Monday, September 10, 2012

Adventure Friends

August was an amazing month.  It was so amazing, I'm still recovering from it.  I've wanted to post some thoughts and ponderings for a couple weeks now but have been finding myself too exhausted at the end of the day to sit down and write.  My thoughts are still so scattered but here we go...

I've been exhausted... but not the kind where I'm depressed at any given moment.  I love having adventures.  If it's possible to have too many adventures... maybe that's what happened.  It's time for me to slow down just a little bit and recharge.  I'm warning you... this is gonna be a long, boring post. 

OK let's see... I've been working in the cardiac ICU for 3+ months now.  I love it.  It's been a good change of pace for me, the people are awesome, adjusting to day shift has been a challenge but I think it's been worth it.  I find myself waking up early a lot.  I sleep a lot less now.  I don't really like that I sleep less but I think I sleep about what everyone else sleeps nowadays.  5-7 hours.  It's not enough tho.  When I worked nights, I used to sleep like 10-12 hrs and I loved it.  It was glorious.  I don't think I could sleep 12 hours straight nowadays even if I tried.  I wake up at like 6am everyday and force myself to go back to sleep until I need to wake up.  Sometimes I wake up every hour.  It's quite disjointed.  But other than the sleep... I really enjoy my co-workers and the patient population.  I like talking to my patients and their families.  I enjoy getting them up and walking around.  It's been a different kind of nursing than I did in the medical/surgical ICU and I like it.  I'm still a newbie and there's a LOT I need to learn but I just like that I'm there to learn it.  Every time I think about how God got me where I am... I'm so so thankful.  Even for the hurt feelings, the disappointments, the frustrations... it all served a purpose.  I never woulda been here if they never happened and where I am now is far, far better than where I was before. 

School stuff... I'm finishing up my 2nd year of my doctoral program.  Crazy how quickly time flies!  I feel like I barely started but... I'm over halfway done now.  Right now, I'm taking my last "easy" class before the hardcore stuff starts.  A friend let me borrow her Pathophysiology book and I'm pretty sure that whopper weighs like 10 pounds.  Many exciting things to come.  Patho, Pharm... health assessment... diagnosing! prescribing!  I'm looking forward to learning and thinking in new and different ways.  A small part of me wonders if I just won't be good at it... if this will be the moment where I begin to fail at something... but... we'll just see how it goes when it comes.  I hope I rock its socks off.  And I'm pretty sure that my classmates won't let me fail.  I'm pretty sure my director won't let me fail either.  They've all been so encouraging and empowering.  I was in class a few weeks ago and I asked about remedial plans if I somehow fail... and my professors scoffed at me (jokingly) and my classmates reminded me that Asian fail (A-) doesn't need remediation.  I roll my eyes at them but they set my bar high and I endeavor to live up to their expectations of me.  I'll just let fear-of-failure-Tiff sit in the closet in the dark for now. 

Dissertation stuff... eh.  I'm having issues with getting clinical contracts in place.  I submitted my IRB proposal and am still waiting for word.  I still have next year to implement even though it's not ideal to be doing clinicals and implementing my dissertation study at the same time.  Eh.  So it goes. 

Alritey... on to the more fun stuff. 

I finally decided to sit down and write because I had the most amazing experience this morning.  I was sipping my soy milk and marveling at how wonderfully God provides for me.  I shall back up and explain a little more.

So next year I start clinical rotations.  I have been having a fairly difficult time securing preceptors (which in non-nursing-speak means mentors to teach me their NP ways in the clinical setting...).  I need probably at least 3 yoda-like NPs for next year's clinical rotations.  I can do some hours with MDs but I should be working with NPs since I am training to be one.  So our clinical contracts person has been having issues as well.  There was some big miscommuniation or misunderstanding about requirements... long story short, none of our class has clinical sites secured yet and we start in 5 months.  It can take a very long time to work out clinical contracts.  Had they told us last year that we needed to find our own preceptors (they reassured us that we didn't need to at that time... just give them suggestions as to where we would like to train), I could have been looking for two years instead of trying to rush at the last minute.  We were all really frustrated when we found out this tidbit of information about a month ago and reconfirmed a few weeks ago in immersion (or my week-long class that I need to go to a couple times a year).  I needed to find a FNP (family nurse practitioner) to work with in a primary care outpatient setting to assess and gather histories for patients across the lifespan.  The "across the lifespan" part was new to us as well.  I guess it's some new requirement from the nursing school gods.  Anyway... nothing seemed to be working out and it was moderately stressing me out.  Even though I was getting rejected left and right from here and there... in the back of my mind, I just had this feeling that God was going to provide miraculously for me... so I shouldn't worry too much about it.  I just had to wait and watch His goodness unfold. 

While I was in class, someone mentioned community public health clinics as a potential option.  I thought about the Health Care Agency (Orange County's Public Health hub) and I remembered that I did meet a nurse who worked there before.  I hadn't talked to her in years but we were facebook friends so why not ask, right?  It's the spray-and-pray method.  I met her through a friend of a friend from college.  College was a billion years ago.  OK undergrad was a billion years ago.  And by billion, I guess I mean 12 years.  Who knew that seeds could have been planted back then for adventures a decade later?  Anyway... while most of my spraying had missed its mark... this particular friend did get back to me and told me that she had the perfect person in mind to precept me.  This alone was significant news.  I was happy that people even asked to help me.  I wasn't expecting such a response.  But she still had to ask the preceptor first.  So I sent her my resume, a cover letter, and some more documents and just continued to hope. 

This weekend, this friend would be coming down to LA to visit and along with bringing me her pathophysiology book, which I'm guessing would save me a Benjamin, at least... arranged a meet-n-greet with the preceptor.  As I listened to her talk about her clinic and the work she does, all I could do was smile and marvel at how God orchestrated this entire thing... this Taiwanese breakfast... to bring 3 women together... who share a deep love for nursing, a deep love for God, and a deep desire to use our God-given gifts to minister to our patients in our workplace and also abroad on medical missions.  I felt the songs of their hearts aligning with the song of my own heart in perfect harmony.  It was delightful.  A joy to behold.  I'm pretty sure a new adventure had begun.  Just one of those things you have a good feeling about.  :)  I was so amazed, I don't think I talked very much... I just smiled and marveled. 

One of the first things the preceptor said to me was that my resume was impressive.  I laughed in my mind.  I remember the first nursing resume I made.  I had absolutely nothing to put on it.  It was super sad.  That was 4 years ago.  God has taken me on some pretty amazing adventures since then.  I don't consider myself ambitious either.  The only reason I've completed so many degrees is because I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life and I just kept trying different things as a new idea came to me.  I took the scenic route to get to nursing... and while I'm sure my 18-year-old self would have gotten really mad at how long it took me to get there... my 30-year-old self feels that God's timeline was far, far better than the timeline I thought I wanted for myself. And I've collected so many adventure friends along the way.  I wouldn't have traded my adventures and my adventure friends for a direct flight to nursing.  I don't think I would have appreciated it at all and I wouldn't have been the nurse I am today if I hadn't gone through everything I did. 

This past month, I've met up with lots of adventure friends.  Nursing school adventure friends, work adventure friends, family adventure friends, public health adventure friends, lab adventure friends... doctorate nursing school friends... it's so amazing and such a blessing to have such a beautiful collection of friends and the memories associated with them. 

These past couple months I've also made some new adventure friends at church.  I've gone to 3 different churches the past couple years... after having gone to the same church for 20 years.  Once again, I learned a lot... I hurt a lot with every transition... but I don't regret the discomfort or the pain; I don't regret it at all. I would not trade the memories of the amazing people I met during those times of struggle for anything.  Momentary discomfort which gives way to years and possibly an eternity of joy and friendship is so, so worth it.  I have eaten and laughed with these beautiful (mostly) women... I have shared my aches and pains (sometimes literally)... I have poured out my heart, my soul... the work of my hands... onto these people and the fact that I can periodically bask in the sweetness of their companionship from time to time makes me so, so happy.  The adventure friends I've made so far at Newsong NOC (north orange county), have been nothing short of amazing.  I constantly marvel and am so, so thankful for God crossing our paths and for friendships to be formed so quickly. 

One of my new adventure friends and I, keep marveling... almost every single time we hang out... how God arranged the timing of our life map sharing on back-to-back weeks.  It was like she got a crash course on everything that's made Tiff who she is, and I got a crash course on what makes her who she is... so the very next week we just moved on to good friends right after.  I appreciate so many things about her and she appreciates many things about me as well and we never cease to tell each other how thankful we are for one another.  If that is not an answer to the cries of my heart for friendship and community at church, then I don't know what is. 

And this Wordle... was created by a new adventure friend who had known me for maybe a month... but who managed to uplift and encourage me in ways that I can only attribute to God supernaturally guiding her in ways only He knew would touch and move me so deeply and so profoundly... I can't even put into words how I felt when I pulled it out of the envelope. It was jaw-droppingly amazing to me when I opened that card.  I hadn't felt that loved in a long, long time. 

The other day, I remember pondering to God... maybe it wasn't so much pondering... but I was telling God that I really really miss having a best friend.  I miss having another half.  I miss sharing my heart with another.  I miss having one person who knows me inside and out, who knows everything I'm going through... all the day to day minutia... all the things that furrow my brow... the little joys I stumble upon everyday... I miss having one person who knows everything.  I miss Anderson.  I grieved the void he left in my life and my heart.  I wished for someone else to fulfill that role in my life.  And then I heard God tell me... "there is a reason and a purpose for your singleness right now, my love.  I would not withhold this joy from you if it weren't necessary for the things I have in store for you right now.  And what about all the wonderful women I've brought into your life in the meantime?  Are they not amazing?  Isn't this what you've always wanted?  Don't they bring you joy and happiness as well?"  And I couldn't disagree.  Throughout all my adventures with Anderson... whenever God would allow some tragedy to take place, He always brought a joy right alongside it.  When the tumor started growing back the first time, He arranged our engagement to happen right after.  When the tumor started growing back the second time, He orchestrated our miracle wedding 3 days after we got the news.  When Anderson left this earth... God brought me hordes of amazing friends... people I'd known before... people I'd just met... and people I had yet to meet... to come alongside me... to journey with me... to laugh with me... to listen to me... to cry with me sometimes... to eat with me... to adventure with me.  I've never had so many adventures in all my life.  It's inconceivable... all the stories I could tell of how I met so-and-so and how they'd managed to bless me with their unique gifts and talents.  Yes... my adventure friends are more than enough to get me through the first few years of "lonely" widowdom. 

Thank you for being my adventure friend and for journeying with me. Tired... but glad that I got a chance to write down a little bit about some of my adventure friends today. 
<3 p="p">Tiff

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