December 16, 2005

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    Thursday, December 15th, 2005


    11.10 pm. U.S. Pacific Time


     


     


    NEW ZEALAND ADVENTURE


    2003 – 2005


     


     


    In December of 2002, my wife, Mari received news from New Zealand that her middle brother, Peter, was in an intensive care ward with a staph infection that had seated itself in his spine.  At that time he’d been in a coma for several days and the prognosis was very dim indeed. 


     


    There was no question or conversation, we both knew she had to go to be with her family.  The earliest flight she could book left LAX early January and she spent the next two weeks with her Mom living at the hospital in Whangarei.  Her other two brothers, Ian and Graham were in constant attendance.  Pete was in a drug induced coma and on every life support system in the ICU.


     


    Mari returned home at the end of January, thinking Peter was on the mend, but within a few days, his condition worsened and she thought she would have to fly back to New Zealand again, but this time to attend his funeral.


     


    We spent many mornings in prayer for Pete and somehow I was prompted to tell Mari that Pete was going to get well, I just knew it in the depths of my being that God’s Spirit was at work within Pete healing his body.  I knew if God’s Spirit hadn’t been there doing its healing work, Pete would have already been dead.


     


    One morning Mari told me she felt like she was being torn in half, half of her wanted to be in New Zealand with her 80 year old, widowed Mom and her brothers, and the other half wanted to be here in the States with our family.  So I, not hearing all that she had said, half here, half there, only heard the part about living in New Zealand. 


     


    The following few weeks gave us some direction as to what we were to do.  First of all, I had a concert booked in Salt Lake City, I got a call from Randy Sparks asking if I could do a date with him and the New Christy Minstrels, and that date fell on the SLC date.  So I called Salt Lake.  They said they could move the date to another time.  I called Randy, said it was a “go.”  About a month later, Randy called me and said the date had fallen through.  So I had nothing on that weekend.  A couple of days later, I got a call from an old friend I hadn’t heard from in several years inviting me down to his church in Carlsbad, California.  I told him I guessed I was supposed to be there because his was the third booking I had for that weekend.  The other two bookings had fallen through.


     


    After the concert was over in Carlsbad, I was standing in front of the church talking to folks.  A young man came up to me and as soon as he said hello, I knew he was from New Zealand.  He said he knew Mari.  I said, “Well, she’s standing right over there selling cds.”  So he walked over, struck up a conversation with her, reminding her of how they had met and reminiscing about all their mutual friends.  Mari told him we were planning on moving to New Zealand, where we would probably be building a house.  He said, “My brother’s a builder, give him a call.”  We thought, “How amazing!”  He told us he’d seen a promotional flyer in a bookstore for the concert, he didn’t even go to this church.


     


    So, we called his family who put us in touch with some old friends who lived in the very area we were planning on moving to.  One of them was a phenomenal architect, and the other, a master builder. 


     


    We arrived in New Zealand at 6 a.m. on a Friday in November of 2003.  We had a quick reunion with Mari’s Auntie and family, brothers, cousins, uncles and aunts and then off to Orewa to our motel room.  We had a 2 p.m. appointment with the bank who told us they were unable to open our account unless we had proof of an address in the States.  Well, we had sold our house in the States, so we didn’t have an address, except for a box number.  About a month before, I had lost my driver’s license in California, something I haven’t done in 20 years, so I had to get a new one, and it had our box number address on it.  I just had the temporary license in my wallet.  The bank manager said, “That’ll do,” and opened the account.


     


    From the bank we went back to our motel room, where Mari’s youngest brother showed up with the real estate section from the local newspaper.  As the girls knocked some food together for lunch, I was looking through all the different pictures of properties that were available.  And lo, there it was, the perfect place.  We drove up, had a look at it, Mari’s Mom said, “This looks like McGuire land to me.”  We drove back to the motel, called the real estate lady, and said “We’ll take it.”  So, by Saturday night we had purchased the property and found our architect and builder, all within 48 hours of landing in Auckland.


     


    We spent another couple of weeks with family and friends and returned to the States to finish my concert commitments before moving to New Zealand.


     


    It took from April 2004 to January 2005 to build, and so we moved in.  All was going along fine until I started getting negative feedback from the New Zealand Immigration authority, inferring that because of my age and the fact that I had a pacemaker, they thought I would be a burden on the socialized health care system.


     


    The New Zealand system forces you to actually be in New Zealand before you can apply for a permanent resident’s visa.  Because Mari and I had been married for 31 years at the time, and she’s a citizen, we didn’t think there would be any problem at all with me getting a permanent resident’s visa, it wasn’t even a consideration for us.  But they had me jumping through all these medical tests, with months of waiting and then more tests and papers and more waiting. 


     


    One of the test results showed my cholesterol was a bit high.  My whole family has high cholesterol and they all lived well into their eighties and even mid-nineties, but the doctor wanted to get my cholesterol down to where he thought it should be, so he put me on a cholesterol lowering medication.


     


    The second pill I took, blew my heart into arrhythmia so off we went to the hospital where they hooked me up to all the machines and put a drip in my hand to give me some more medication, (amiodarone) that was supposed to level out the arrhythmia.  But instead, I went into a violent reaction, thrashing around on the table, vomiting, my heart went berserk, I had huge red blotches come up all over my body, my lips swelled up like somebody had punched me in the mouth, the whites of my eyes went totally bloodshot. 


     


    Meanwhile the doctor and nurses were banging on the medication dispenser because it wasn’t working.  It had only managed to put a drop or two in my veins when it broke down.  If it had continued working, I’m sure it would have killed me.  Another miracle in our adventure!


     


    After vomiting the poison out of my stomach, and the doctors detaching the intravenous feed to my hand, my body settled right down, heartbeat went back to normal, red blotches started disappearing, breathing was normal, blood pressure was normal, and the doctor’s comment was, “This appears to be an anomaly, we’ve never seen anything like this before.”


     


    They did tell me I was only the second person in that hospital that had ever had a violent reaction to that particular medication. 


     


    I wanted to go home, but they said, “No, you need to stay for observation.”  I said, “Who’s going to pay for it?”  They said, “Aren’t you a resident?”  I said, “No.”  They said, “Don’t you have medical insurance?”  I said, “I do have private insurance, but it doesn’t cover my cardiovascular system because of my pacemaker.”  That was the end of the conversation.


     


    Three days later, they put me on a treadmill, and released me with a discharge letter stating, “Next line of investigation would be coronary angiogram.  This has been discussed extensively with Mr McGuire but he has opted not to have further investigation in this country and would pursue this further in America due to financial reasons.  On discharge, he was well and had no symptoms of chest pain or palpitations.”


     


    So after this little episode, we felt it was time to “get out of Dodge” before something serious happened.  Since I’m fully covered with Medicare and Aarp here in the U.S. we thought, that’s the next step for us.


     


    We sold our brand new, just built, beautiful house, set Mari’s Mom up in a lovely little two-bedroom cottage where we can go visit her two or three months every summer (winter in the US).  We packed the rest of our stuff into a twenty foot container and shipped it on to Fresno.


     


    Somebody just asked me, “How does it feel to be back in Fresno?”  I told him, “Well, you really don’t go back to anywhere, you may go to some place you’ve been before, but it’s not the same place it was when you left, everything is changing all the time, including us all.”


     


    So, that’s the sequence of events from start to finish on the New Zealand episode.  We wouldn’t change a minute of it.  Relationships have been established and nurtured.  We now have a US winter/NZ summer place to go to for holidays and time with Mari’s family, so it’s just win, win, win.  Only God could do something like that – what a great ride this last couple of years has been, and it just keeps on coming down the pike.


     


    Hope this satisfies any of you who might be wondering, “What happened?”


     


    Blessings on you all.


     


    I’ll be back, maybe?


     


    BMcG

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