I Heart WordPress!

Why do I heart WordPress? It’s because it is so user-friendly! I am not the most tech-savvy person yet with some patience I was able to figure out how to combine other blogs into this current blog. So today was another day filled with some rest and relaxation.

In the recent past, Sundays for me have meant full study days with attempts to catch up on the house chores (primarily the growing mountain of laundry) and running errands and stocking  up on necessary edibles. Medical textbooks and class notes were the number two thing to do after morning devotion and getting myself ready to tackle the ever-growing to-do list of the day.

Today was different. It was a Sunday but it’s a new year (2013) and I am currently recovering from many things. I honestly can say that medical school and all the surrounding life stressors were getting the best of me and I became overwhelmed that I actually got physically sick. I forgot how to live a temperate life that my body said “Stop everything now” <insert seizures and 9 day hospitalization here>. There was a point in my life during medical school that I was exercising, trying to eat healthily, sleeping and studying. It is when I lost this balance that I ended up in the hospital. This article describes a little of what that balance with sleep looks like.

http://www.lifeandhealth.org/sleep-schedules-and-sanity.html

So back to the present. Today  I woke up when my body needed to wake up and ate breakfast by slowly chewing and not attending to my cellphone (I have been trying for the past couple of days to eat without my cellphone and meals taste better!) and took a nice long relaxing shower. I then set out to figure out how to combine my blogs. In reading through my recent past I was reminded of how blessed I am and that God has not forsaken me. I was also reminded of this quotation:

In reviewing our past history, having traveled over every step of advance to our present standing, I can say, Praise God! As I see that God has wrought, I am filled with astonishment, and with confidence in Christ as leader. We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His Teaching in our past history

Christian Experience and Teachings of Ellen G. White p.204

Now back to more rest and relaxation! 🙂

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Sabbath Flowers

Today is Sabbath (See Genesis Chapters 1&2, Exodus chapter 20). I just received a delivery of flowers to brighten my day. These flowers not only remind me of the beautiful surrounding nature that God created but they remind me that I am still healing. I spent the very first Sabbath of this year (Jan 5th) in the hospital as a patient. I remember the nurses calling to me that I had a special delivery. I went to the nurses station and saw a HUGE bouquet of tropical lush flowers. I think I might have even exclaimed, “These look like they are from the Garden of Eden!” The next question I asked was, “Who are they from?” I wanted to know who to thank but the nurses said they couldn’t find the card. So I thanked my Heavenly Father because He is the one who created all heaven and earth and sea and filled those spaces (heaven, earth, and sea) with good things to be enjoyed by me, His daughter. One of the nurses later found the card for my flowers and I found out they were from my cousins.
The following Sabbath (Jan 12th) I was blessed to have been discharged from the hospital two days before (Jan 10th) and had the opportunity to attend church. Since. I was a visitor I was blessed to take home a poinsettia as a gift. I hope to plant it here at home. The poinsettia in order to change colors and flower require darkness. The poinsettia can have no light during that period of night time. I ended up in the hospital because I was working too hard and stressing myself out and was lacking sleep. I have to get my sleep in order to function well. I, like the poinsettia need to get “hours of uninterrupted darkness” or sleep in order to brighten up the day with beautiful colors. Of note, the poinsettia in Spanish is called “Noche buena” a reference to Christmas Eve. Literally translated it means “good night”. Yes I’m learning how to get the adequate sleep that I need so that I can function.
Last Sabbath (Jan 19th) I was blessed to give one of my friends flowers. She is a wonderful friend and I wanted to share with flowers so earlier in the week I searched for the perfect bouquet that had many purple flowers. I like purple as well so when I saw a purple bouquet of flowers at a local farmer’s market I knew that was the one for her. I know that my favorite flowers are yellow & white but I am also a fan of tiger lilies!
Today as I mentioned earlier I received yet another surprise of flowers! These flowers are from my aunt! They are so beautiful and of course I asked “who could they be from?” Luckily the little card was there and it mentioned that my aunt’s church is praying for me. I am a walking answer to prayer. I am so blessed to have a loving God and family as well as one that prays. As I already mentioned I am reminded that I am still healing. The road to recovery looks like its going to be a long one but I know that I can trust in God to walk beside me and at times carry me until I am restored.

Earlier this week (the day i went to get my MRI done) I was encouraged by

John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

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Personal Wholeness Day #1

Today I was told that I was to go away to a place to reflect. Ideally, I was to go to a place far from home to get away to reflect. When I think of where I am in life now (finishing up medical school) as much as I would have liked to go away today I really just wanted to enjoy personal quiet time at home. For me, my home is a little sanctuary of peace and rest. There are all kinds of trees , shrubs, and flowers around my home. As I was taking time enjoying my backyard filled with chirping birds and sweet smelling roses I realized how blessed I am to not have to travel far to take in nature. In the future I want to continue to have my home be a sanctuary of peace. Presently I am in limbo as I am extending my senior year of medical school. As I look back at my time here in medical school I know for certain that it has been a growing experience. Not only in knowledge but in just about every area of my life. More on that later.

I also took time today to do one of my favorite hobbies that unfortunately I don’t get to do enough of if I’m not at home: bake. My fascination with the oven began in childhood around the age of 7. Captivated by the commercials for the “Easy-Bake” oven toy, I asked my mother if I could get one even though I knew the answer was going to most likely be “no” due to the fact that there wasn’t enough money for extra things of that sort and I already had enough toys.
So being the stubborn and determine little girl, I figured I’d learn to use the real oven we had. I climbed up a chair onto the kitchen counter to better reach a cabinet where I knew my mother kept her cookbooks and started looking for a recipe. I had previously attended a Vacation Bible School where I had learned some basics about cooking with recipes, measuring ingredients, etc and so when I found a simple sugar cookie recipe, I began the hunt for the needed items. I preheated the oven and found the electric mixer to cream the butter and sugar.
It was the noise of the mixer that got my mother’s attention. She came over to the kitchen to see what I was doing and just stood by my side allowing me to continue with my project. She didn’t scold me for touching the oven. She didn’t try to take over my baking project. She allowed me to continue as I was so that by doing I would learn.
My mother has always been supportive of my efforts. She has always been there to watch me as I grow and has allowed me to make mistakes and learn from them. I did bake those cookies all by myself with only my mother’s aid to get them out of the oven. Some of the cookies were a little burnt and many subsequent batches of dough have been scorched since that time but each time I’ve learned how to do it a little better. Now every Christmas season I make sugar cookies to decorate with colored frosting with close friends or family depending on where I happen to be that year. Thanks to my mother (who is not a baker) I have honed my skills as a baker and its this same loving support she has given me that has enabled me to pursue a career in medicine.

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contacts

Today I finally got around to seeing the optometrist. And I got contacts! May astigmatism continues to worsen and I have to get toric lenses. I’m just glad to finally have the chance to have a check up as last school year got so crazy busy I didn’t have much time to do anything other than school.

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Saying Good-bye

Another day of call had ended and I had developed a habit of visiting with my patient in the intensive care unit (ICU) before I went home everyday. I was glad to see his progression from when I had first met him almost two weeks ago when his heart went into atrial fibrillation and he began to go into acute respiratory distress and was subsequently sedated and intubated to protect his airway, along with having other medical management to stablize his vital signs. His liver was continuing to fail and his morning laboratory studies were now pointing to deteriorating kidneys. However, he was now awake and slightly conversant although confused from time to time and had only a couple of days ago been successfully extubated and now required supplemental oxygen via a nasal cannula. There was also hope of taking out the nasal gastric tube if the residual output from it continued to decrease and speech therapy gave the blessing of a passed swallow evaluation. To the casual outside observer my patient had made drastic improvements but when the numbers were crunched with his worsening electrolytes and the scores calculated, his prognosis was grim. This man was dying.

I made my way from the hectic emergency department after finishing my last admission for the night taking the stairs two-by-two in order to reach the second floor where my patient was located. As I walked toward the end of the hall to where my patient was alone in his room watching late night shows, I passed by a dimly lit ICU room. My glance was caught by  the glow of a screen being held in front of a patient lying in an ICU bed, surrounded by many people. It took me a moment to make sense of this scene. The glowing screen was being used, as a channel to communicate between the patient and his other loved ones who for whatever reason could not physically be in the room at that precise moment. As my glance unlocked from the glow and swept the faces of the rest of the people surrounding the patient it was evident that they also had come to say goodbye to their loved one. From the tears following down the many down cast faces and crumpled tissues clenched in the various hands, I gathered that this moment was the last time these strangers to me but know to the man laying in the bed were to see him alive. Gathered with them was an audience via the mobile device, which was streaming live video from some other part of the world. I managed to hear the tiny voice of a toddler coming through the device saying goodbye in a cheery voice breaking through the bleak moment in a way that only a child can.

I continued on and entered the room of my patient and he turned down the volume of the television set. I greeted him and we made small talk as we shared how our days had gone from the last time I had seen him in the earlier part of the morning. He mentioned he had had some of his family visit and had gotten to spend time with them. He shared how more family would be flying out west from various parts of the country to see him and he was hoping they could visit him at his home and not see him in the hospital. Drawings from his grandchildren had been brought and were neatly taped near his bed. He shared with me how he had 16 grandchildren and how he longed to see each of them. He shared his frustration about being in the hospital and how he knew his prognosis was poor. He wanted to go home soon so that he could say goodbye to everyone. He pointed a small yellow piece of construction paper with some multi-colored scribbles and told me that was from his youngest grandson who is almost four years old now and wants his “Grampy” to make it to his upcoming birthday party. I encouraged him to keep his spirits up and bid my farewell for the evening.

As I thought about what had transpired on the drive home I realized how precious it is to savor the moments with people in our lives. I would never have thought of using a mobile device with video capabilities to bring family and loved ones together to say good-bye to a fellow loved one in his or her final moments of life. I was happy to see people utilizing technology in this way but at the same time was sadden that the people on the other side of the screen could for whatever reason not be physically present to hold their loved one. I learned to value those extra moments I spent with my patient as the last time I said good-bye to him, he had chosen to go home on hospice so that he could say his good-byes.

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Hello world!

Meet Steth & Cardia. During this year, Steth here has become a dear friend of mine. Surely his purpose been more than to help me to auscultate various Cardias of my patients (he’s also helpful for breath sounds, bruits, bowel sounds, etc.). I’m told that apparently I can use him on the eye but not sure that manuever would instill confidence in my patients. He has been my partner in crime in early dark hours when resident physicians and medical students, like myself on inpatient rotations, harass the patients assigned to our medical team and begin rattling off various questions such as, “How are you doing? Have any pain? Have you passed gas? How about that new medication we just started giving you, have you noticed any changes?” while simultaneously proceeding to place cold Steth to the skin (as we have been taught to NEVER auscultate through any clothing! The bell of the stethoscope is to be placed directly on the skin). Steth has kept me company whether in my short white coat pocket or riding on my neck these past few months as I have made the transition from book work to seeing and caring for live patients with pathology and diseases I was supposed to have learned about during the first two years of medical school.

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First Sabbath of 2010

I could not have started out this year in a better way. I was blessed to spend this special day with God. I was blessed with a message on the pride of opinion “the sin that is most nearly hopeless and incurable”. “To know oneself is great knowledge. True self-knowledge leads to humility that will open the way for the Lord to develop the mind and mold and discipline the character.”–Ellen G. White.

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First day of Two Thousand Ten

First off I admit failure. I wanted to try to keep up this blog for one year from 10/10/09 to 10/10/10 but obviously that has not happened. But nonetheless ’tis a new year and there’s so much to document since the last entry. Currently I’m half way through my first year of medicine. I’d like to say that I’m surviving. One of the primary reasons for starting this blog was to help me manage my stress by allowing for an outlet in which to organize my thoughts and feelings and process issues in my life. Another reason of course was to document my journey. Not only as I go through medical education but through the adventures of life and its many facets.

So now this first day of the new year commenced actually where I spent four years of my life receiving an undergraduate degree. After ringing in the new year with friends and family I headed home to get some shut-eye  before my long drive. I woke up at around 8:20 am to gather my belongings and make the journey from Northern California to Southern California. I made pretty good time on the freeways (probably since most people got the day off and most commercial places are closed) and arrived safe and sound. I got to thinking a lot on my trek down.

On this very same day I was able to experience two contrasting places. My old college on the mount and my current university. The drive to my alma mater on New Year’s Eve was nostalgic even though it was nighttime. It was also quite frigid.  The long hours to my current university was during the daylight hours and actually become warm enough inside my car that I turned on the air conditioner! Now not only are these two places different in weather amongst other things these institutions represent different phases of my life. It’s neat to be able to look back and see where I came from and what I went through. I could not have done this alone. God has truly blessed me in more ways than I can count! Now He has brought me here to where I am at. I know that I am His servant. I am done trying to do things my way.  I will surrender my life completely over to God so that His will be done. I must daily seek to know Him more. I know that God is in control and I am not to worry (Matt. 6:25). Also I am claiming the promise in Matt. 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” My prayer is that I may be ready for Jesus’s soon coming 🙂

Where would I put it?

This was the proverb of our parking spot in the parking garage in Chinatown. It was a good reminder as I am home for the week of what is truly important. It’s not the things that I can accumulate in this life but rather the relationships that I build and grow. That’s why I came home. I came to see family 🙂

Personality types

So last night I became irratated when what should have been eight mintue trip turned into a thiry minute trip. I like to know exactly how to get to a new location. I have a fairly good sense of direction and after driving to a new location I can usually remember how to get back. Whenever I drive to a new place I pay attention to freeways taken, exit names and street names. To this day I refuse to get a GPS (mostly out of stubbornness and lack of funds) and am actually doing quite well with out one. I invest energy in committing to memory how to get myself form point A to point B. In doing so I have yet to get myself lost. Unfortunately this was not the case last night. We got lost in a place where it is not the safest to be at during the evening hours. I kept thinking to myself how I should have looked up directions before leaving the house instead of trusting in my friend’s sense of direction.  What took us so long is that my friend couldn’t remember how to get to the mall although she had been there the day before. Now granted it was nighttime and there’s lots of construction going on so there were many detours. I was driving so I became irratated when we didn’t know how to get to the mall and felt like we were just driving in circles. Well we eventually made it to our destination just took the long way around. My irritation vanished when I was reminded at the reason for my friend’s “lack of direction sense”. It’s not that she actually lacks anything but rather she views things differently. Because of her personality she always sort of knows where something is. If she was to have given me directions on how to get to a location she’s more likely to tell me of landmarks rather than street names (leading to perhaps frustration on my part) and thus her confusion with how to get to the mall during night rather than day since the surroundings looked completely different. With that little bit of understanding myself and her I was able to laugh off the whole “lost in the ghetto incident” 🙂