In Sunday School today I had an "AH HA!" moment. I love those moments when God speaks to you through his word and older and wiser people and in the great socratic method that's apt to be used when (not if-but when) he leads you to the conclusions that you've been wanting and waiting for.
We were going through the first 4-5 verses of the book of James and part of Hebrews chptr. 12. I've been so focused on my identity in God (which is important don't get me wrong) that I had convienently ignored whether the pursuit of medicine was God's calling in my life. This makes me back up and take back something that I said that was wrong in a previous post-I said that I didn't believe medicine was some esoteric calling but rather just a JOB. I have to admit that I'm wrong and perhaps by my making such a vehement blanket statement I was the proverbial osterich putting her head in the sand out of fear of failure. Fear of failure in Bio. and Chem., fear of failure of getting into medical school, fear of it not happening on the time scale I thought it should happen. By reducing medicine to a job I reduced it to a series of hoops to be jumped through rather than something deserving of the grave and awesome respect and work that it requires. Do I think practicing medicine is by and large a romantic profession? No, it involves a lot of stinky stuff and bureaucratic tedium, does that make it any less of a calling? I'm adamently realizing no it doesn't.
Well in the book of James it talks about the consideration of affliction and to take joy in the many trials of life. Consideration is a thinking activity and a concious choice. I've come, I believe, pretty much full circle on this joy in affliction thing as described in a previous post in this diary. I also have learned that we don't have be joyous about the affliction rather we are to be joyous about the end result of a stronger faith and the perseverent character building that happens when allowed. The huge "AH-HA" moment came when we were talking about the dirty little trials hidden in our lives that we don't share with anyone-sometimes we don't even share them with ourselves-this is denial. My deep-down dirty little trial that I have to deal with in my life is "FEAR" (despite my own protestations to the contrary). Everytime it seems I've gone out on a limb to pursue anything of worth in my life it has been interrupted with illness and hospital stays; my wedding, my bach. graduation, my choosing of a life's profession all those things that should happen in your 20's as a healthy adult were interrupted repeatedly for me. The thought of being called by God into a healing profession requiring a decade's worth of studying and training was obviously repugnent deep down to me. What me God go to medical school? You've got to be kidding-I've just begun to heal physically, emotionally, and spiritually and you want me back out on the game field? I had to realize it wasn't about ME enjoying health and predictability in my life that my health and predictability as a Christian woman were to be given to God for His use. It was a struggle of fear-will I survive this? . . . and of self "I don't feel like getting back out on the field to risk being dog-piled thank you very much!" The huge part of the "AH-HA" moment was God gently nudging me to the rational realization of the fact that we (we being God and myself) did in fact accomplish everything set before me-it just didn't happen like I thought it should or when I thought it should . . . this is how I will be forced to face the rest of my under-grad pre-reqs and medical school and ultimately residency and fellowship, one semester, one week, one day, one class at a time, confident that I won't get through it by myself but with God next to me and carrying me along. I need to cast off my garment of fear and run the swift and efficient race to which I've been called so that I can be as healthy as possible in body, mind and spirit otherwise my future patients will be faced with a crippled and broken doctor.
Well Chemistry class was a study in human nature if nothing else. I got to class a few minutes early and took stock of my future classmates in the room. I know it's wrong to pre-judge people but there are some personalities I don't want to surround myself with by choice.
I chose not to sit by the nest of 19 year-olds who were talking about how tired they were after working a six hour shift and many exclamations of "Oh my GAWD!" when one confessed her slave-driver boss had her working ANOTHER 4 hour shift the very next day (when was she going to fit in her tanning-I promise you this was an actual conversation).
The next group I cruised included older men probably in the 40-50 range. It's been my experience in the past that these guys are notorious professor hiney kissers. One of them didn't "meet in the middle"-for those of you that don't know what I'm talking about his shirt did not meet his pants. I didn't want to be stuck with a lab partner wondering constantly if he was going to walk out of lab with singed belly hair!
There was one older lady who looked very tired and cranky I really didn't need that . . . which left one group.
The clique of international students. This group is definitely for me!! They have superior math skills to most American students, they have excellent work ethics and their limited english keeps conversation to a minimum so we can get work done. I love my little group and have met Phuong and Lara and befriended them pretty easily. I found my Chemistry buddies!!! Yeaaa!!
My professor is quite a different matter I think she's had excessive mercury exposure. This woman (in her early 60's at least) giggles a lot when speaking with this absolutley perfect southern drawl-maybe I'm being cynical and she's just a happy person generally but after awhile it seemed a little twilight-zoney for my taste. Also I thought I was a TYPE A personality but I have absolutely nothing on this woman. I have to buy a specific notebook, with specific dividers, and specific divider pockets (seperate from the previous looseleaf dividers) and a certain notebook paper to take notes on. This seemed a little overboard to me but I will comply cheerfully because there are certain parts of these notebooks we can use for quizzes . . . I'm all about that! I'm just not used to being told how to organize my work so this will probably be a learning and humbling experience for me. It just made me feel like I was Junior High again.
Well we watched a video where we learned not to cap test-tubes or beakers we heated, don't add water to acids and if in need of the emergency shower we are to strip naked immediately and get rinsed off-I could only picture "doesn't meet in the middle guy" and nearly giggled myself.
After signing a contract that promised I wouldn't administer first aid to myself, solemnly swore to wear goggles always and forever and not ingest any of my experiments I became an honest to goodness Chemistry student.
I have biology tonight and my professor is male (I prefer male professors). We'll see how that one goes. I get to buy my textbooks tomorrow morning and join the campus fitness center. Now that I've proved to my doctors that I can indeed gain weight (sometimes difficult with Crohn's doing what it wants with your body) it's time to take it off. I will no longer stash a 24 ct box of Coke at my desk once this one is gone and no more Sonic corndogs for breakfast! I will reform and do better!! :goodvibes:
I have a bunch of neat projects coming my way and my dilemma will be staying focused on school for now. I had a great talk with Dr. K over lunch today and he was very encouraging of my goals. He also told me that getting a residency position in a university hospital will make me much more marketable and competitive-that will definitely be something I strive for. :crossfingers:
Now Biology class is just way cool!!! We will have the opportunity to dissect in class various animals, eyeballs, and brains. Once upon a time this might've grossed me out but quite frankly those are the labs I'm most looking forward to!
As far as my professor is concerned he's a pretty cool guy-looks like a hippie in preppy clothing and has a great sense of humor. My eyes are bad so I sit up at the front of the class and this made me the inevitable target of a lot of questioning last night. I was the last one to make it to the lab after a break so I didn't have much chance to be choosy about my lab partners like Chemistry the night before but my table is by far the most fun table. There's Diana, Cheryl, Thuong, and William. We were the first table done with our assignment last night (my upper level math served the group well) and were labled the "smart" table by the professor then we got a little noisy talking and comparing professors and were then labled the "rowdy" table (I think we're the smart-rowdy table). Apparently the table we were sitting at in the corner has a reputation from previous classes of being less than stellar in performance so the fact that we were done far quicker than the other groups with right answers threw poor Prof. B for a loop. My table mates are an interesting bunch, one is a massage therapist and licensed hypnotist, the two boys are wanting to go to nursing school (good for them my favorite all-time nurse ever at St. Luke's Hosp. was a an old Navy guy) and Diana is still deciding what she wants to do and is really sharp. This will definitely be a good class! :boggled:
Well I'm writing this from the nurses' station at the hospital still and wanting to go home. It's amazing how in one quick phone call your plans for a week can change.
My DH and I were out Friday night and I complained of some abd. pain but let it go after we got home, got a hot shower and climbed into bed for the night. I woke up Sat. morning with the same type of stabbing pain but blamed ot on hunger and/or gas and went to breakfast with DH and packed my bag for our study date we'd made. We went to the downtown branch of the main library and I was studying biology (interestingly enough reading about viruses as legions of homeless people were hacking and coughing all around us-I can only imagine that the paranoia of illness gets worse from here on) and muist have been making funny faces because DH leaned over and whipered if I was OK. I nodded that I was OK but a little hungry (this pain must be gas or something) and we left to eat at D'Bronx-my favorite little deli with the best chicken pargimana sandwich. I barely kept it down and DH insisted that I go home and rest to figure out if the pain would be alright. Now what isn't being said or mentioned is how well I've been doing for the last 3.5 mos and my Crohn's is probably the closest it's ever been to remission-so there's no way I could be "really" sick. We went home and I got undressed and laid flat on the bed and noticed that the left side of my abd. was swollen and extremely tender to the touch. I started to quietly freak out because the only thing on the left side of my body is my stoma and I just had visions of nasty obstructions or abcesses. I took my temperature and it was normal so I finally gave in and did what I should've done 24 hours earlier and called the GI doctor on call who instructed me to go the Emergency Room.
When I presented to the ER they ordered the usual and customary tests that are so familiar with me. A CBC, Metabolic Panel, KUB and CT Abd/Pelv. the recurring theme that night that was different than other visits however was "Could you be pregnant?". I encouraged them to do any tests that would put their minds at ease but knew I wasn't pregnant-that would've been to easy. I had a gut feeling (ironic since most of my guts have been surgically removed ) that something was really wrong. My KUB was negative and labs were realtively normal for me and they postponed the CT until the next day so that I could be prophalactically medicated for Iodine contrast. They admitted me and I got to my room 3:30 am Sunday morning. I was stunned I knew seomthing was wrong but was admission really necessary? Dr. U came by the next day to explain that I would be getting my CT later that afternoon and my mom was visiting when he came around to check me out. I was wracking my brain for what could be wrong with me . . . I wasn't dehydrated, no abcess that we could tell, not obstructed, maybe adhesions? Dr. U admitted that could be a possibility and told mom and I that he anticipated a negative CT and my question of course was if it's negative can I go home tomorrow? He wisely ignored that question.
Later tht night my nurse came by and said she got the results from the CT and she needed to talk to me about treatment. I've been around the block a few times and know it's never good when the nurse tells you your test results-they almost always make you wait for your doctor the next day so I knew something was up and really wrong. She told me Dr. U had called and wanted to start me on Heparin because I had a blood clot in my left renal vein. I started to cry I was scared. I wasn't scared because I had a clot (I've had multiple DVT, PE, etc. this was old hat) I was scared because it involved my kidney. I've seen a dear friend at work lose her kidneys and endure dialysis and two failed transplants and the pain and suffering inherent in renal failure seemed to be of a whole different magnitude than anything I'd experienced with Crohn's. My prayer right that moment was "Dear God-Anything but my kidneys". I felt stupid and angry that I had been feeling symptomatic since last Thursday/Friday and thought I'd wait to call my doctor until the following Monday (the pain was the only thing that drove me to call sooner) to be checked out. I swore if I lost a kidney I wouldn't forgive myself. I cried and cried and my poor dear nurse tried to comfort me the best she knew how. Comfort for me meant that I want to see the radiology report for myself-I wanted to know-where exactly this clot was, how big it was, I wanted to know the potential for diffrential diagnosis, anything to make it manageable and true. She couldn't do this for me but could only carry out Dr. U's orders and reassure me that he would be around the next day to explain it all to me.
Dr. U came around after Dr. B (my resident) came to check on me and told me he had spoken to Dr. Y (she's one of favorites-reminds me of two of favorite rads here at work-Dr.D is pretty cool to at SLHP-he laughs at my dumb jokes)in radiology- Dr. Y he said would come up to talk to me about a procedure to "blast away the clot with TPA under angiography". There was concern about thinned blood and any incidental ulcers from my Crohn's bleeding profusely but I wasn't terribly worried about that-it wasn't my Crohn's that was active and if it was there are blood transfusions (having had several we learned my husband is A+ like me and is my own personal donor-when we made vows to take each other and cleave as flesh of my flesh it had so much deeper meaning with his blood running through me). Dr. Y explained it to me and then said that she would send for me after her 12 noon biopsy-these people move fast. I asked for a central line because at this point they were barley getting my IV's to last 4-5 hours and there are lab draws all night in the ICU while the angiograpy catheter stayed in me and the veins in my feet were giving out. She placed a rt IJ line at my request-my arms are lost causes-it's either an IJ line or subclavian at this point-either one was fine with me. My usual fears of thromboses weren't justified in my mind being on all these blood thinners and infection didn't bother me because I only needed it for a few days. She began to give me the twilight sedation and began the procedure. I kept telling her I was nervous and I think she kept sedating me but I was so out of it I couldn't get it out of my mouth to tell to stop the sedation - I was nervous but wanted to watch what was going on. I fought sedation and watched the most beautiful procedure unfold. They found the pesky clot and the fact I have two renal veins on the left side which is probably the reason for normal BUN and CR results. She tried to remove it but decided on plan B to leave the catheter in and send me to ICU for the night and we'd recheck it the next morning.
I have always hated ICU more than anything. You have no control real or deluded in that place but my nurse in ICU was a doll - B.J. she was a good nurse and friend-it also didn't hurt that I was her only patient for the night-I was spoiled. At one point in the evening she brought in a friend to "scooch" me up in my bed (couldn't move my right leg at all per Dr.Y) and I joked that that was the first time my granny panties and been turned into a thong in one swift motion :laughing: .
The next day Dr. Y found it had been dissolved -laying there at night I was struck with how much this procedure resembled a game of "Astroids". The TPA pump fired a shot every minute or so that sounded like a cap gun and made me jump until I got used to it.
I resigned myself to the fact that I was stuck here for a few days and started to crack my books open to study and take my mind off of things. Dr. A called Thursday right as I was starting to wallow in self-pity and feeling antsy about getting out. He has the inevitable effect of cheering me up and told me he would be around the next day on rounds and evaluate me for discharge. WOOO HOOOOO!! Dr. A ROCKS!!! knowing that I was going to be busting this popsicle joint I slept like a baby that night. I tried to conn him into doing some of my homework but he explained if he didn't do his 14 yo son's homework he wasn't about to do mine -can't blame a girl for trying . . . we also caught up on my current reading list which has included just about everything Dinesh D'Souza has written-very inspiring writer BTW.
I don't know that there's much else to add other than the day ofter I was discharged I was found to be the proud owner of ovarian cysts-I have a new found sympathy for my patients-these buggers are NOT fun.
This has been my first day back to work and school and it has been an emotional roller-coaster.
I bawled like a baby on my way to work - I didn't wanna go . . . and bawled when my mom called to check on me, bawled in the girls room after Dr. N offered kind words and encouragement at the lunch table . . . bawled because the Coke machine was empty and I was forced to drink Pepsi. You get the idea :tired: