? Overdose? Something was wrong. Rob was up getting me things to make me feel better; earl grey tea, white bread, peppermint oil, water. I throw up dinner, which was gravy bread and hummus. Then, when rinsing my mouth, I find that I'm bleeding again. Argh. Now, I have to decide; take Advil for the pain? Wait until I'm not nauseous anymore? I call Dad because it's 4:30AM here at this point, which makes it about 9AM in Newfoundland. The phone bill will be outrageous, I'm sure. We don't have Canada on our calling plan. But, by now, we were thinking emergency room so an expensive phone call (15 minutes in the end) would still be cheaper. Dad says it was probably the hummus that I reacted to but said to take Advil instead. Dad's a pharmacist, by the way. I say goodnight to the folks and go to sleep in the living room.

And here's me today. I'm actually feeling a lot better than I did the last couple of days. And today is "hot beverage" day so Rob got me a cinnamon latte. I was not doing dairy because of the pain meds but Dad said that wasn't necessary. So, latte! Am drinking it now.

Mom, who was the first person that I talked to when I called home this morning, pointed out that Percocet is usually overkill and she doesn't know why anyone prescribes it. She says that Advil does the trick without the side effects; why go the "big guns" route? She's had lots of cancer customers (in the pharmacy) being miserable, nauseous, out-of-it and groggy ... who feel better when they lay off the Percocet. I have to say, this most recent experience of mine has changed the way I was ranking pain killers. I thought of Percocet as being tougher. At least in my case, it proved to just be more problematic. And I'm feeling better as a whole today.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Day 2

These are a couple of shots I took before going to sleep last night. I couldn't move my lower lip at all so the second shot is my best smile. Reminded me of that Kids in the Hall skit, of the guy at a party with sarcastic disorder; "No, I *really* want to talk to you. It would be *terrible* if this conversation were to end." I have full movement back in my lower face this morning, though. Yay!

Stepped down from codeine to ibuprofen this morning because of he swelling. It's too early for frozen peas, man. It's 7:15AM and I'm still warm in bed.

When I can do what

All check times at noon:

Friday (yesterday) - wisdom teeth surgery over by about noon
Today - stop using frozen peas ice packs, begin rinsing mouth wth saline solution 4-5x/day, gently brush teeth without spitting or toothpaste
Sunday - worry if there's still bleeding, soft diet (cool foods, lukewarm soups, iced beverages) until now
Monday - can have hot and carbonated beverages now, don't need to sleep wih head elevated anymore
Tuesday - swelling might be gone
Thursday - expect the swelling to be gone, 2 ibuprofen 4x/day until swelling does go down
Friday - consider eating soft foods until now, can suck on candy, can suck through a straw, facial bruising should be gone by now

Yesterday, I took 3 "oxycodone w/apap 5/325"; 1 at 3:30, 1 at 7:30 and 1 at about midnight. Since I took only 2 ibuprofen at about 1PM yesterday, I'm gonna see if the ibuprofen alone does the trick today. I took 2 about an hour ago and I'm still waiting for them to "kick in".

Friday, December 01, 2006

Post-op pics

This is me right after the surgery. I think around 12:30PM.

These are a couple of people who helped with the surgery. They were great.

Me, home and in bed about an hour later, I think.

Listening to Rob's recording of the time after the surgery, when I "awoke". From what little I've heard of the recording so far, I woke up at least 3 times. Each time I would say, "Rob ... they put the IV in and it twinged. But the pain went away and the next thing I remember was waking up." Like I had never said it before. Freaky. Gotta podcast it eventually.

Rob says the bloody looking tongue is normal. It's not hurting or anything so I'm not freaked out.

Thank God for petite peas. And mittens, which is what I'm wearing for my 20 minute pea-pack intervals. I've watched SNL's Best of Will Ferrell and The Wedding Crashers already today. I'm doing very well.

Thank God for making this rough place smooth! Dr. Thomas Maring said they didn't need to go near nerves at all. I'm not even bleeding in there. Rob says he can't even see where the teeth were. Thanks for your prayers. I am blessed.

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