31 March 2011

Homeward Bound again.

In the quiet misty morning
When the moon has gone to bed
When the sparrows stop their singing
I'll be homeward bound again.

Then the wind will set me racing
As my journey nears its end
And the path I'll be retracing
When I'm homeward bound again.

I still can't answer why the death of our patient last week bothered me as much as it did. I've seen death before. I've watched my own family members die. And I'd never had sorrow quite like that. I still can't answer why I was blessed to come back to work so early, to experience this call.

A week ago, she began retracing her steps. Tomorrow, she will be laid to rest. She is Homeward bound again. At the end of the day, how can I be sad about that? She is homeward bound again. I don't have sorrow for her. I hurt for her family, for her friends. for the facility staff. for us.

But despite the pain, there is joy.

The sure provisions of my God

Attend me all my days.
O may Thy house be my abode,
And all my work be praise.

There would I find a settled rest,
While others go and come.
No more a stranger nor a guest,
But like a child at home.

So while her family lays her to rest, tomorrow. I'll be at the Temple. A place where I found settled rest.
I am grateful for those Tender Mercies. I am grateful for the knowledge of this life eternal.

I am blessed.

27 March 2011

The Return!

Well, my first shift back was... memorable. I am so grateful, and so excited to be back. I can also say that this shift was easily the most difficult shift I've ever had.

The first day was so good. One transfer, nothing else exciting went down, we met a lovely lady who was very nice. We woke up once at night to do a long(er) transfer of a psych patient, who was genuinely crazy-pants, but a very friendly and cooperative, albeit talkative crazy-pants.

A tone dropped in the early hours of the morning for a fire, which we didn't have to go with on, gratefully. I was tired. Soon thereafter, a transfer came in. It was an urgent to go to a local nursing home. Our dispatch information was "hypoxia with difficulty breathing." Mind you, we're being asked by the facility/insurance to come in non-emergent (which means not lights and sirens) and what's more, we had half an hour to respond.

We get there and our patient is sick. Clearly, sick. A slight nose bleed was all the untrained eye would see. To us, we saw pale, cyanotic, terror. She knew she was going to die. We feared it. A few short minutes later confirmed what we already suspected, we were racing against time. Paperwork dictated that she did not want any extraordinary measures taken to preserve her life.

Soon, she was coughing copious amounts of dried blood from her lungs.
Time to go... Now
As we transferred her from her bed to ours, something changed.
We began fastening the safty belts and she grasped my wrist firmly in her hand. "Help me... please" she whispered.
"We're going to do everything we can for you, okay dear? Now don't you worry now! You're in good hands." I tried to console. Then it happened. Her jaw clenched and her eyes closed.
No visible breathing. No palpable coratid pulse. DNR in hand. We were done.

I prayed for comfort for my partner and I, for the staff, for her roommate, and for her family. I prayed a lot. And yet I struggled. How can it be that I was blessed to come back 4 weeks early, just to have my heart ripped up with this call. In all accounts, this is considered a tame call. We were bound by the law to not work this arrest. That means the loss wasn't ours. It was the laws. right?
Still, I watched a daughter, a grandmother, a mother, a friend, a sister, a person a child of God suffer. In a way I hope I never have to suffer.

We win some, we lose some. Thursday, we lost.

I can't say whether we could have saved her or not, had we been legally permitted to try. I couldn't tell you if any attempts would or would not have bene in vain. That's not my place to make that statement.

I know that peace and comfort are available when it's requested.
I may not know why I was blessed to come back to work for this shift. But I do know that He knows, and I can't ask for much more than that. I trust Him. I choose faith over fear. I choose faith over tears. He knows why I needed to be there for that call, I trust that it will give me experience and be for my good.

I am grateful for the Plan of Happiness. I'm grateful to know that this isn't the end. How hopeless life would be to not have that knowledge.

Still, this isn't a call I'm likely forget anytime soon. I wish I could have done more.

23 March 2011

"the invisibility booster must be faulty!"

That chair is laced with a sleeping potion. This became apparent when I learned that there are magical folk lurking, I'm onto you, wizards of station 1. I'm onto you....
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22 March 2011

The Great Return!

Well! I made it! I'm going back to work in the morning! And I couldn't be happier! I am so so excited! I love that I get to go do the ambulance thing again.

But you know what? I've learned something important over the last 9 weeks. I am not defined by what I do. Sure, I'm an EMT. I love my job. I love that I get to be around people all the time, and it's one of those jobs where I really get a chance to make a difference. To matter. To somebody. But that's not WHO I am. If my job ended tomorrow, I'd be upset, probably pretty devastated. But, I am more than an EMT.

It's funny, I had a partner a while back that would sit and talk with me about some pretty deep things. (He and I used to have some awesome debates) and we discussed how the worst trials end up being the best blessings. And I always forget that when I'm going through the trial. But then after, I realize how essential it was to changing me. And I'm all for changing, so long as it's for the best.
I cursed my luck after my knee injury. I was stressed and worried and upset and about a million other emotions, most of them not so pleasant. It was a huge trial of faith.
Trust. That is something I don't do. For anyone really. It's just how it is. It's who I am. I'm always determined to make it on my own. These last 9 weeks have been a real challenge to let go of a lot of that pride to really figure out who I am. And you know what, I wouldn't trade a second of it! I am so grateful for the last 9 weeks, for the time it's taken me to learn who I am, and to grow closer to my Father in Heaven, to grow closer to my family. It's been a blessing indeed.

And blessing that I'm back to work 3-4 weeks early! What!!
I have been blessed, with more than I deserve!

16 March 2011

Fear, faith and insurance policies

What a stressful day today has been... I did really poorly in PT. Really poorly. I made it through about a quarter of my exercises before my physical therapist demanded that I stop. Discouraged and embarassed by my unexplained inability to finish my 45 minute exercise, I limped home. I scowled at the world, there is no way to pass the lift test if it goes at all like physical therapy today. All day I've held onto that poor disposition. why?
I go tomorrow to get the official clearance to go back to work, and made several phone calls to ensure the possibiltiy of returning to work a total of 4 weeks early!
This means I've already been put back on the schedule, whoch means that my replacement emt has already been scheduled elsewhere. people are relying on my return. Not to mension the pride of returning so much earlier, it's quite the conundrum.
Then I walked in the door, just to have to deal with the drama of insirance policies and medical bureaucracy.

All that being said, I choose faith over fear, faith over uncertainty. I love that with faith, you don't have to have all the answers, you just trust that everything will work out the way the way it needs to work out. If I'm not supposed to be back, I won't pass. If I am, simply, I will.

Still,if I do fail, there will be lots of cookie dough in my immediate future..
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08 March 2011

Tender Mercies

What a series of Tender Mercies, the last 7 weeks have been! It seems there were blessings flowing from every corner!

So, I had surgery on the 18th of January. After the disaster that was the first attempt at surgery, I woke up the morning of the 18th really frightened. No kidding, my knees shook.
I knew my family was coming so I offered a silent prayer, asking for strength to follow Elder Edgley in this last General Conference address, which stated:

                "... So I say, choose faith over doubt, choose faith over fear, choose faith over the unknown and unseen, and choose faith over pessimism ..."

I wanted to choose faith over fear, though it was difficult. A feeling I can't quite translate into words gently eased the knots of fear, and the dread in the pit of my stomach with a reassuring peace. Things would be okay.

As I, and my pack of supporters appeared at the hospital, I had no more fear, some anxiety over the cost, but no fear over the procedure. I knew I had work to do, so I wouldn't die in surgery. I made it through almost the entire pre-op stay without versed or valium (now I don't remember what was given, I'm thinking the former..) as the tech wheeled me back, and I bid farewell to my family, I offered another silent prayer, this time, not for fear, but for the surgeons to have steady hands and skill. (And to please not sneeze with scalpel in my knee!)
I moved over to the other bed and asked the tech to hold my hand until I was under, which he willingly did.

Before I knew what had happened, I was opening my eyes and the ET tube was being pulled from my trachea (I'd never woken up before that point in any of my previous surgeries. Weird experience and really unpleasant. I don't recommend it!)
I raised my hand, incase the open eyes and coughing weren't enough to alert the staff to my consciousness.

Before long, my surgeon came to my bedside, still heavy on the narcotics (yay dilaudid!) I asked the only 2 questions that seemed important at the time.
"Did you intubate or use an LMA?" I croaked past the dry throat.
From a far off land, I heard him laugh. "We intubated."
I pondered that for a moment, giving my dignified response of: "Oh... what tube size am I?"

EMT through and through, I guess (size 6, if you're wondering)

Before long techs and nurses were at my side, instructing me to take fuller breaths and to not fall asleep because I would forget to breath.
Though most of the hour long post-op experience is fuzzy and almost entirely nonexistant in my memory I'm told that time and time again, when asked if I needed/wanted anything I simply asked for
"just my mom, please?"
"She can't come back here" I was told apparently.
Believing this was because they believed we would cause a ruckus where others too, had just returned from the OR, I replied: "She'll be real quiet, and I'm sleeping most of the time, anyway."
"No, it's for the other patients' privacy" they told me.
"Oh..." I considered this for a few moments. "She can wear earmuffs!"
The nurses laughed and said they would see what they could do.
Within moments, I was informed "If you can stay awake and keep your SATs above 90, you can go to recovery and see your mom."
I was hooked. I sat up and forced my eyelids open, not really seeing much. I opened my mouth, imagining trying to shove a giant cheeseburger in (hey, I was hungry!) and breathed as open-mouthed as possible. In no time, a gentleman, whose name I never actually listened to, appeard by my bed.
"Alright, we're going to move you to this chair instead of the bed." He told me, stepping back to allow me to traverse the 4 foot drop, swing around and land in this chair, while having narcotics onboard, a knee in a brace bigger than life and connected to Oxygen.
"I'm not sure I can do that. Can I just take the whole bed with me?" I asked. eyeing the floor. "That's an awful far way to fall.." By then, I was sitting on the side of the bed.
Post-op man easily gave me an awkward bear hug, pulled me onto my good leg, swung me around and put me in the chair.
Huh, easier than I thought....

Recovery was a short endeavor. I was home within a few hours of there. And proceeded to sleep for almost 3 days straight.

My surgeon instructed me that with the total ACL tear with the patellar-tendon graft, I shouldn't walk for 5-7 days, yet with the miniscus tear I was also sporting, I should walk within 2-3 days.
4 days later, I was down to one crutch and a week or so after that, I was down to a cane, which I used for a few short days before I ditched them all.

By the time I got to physical therapy, I was told that I was 2 weeks ahead of schedule and was making steady progress.

By the halfway mark (6 weeks, which was last week) I was informed by my surgeon that under no circumstances should my knee be as strong as it is today, that the strength and amount of healing and grafting between my knee and new ACL, wasn't usually seen until 10-12 weeks. After that he stated simply, "you can go back to work in 2 weeks."
So, I will take the physical Agility test on Friday the 18th and hopefully be back on tour that next tour.

If that's not a Tender Mercy I don't know what is!
I have been blessed.
Although, I have to say. I LOVE my shift, I love the people I work with, I love the 48s. I don't love the rotating part, something I've grown quite fond of, is attending all my meetings consecutively. It's been great. That's something I will miss. I'll have to miss 2 sundays a month. Plus choir and Institute and FHE. That'll be hard to get used to, but things will work out. I have faith.

Speaking of choir, we're singing a song by Janice Kapp Perry that makes me cry everytime we sing it, it's called I Marvel at the Miracle, and here are the lyrics

I marvel at the miracle

Of God’s great love for me
I try but cannot comprehend
And ask how this could be
For I had left behind my God
And lost my way through sin
Still God loved me and sent His son
To lead me back to Him

I wearied of my weaknesses
And trials fill my days
I cried out, bore my burdens far
Is there no other way
He said I give man weaknesses
And if they come to me
I give them strength to overcome
And I will make them free
I pled with God to shed his grace
And take away my sin
He did and yet I turned away
And stumbled once again
At last I knelt before his throne
And offered him my soul
He wept and gave it back to me
Renewed and washed and whole

I wonder at the grace divine
And power to redeem
That Christ alone could overcome
And change eternity
My thanks can not sufficient be
My praise is incomplete
For all I gave, my debt remains
God’s great gift to me