Monday, December 14, 2015

Food Poisoning.....With Benefits!

Dear Family and Friends, 

Hello! It seems like forever since I have been able to write home. All of you are curious to know about my hospital trip. This letter could be a little longer than normal, so bear with it.....

Sunday we fasted. Later that evening we were invited to a wedding party hosted by a lady in the neighboring ward. Missionaries can't turn down free meals! Anyways, I ate something there (probably a piece of chicken or cow meat) that soon made me really achy. That night in bed I was moaning and groaning from the achy-ness and from my fever that continued to rise. I had 3 of the 4 symptoms of malaria (runny tummy, achy, and fever) so I did a malaria test and tested negative, but Elder and Sister Sanders still wanted to get me in the hospital. I didn't think I had malaria, but I knew I had something! 

Anyways, after a night of practically zero sleep, my companion and I went to a nice hospital in Accra at 6 am Monday morning. After some vital signs and such, the doctors wanted me to take stool and blood samples. I had a 103 degree fever when I first came in I think. Anyways, they came back and told me I had a bacterial infection (food poisoning). I was also extremely dehydrated, partly from the runny tummy and of not fasting the day before. I expected to be out of the hospital that afternoon or evening. I was a bit bummed out that I couldn't go to the zone activity at the beach. 

The nurses told me I'd be staying there for 24 to 48 hours. The Sanders hooked me up with a sweet private room! They were able to bring my fever and body aches down by Tuesday morning. 
Some benefits of a hospital:
1. Hot showers! I took 3!
2. No lights off
3. TV (yes, I was allowed to watch TV for 2 straight days!) I saw Aladdin, both Home Alone 1 and 2, and Jurassic World! 
4. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner in bed
5. Getting to call home for a few minutes!

It was actually really nice being in the hospital for the most part. By Wednesday morning though I was ready to get out. It was a weird feeling to be honest: I was a missionary, but I didn't feel like one. I didn't feel like I was in Africa or the U.S.. It was a really odd feeling that I didn't like. Sitting in front of a TV is cool and all, but after 2 straight days I was done! I could go for another hot shower though anytime! Because I was so dehydrated, I had to have an IV in me for 2 days, which wasn't fun either. They had to do it several times, and they poked through both sides of my veins a time or two.
Leaving the Hospital!!!

I'm doing just fine now. I recovered quickly and am back to full speed again. It took 2 days to fully gain my energy back.So thank you all for your prayers for me. I appreciate it. Our numbers for this week were terrible, but I am glad to be back to work. We've got 2 baptisms planned for the 27th of this month! White Christmas! 

Speaking of Christmas, Elder Madsen and I are boggling our brains trying to find out what we can do to celebrate. See, Christmas isn't a big deal here, due to money probably. If you didn't know the calendar, you wouldn't be able to tell Christmas is in 11 days. It makes it a challenge to "find Christmas". Whatever Christmas we want to have, we have to create it ourselves. Elder Madsen and I are finding ideas for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. So far, we don't have any plans yet. Maybe this year I will be able to truly find the true meaning of Christmas.....

I actually heard about the floods in the hospital TV! That picture of Killarney is sick! You 3 boys better go out and swim in it or grab a canoe! You know I would if I was home! What a fun adventure. 

I also heard you experienced lights out for 5 hours! It's quite funny to hear Rosie comment about how "fun" it was. Life is truly so different for us! We've had the 24 off, 12 on for quite some time now. I think a good 2 straight months it's been that way. Teshie has it the hardest for whatever reason. And no Rosie, we are not "set up" for lights off! You get used to it, but you surely do appreciate the 12 hours you have lights (if you're even in the apartment during that time).
At our apartment. This is the Harmaton (don't know the spelling). It's a natural phenomenon in which sand blows from the Sahara Desert. Sand/dust is all through the air, clouding the sky to where you can see the sun directly! Every night we get a thin layer of dust/dirt on our things in the apartment. 
We were able to do some great service projects Saturday. We rarely get that opportunity here, so it was super fun. The 4 of us in the apartment went to our neighbors house and weeded and I mowed the lawn. I won't even try to describe the mower, but I will just say it's not a Honda, and I had to use an old tie to make it work right. After that, we all went over to the chapel and cleaned the baptismal font. It's been neglected for some time now, and green algae stuff was sitting on the tiles, so we figured we'd better do something about it. Service is fun! 
No words to describe this mower. I had to use an old tie to keep it functioning properly. Literally the scariest thing on 4 wheels! It's as simple as a motor spinning a blade really fast.
That's all it can do. It was super fun mowing and working hard for some time though. 

And yes, we are indeed using broom heads as scrubbers. All we had!
Today we had our big "Christmas shopping Day". Elder Madsen and I, accompanied with two investigator ladies (Pascalene and her friend), all went to Accra to get stuff. Mom, I got the coolest hand-carved Nativity set! I wish so much I could send you all a package for Christmas. Dad, I withdrew some money from the personal debit. I hope it's not too much. I plan on using it to buy gifts for investigators and you all and the Elder in the apartment.


I would like to add a special thanks to the Hancock family for the amazing packages! I don't know if I was suppose to wait until Christmas, but I knew there was American chocolate in there, so I couldn't help it! I could tell they put in some serious effort in wrapping everything and adding that annoying fake snow in every square centimeter of the package, so I really appreciate it. Thank you guys!
Madsen LOVES soda! He goes through 3 or 4 bottles a day sometimes. 
I hope you all have a wonderful week, filled with some adventurous canoeing or swimming. Most importantly though I hope you all can catch the Spirit of Christmas. I've realized it's something that cannot be given. You have to work for it. I'm playing and singing Christmas hymns often to bring that Spirit in my companion and I during this season. In a season that is all about "me", look for ways to serve others around you. Be a little kinder, a little more generous, and a bit more loving to each other during these next few weeks. I believe the Christmas Spirit, like the Grinch himself said, cannot be bought in a store.
The Beautiful Temple lit up at Christmas time!!!!

Love you all! Can't wait to call you AGAIN in just 11 days. Because of the shortness of time, please make sure you have questions or whatever ready to go for me. Pictures to come!
Yeah that is a picture of everyone going to Stake Conference in the bus. Nobody owns cars, so the church rents out buses to use for free so we don't have to buy tro tro fare on Sunday. 
Love, Elder Nissinen

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