Trip to Holy Land gave DL family members more than they bargained for
Odiela Tietz and her daughters, Mary and Terry, visited the Holy Land to walk where Jesus had walked. Along their trip, they'd soon realize He was walking next to them the whole way.
The three women's trip to Israel, Jordan, Jerusalem, Palestine and other area sites and countries was laced with mishaps that would test the women, but Tietz said, there was nothing negative about their time there, either.
Tietz visited the Holy Land in 1999 with her church, and this year when Father Jerry at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Detroit Lakes advertised for people interested in attending, Tietz, of Detroit Lakes, wanted to take her daughters, Mary Paulson of Bagley, and Terry Beck of Strawberry Lake.
"I wanted to go back and relive the experience," Tietz said.
"I had wanted to go, but I never had the opportunity," Beck said.
The women traveled with a group of 12 from Detroit Lakes and met with 25 more from Chicago.
"It was a dream come true. It was nice to have my two little girls with me," Tietz said from her living room after they returned, which drew laughs from her two grown-up daughters.
Paulson said one thing she noticed at the start of the trip was "unique in that besides our group, no one was speaking English."
"The tourists were so varied," agreed Beck, listing multiple countries as origins for the visitors. "But they all pilgrimage there."
The first day of the trip they began -- unexpected mishaps that would cause this family to keep the faith, and the laughs.
"I felt very strange, funny things in my head," Tietz said. She was dehydrated and passed out. When she fell, she landed partially on a step and broke her hip. She got up though and kept walking, thinking it might be just bad bruising.
"The first day or two, it didn't really hurt," she said. Sitting to rest and "regenerate" between sites helped her endure the trip. She didn't go to the hospital right away because she was told "you don't want to get medical care in Jordan."
So when the group reached Jerusalem, she checked into a Palestine Catholic hospital for X-rays. While waiting for their mother, Paulson and Beck found they had to pay the hospital bill in cash. They began pooling their money, trying to see if they'd had enough -- not knowing how much the bill would cost -- to pay and still get home. That's when they found out total cost for the admission, X-rays and visits with the doctor were $45.
Priests on the trip bought Tietz a cane and "she kept on hobbling along," Beck said.
The hospital wanted to keep her for a full hip replacement, but Tietz signed papers she was leaving against doctor's orders and left the hospital. Luckily, she had purchased travel insurance for the trip and would return home with Paulson early. But, of course, not without some bumps along the way.
While overseas, the women learned employees at their airline went on strike. Luckily, the strike ended right before they returned. But Tietz's ordeal would prove to be more frustrating than a strike.
With an eight-hour time difference to deal with, Tietz's daughters were calling at odd hours to talk to the insurance company to book a return flight for Tietz and Paulson -- the insurance would only pay for one person to return with Tietz. After plenty of time and paperwork, the women returned four days later -- only one day ahead of the rest of the group.
But in the meantime, Paulson and Beck visited some areas their mother couldn't, and one day they hired their own driver and visited several sites together. A couple of the places the women toured were Petra, Jordan, the lost city, rode in a chariot and Mount of Olives. It was in Jerusalem that they hired their own driver.
"I feel that was something special for just the three of us," Tietz said of that portion of the trip.
After Paulson and Tietz returned, Beck got to visit the Dead Sea on the last day also.
Even after their return to Minnesota, the drama didn't end. From the airport in Fargo, Tietz was admitted into the hospital for her broken hip. She had surgery the next morning and had three screws inserted into her hip.
She asked her doctor if she had damaged the hip even more by walking around several days with it broken. Amazingly enough, although the hip was broken, it stayed perfectly aligned.
Maybe it wasn't so amazing though.
"'He took good care of you,'" Tietz said her doctor told her, referring to God. "Coming from medical (personnel), that means even more."
Meanwhile, the women's vehicle was in the Twin Cities because they flew out of Minneapolis, and when Beck was returning home, she said she didn't feel well. Days later, she was in the hospital for a pulmonary embolism -- 80 percent of her lung was obstructed with blood clots.
Pulmonary embolisms aren't taken lightly in the Tietz family, either. Tietz's third daughter died at a young age of an embolism, and Paulson has also suffered a pulmonary embolism.
Before the women left for the Holy Land, they took a "before" picture. When they returned and were together once again, they took an "after" photo. Paulson, the last one standing, was pictured with her mother in a wheelchair after her hip surgery, and her sister in a hospital gown during her hospitalization with a pulmonary embolism.
After all their trials, the women sit and laugh talking about their November trip.
"The Lord brings good out of everything," Tietz said, emphasizing she does not think the trip was negative, regardless of the setbacks. "We smushed so much in one month. It's not negative, but very enjoyable. It was very good for the three of us to be together."
"It's been an interesting month," agreed Paulson.
"I'm glad we got to do it. The Lord has been with us all this time," Tietz said.