Saturday, January 31, 2009

Expect the Unexpected

Today was one of those days which goes completely contrary to plans, but ends up being completely awesome anyway. I woke this morning to the sound of my phone ringing at 4:30 am, which generally means that UCLA is either sending me to their hospital in Santa Monica or canceling me. (Generally I'm not awake enough to care which it is.:o) In this particular case , they were calling to tell me that they were overstaffed and not to come in. Since this also meant that I got a few more hours of sleep, I shut off my phone, rolled over, and slept for another couple of hours! Hooray!

When I did wake up I stumbled to the bathroom and proceeded to break the handle on my toilet while attempting to flush it. Enter my uncle. He comes innocently strolling down the hallway in his pj's and bathrobe and I step out in front of him. "Uncle Bill?" He looks suspicious. "Yes?" "I think I broke the toilet." He chuckles and heads into my bathroom, takes the toilet lid off, and confirms my assessment. "Looks like we'll need a parts run," he says. I sigh. It seems like I'm always making work for him. A little while later he has changed into his Saturday work clothes, taken apart the toilet, noticed the handles in my shower are turning a little funky, noticed my shower isn't draining properly while messing with the handles, put something down my drain to fix it, fixed the handles, and figured out a way to flush my toilet temporarily until he gets parts. He comes out of my bathroom, and lets me know everything that's now fixed. "You know Emily, it makes it a lot easier to fix things if I know they're broken." I smile sheepishly (we've had this talk before) and remark, "I did tell you about breaking the toilet." He smiles. "You're right. You get credit for that." As he heads to the garage to work on all of the things he had actually expected to do today, he teases over his shoulder, "Well now you'll have something to blog about." To which I replied by running out with my camera and snapping a picture of him. For my blog...:o)

(I have been blessed with the greatest uncle ever!)

In spite of the rough start to the morning, the day did become a bit more productive. As I sat down to breakfast I began thinking about all of the homework I should be working on, and then stopped myself. These were twelve extra hours I hadn't planned on having. ( I slept in a bit and didn't quite have the full twelve hours anymore...but you get the point.:o) I decided to use the day for all of the things I've put on my mental long-term list of things to get to when I have some free time. Ha! (On a side note, it turns out my lack of "life" and slight obsession with kidneys and nephrons has paid off. I just found out that I got an A on my nursing test Thursday. My first A in a Professor Washington class in two quarters!!!) Anyway, today I vacuumed, detailed, and washed my filthy car, organized some files and drawers that haven't been looked at in ages, trimmed my nails, worked on my blog, cleaned my bathroom, vacuumed, organized some school paperwork, typed out some long overdue e-mails, balanced my budget, and even sat down to watch some TV with my aunt and uncle. It certainly wasn't what you'll find written on my calendar for today, but it ended up being exactly what I needed. (Further proof that the God of the universe knows my needs better than I do, and knew that I needed some unexpected time off more than I needed a day of work. Thank you Lord for teaching me flexibility and for reminding me to expect the unexpected.)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Monday, Monday

woke up. went running. ate breakfast. studied for ten hours. ate dinner. more studying. still smiling.:o) school is hard. God is good.

"How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you." -Psalm 31:19

Friday, January 23, 2009

Heart Donor

At UCLA it is not uncommon for transplants to be performed. I think you could almost say it is routine for organs to be transferred from donor to recipient. But today, after 12 hours on the pediatric oncology unit, I became somewhat of a donor. Because tonight, at 7:15 p.m., I left the floor and left a little bit of my heart behind.

My patients and their families were amazing. Some of them have been patients for months. Some have been in and out of UCLA their entire lives. Today I became a part of their hospital memory. I played soccer in the hallway, figured out a way to create a train with an IV pole, a little red wagon, and a bed sheet, took vital signs, ate a chicken fajita made by a grandmother in a hospital room (on a George Foreman grill!), made beds, played cars, watched medical personnel sprint down the hallway in response to a code blue, took strawberry ice cream to a little boy who had come back from radiology and couldn't think of anything in the whole world that sounded better, sent specimens to the lab, and prayed for a family who lost their precious little girl.

Nursing is an emotional roller coaster unlike anything else I've ever experienced in my life. There are triumphs and tears, and everything in between. By the grace of God I know without a shadow of a doubt that I can trust Him for everything that happened today. I can trust that His sovereignty extends to the lives of my patients and their families, and that that little girl is safe with Him in a place where "code blues" don't exist and morphine isn't needed for pain. And because I can trust Him, I am headed for bed so that I can (Lord-willing) get up in the morning and do it all over again. There will likely be tears and hopefully some triumphs, but most importantly there will be prayer. Lots and lots of prayer.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Today on a Freeway in L.A.

I have decided that this will be a regular installment on my blog, as new and strange things seem to happen every time I drive down a freeway in L.A. Today was no exception. Being the conscientious driver that I am, I was of course using my eyes to attentively scan the cars a ways ahead of me.:o) I began to notice that there was a general slowing down, combined with brake lights and swerving. This in and of itself was of course nothing unusual, but it did make me more alert for potential problems. What I saw in the next few hundred feet, however, was quite unusual. Even for L.A.! I can't be positive, but I'm fairly certain someone toilet papered the freeway. It is of course possible that it simply fell off of a delivery truck, but this being L.A. I'm going to go with the first explanation.:o) It was everywhere! Some of the strips had been run over multiple times, which had resulted in a sort of confetti texture. It was floating in the air, almost a tiny bit like the closest thing to snow I'll ever see in Los Angeles... Some of it was still in rolls in the road, which was the cause of all of the swerving. The rest was in long, long strands which floated through the air looking for an innocent victim/car to suddenly begin mummifying. Of course it created chaos on the freeway, but I couldn't help but laugh at the situation. Every time I think I've seen it all on the freeways, they outdo themselves.:o) For the remainder of the drive home I passed and was passed by cars bearing remnants of the TP battle they'd just survived. Some cars had it flying from the antennaes like little white flags, while others had it streaming from the back as if its occupants had recently been married. And with each reminder I just giggled, and wondered what they'd think of next...

(Sorry about the lack of picture. I so wanted to snap one! But ultimately I decided against it, as an accident on top of the toilet paper might have sent some of the very fragile commuters over the edge...:o)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


I thought this blog post was going to be about the incredible adventure of cleaning my room:o)...but as often happens it has taken another route. One of my prayers for 2009 has been that my eyes would be opened to see the ways God is working in my life, and the many blessings He showers on me every day. I fear I am all too quick to grumble about the trials without giving thanks for the praises. (Come to think of it, shouldn't I be praising Him in the trials?)

I went to my first day of clinical orientation today, and then tomorrow I'll be headed to the hospital for orientation there. It was bittersweet as I found out how many of my classmates did not pass our lecture last quarter and will not be able to continue with us. They will certainly be missed. One the other hand, I discovered that several of my favorite classmates are in my clinical this quarter. What a blessing! As I woke up this morning and stumbled to the shower at 5 am (it turns out that an abrupt transition from vacation time to school time takes its toll on your body...), the Lord brought to mind several of my classmates and I spent some time in prayer for them. What a difference it makes to spend time with people after you have just been praying for them!

I left my orientation feeling behind already (I am supposed to read about 100 pages by Thursday), and a bit overwhelmed. On the way to my car, however, I listened to an amazing message from my big sis, after which I couldn't help but smile and thank the Lord for the gift she is to me. Tonight I also had the chance to talk to some old friends for a while, and literally laughed for an hour straight. Friends and family are such an incredible blessing and gift from God!

I know that in my sin nature and weakness, and utilizing my own strength, I might (ok...would) have come away from today overcome by the weeks that lie ahead and wanting to crawl into bed forever. However, with a willingness to take situations to the Lord in prayer when they arose and trusting in His sovereignty, it was incredible to realize how relaxed and free I felt. At times like these I can never remember why I thought it was a good idea to attempt taking on the world all by myself. Wouldn't you think I would have learned by now?:o)

Lastly, I wanted to include a link to an article that someone else posted on their blog. It was definitely an encouragement to me, and a reminder of God's ability to accomplish absolutely anything, and then use whoever He chooses to proclaim His greatness.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Last Day of Vacation

Today is technically the last day of my Christmas vacation. The technically comes in because after arriving back at my aunt and uncle's house last night I suddenly realized how much I needed to accomplish before starting school on Tuesday. Here's at least part of the list for today:

1. Finally update the blog I have neglected for the past month! (I was so sure I'd have plenty of blogging time while home. Silly me... I'll try to post about my time home at some point or another.)

2. Unpack/find my room.

(Ok...I know it's here somewhere...)

3. Schedule myself to work Friday and Saturday. (I'm going to try juggling two day of work this quarter. Why must life be so expensive??:o)

4. Shop for, pack, and mail a care package for a friend.

(SO long overdue!!!)

5. Study for the medication math test I just found out I'll be taking tomorrow.

(May I just say that there is something fundamentally wrong with taking a test on the first day back at school.:o( )

6. Mail a couple of books I just sold on

(Thank you Lord for the unexpected blessing of some extra cash.:o)

7. Assemble the humongous packet of information that verifies I have received every vaccine known to man and have medical malpractice insurance, a CPR card, etc., etc., etc. (I get to do this every quarter...until December of 2010.)

8. Enjoy a cup of mint hot chocolate in my new Christmas mug.

(I found this hot chocolate while organizing the stuff under my bed. Apparently there are benefits to cleaning.)

9. Consume an incredibly healthy and ever popular chili dog while hanging out with my wonderful aunt and uncle and pretending to understand the rules to that odd game where everyone tries to kill each other for a silly ball that probably costs about $10 at the local athletic store. (I think they call it football here in the States...)

10. Find my bed and then take my aunt up on her offer of helping me put an electric blanket on it since I practically froze last night.

(Perhaps I'll find it early enough to get an adequate amount of sleep so that I can start off my quarter refreshed and ready to go. Hehe... What are the chances of that happening?:o)