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16 november 2018

I'll cherish this whole adventure for aslong as i have :).

The first day

We decided to leave from my home at 0900 because it was a long journey to Aalborg.dk. We had several stops underway of which 1 somewhat longer so everyone could eat, drink and smoke without pressure. The traffic during the journey was relative doable except around Hamburg where it became alot busier but after we passed it was better again. When i notiched in Denmark we would driveby a village where a good friend of mine lives i started to text with him and i jokingly told him i expect him to wave (from his home) but he decided to go to road and actually wait for us to come by and when we did he started to dance like crazy and wave like a psycho, he won my mom's heart with this action ;-). We arrived around 1800 at the hotel and i had arranged a table for 2030 so we had plenty of time to rest and freshen up a bit before we went to the restaurant to eat together. Around 2200 we all went to bed and tried to catch some sleep, but nearly everyone had some trouble getting asleep.
Second day

We started the day at 0630, while everyone was getting themselves ready for breakfast and the day ahead i waited till it was my turn to be washed by my mom with some help when needed. We discussed the evening beforehand to go to breakfast at 0830. I knew it was going to be a heavy day for me so i decided to not join the breakfast but stay on bed for a bit longer to get some extra rest as i had no sleep. 2 person brought some breakfast for me and the person that stayed with me as i can't be alone due to health reasons. After breakfast everyone started to pack and we started to move to Hirtshals, as we were told to be 90 min before departure we made sure to leave on time. We arrived way early so the others stretched their legs, drank something and went to the toilet etc.

Around 1215 we departed with the ferry, i was told beforehand i couldn't travel on the stretcher on the ferry so i went in my wheelchair. I'm glad i did because i was able to move more freely and also was able to go on the outside deck to catch some nice rough wind ;). I always said if i was healthy i would join our Royal Dutch Navy as i always had a connection with the water. I really got livid during the ferry journey eventhough since the first day i had a fever of around 39,5-40C degrees with quite abit of pain. Sadly for the others they weren't enjoying the ferry trip as much as i did as due to the movement of the ferry they got nauseous. Thankfully the journey only was 3.5 hours :-).

I got a lovely present of Kees and Ineke Veldboer, a nice bottle of whisky, as i told them 1 of the few things that helpted me sleep a bit better was whiskey so they went to get me some as a present! I was really suprised and grateful for it ofcourse :-)!

We arrived at the terminal of Kristiansand around 1530 and then we drove to our hotel there, after everything was put in the rooms for the coming evening/night/morning i was put in bed to rest 2 hours before it was time to enjoy dinner again. Due to excaution, fever and the pain i stayed on the stretcher while we were enjoying dinner. Thankfully the restaurant of the hotel was quite spacey so there was no issue. After dinner i went back in bed to try to get the fever under control and my mom and me went early in bed to rest as she has her own health issues so she was excausted herself and in pain. The others went into the city to discover a bit and the people of the foundation went to look if there were some areas nearby where i could enjoy the sea view in the morning before we would leave to Stavanger.

Side note;
I want to thank the people of Scandic Kristiansand Bystranda for the service they provided and the patience they brought. I had to make several adjustments even on short time basis and they never made it a problem en were there to solve it for me :-).
Sadly i had a rough night due to the fever and pain i couldn't get more sleep than 3 hours even with the help from the whiskey i received as a present, from 0000 to 0300. Around 0630 everyone was getting slowly ready for the day to come. My mom was first awake and she gave me my painkillers as i was in quite a bit of pain and the fever was taking alot energy away. I started the day badly due to these factors and started to doubt if i was still able to complete the journey eventhough we were only a few hours away from our destination. Around 0745 Kees and Ineke came into our room and saw directly that i was having trouble. Thankfully the painkillers started to work after a while, enough atleast for me to get back to my normal self and we went to breakfast together. After breakfast the rest went packing and preparing for the journey to Stavanger, Ineke stayed with me during this time. After they were done we went to the spot they had found the evening beforehand so i could get some rest and enjoy the view over the sea and islands around Kristiansand. This helpted me alot better than the painkillers did and made my fever go away for a bit as it was quite windy and a bit foggy. We had the luck that we didnt get real rain during this moment of around 20 to 30 minutes while we were outside. I have to add Kees told me everytime he went to the sea with a patient they always had the luck that it would be dry at those moments.

After seeing this amazing view and experience we started to travel to Stavanger, along the way we made 3 stops of which once i went outside to enjoy the view for around 15-20 minutes as it was quite foggy/dampy and started to rain at the end. You can enjoy the breathtaking views, atleast thats my opinion, on the added photo's. I added the location (e39) where they turned the vehicles around to park next to the water so i could enjoy the view to it fullest. During the journey i received photo's of everyone that was with me which they made during the drive to Stavanger. The views are so gorgegous! Thanks to these moments of breathtaking views i regained my inner strenght and got renewed strenght to stay positive after the rough early morning.

Around 1600 we arrived at Scandic Stavanger Park and it was some figuring out how to move everything inside as the area of the hotel was at busy streets so it was limited where to park during the unloading of our vehicles. After unpacking and placing it in the rooms they threw me in bed so i could take some rest. I withdrew myself with a book so i could regain some strenght before we would eat. During the journey to Stavanger i found out the hotel didd'nt had an own restaurant only a a bar with some limited dishes, so i started to look on internet to restaurants that could deliver. I contacted the front desk if it was okay to let food be delivered to the hotel and asked at the same time for some plates and cutlery which they provided within minutes! I was planning to ask someone to go downstairs to pick it up but they were kind enough to deliver it to the room. Before dinner Kees and my nepphew went to the gym for a short workout. Around 1845 dinner arrived and they put me in the wheelchair so we could eat together, i didn't want to hassle them at first but they said it was no issue for them. So we ate together and afterwards we had a conversation at the dinnertable about several Wishes they fullfilled during their 12.5 years of existence. We got quite moved and my mom especially got very emotional also after seeing a part of a documentary some Americans made about the foundation. Afterwards they put me on bed so i could rest as sitting in the wheelchair is costing me alot pain and energy. When i was settled everyone but my mom and me went into the city to discover and enjoy the city and check what would be spots for me to see there. My sister took over the nightshift of my mom so she slept next to me in bed and happily snore ;). The only downside was the soft matrasses we aren't used to in the Netherlands. We prefer a hard matras so it was a bit getting used too it and it was like i was laying on a bouncy bed haha :-).

Side note;

I have had such an amazing contact with the people of Scandic Hotels. Especially the assistant manager, Cecilie Engelsgjerd Stornes. of the front desk of Stavanger Park i had a great experience with during the many emails we sent forth and back. They had so much patience with me as i had to change so many details from day to even the day we would arrive. They never made it a problem and told me not to worry about it and that it was their pleasure to help where they can.
We started the day around 0700 and as discussed the night before to get breakfast around 0830. My mom started to loose up and let Ineke do some nursing tasks. During the first days she wouldn't let anyone take it from her so this was giving Kees and Ineke a great feeling as they felt the were getting the trust of my mom. We have had many years of some bad experiences with giving care out of hands so it was an accomplishment they had for themselves to get the trust of my mom :-).

After breakfast we went into the city to do some sightseeing and shopping. The night before the departure of the whole journey i received the amazing news that another niece was born :-). I wanted to buy some Norwegian babyclothing for her so we went to a store to buy some :-). Afterwards we went outside but it started to rain quite a bit so we took shelter in the local Jack and Jones store and bought some clothing. Here i received another gift of Kees and Ineke, they notiched i drink alot Pepsi so they saw a tshirt of Pepsi and thought that would be a fitting present ;).

After the rain was over we split up the group, my family except my mom, went 1 way while Kees, Ineke, my mom and me went a different way to sightsee a bit of Stavanger. I really wanted to see the harbour with the many ships (doh) of Stavanger so we went there and i started to feel alot better again and at "peace". We decided to get some drinks near the water, we decided to get some coffee as it was bit colder that day.

After getting back to the hotel they put me on the stretcher to drive to the destination of which this journey was all about, u probably have know by now what i wanted to see/experience. We drove to Lauvvik where a ferry would put us over in 8 minutes to the other side. Everyone but me was very happy that it was only 8 minutes on the water haha! Below u'll see several videos which Ineke made during the the drive to the point of where most of the photo's were made at the Lysefjord. When we arrived at a point where we could park and get close to the water, i started to get emotional, i dont like to show my emotions to others not even to my mom. So they gave me plenty of time to be alone with my inner feelings and thoughts. I regained here enough inner energy stay positive and to last long enough till my journey on this planet is finished :-).

Around 1500 we drove back to the hotel where they put me back in bed so i could rest again before it was dinnertime. We decided that i had enough of a rough day so they said, we will go eat in the city and bring you food on the way back. My mom stayed with me as she was quite finished aswell and had no urge for food. They brought us some McDonalds back but we had trouble eating as we have to force ourselves quite often to actually eat something. After dinner Kees went to the gym again with my nepphew. I cant recall exactly what the rest were doing exactly afterwards as i was excausted.
We had all a decent night rest after a heavy day. Sadly the fever was still active but not as high as before, around 38,5-39c degrees. The pain was getting worse and also on extra areas of my body so that was a sign my body said it was enough and as it was the day to make the first step back to home it was a good timing. When it was my time to being washed, my mom asked Ineke to wash me so she could go downstairs to get a smoke. Both Ineke and Kees were a bit overwhelmed to the confidence my mom has in them if u remember that the first days she wouldn't anyone but her do it. After washing we went for breakfast and after eating Kees came to me with a plan he came up with, that it might be better if we didnt go to Kristiansand for an overnight but straight on the ferry to make a huge leap to home already to cut off 5 hours from the journey of the next day.During the night i had the same idea but i didn't tell anyone before Kees came to me. So i started to contact the ferry company if it was possible to change dates which was thankfully possible for a bit extra charge due to the fact i had booked economy tickets). I also contacted the hotel in Kristiansand and they said no worries it was all fine and after that i booked the same hotel in Aalborg.

After i arranged this the general manager (Vibeke Fjordbakks) came to us, she had talked the previous day with Ineke and Ineke showed her some photo's which we made the days before. She then showed her some more photo's of our day at the fjord, she would had loved to see them all but there was quite a few. So i promised her to send her them via email. I also told her i was planning to make a journal about the whole trip for Ambulance Wens and i said i'll make a translation for her in English, ofcourse this means for everyone else that wants to read this adventure. Vibeke told me she was quite impressed by my inner strenght and commitment and that it was a honour to have us as guests at their hotel. She then told us/me she has a present for me and came back with a huge photo of the Pulprit rock printed on an aluminium plate. She got this from a friend of hers who is a photographer (vanhalv.no on instagram if u want to see beautiful photo's). I was quite emotional due to this suprise and lost quite a few words i wanted to express how much it meant for me. After thanking her i asked her if i could give her a hug, she agreed and we had amazing long hug and i again thanked her for this. Since then i havn't been washed ;) (just kidding). Then we said our goodbye's.

We left around 1000 and started to drive toward Kristiansand. During this drive we stopted at the same parking spot where we stopted on the way towards Stavanger, except this time it was actually really nice sunny weather! We decided to stay there for some 15-20 minutes and enjoy the view even more :). We then went to the terminal where our ferry would arrive, but we were 2h beforehand there so it was quite a while before we could board. On the first trip with the ferry Kees measured the elevator if the stretcher would fit. This was doable and so we didn't communicate with the people of Colorline but just went ahead and tried to go the lounge with the stretcher. We succeeded thankfully, as i dont think due to the low energy and the amount of pain i would had been able to endure the 4h sit in the wheelchair. The journey over the water was for me amazing again, even though it was mostly dark. Over the intercom we were told the waves were around 6-7 meters high so that was a bit rougher than we had the first time. Thankfully noone got nauseous so that was better. We had some amazing food on board! The first days i watched what i ate and especially the amount because due to 1 of my illness i cant go to the toilet myself as i would need medicines for it, which require 2 day rest on bed. So i took precautions to make sure i wouldnt get even more pain, but as we were on our journey back i decided, after having a few bites and was enjoying the food so much to just go overload myself with it :-).

Around 1945 we arrived in Hirsthals and then we drove to Aalborg and went to bed to rest for the coming day.
We started the day a bit chaotic, i wasn't ready at 0800 for breakfast so they washed me quickly and then we went to the breakfast area. We had some good breakfast and discussed the plan for the day. Kees and Ineke decided that due to the fact my body was getting worse by the few hours that they would put on the siren and lights when a traffic jam would start. The others in the second vehicle would drive on their own speed back to home as they are not allowed to drive behind us while we use the siren.

Around 0900 we left the hotel and started to drive back, i was so excausted i had to close my eyes. After 90 minutes i woke up again and felt a little bit better. Sadly we were already past the point where my Danish friend lives but after discussing it with my mom he is coming to spend some time over here at our place.

As expected we had several traffic james so they put on the Siren, I have to say that i admire the Germans for their quickness to go to the side and make a openway in the middle of the freeway so we could get passed. As i have some own experience in the Netherlands while being in an ambulance with sirens on, they are often not as quick as the Germans, even at times not even notiching or just ignoring the siren at all. I will add a short video while we were driving past a traffic jam to show how well they responded.

We made the same amount of stops as on the way to Aalborg. The traffic was a bit busier but we kept going so that was nice. Around 1730 we arrived at our place and my niece who was with us in the Ambulance put a leash on my dog so he could welcome me home after i get on my own bed :-). He was overly excited but so were we after days not having seen eachother!

I want to thank everyone that was involved through this way again. I'll cherish this whole adventure for aslong as i have :).

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