Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The things you see

I knew these were coming. Those are the calls you get and the people you see that you see once, and then you see again and again in your head long after you've left them. You know these things are coming, but you don't know the hour or the place. You still bolt when you hear the tones drop and answer the call anyway.

This weekend riding the medic unit I saw my first major trauma. So much respect for the team that lets me ride with them, and blessed that I get to observe them do this. I'm also gratified that I've learned so much already that I can be useful to an extent. This call doesn't haunt me, but I'll absolutely remember my first trauma. (Ha, that I'm positive I can't describe here, Hippa).

But this shift, we got the unusual call right before shift change. And everything precedes uneventfully right up to the transport to the hospital and the driver and I cleaning the cot and the unit.

The medic unit from another station pulls up fast, doesn't take an ambulance lane, but lands right by the door. There's a small commotion going on, and Chilva, our driver, goes over to see if he can help. Out of the unit comes infant CPR in full progress, with a medic on the cot and a ton of people flowing out of the unit, carrying monitors, walking the mother into the ER. I watched Chilva help them with the monitor then shut out unit up and followed them in.
It was so strange. I felt so detached from this. It was a huge commotion, with easily a dozen nurses and staff ending up in the room, continuing CPR while others start attaching new monitors. I overheard one of the medics brief the nurses that the infant was in asystole since they had arrived.

I couldn't process a lot of this until several hours later. I recalled Chilva saying what a rough way to end or begin a shift.

I didn't know how to process what I had seen. At first, I remained very detached. Then I couldn't get over how it hadn't bothered me. That I should be thinking of that family. Then I couldn't stop thinking about the family. The image of the mom I had seen distraught, or the image of a cyanotic, small person lying so so still on a cot that was so much bigger than they were.

It's this call that I wasn't even on that I will remember. God help me if I ever forget. Maybe we're a special force of angels that are here to be His hands and feet, save His children when they find trouble. And when His angels can only deliver the children to their Father, they weep.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Riding Adventures and 12-Leads

I've been studying heart stuff all week.  I'm completely paranoid that my medical history of heart surgery, aortic regurge, and diastolic murmur is going to freak out whoever does my county physical next week.  So I started studying all this stuff obsessively to find out how bad it was.  Understanding the heart anatomy and mechanics.  Electrical functions and EKG interpretations.  How do we set up the limb leads?  The 12-lead? 

The good news was obsession mildly reassured me that my heart is not going to explode (I think I knew this already..) and that I should be able to talk my way through the physical when they find these things. 

But even better was seeing how this knowledge and studying pays off on a call.  My last shift at the station we received a call that warranted an EKG as part of our vitals assessment.  Set up the limb leads (white is not right, smoke over fire, clouds over grassy hill = left lower leg green lead, left arm white, right arm black, right leg red).  This gave us an initial picture, which I was able to read as a depressed ST segment.  This can be serious, potentially indicating ischemia to parts of the heart.  We quickly set up the 12-lead, and fortunately found a pace maker that caused the EKG abnormality. 

I'm thankful for the patient that this did not turn into a serious cardiac event.  I'm still processing the feeling that I could remember and execute what I learned this week, and see how this knowledge is important in treating a patient.  Quickly falling in love with this line of work.

I suck at updating blogs.

Title says it all.  Bad at this.  But even though it's totally creepy that things on the Internet never ever seem to be erased, I can find moments of my life that I shared here to remember.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Fortify Areas of Weakness

Three times tonight - I heard the exact same metaphor. That there is one string, that when tugged, will make everything unravel.

I heard it from my roommate. I heard it on two tv shows. Shows I arguably should not have been watching because my bible study group is doing a week of fasting - and I am fasting from tv. Because I have weak spots, and these weak spots have the ability to unravel my life. TV is something I'll go to in place of God, or friends, or to avoid important tasks.

When knitting, you really only have one string. When things start getting really complicated you throw a lot of colors or techniques in there. But it all just comes back simple loops guided by needles. And these tiny loops all add up to form a fabric. But if you miss just one of these, you have the potential to unwind your whole work to that point. Can you imagine how frustrating that it? You've been working on something particular for days, and upon completion you find out half of it needs redone. Only skilled, practiced knitters can fix these slips without letting it derail the whole project.

Life is often like that. Every little gap we find is an opportunity to either undo everything and go back several steps. Or, as we grow wiser, learn to fortify the gaps we find without letting it destroy what we've achieved so far. Or worse, ignore the need to fix it, and leave these areas wide open for anyone to tug at, and tear you down at any time.

Monday, November 5, 2012

People are People and Drama is for your Mama

It doesn't really matter where you are.  Work.  Home.  Church.  There's drama pretty much everywhere people are.

The thing is, people are unequivocally human.  By definition, that means we have flaws, secrets, and dark sides.  We're not perfect, and I think this is pretty well known.  Theoretically.

In fact we are so not perfect, we are really, really good at finding out just how much everyone is not perfect.  We love to talk about our imperfections.  Did I say ours?  I meant yours.

We all do it.  I can feel you resisting just a hair, denying this fact even as you read it.  But drama is something we love in our televisions and in our lives.  When we're hurt or something goes not quite how we had planned out for ourselves, we tend to lash out at others to an extent.  We're hurt, and this is how we have learned to cope.  Analytically, we seek to find out what went wrong and then "fix" it.

We are quick to focus on the faults of others, and this often leads to guilt, finger-pointing, and gossip.  But we lack compassion to see and care for their faults and flaws, instead ostracizing, creating walls, or "fixing" coworkers, family, friends, and churches.  We are quick to focus on others because we often lack the ability to see our own flaws.  Or because it's scary to really admit our own flaws.  Really scary.

"For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you." Roman 12:3 

Paul says ever-so-politely: "you're full of crap sometimes."  Thinking of yourself more highly than you ought, or ignoring your own flaws and misgivings, is being less than honest with yourself.  And by extension, it's being less than honest with others, because they have to live with you, and they have to embrace you even as you place blame on them for what's not on track in your life.

But as you prepare to be brutally honest with yourself, remember grace.  You're forgiven for your sins if you've accepted Christ into your life, and confessed those flaws.  And as you realize you've been given grace in your life, work to extend that to others.  Just as you need it, your neighbor needs it.  Because none of us is perfect, but we can still all love one another despite our flaws.

"...according to the grace given us." Romans 12:6a

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Psalm 119 - Daleth

 ד Daleth
 25 I am laid low in the dust;
   preserve my life according to your word.
26 I recounted my ways and you answered me;
   teach me your decrees.
27 Let me understand the teaching of your precepts;
   then I will meditate on your wonders.
28 My soul is weary with sorrow;
   strengthen me according to your word.
29 Keep me from deceitful ways;
   be gracious to me through your law.
30 I have chosen the way of truth;
   I have set my heart on your laws.
31 I hold fast to your statutes, O LORD;
   do not let me be put to shame.
32 I run in the path of your commands,
   for you have set my heart free.

NIV 1984

This psalm resonates with my frailty and helplessness.  Every day, I face pain and the reality of my health.  I am laid low with the humbling fact that I am not invincible, at least not on my own. 

I always seem to come back to this psalm whenever I've hit a low and I have trouble turning back to God. 

I came back from my first visit with the foot doctor and got news that not only was my foot broken again, but I'd be unable to run the remainder of the spring.  Again, something that I loved was taken away from me.  I remember being very upset that night and wondering aloud to God why He had done this to me again.

Over the next several days, as I was forced to explain the foot cast back on my foot, I had many people tell me that maybe there was a reason for this.  One person in particular bluntly said that God was doing this intentionally to give me a message, even if neither of us knew what that message was.

Maybe that's the hardest part of this for me: I still don't know why.  "Let me understand the teaching of your precepts; then I will meditate on your wonders." I am laid low.  Have I not recounted my ways?  Is that why this understanding is still escaping me?

However I get there, I know I can only literally run again, when I run in the path of His commands.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Broken Again

For the second time, I've broken my foot from running. For someone who is constantly moving, I'm only allowed to swim right now (I swam this morning for the first time in YEARS). In six weeks, I can start cycling.  In 10 weeks, I might be able to start running.  Not training, but I'll be allowed to start lacing up and hitting a trail as long as I actually take it easy.

At this second break, I've heard from multiple people in multiple ways, "Don't you think God is trying to tell you something here?"

That was my thought that first night after seeing the doctor, reading the clear-as-day x-ray for myself.  I was angry and pretty upset that He'd take this away from me - again.  But I kept hearing it.  Okay, if there was a reason behind this, why then?  What is He trying to say?

I knew some reasons.  I haven't found a church home yet, and I've been struggling to find and commit to a church community.  I've been lackadaisical in my Bible reading.  Generally, it's like I just don't know what to say to Him.  It's as if I'm deaf.  I can see Him all around me, and He's especially visible to me on a quiet trail, but I can't hear anything He's saying to me.  I strain my ears for a hint of His voice, but nothing.

After a nice evening with long-lost and newly found friends, I might even think that there's more to it than even that. First, you should know that they're all amazing people and Christians.  Some had recently come back from long term missions work in Haiti, some were headed that way, and all were just a little nerdy (my kind of people).  This fellowship has been sorely missed and lacking in my life of late. 

Myself and my running have the focus of my life for so long, I almost don't know how to function without the time spent on the trail.  But I think I'm finally edging past the idea that running is always about longer, faster, harder.  I want to improve, yes, but even more so, I want to sustain this active lifestyle.  I want to find people to share this with.  It's not sustainable to be so constantly driven towards this goal of 'improving' to the exclusion of the rest of my life.  I think now I'm finally realizing not only do I need to find a balance physically so I don't keep getting injured, I need to find that balance in the other parts of my life.  I don't want to admit it, but maybe running has been what's been keeping me from finding a community.

"It's not about doing the things you love, it's about doing things with the ones you love."