affirmation

Jun. 7th, 2008 12:30 pm
jcd1013: (Med - Medical tools)
The sun peaks through the heavy clouds, shining through the large bay window of the neurology physicians work room. The room, as always, is bursting with people. Dr. Peltier is rounding with her team; they have just admitted a new patient who has been a diagnostic mystery--an illness that not only is causing neurologic deficits, but GI complaints as well. The team is discussing what tests should be ordered: labs for vitamin deficiencies for sure, but should they repeat the MRI and spinal tap or get an EMG? Would a biopsy serve any purpose?

Around the computers, the neuro ICU team clusters. A patient had been transferred from an outside hospital because of a head bleed. The patient is surprisingly stable with no deficits (alert, oriented, pleasantly conversant and able to move all extremities), a different picture than the transferring team had painted. The images show the real truth: a tiny little speck of intracranial blood from where the patient had hit their head--something that would resolve on its own, requiring no intervention and needed nothing more than closer observation for a few hours. The team is disappointed, not only because of the lost opportunities for procedures and action (for real head bleeds are usually the sickest patients we admit), but because now they had to write orders to transfer the patient out of the ICU--when they had just written the orders to admit.

I sit on the window seat, conversing with Dr. Lynch, the neuro ICU attending who had quickly lost interest in the CT images. He's my favorite attending and I've got a bit of a hero-worship crush on him. He's three-fourths of the reason that I'm considering a career in critical care--I admire his calm demeanor in stressful situations, the relaxed yet structured rounds, the evidence based approach the patient care, and his endless supply of random bits of knowledge. Today, the conversation diverges from discussion of a patient who had had another stroke to the origin and extraction of heparin and its antagonist protamine. It's a fascinating history lesson on 2 drugs that I've used commonly and had no idea how exactly they worked. I wonder if I'll ever have half the knowledge that he does. He teases me to remember this conversation so that in years to come, I'll be able to pimp my residents about it.

The conversations circle around me and I look around at all my colleagues, my friends, my teachers and a feeling of peace settles over me. I gripe so much about the endless paperwork and documentation, the senseless protocols and mandates, the increasingly demanding and ungrateful patients, the ridiculous phone calls in the middle of the night, the sometimes long and exhausting hours, and so forth, that it's nice to have these moments of confirmation. There have been times, many, many times over the past two years that I have regretted my decision to go into medicine, times when I wish that I had a time machine and could go back and warn 20-year-old me to think more seriously about pursuing a career in creative writing or genetic engineering or becoming a bum. But now, looking around the room, I realize again that this, this is the place for me, the profession for me, the life for me and I wouldn't change a moment of it.

***

It was the medicine department graduation last night. I almost didn't go--because of my failed camping trip last weekend, I was determined to take off last night. The thunderstorms put an end to that plan, so I dusted off my google maps and went to the ceremony instead. It was a good decision.

Several of my friends graduated last night, friends who were my senior residents when I started as an intern and who guided me in patient care. Jenn graduated, done with her 5 years of residency. I met her when I interviewed for the program two and a half years ago and she's the reason that I chose to do the crazy combination of two residencies in one, because she was doing it and was thriving. She rallied for me, told the program to pick me, and for that I'll be forever grateful.

The program was great and I had a blast. I stayed out late and chatted and caught up with all of my friends (and some of the conversations weren't even about medicine as well!). Now I've got to decide whether or not to go to the Neurology graduation this Friday. Normally, I'd just go, but my church is having a barbeque and a dance that night and there's a good chance a certain fellow will be there...
jcd1013: ('puter - meh)
I'm starting to wonder if I'm clinically depressed. Funny, me as a doctor, not knowing whether I should diagnose myself.

I went to a dinner tonight for women in med school and sat on a panel, listening to the other residents give advice such as: "it's easy to exercise in residency, you just have to make it a priority," "dating and socializing in residency is essential, you just have to make it a priority," and "you can easily be married, have kids, spend quality time with family, you just have to make it a priority." I think I was the only one who was rolling eyes, I do not think that word means what you think it means.

Then it was advice on interviewing and selecting programs. Most of the panel suggested that trying to interview for two different specialties was "not wise" and it made you appear indecisive. I chimed in about how I had applied for three different specialties (medicine, neurology and med/neuro) and how it didn't hurt me. Then there was the advice of what to ask the programs. One woman stated that she asked the residents if they were happy "and if there was a pause, she thought again about the program." At this point, another resident looked over at me and started snickering because I had been ranting about my awful day of painfully long rounding wards, my whole slew of whiny, crazy patients, the difficulties of being a scut intern again and how much I hated dictating, etc. etc. So I piped up again, and stated that all residents have bad days and if they state with a Pollyanna smile of how overjoyed they were, they were lying (okay, I didn't say it that strongly).

I'm having a rough time right now. I'm a little bit sleep deprived because I'm not sleeping well. I'm frustrated at work, because the majority of our patient lists have nothing wrong with them, besides what's going on in their heads and are thwarting my every effort to get them home or to rehab or to wherever. My attending collects patients, so we can dawdle at every bedside. I've been arguing blatantly with my attending so we can make some progress. We round FOREVER. I'm going to be with this same attending for the next 10 days (kill me, please). The ER staff is driving me nuts with their inability to perform even a simple neuro exam. I'm tired of admitting patients every single day. There has been some nice moments, like today when I spent over a half an hour, explaining a procedure to a patient and her husband, really getting the chance to explain the risks and benefits and answer all of their questions. I like that. I just wish that I could convince somebody to rediagnose her and figure out what's really going on, because I hate that I'm not doing anything to make her get better.

I'm lonely. I do have my friends from church, but I only get to see the once a week... if I'm lucky enough to make it to church. I haven't talked to my best friend from med school--the guy I saw every day for nearly two years, the guy I talked to every week for our last two years of med school and my intern year--for more than 10 minutes for 4 months. I haven't seen him in 4 months. I have no idea what's going on with him. And let's not even mention the last time I talked to Liz or Sam. The visit to see Susan and her beautiful family seems so long ago now. I think that this disconnect is what's bothering me the most; I need to pick up the phone and just call... but I haven't been able to. In this funk, all of my insecurities have been wrecking havoc to my brain.... they haven't call me, obviously, they don't care as much as you thought they did.

I was going to mope more, but I need sleep. The next post is going to be happy. I swear. Even if I have to go digging for pictures of baby polar bears again, it'll be happy.

I'm disabling comments. I don't want anybody to feel obliged to try to cheer me up; this is what they call catharsis. I think.
jcd1013: (WTP - pooh sticks)


In a Past Life...



You Were: A Redhead Warrior.



Where You Lived: Central Africa.



How You Died: Consumption.



I like this meme. It only asks one question. I can do those. :)

(The song was a random iTunes choice as well)

I went out to dinner with my friend Erika, who is having a much worse time (and for more legitimate issues) than I, which helped getting me out of my funk. We had Indian food, which I swear, makes everything better. I, of course, had the chicken tikka masala, which is the perfect comfort food, creamy and savory. Afterwards, we came back and watched Enchanted which was almost enough to get me out of my cynical mood. I am supremely jealous of Amy Adams' long, gorgeous, vibrant red hair. *frowns at hair that's becoming more strawberry blond every day* I loved all of her dresses, except for her ball gown, which was a lovely shade of purple, but the bodice was all kinds of ugh.

I then finished my day by watching Doctor Who that featured another gorgeous red head (I didn't like Donna's hair the past episode, the bangs and style made her face seem square; today's was perfect), and she was wearing a toga in that same shade of purple! I loved this episode. cut for mild spoilers )

Stake conference in the morning. I should get up early so I could sing in the choir. but *eyes clock* somehow I don't think that's going to happen.

Oh, and my semi annual review went mostly well. They still not threatening to kick me out of the program, which is a good thing (except they brought up my license application which still hasn't been processed and the non-flexible deadline of July 1st and it's making me nervous all over again. I'm spending all next week on the phone next week to get some idea of what's going on). My interns apparently had very nice things to say about me as the senior resident, which rather shocked me, because I thought I did horrible trying to find this niche between autonomy and making sure the patient care took place. Neuro boss's only complaint with me was running behind in clinic and he's still planning on sitting in on some of my visits to figure out what's wrong. But Med boss defended me, stating that my performance was similar to the resident clinic on the medicine service as a second year, which made me feel a little better.

I don't have any call for over a week; I'm really hopeful that maybe this weekend, Chris and I can meet up. I'm sure something will conspire to make it not happen.
jcd1013: (Write - pen words)
Hi family members!

Welcome to my blog! I think some of you have been reading this for a while now (and not commenting), but if not, glad to have you around. I've kept an online journal for the past 4 years, so if you are interested, there's plenty of old archives to waste your time reading.

I am curious, of who exactly is reading my journal. So, family, friends, countrymen singe men, wanna just click on that little link that says "free your tongue" and tell me who you are. Consider this your guestbook. :)

*loved*

Feb. 27th, 2008 11:50 pm
jcd1013: (LOTR - Hands of a Healer)
You know you have really really good friends when they call you up to say that they want to see you on your day off...and they are coming over with cleaning supplies and expect to be put to work.

My kitchen, bathroom and living room looks fabulous. Still have laundry to do, but will have fresh scrubs to wear tomorrow.

*loves*

So glad that this month is over. It has been difficult and frustrating in many ways that I could have never predicted. I liked my interns individually but we never became a team, and I really struggled with how to improve things. I was in change of 15-20 patients every day, we rarely seemed to make any progress in discharges, and I think I set the record for the number of patients transferred to the unit (12). I was rarely done and home before 7 pm...when my interns usually left by 5, I was still there making sure everything had gotten done.

Tomorrow will be met with a new set of challenges: new interns and students, new hopsital, new system, new rules, (and I get to start by being on call! Yay!) but I'm glad to get a fresh start on things. Plus, all of the other residents keep teasing me with promises of work days ending by 3 pm, and that sounds unbelievably alluring.

Night all.

lazy days

Dec. 3rd, 2007 10:04 pm
jcd1013: (FTB - In Trouble)
I woke up late for this morning. I was so exhausted after my shoveling efforts that when I finally went to bed (Erika invited me over for dinner and to decorate her Christmas tree. We watched Pride and Prejudice (the 1995 version of course) and ate really really good food. Worth being extra tired), I slept through both of my alarm clocks and woke up at 7:30. I should have been to work at 7. Big, big oops. I threw clothes on and threw myself out the door. WIth teeth unbrushed and hair that had not been washed for two days (remember, I was post call yesterday). Ugh. I managed to snag one of the cheap disposable toothbrushes provided for the patients (I don't know why more of our patients don't leave AMA after we give them those toothbrushes! My gums hurt so badly!) so I didn't overwhelm those in close vicinity. But I still felt gross.

Luckily, we had 1 patient that we had admitted overnight, and didn't round until after 9. After I discharged home that one guy, I slipped away and took a shower in the residents' call rooms, and felt so much better. But seriously, having time to take a shower on an ICU rotation?!? Something is extremely wrong with that scenario! I got all but 1 of my 15 dictations done, though, so that's also good. I have my semiannual review tomorrow with my program directors, so at least I've minimized the chastisement on that. We'll see about the clinic notes and lecture attendance!

Of course, I'm on call again tomorrow. Of the 11 Tuesdays since I got on the neuro rotations in October, I've been on call for 8 of them. Never mind that there are at least 6 other juniors taking call each month. Don't know whether I should bring this up at my interview tomorrow, as it is ultimately the chief resident's responsibility to make the schedule, but this is definitely a good portion of why I've been less than happy on neuro.

On the bright side, I have the next 6 weekends off! That's something to look forward to!

seriously

Nov. 8th, 2007 11:02 pm
jcd1013: (M*A*S*H - party)
Life has been super busy and super boring. I think it's all because super cute intern has moved on to greener pastures and I'm mourning. :( While it may not have been true love, it was definitely TrueLust and made the entire month survivable and entertaining. The intern who replaced him is a girl and therefore not interesting.

CuteIntern's facebook profile reads this: "Custom has made dancing sometimes necessary for a young man; therefore mind it while you learn it, that you may learn to do it well, and not be ridiculous, though in a ridiculous act." Soulmates. Srsly. (Or not).

In more news, I have not talked to DateBoy since said date. I'm thinking about calling DateBoy and inviting him to my house for Thanksgiving dinner, which may be the most forward thing I've ever done. Or not, because I keep changing my mind.

I've put on weight this month because of all of the stress. And the easily available candy at the nurses station. I haven't worked out in a month. So much for the plan to be down ten pounds for Christmas, so I could finally, finally have a vacation without my mother mentioning how unhealthy I look.

I've had some very difficult patients that I've had to deal with that have sucked compassion out of me. I've realized that I hate treating migraines. But to make up for it, I've had 3 of the loveliest patients, including two who have made a romantic out of me again, because they (and their spouses) have proved that true love really exists.

My next day off is Thanksgiving, which happens to be my birthday. I haven't had a day off since the 28th of last month. I get four days off in a row to make up for it. I'm not sure I'm going to be able to come back.

I've been on call every Tuesday except one since the last week in September. Tuesday is clinic day, which means I have to see all of my patients before 8. Since I really shouldn't be in before 7 (therefore, having enough time to go to noon conference the next day and not break the ACGME 30 hour rules), it makes the morning incredibly hectic. What makes them even more fun: all of those Tuesdays, except for one, my team has been post call. So I have to hurry through clinic (where I always get behind), race through lunch, so that I can go upstairs and admit the 3 ER patients, learn about the NICU transfers, follow up on the stuff that the other intern wasn't able to complete, write my own patient notes that I didn't get to do in the morning, discharge the half dozen patients of the intern's (because my patients are all rocks which I collect) and then start getting pages every 30 seconds on 3 different pagers. Yeah, I loathe Tuesdays. Only a year left of clinic!

The best part: I'm still on call every Tuesday until the middle of December. And every weekend except Thanksgiving.

I'm still trying to remember why I loved neurology. I think I need to see David Renner when I go home so that I can be reminded. It's probably pathetic that when prospective interns come and interview here, I end up gushing about Utah more than the program here.

Susan and Bobby and Allison are coming for Thanksgiving. I'll be cooking something delicious, I hope. Should I ask DateBoy or is that really weird? I think I need more furniture if I do.

I spent the evening reading old Gilmore Girls fanfiction. Mostly general stuff, featuring townies, and it made me realize once again what a brilliant, wonderful show it once was.

I'm going to the opera next week with two of my girlfriends, Kristen and Erika. The Merry Widow. I was very excited when I first heard about it, because from the radio ads, it sounded like it was the translation that I fell in love with in high school. Alas, my sleuthing has proven that it is not so (although I think it'll be better than the San Francisco version), but I'm still ecstatic about it. I'm dressing up. I can't wait.

I'm also having a painting party involving my living room next week as well right before the opera. Need to clean the place before before then, I think. And I need to buy paint. And moth balls.

I'm totally addicted to this blog and have wasted away more of my evening reading her archives and laughing so hard I almost started vomiting.

I'm going to be 29 in 2 weeks. And I think that's enough to stop any more random musings.
jcd1013: (M*A*S*H - friendship)
I am doing so much better. :)

I regaled some of my friends with the date story... seriously, had a crowd who were interested in every detail, which launched me into full storyteller in my finest element. Apparently, a date is a rare and special occasion and needs to be details so everybody can live vicariously through the event. All agreed that the outfit was horrible (in the original story, it should have read that he was wearing khaki shorts, not pants. Khaki pants are perfectly acceptable. Shorts on the other hand, are not), but that the guys in our church are lame and don't know how to date, so not to take it personally. In fact, they all seemed pretty impressed that he had accepted the invitation in the first place, as he has a reputation of never dating anyone. Huh. Well, I guess that explains the shorts.

So thus ends the saga. I promise I won't be spamming your flist with any more of my gloom and doom. :) Thanks for the support, in any case.

I'm really making progress in the transferring of this blog to Wordpress. It's a lot of fun going over my old entries. I pruned most months down to just a entry or two; when you get rid of all of my Lord of the Rings squeals, my fanfiction and random memes, I really didn't say much the first years.

The fact that I can edit comments is almost enough to convince me to head over there entirely. I love that I can go through and fix all of my annoying misspellings. But it doesn't have userpics, and it doesn't have threaded replies and it doesn't have *you*. :)

mopes

Jun. 8th, 2007 12:13 am
jcd1013: (XF - Memento mori hug)
It just dawned on me tonight, what I really need to make this week better. Not just a day off (although, I'm enjoying every single minute of my day tomorrow, and not thinking about work one iota). Not just an entire new set of patients (my attending, resident and co-intern hate my patients as well; I at least feel better that I'm not the only one), so that I can feel like I'm helping someone, not fighting the demands of entitled, drug-seeking, whining, not-sick patients. Or better yet no patients, since I'm carrying the entire team (yesterday - 12 patients on team, 10 were mine. Today 9 on team, 8 mine and I had the only admission. *sigh*). Not only more sleep. Not sleeping in (this 5:30 thing is going to kill me).

What I really, really, really need is a hug. A good long embrace, where I can weep a little and rest and recharge in the warm, protective arms of another. And as much as I appreciate the virtual squeezes from all of you, it's just not the same.

It's got to get better. This month has got to get better.
jcd1013: (Eva - Me)
I realize that recently this journal has been rather short on details of my personal life. For that, I apologize.

One of my favorite blogs, Barbados Butterfly was recently taken down. She's a surgical registrar in Australia, and apparently her administration found out about her blog and suspended her for a week. Gossip thinks that it's because she violated patient privacy, my thought is that it's more because she was criticizing the management and the training environment for surgeons. In any case, she's now gone.

It certainly has made me wary about what I've said here in my journal. I've never identified my patients by name or even by disease, but I haven't changed much of the other details, because part of the reason that I keep a journal is to react to those who influence my daily live, for good or bad. I don't think I've crossed any HIPAA rules, but it certainly starts to make one a little more wary. I realize that I'm writing in a public forum; even though it seems so intimate and small, where I feel like I'm writing to my friends, but since most of my posts are public these days, I really know better. And that has curbed my tongue on what I might otherwise express. I'd post it as friends-only, but I know that there are some faithful readers who have yet to join LJ (it's really easy, folks). So instead, I've blabbered on about more frivolous stuff, which I've really enjoyed doing. It's nice escaping a little while into fandom and poetry, avoiding responsibility.

Things in RL haven't been that exciting recently anyhow. RL ramblings )

I've done a little bit of house cleaning with my friends list here as well, removing a few communities and people who have not updated their journal in a very long time or who I've discovered that I had little in common with them. If you were one of those removed and would rather I not, feel free to let me know, it wasn't anything personal. Also, if any of you friended or were friended by me in times past and can't recall why and groan audibly when you see my longwinded posts, by all means, you're welcome to remove me as well and I promise, no hard feelings. :)

And I think that's it. Until next time, folks.
jcd1013: (Everwood-Perfect day Hannah by me)
The year of 2006 is now dead, settled into his grave, as the New Year now takes over reign. But, as is my nature, I could hardly let him go without a eulogy.

Highlights, month by month (with pictures! Lots and lots and lots of pictures) )

The New Year started much as the last one faded away... with going to working and being at the hospital. Cardiology wards--promises to be even more fun and stress.

A Happy New Year to all of my friends. I am so eternally grateful that you have decided to share your lives with me. With your friendship, your love and support, I am enriched and blessed.

*hugs*

ETA: Don't ask me why some of the pictures are different sizes. I didn't do it! And if you're reading this and are one of the featured, and don't want to be, let me know. I'm sure I can dig up lots of monkeys and baboons to use instead. (j/k).
jcd1013: (Default)
You know when you have one of those days where nothing really bad happens, but you still end the day in a very crappy, "get out of my way" mood? Yeah, having one of those today.

I overslept because I forgot to set my alarm yesterday, was so late that I decided it wouldn't hurt to be later, so actually had somewhat of a leisurely morning (10 min shower instead of 5). And nobody was too upset that I was gone--I hadn't missed any important lectures, just one of those cutesy "what color is your personality" tests that ALL conferences must include. Most of today's lectures were interesting, just long, long, long. Third day of 8-5 classes, and I'm dreading the next two days.

My clinic patient called. Again. Fifth time since I saw her a week ago. It's really wearing on all of my sympathies. Note to patient: believe me, I believe and sympathize with your pain; as one who does have chronic pain, I do actually know something of what you are going through. But since you have tried 50 medications in the past several years AND NOTHING HAS HELPED, you can not expect over night improvements from me. I appreciate the trust, but you have to allow some leeway into figuring out what is going on.

I could continue the rant, but I think I'll stop. It gets my blood pressure up.

The parking people called and changed my parking pass to the one that is clear on the other side of the hospital and clinics where I work. (gee thanks) I go to park there today... and the gates won't open. Wonderful.

I can't access the computer programs that I need at the VA where I'm doing classes this week, so trying to fix my above patient's problems is even more fun.

I haven't had a chance to go grocery shopping in over 6 weeks.

I haven't been able to go to the gym in a month.

I probably won't be able to fit into the bridesmaid dress that I paid over $100 to have altered because my weight is skyrocketing because of the stress.

I've spent the last five days working with Chris on his personal statement for residency. It's been slow and painful, trying to edit it and make it sound good and professional, and above all memorable in the right way. He's already freaked out about applying because of some earlier difficulties, and so there's been all this pressure to really make an excellent product.

Last night, we decided to scrap half of what the PS was focused on. I just about cried.

I have friends visiting for this weekend. I haven't been able to clean my house at all. It's a disaster. I'm working on the paper again tonight and still won't have time to clean.

I'm up to two migraines per week. This isn't good.

It's rained for a week straight. Last night, it downpoured. And I discovered that the basement leaks, because the sidewalks and front porch drain towards the house. I don't even want to contemplate how much it's going to cost to fix that.

I'm really missing the sun.

Thanks for letting me get this rant out of the way. It was either whine here or break down in tears. And Michelle was wanting me to update. :)
jcd1013: (Default)
So, per my suggestion, Chris has been keeping a travel blog, which has been great fun reading and "seeing" what he's experiencing (Google has never gotten such a workout before!). Mind you, on his last trips, I was lucky to get an email a week--and most of those were 3 lines long, so this has been a nice change.

I emailed Chris early early Tuesday morning, he responded later that morning (there's a 14 hour time difference), I wrote back and then have commented on virtual every one of his posts. Today I got this whiny email (and I mean that in the nicest way possible) about how everybody's reading his blog and nobody's writing him now. ROFL! I've turned my friend into a comment fiend!! He will never be able to escape the siren lure of the blogging world now!

****
On a side related note... he knows I keep a blog, and now that he has one, I know that I'm going to start getting some questions about it (or he'll start searching for it, which is not hard to find if you know me well). Which is making me nervous. It was hard enough opening up my LJ to the Plethora, but that has actually been really nice--I love knowing that Michelle and AJ and sometimes Liz and whoever else that reads and hasn't told me are keeping up to date with my life (although I still need to do better about writing emails to the Pleth--I'm horribly, unforgivably lazy about that). But opening it up to the person who's been involved in half of the stories and who features prominently in the telling of those stories? Beyond scary. I have no idea how he would react--I don't know how I'm going to react!

For now, I've decided that he's too busy traveling and cavorting to locate my journal, so I can relax for a while... but I'll have to make the decision before I move of whether I'm just going to give him the location...or go through and make everything friends only again (old stuff, new posts would still be mostly public).

****
Both Sam and Susan are in town, which had me giddy with anticipation all last week and I've barely seen either of them. Sus and I were to spend all day Friday and most of Thursday together, but something happened in Chicago and they cancelled all the flights on Thursday, so she didn't come in until later on Friday. We hung out and went to a barbeque, but we didn't really get a chance to do a good heart-to-heart chat that I've been longing for.

Sam, on the other hand, is in the area helping move her mom and as always, with every visit of hers, there's been unexpected drama, this time involving her sister, which meant she left for Idaho much earlier than anticipated, and so I might be lucky to see her tomorrow afternoon as they pull the Uhaul out of town. *mourns*
jcd1013: (Default)
Oh, the Comfort
The Inexpressible comfort of feeling
Safe with a person
Having neither to Weight Thoughts not Measure Words
But pouring them all right out
Just as they are
Certain that a faithful hand will take and
Sift them
And with a Breath of Kindness
Blow the rest Away

~Dinah M. Craik~


To get ready for the family invasion that will happen tomorrow, I've been trying to clean my apartment, which as always has turned into a massive project, since I'm trying to make it a "packing adventure" as well. It's ugly and painful and I don't know when I'm going to get it all done.

I've been going through all of my papers, which since I'm a pack rat is basically everything except for school notes since college--bills, bills, random reminders, med school orientation stuff. Most of it is junk (I've already filled three garbage bags of just paper), but there have been some forgotten gems that I've lingered over.

The best part is that I've discovered all of the letters and cards and wedding announcements sent to me over the years. Mission letters from AnnaJune, Michelle and Liz. Random letters that Sam would write when she was bored in her law school classes, decorated with whatever doodles came to her mind. The exchanges back and forth by Susan and I during church, written on whatever scraps of paper we could locate (we were so bad!). The emails between Chris and I on our different trips--he in Ghana, me in Guatemala, me in Africa. Cards and postcards for every occasion from Donna. The epistles (in every sense of the word) from Brooke, detailing in old-fashioned prose the adventures of her life.

When my best friend Susan got married four and a half years ago, I went through a similar period as what I'm feeling now. We had been best friends since starting college, and had been roommates for just a few months--the same time frame that she had been dating her future husband. That summer, our friendship suffered. I've never spent so much time in tears. Every evening, after everyone had gone to bed, I would sit on my porch and cry for my loss. I was feeling neglected and lonely and completely at loss as to how our friendship would survive. One day, about six weeks prior to the wedding, I came home discouraged, opened up the door to my room and found myself in a white cloud. Susan had taken all of her left over wedding invitations and had hung them up all over our room, so that they brushed my cheek and hair as I walked in. It was a cheesy gesture (I'm sure you're all groaning), but it meant the world to me, to know that she truly loved me. Today, I found all of the invitations and the string that I had saved from that day, with scraps from her wedding dress, and those memories came flooding back.

It put last night into perspective. Because while I fret and worry and dread the upcoming changes, I am surrounded by people who love me, who have been my faithful friends for many a year, whose love and affection will be with me always. There will be people that tomorrow will be the last that I ever see them and that will be okay, but there will be many more who somehow will remain an indelible part of my life and whose warmth and love I will never forget.

When I get into the pits of despair again, as I am sure that although I am resolved now to remember and focus on the happiness in my life, I will likely sink into the "woe is me" attitude again, perhaps this will be reminder of how blessed I truly am.
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