Sunday, May 29, 2011

It Is Going To Happen Sometime.......

Being the mother of two very active boys and one who enjoys partaking in adventures activities with them I was mentally aware that at one point in our lives we would be dealing with an injury of some sort.  My overactive imagination has on several occasions pictured one of the boys breaking a bone or needing stitches but up until now they had pretty much gone unscathed and any "little" cuts I have been able to manage with a little bit of glue.  So when the day finally came it was more of a "ok - so now is the time".  I should have known it would occur in a foreign country (an island) with limited medical treatment and when we only had travel insurance.

After a fun day with Grammy and Boompa walking around Philipsburg and then having lunch at the Greenhouse the boys went to hang out with them at their place while Mike and I got some stuff done at home.  We met up at their place (Ocean Club) and sat around the pool relaxing.  Our friends Ken and Jane and their son Jake (they live in Tradewinds close to us) have the Bar and Grill at Ocean Club that we planned on eating at for dinner.  The three boys were playing on Jakes ripstick and having a good time.  Jane came by to say hello - and said to Ronan just don't break your neck on that thing.  I told her just don't watch - haha - I think my subconscious just new........

So it was not 5 minutes later - Ro walked up to me - held up his arm and pointed to it and calmly said "ah mom?"  I looked and noticed that it appeared he had a second elbow mid shaft between his wrist and elbow.  Yep - you have broken your arm.  There was not a tear in his eye -

we had been chatting with some other friends who were getting ready to leave the island for clinicals - poor Amanda was like really? aaaahhhhh - car - oh car, we need a car.  We got to work finding dry clothes (Dillon did a great job finding these for me), getting wet clothes off Ro, getting a bag of ice and a towel and off we went to Philipsburg, after confering with Jaime that the St.Maarten medical center would be fine and he said yes there is a good ortho guy.  OK  - we are off. ( I knew how to get there after our friends son needed stiches on his forehead and I grilled her with questions a month or so before).  This is the time you really curse all the speed bumps the island has - thankfully the traffic was not bad and it was not long before we were at the hospital.

The wait was short - it was interesting to see the face of the nurse when she came out and asked who thought they had a broken arm - I moved the towel and her facial expression said it all.  We went right back.  A quick look by the ER doc and a couple x-rays (he had a green stick fracture of the Ulna and complete and displaced fracture of the Radius - thankfully mid shaft - no issues with growth plates) and the specialist was called in.  The Doc was great and quickly reduced Ronans fracture and set it - he even had an option of pink or blue for his cast.  He picked blue of course.  They gave him some Tylenol (known as Paracetamol here) - this was his first pain medication throughout the whole ordeal.  He was amazingly brave and tough - I am sure I would have shed a few tears.  It was time to head back home. 

We stopped by Ocean Club - let everyone know all was ok - Dill had been very concerned for his little brother and was unable to eat any dinner.  The boys were supposed to sleep over at Grammy and Boompa's that night - Ro wanted to go home and Dill said he would do whatever Ro wanted him to do - Ro requested he stay at Grammy and Boompa's.  Off to bed we all went - the end of a very long day.

Some things to note - when you are in a foreign country find out where the hospital is, the hours and all those details ahead of time (I was very thankful I did not have to worry about that), get travel insurance (one that includes coverage for med evac) - sometimes they have to fly you to other places for procedures that you would expect at most hospitals, be aware that other hospitals may not go through all the steps like in the U.S. - for example - they did not do a BP, pulse, weight, height, ask if Ro was on meds or allergic to anything.  You have to be aware of this and speak up if any are an issue.  They simply treated the issue at hand.  Which for us was fine - it is just different from at home.  All in all the hospital and staff did a great job - and it was cheaper then if we were at home with or without insurance.  Another great observation - we left around 7 pm to the hospital and made it back just after 9pm - at home this would have just been the wait time in the ER.  That translates to just over 2 hours for drive time there and back, x-rays, specialist reducing fracture and casting.

Thank you to everyone who helped out - Jane, Amanda, Jaime, Bill and Jackie, Dillon - you were a great supportive big brother and helper - we all appreciated it.  Michael - thank you for being a great daddy and driver - even though Ro had to scream a few times "dad - speed bump" - he just wanted to make sure you saw them.

Ronan - you were an amazing brave boy.  Daddy and I are so proud of how you handled it all - much better then any of us would have done.  We love you lots  XOXOXOXO

Ro chillin' the day after
here is to making it through the first big one

Saturday, May 28, 2011


Since we have been on the island we have never gone down to Front or Back street in Philipsburg.  This is where all the people from the cruise ships are dropped off and we tend to avoid crowds of tourist like the plague.  Since it was moving into low season we thought it would be fun to go with Mikes parents.

there are restaurants and shops and a beach - basically you could get off the ship and only see this part of the island

you can see the cruise ship port on the left - there were three ships in that day - the big one you can see is the ship Oma and Papa will be on to come and see us in December.

one of the churches downtown

it was interesting to read about the first hospital on the island

gotta have a pirate in the caribbean

and a steel drum

saw this Indian restaurant in a back alley - there is actually alot of Indian influence on the island in regards to food

on a closer look I noticed these items hanging above the door - possibly for good luck??
it was great to finally take some time to walk around old philipsburg and see some of the history - I am sure we will go again - maybe when it cools down again.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Carousel

There is a carousel on the island that serves really yummy gelato - it is kind of an unexpected suprise.  It is tucked in along the main road through Simpson Bay into Cole Bay and you don't really notice it unless you are looking for it.  It was built by an Italian architect and is a beautiful work of art that seems to bring back childhood times.  It was a must that we bring Grammy and Boompa here to the islands little special place.

the building where they make and sell the gelato is round and the walls have these amazing murals that are made out of thousands of small tiles.  On the outside of this building are black and white photos of people eating ice cream - they range from movie stars to presidents, kings, queens and everyday people.

of course all the murals are about eating ice cream

the carousel is in another round building behind the first one - it is on the lagoon

of course the boys chose to go on the spinny ride - why they do this I dont know - they always get a belly ache - at least they order ice cream after now

oh but they had fun on the ride

the carousel has beaurtiful hand painted scenes on it.  We are very thankful for this fun little gem on the island - thank you for letting us share it with you Grammy and Boompa


We finally made it to Karakters on Simpson Bay Beach.  It is an old school bus bar and has a small menu with some of the food we would have at Grandmas house - like open face sandwiches with sprouts and Gouda cheese. They also have live music a few days of the week.  It is a relaxed spot with tables, umbrellas, lounge chairs and bean bags on the sand.  It is great for the kids to run around and burn off some more of their energy.  They have perfect Mojitos too......

we got there right before the sun was setting - late afternoons and evenings are a perfect time on the island

the bay had some good size yachts and a coast guard ship visiting

the boys ran down to the beach to the big comfy chair

the yachts in the afternoon glow were beautiful

big, mean and tough

the boys were trying to avoid mama's camera

it is always fun to try new places when family are visiting

more good family time - thank you Grammy and Boompa - we hope to make it back there soon

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Embrace The Adventure

This is just a bit of rambling on the title - embrace the adventure.  That is the reason we chose to come to Sint. Maarten - otherwise you might as well stay at home - right?  Sometimes it may take some reminding but it is important in order to get the absolute most out of our time here.  Then there are times that we have no option but soak in whatever the island hands to us.  This is when we had a little adventure (I define an adventure as any possible outing that may choose a path of its own) on our way to one of Ronan's check ups for his arm (he broke his arm a few weeks ago - I have not posted on this yet but wanted to write about our little drive before it was washed away with more memories).  His check ups require we return to the outpatient clinic that is located at the Philipsburg Medical Center - which of course is across the bridge (when it goes up for boats we get traffic jams) and over the hill.  We had already changed the appointment once because Mike had a new schedule at school and he did not want to miss this visit.  It was basically decision time - does Ronan need a wedge in his cast?  Do we need to fly home and see about a pin?  Or is it fine as is.  We picked Mike up as soon as he left class at 3:00 and headed out.  The appointment was at 3:45 - not gonna say it but we should be fine - all fingers crossed.  Afternoon traffic on the island is always tricky so we just hoped for the best.

Well - everything was fine until we got just past the airport and traffic stopped - DEAD STILL.  We looked at the curve at the end of the runway - well it kinda looks like it is fine after that hmmmmmm - the traffic coming the other way is fine.  Is it the bridge?  What the heck - who knows.  We sat for 20 minutes and did not move - ok - decision time again - call the office and see what the options are.  If they (the Dr.) will stay we can turn around and go through the French side - possibly.  After discussion of  a new appointment (it would be another week - not possible) and then finally talking to the nurse who said keep coming  - he will be here (the receptionist was ADAMANT he was leaving at 4 on the dot) - we turned around and made our way to Marigot - well of course we get to Sandy Ground and we SLOOOOOOOOOW to a crawl - hmmm guess what there is nothing we can do but try - right.  Meanwhile Ronan in the backseat declared I dont want to go  - cant you guys leave me with Karla too? (Dillon was hanging out with Karla and her boys)  I said -  but Ronan  - we need your arm - haha - oh just let us get there please.

Now - as you come into Marigot there is a little crazy spot - right after the bridge (this is the other bridge on the French side) - you drive past a super market - it is on the left and parking is on the right - so there are always people and bicycles crossing the road.   There is a decent size work truck in front of us - of course at this moment he decidde to pull half off the road - I had a feeling of what was coming next.  Right as I try to squeeze past (there is line of traffic coming the other way) - he opens his door all the way - of course.  This is when the obstacle course begins - ahh door - person - oh watch bicycle  - kid - middle of the road  - oh ok  - made it through that section.  Dodging humans - always fun when driving right?  We have come to the conclusion that on the island the reason more people are not dead or injured due to car incidents is because we all have to drive so slow. As we creep into Marigot, Mike made the observation - did you notice the dead guy in front of us?  WHAT  - there was a small work truck in front of us that has an open bed in the back - there was a guy laying perfectly still - hat on his face.  HMMMMM - we will assume he is napping while in traffic - right?  We wind our way through Marigot and make it through one more chaotic intersection - 3 lanes of traffic - different directions and a motorbike pulling wheelies in the middle - I mean what else would you expect.

On our way out of Marigot to Cole Bay - we observed some Gendames on the side of the road  doing checks - sometimes they are looking for people - sometimes just checking to make sure plates are in order - either way sorry guys we don't have time today - they must have understood - as I looked straight ahead and went right by - OK - so this is good - it is 4:00 on the dot - we just need to get through Cole Bay and up the hill and down.  We can do this - AND what were we thinking - as we slowed through Cole Bay (as expected) we noticed a small white car - there was a local driving and two caucasions (presumably tourists) in the back - no one in the passenger seat.  We also noticed it was a rental car (the plates have an R on them) - so we gathered by the SLOOOOOW driving and the pointing out the windows these folks were on a tour - really  - today - right now?  Of course they went the same way - slowly through the roaundabout, slowly up the hill, slowly around the roundabout on the top of the hill - tic tic tic tic - my watch is going - and yes they went down the hill to the hospital (not the common way for most folks down to Philipsburg).  Finally they went right at the final roundabout and we went left and arrived at 4:15 - Mike and Ro jumped out of the car and ran in - with once again all fingers crossed - WE MADE IT.

After some running back and forth to different windows to pay for the office visit and the x-ray - which you have to do before they will see you.  Everyone closes at 4 so it was a little tricky.  But we finally got the x-rays and in to see the Doc.  It was good news - his fracture was healing and the angle was not so bad it needed a wedge or a pin - great news - the cast would be coming off on June 6th.  The Dr. had understood our driving predicament as he spent an hour is traffic that morning - he flew from Curacao and then getting from the airport to the hospital took an hour.

OK - now a deep breath and we can head home alot more relaxed.  As anyone on the island knows there has to be more - we are not home yet.  The plan was to stop and get Mike some food so he could go right back to school for studying  - it was block week after all.  We got to Simpson Bay and the traffic going the other way was still bumper to bumper - we figured out the culprit was a back road to cole bay was closed - so all traffic had to go up to the roundabout.  We stopped to get cash and food - of course Mike had to go to 3 ATM's before he found one that was not empty.  Back on the road and just to add a small bit of humor and to show that in all of the driving insanity there is always a lighter side.  We were driving behind a police car - making our way by the runway - looking at all the people sitting in line just waiting to get where they needed to go - the police car slowed down - pulled up beside a "bus" (large vans that are public transportation) - the driver had his head in hands - he eyes closed - a few passengers in the back had their heads hanging out the windows.  The police got on his speaker and said "WAKE UP" - right next to the bus driver.   He slowly looked up - just shook his head - the passengers in the back just smiled.  Tell me - where else would we have seen this.  All in the island adventure - our plan was simply to run to the check up and back - we did not plan on seeing or experiencing anything that we did.  That is part of experiencing another country - you can get grouchy or complain - the traffic is bad, why are they doing this or that?  Guess what  - there are traffic jams at home - but not near the entertainment while in them.  They do what they do and the way that they do it here because it is their home and that is how it is - it is not the U.S. and it is going to be different and I expect that and want that - we did what we needed to do and with a little spice added to it.  Another memory from the island that will not soon be forgotten.

PS - one of these day we will bring a camera in the car and photograph our driving experiences.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bai Rouge

We all started monday out leisurely after our big day on Easter.  We opted to hang out at Bai Rouge for a bit - it is close to where we live, has some fun fish to check out and a beautiful view to enjoy.

of course the boys went right to the water

you could see our favorite spot on Anguilla across the ocean - the left side of the picture

ahhhh to relax

careful Dill - watch the old guy

my 3 boys


back for more

Ro hanging out with a friend he found on the beach

chillin in the shade - dad and boompa in the background - this is dads favorite - a lounge chair, umbrella and a beer - perfect (and rare with school all the time)

freckle nose

this is why we love Bai Rouge

my little guy has grown up so much here on the island

Boompa saying hello as he heads to the cool water

dill had fun playing with the camera

I think Grammy really liked it here

the afternoon waves were alot of fun

it was a beautiful day at a beautiful beach - we were so glad that we got share one of our favorites with Grammy and Boompa.