Author: Lindsay Blackburn (host family for the Coroxon family)
Here is our week in a nutsheel.
First of all, we learned that the mother prefers the name Lorena and the Daughter goes by Guiselle. It took us awhile to get it changed in our minds since we had been calling the daughter Lorena! Their first experience in Salt Lake was probably a little worrisome to them. Their flight arrived a half hour early and I had to park in economy parking and ride a shuttle in. It felt like it took forever and I was so worried they would think they were alone! The Airport was packed from so many LDS missionaries returning home. Luckily, we found them and found their luggage that had been sent on their original flight. Amy was so kind to meet us at our house and help me take them on a tour. I think they were overwhelmed. Google translate is helping us to get by but I was so grateful to have Amy there because it just isn't the same trying to communicate through an app. They were hungry and exhausted so we got them some lunch and sent them to bed for a couple of hours. We quickly discovered that Guiselle does not like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches but will take a cheese quesadilla any time. She is so shy but I could tell by her expressions that the sandwich was difficult for her to eat. It reminded me of my oldest son who will never say he doesn't like something but I can tell how well he likes something by the speed he eats it! We mostly just hung around the house on Thursday trying to let them rest up. On Friday we took them to Lagoon (an amusement park with rides) and got them summer passes since our family all has them. Watching their wide eyes was very fun. I think they think we are crazy! We stayed away from the big roller coasters and tried out the merry-go-round, the puff coaster, and a few other rides in kiddie land. I think Guiselle loved it and I think it made Lorena nervous!
Saturday was another hang around the house day. Guiselle really likes the playground in the backyard. I insisted on getting them swimsuits. They are not use to high temperatures. They told me it mostly stays in the 70's all year in Guatemala. I told her they will want to cool off in water this summer. We got up to 87 degrees today and I think they understand now. Luckily we found a cute long sleeve rash guard and swim shorts for Guiselle. We have a canal that runs behind our house and my kids climbed in it today. (it's only ankle deep) Maybe Guiselle will join them next time. She gets more comfortable every day and is more use to my kids now. She would not leave her mother's side at first but will now come upstairs and color with my daughter or play outside with all the kids.
We have really tried to encourage them to treat this house as their own and on Sunday it was very nice to see them get lunch for themselves while we were at church. They said that they would like to try out the Spanish Ward sometime but it was their Stake Conference so maybe next time. I think the thoughts of being surrounded by Spanish speaking people sounds nice to them. Plus, I showed Guiselle a dress she could wear of my daughters and I think she likes the idea of dressing up like a princess! We had some neighborhood socials Sunday night and they were able to meet several people that know Spanish, including one that had lived in Guatemala. They must wonder what these missions are. Everyone that introduced themselves preceded to tell them that they served a missions in_____________________. Its kind of funny. We have discovered that some of our movies have a Spanish option so we have introduced her to Dispicable Me and Big Hero 6. My kids sat with her through them. I think they have seen them enough that it didn't matter that they couldn't understand it.
We had the first Dr.'s appointment today. I knew that the surgeries would be extensive but it was still hard to hear. This was the first time I had seen anything but her arm and it was hard to see how much of her was burned. They don't know for sure what they can do until they release all of her contractures and see how exposed and what kind of condition her tendons are in. As I suspected, the amount of time that has gone by since her initial injury makes it more difficult. One concern they have is that as they straighten out her arm, her skin cannot stretch to cover it so they will have to do skin grafts. She does not have a lot of healthy skin left in which to do the grafts. They found an area on one of her groins and her back. It will be very painful. The back is difficult because she will not be able to sleep on it for awhile. Her hospital stays will be more for pain control than anything else. Lorena handled all this information very well. I can only imagine how it would feel as a mother. She said she trusts God and she knows she was blessed to be sent here. She has so much faith that all they are sacrificing right now will be worth it. I was very impressed. I cannot tell how Guiselle feels. She didn't seem to be listening to the conversations. I never saw her look scared or nervous about what was being said. I don't know if it's better to know or be oblivious to what lies ahead. Maybe she understands but is very brave? Today's appointment was with a Plastic surgeon. On Thursday we meet with the hand surgeon. After that appointment, we will have a better idea of when and what the first surgery will be like. It most likely won't be on the 25 as scheduled do to a conflict with the Plastic surgeon's schedule.
Luckily we got the Dr,'s appointment out of the way first thing in the morning because it was Guiselle's birthday today and we wanted to celebrate! We went back to Lagoon for a couple hours. This time they braved some of the water rides. They were a little nervous but loved them. It was so great seeing them laugh so hard. We decided every child needs to experience a happy meal and since she loves hamburgers, we went to McDonald's for dinner. She was very impressed that it came with a toy. The Duke's joined us and it was so fun getting to know their family. They gave her a perfect gift of my little pony figures and art book. Guiselle was brimming ear to ear. We also got her a birthday cake. I decided my culinary skills would not be too impressive and sure enough, the store bought one amazed her. Especially the 'Feliz Cumpleanos Guiselle" written on it. It was so cute. She was embarrassed at all the attention.
We all sang to her and had her blow out candles and I'm pretty sure if she had the same skin coloring as my children, she would have been bright red! She was happy though. So far this has been such a great experience. I love seeing my kids trying to pick up a few Spanish words and I love seeing how much they already care for Guiselle and Lorena. They are already a part of the family.