30 April 2008

Working Nights

Right now I'm on my rotation of nights at the hospital. I'm not actually working right now, but the joy of the night shift is that even on nights that I don't find myself in the ER, I often find myself awake late. It's actually easier to stay on a semi-night shift throughout the whole stretch so that my body doesn't get confused. I don't really mind the night shift. I've always been a bit of a night owl. In my "younger days" I was also an early morning person, which meant I didn't sleep very much. Now I'm "older" and need a bit more beauty sleep. Of course more is a relative term because now I get about 6 hours on average, compared to the 4 that I use to function on. I can still make 4 work when I have to, but I really prefer the 6. The ER is quite the interesting place at night. I often wonder what makes people get up out of their nice warm beds to make a trip out to the hospital in the middle of the night. I understand if a person thinks they're having "the big one" or is in horrible pain, but it's the minor things or the person that can clearly wait until the doctor's office is open in the morning, that really make me wonder. I confess that I have been a patient in the ER in the early morning hours twice, but both times it was because of kidney stones, and the first time I was forced.

I only have to work nights 1 1/2 weeks out of every 5, so I can't complain too much. Sometimes I would rather do the nights because my body is becoming less and less fond of having to get out of the bed at 630am for the day shift. It's not too bad when it's part of my routine and I do it every day, but when it's only now and then, it's a lot harder. At the end of my stretch of days, I work four in a row. By the last day, I'm just starting to get use to getting up early, and then I have 7 days off. Now I love having those 7 days off, even though I usually pick up a shift or two during that time, but it's still a bit irritating to finally establish a routine, just to have it broken.

I realize I'm not really saying much in this post, but I'm bored, and can't sleep therefore I blog. I can only check my e-mail so many times before even I will admit that I'm a bit OCD. Let's see what else is going one.... I made another trip back to Chattanooga. My house is still for sale (anyone want to buy it? please!). It ended up being a very emotionally draining trip for the most part. I won't take the time to go into the details because I'm still a bit perplexed by it all and need time to sort it all out in my head. At the beginning of the trip I had hoped to get some answers, and I ended up leaving with more questions than before. I've decided I'm going to volunteer some as medical staff this summer at Doe River Gorge (it's a christian outdoor adventure camp for those of your who aren't familiar with it). The idea hit me a bit late in the game, so they don't have too much of a need, but I still will be able to help out some. I think it will be fun and a neat way to use my medical talents. I'm also thinking about going on another medical mission trip in October. It would be with the same organization I went with 2 years ago (CMDA). It's also the same group leader and they're going to the same location. I'm praying about it and trying to figure out if I will be able to get the time off from work. I'd love to go again. It was a wonderful experience and I loved getting to be apart of the surgical team.

Coming attractions in my life include:
1. A trip to DC in 9 days to see three of my bestest friends- Valerie, Leah, and Jennifer. The 4 of us haven't all been together since about this time last year, and I can't wait. It's going to be a blast. Plus I like DC a lot and it's been a while since I made a visit there.
2. Both of my younger sisters will graduate in the next few weeks. Elizabeth from college, and Christine from high school. It makes me feel old. Especially when I remember that I graduated from college 5 years ago and high school 8 years ago. Where does the time go?
3. In June I'm going to Richmond to visit my college roomie Alicia, and see her son for the first time since his birth. I'm also really looking forward to it. I haven't seen her since the end of November and I am in need of some quality "therapy time" that only she can provide.

I wish I had more interesting things to blog about or at least some good ER stories, but this is my life right now, so I write what I know. My body may not be tired, but my brain is and it's emotionally taxed so I don't have the energy to be creative or funny at the moment.

20 April 2008

A Weekend of Thinking

Yesterday, I attended the wedding of one of my childhood friends. It seems weird to use that term, but that's what we are. We were best friends growing up, but time and life have taken their toll and we have drifted apart a bit. It was a beautiful wedding in spite of the weather, and it was nice to have a laid back atmosphere where everyone just seemed to go with the flow. I am truly happy for her and wish her the best as she begins her new life as a wife.
Lately, every time I go to a friend's wedding it gets a little bit harder for me. I watch as the number of my single friends dwindles and the number of married couples grows. I try not to be bitter as I want nothing but the best for my friends, but I can't help but wonder when it's going to be my turn. I know I'm young and a lot of people my age aren't married, but I feel like I'm so ready for it.
At church recently we've talking about living out our strengths and finding jobs that use our strengths. I feel like I use my strengths in my current profession. I feel very alive at work and enjoy the satisfaction that I have from knowing I do my job well. I like to work. I like to stay busy. I get bored when I have too many days off in a row. I don't have to try very hard to do a good job in the ER, it comes pretty naturally to me. I think most of the time I do a pretty good job of recognizing my strengths and pursuing them. That's probably because I don't do things I'm not good at. It's not that I give up easily or don't try, but when I realize that I'm clearly not cut out for something, I don't do it. That's not to say that I'm not open to new things and adventures, because I am, I'm just not going to waste my time doing things I'm bad at or don't enjoy.
I think my strengths are my loyalty to others, being a helper and a "doer", and my ability to multi-task. I consider myself to be a good friend. I would do anything for my friends and have best friends that I have had since childhood. I rely on my friends to keep me accountable and be my support. I try hard to make sure that we stay in touch and visit when we can. My true friends know me in a way that few people do. I hope that they would agree that I am a loyal friend. I also get a lot of enjoyment out of helping people and being a "doer". Health care was a very natural job field for me because as generic as it sounds, I really do feel that I am good at helping people. Beyond taking care of sick people and helping them feel better, I think I am able to help people on a more personal level. I am a problem solver and have always enjoyed puzzles and such. My gut sense of people is normally dead on. I'm a pretty good judge of character for the most part. I am often the one my friends and family come to if they need advice or want to bounce an idea of someone. As far as being a "doer", that's how I show people I care. I like to do things for others, especially things I know they will like or may not have time to do for themselves. I may not always use words to express my feelings but in my actions I feel that I truly communicate my appreciation and love for others. My ability to multitask is not so much a strength for me, but a way of life. I very rarely do just one thing at a time. I have to be really tired to just be focusing on one task. I remember a time in college when my roommate came in to find me sitting at the computer with music playing, the TV on, while I was writing a research paper. That's the way I am though, I like to keep my mind busy. Maybe that comes from growing up in a house with 6 other people where there was always a million things going on at one time. I think it was ingrained in me at birth though, because I remember being that way even when I was a child. I was the kid who liked to do workbooks in the summer, because I needed to stay busy. (yes I believe we've established before that I'm a nerd) In the ER, one has to be able to multitask in order to survive. You'll drown in all the chaos if you can't do more than one thing at a time!
If you've managed to read this far and are still hanging in there, you may be wondering where I'm going with all this. While this post may appear to be pretty random, it really is all connected. As much as I feel like I am living my strengths by being a PA in the ER, I feel there is something more that I have to offer. As much as I love my job and working, I would give it all up to be a wife and mother because I feel like in that role is where I can truly live out my strengths. I had a friend in high school who wrote in my senior year book that I would make an awesome wife and mom someday, and while that was a really weird thing for him to write, I think that he was very right. The words he wrote seem to come to me a random times and I often wonder why. I try and be patient and trust that God has a plan for my life that includes what I desire, but sometimes it's hard. Especially when it seems like everyone around me has what I want and I'm left out of this wonderful experience. Several of my friends have started to have children, and that makes it even harder. I love children and seem to have a natural ability to relate to them. I worked in the nursery for several years at church, and loved to just hold them and watch them play. As happy as I am for my friends that are married and starting families, I have to fight the jealousy and "why not me" questions that often fill my thoughts. I hope and pray that someday soon I will get the chance to enter the role where I truly feel I can live in my strengths. For now though, I will keep plugging away in the ER and using my abilities to help the people that I see there.