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A CPE Prayer Candle

1 Dec

Oh the weather outside is frightful …


We are under a tornado watch!  Craziness.  I am very happily tucked away on the couch and thankful I am not floating through spaghetti junction with a group of (undoubtably) unhappy commuters.

I had a wonderful 2.5 mile walk into work this morning!  It started sprinkling about a mile in and I was worried I was going to get poured on, but it never got worse than a heavy sprinkle while I was walking.  I’m not really sure what I would have done if it had started to pour?  I hadn’t thought to grab my rain coat …

In the spirit of cleaning out our cabinets, lunch was tomato soup (Progresso Tomato and Basil) and leftover thanksgiving rolls.

Super classy in a pampered chef soup microwaveable bowl 🙂 – gotta love working in an office!

I wasn’t overly impressed with the rolls we got.  They tasted … crayony?  I don’t know how to describe it.  I’m not sure what brand they are, but I think when we get up to Connecticut, I’d really like to make our own breads and rolls.

Wear a Dress Tuesday was hoppin’ in our office today!  Kristin told me that she had her first legitimate “this-day-is-starting-out-terrible-so-I-needed-a-dress-to-make-it-better” WADT experience today!  I mean – I’m not happy her day started off badly, but I’m glad WADT helped.

Side Note – You can’t tell from the photo, but she was wearing sparkly tights.  Now I want sparkly tights.

Side Note II – Kristin and Sherida (who took the picture) taught me how to do a “Runway Pose” with my leg pointed out.  I feel like they’ve opened up a whole new world for me.

Back at home and back in the spirit of cleaning out our cabinets, I prepared a gourmet feast of chicken strips and french fries.

Ha!  Real gourmet.

I also realized tonight that there is no way we’re going to eat through our condiments and dressings in a week.  Anybody in Atlanta want some ketchup?

Bruce is totally thinking, “WOW my wife is quite the cook!”

(Yes, I was sitting on the floor photography my food when I took this picture.  Why do you ask?)

***

Okay, onto something a little bit more serious …

I was doing a little bit of packing after I got home from work and I came across something that I literally haven’t moved since June.

Let me back up.  About three weeks into CPE, I experienced probably the most traumatic on-call I had throughout the entire summer.  I really can’t get into details on here, but for many reasons this hit home and I basically prayed my way through the sleepless night, counting down the hours until the other chaplains would check in the next morning.

I’m not sure how I drove home after that shift.  One second I was getting in my car and leaving the parking garage and the next minute I was walking into my apartment.  I laid down to take a quick nap before meeting a friend for lunch and ended up falling into a deep, but restless sleep, full of flashbacks of my night.  I was so tired, but every time I closed my eyes, I would literally see myself back in the SICU, watching my patient, sitting with her family and listening to the sound of machines beeping.

My supervisor told me PTSD-like-symptoms are normal after traumatic on-calls.  Normal or not – it was scary.  My heart and prayers go out to chaplains doing this as their lifetime careers.

When I finally woke up around 6 p.m. that day (yeah, I missed lunch), I opened my eyes and saw this …

When Bruce got home, I asked him what it was …

“It was my prayer candle for you last night.  I didn’t know what else to do.  It stayed lit all night.”

If I haven’t said enough to convince you that I married the most amazing man in the entire world, I hope this pushed you over the top.

When I got the page that this patient was being flown in, I knew I wouldn’t be getting any sleep that night.  I called Bruce sobbing in anticipation of what I was going to experience, but all he could do was assure me that I was competent and that I would be okay.

We texted a couple of times throughout the night as I was running back and forth between the Surgical Floor, SICU and ECC (Emergency Room).  Eventually Bruce went to sleep, telling me he wished he could do more for me.

That night was one of the longest nights of my life.  I don’t really know what happened between the time Bruce went to sleep and the time I left the family for morning report.  It’s all kind of a blur at this point.  A few weeks later, the patient’s dad sent me an email thanking me for all I had done for them.  He called me their angel of mercy.

I don’t think it was me.  I think whatever strength I was emitting that night came from the candle.

When I picked this up this afternoon, some of the wax started to peel off and I knew that it wouldn’t make the move.  So I grabbed my camera, took these photographs and decided to preserve this memory on my blog.

It’s hard to get rid of stuff like this.  But I know the memory will always be there.  The memory of that family, of their precious daughter, of all of my patients from the summer and of the support I had from my friends, family and colleagues, even when I was walking the walls of the hospital alone.

Goodnight all.  Thanks for reading.

Ezekiel 12

17 Aug

So, are you wondering how I spent my first official post-CPE day?

With a 5:45 a.m. wake up call and a 10 hour work day.  Boy, do I know how to unwind … 
In all seriousness, the office that I worked in for three years during graduate school offered to hire me back for the time being.  Things are busy there right now (hence the 10 hour day, but that won’t be the norm), but eventually I’ll be able to work part-time there and be home part-time to focus on getting ready for my ordination interview, finishing my ministerial profile and starting the search & call process.
I came home and knew I needed a long walk.  The weather is FINALLY starting to look more bearable (meaning it only reaches the low 90’s) and there was a pre-storm breeze blowing while I was out, so I was able to really relax, pick up my pace and explain to God that I need some clarity in my life. 🙂
Speaking of Grady (oh, we weren’t?), I wanted to share some of the photos I took of the chapel on my last day … 
Ten Commandments
Jesus, God, Saviour

Prepared altar
The ceiling above the pulpit
Opened to Ezekiel 12, but I’m not sure why
Intricate woodwork
The organ that I may or may not have let a patient play one Sunday afternoon when I was at the hospital by myself.  
I’m leaning towards may … 
I cannot believe the words that are about to come out of my mouth … but I think I miss it.  I am grateful to be where I am right now, but I am also grateful for an incredible experience.
***
(Tomorrow is Wear a Dress Tuesday!  E-mail me your pictures!)

Last Day.

13 Aug
Last night’s twitter update:

It’s August 13th.

I never thought this day would come.

And to be quite honest – as relieved as I am to be finishing up today, it is bittersweet.  I have made some amazing friends and been apart of an incredible ministry.

I have a feeling I might cry today.

Thank you for taking this journey with me.  I love you all.

Peace,
Sarah

Check Another One Off The List!

31 Jul

I just got home from another on call – I had a busy afternoon, but relatively quiet night until 3:45 a.m. when I shot awake to the sound of a code blue.  Not the most pleasant sound to wake up to!  I was going to come home and go for a run, but the humidity level is like 150% and I’m exhausted.  It’s back to bed for this chaplain!

Have a great weekend!
Sarah

And Down the Stretch They Come! (Of a Half Marathon?)

30 Jul

I have been trying really hard not to.

I really, really have been.

But I’m starting to.

I can’t help it.

Tomorrow marks two more weeks until CPE is over.  Can you believe it?  It seems like just yesterday I spent my first day on the floor, contemplating how in the world I could quit CPE and still manage to be ordained.  I believe I sent Bruce a text around noon that day, which said:  “I will be home around 10:00 tonight.  At that point I will need to cry.”

And now I see light at the end of the tunnel.  It’s weird.

I’m trying not to count down the days for several reasons.  First of all, I need to stay focused at the task at hand.  I need to be a chaplain.  I have two more on calls and I am going to need to be especially present and focused during those times.  The spiritual needs of patients, families and staff won’t decrease just because I only have a few days left.

Second of all, I haven’t fully come to terms with the fact that come August 14th, I won’t really have anything to do.  The last seven years of my life have been structured by my education.  During the year my focus was school.  During the summer my focus was work or internships.  Now my job is to finish working through my ordination process and start looking for a job.  Unfortunately, it’s not a simple or a fast process.  So there is definitely an in between time of waiting, being patient and trusting the process.

Easier said than done.  I don’t do well without structure in my life.

I was thinking about this yesterday and had an idea.  Enter …

… the Thanksgiving Day Atlanta Half Marathon.

What do you guys think?  Should I go for it and start training?  The way I see it, registering for a half marathon would accomplish two things.  One, it would give me a tangible goal that I can be in control of.  Two, it would give me an outlet to deal with the anxiety that comes with looking for a job.

My only concern is that I still don’t have any cartilage in my right knee – but I’m fairly confident that I can slowly build up my miles and strengthen my legs so I’m not pounding on my knees.  13.1 miles is kind of daunting considering the fact I haven’t run more than a mile and a half in over three years – but I think it might actually be fun to create a training schedule and trust a different kind of process.

Should I do it?  Any Atlantans want to do it with me?

4 Day Weekend! (ish)

23 Jul

My goodness – usually after a night on call, I’m on here much quicker than this!  That being said … I survived another night on call!  In the grand scheme of things, the night really wasn’t that bad (although, I did call Bruce crying after I finished up with one family – have I mentioned how wonderful he has been this summer?).

I came home and immediately changed and took a walk.  The heat index was supposed to be well over 100 today and I wanted to get out and back before it at least hit 90.  I had some errands to run afterwards, but have pretty much been hanging out at home trying not to melt ever since!  I’m heading to church soon for a fundraiser – I can’t wait, all of the weekend on calls have kept me from church and I miss everyone!

I realized this week that I had only used one and a half of my five comp days for the summers – three and a half left!  I looked at my schedule and figured out when I could take off.  One of those days is this Monday (!), so (including my recovery day today) I have myself a nice four day weekend!  I definitely need it.  I plan on trying to find the perfect balance between productive cleaning and lazy relaxing.

TGIF everyone!  First weekend in weeks I’m not on call – YAY!

Day of Rest

18 Jul

I survived another 26 hour on call!  Man – I don’t know how these residents have done this all year.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who commented and sent messages after my last post about dreams.  It is helpful not only to be told that I’m not crazy for having strange dreams (or at least that I’m not alone), but also to know that I’ve got such a wonderful community of people supporting me and praying for me on this journey.

The worst part about Saturday on calls is that they are looooooooooooooong.  The best part is that when you leave on Sunday you have all of Sunday to recover and then Monday off as well (as opposed to Sunday on calls when you leave Monday, have the day to recover and then have to be back on Tuesday).  So I’m off to be completely lazy (and totally proud to admit it, ha).  Have a wonderful Sunday!