Monday, December 19, 2011

Watch out Picaboo

I've taken to trying new things, to be more specific, new things that scare me! Today was another day for firsts. Today was my first day of skiing. I grew up in Wyoming, very close to Utah, and have never been skiing before, no really, never been skiing! Many other winter sports have I taken part in, but never skiing. So here I am, ready to hit the slopes! I let my friend Jessica and her husband talk me into buying a season pass to Sundance resort and I rented equipment for the season, so there's no turning back now, I'm locked in! Today was great. It wasn't too cold, clear blue skies, and a great teacher!
I started out terrified, of everything, and I mean everything! From the big heavy boots to the 5-year-olds whipping past me. I'm scared of heights, therefore I hate the lift. It's not so much the height part as the falling to my death part that gets me. Riding the lift was probably my least favorite part. After the lift ride it only got worse, I fell getting off the lift, they had to stop it and the lift operator had to come help get me up. Yup, klutz that I am I couldn't even get off the lift without making a nice big fool of myself! At that point I'm embarrassed and now afraid of falling! But I definitely got over that! After multiple falls and a sore behind I became a bit more comfortable and was able to stay on my feet for longer periods of time. The faster I started going, the more frightened I became and down I went! Despite all the falls, embarrassment and bruises, and the realization that I'll never be an olympic skier I had a fantastic time and am looking forward to my next skiing adventure!
First big wipeout!

I was only going like 2 mph

By the end of the day I was spent!

So here's the count for the day....
  • 2 skis
  • 2 poles
  • 1 lift ride
  • 1 run; 3 hours!
  • 26 falls
  • 4 ibuprofen
  • 4 Tylenol
  • 1 big smile

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Bamboo Birthday

I hate my birthday. No disrespect to my mother because I think she feels badly when I say this, but I do. And at almost 28 years old I have failed to become more mature about it, stemming from, I believe, a deep seeded need that was unfulfilled during my childhood. My birthday is the 26th of December, yes the very day after Christmas. Do not misunderstand me, I love Christmas time, very much indeed but with this love comes also a deep disappointment with the day after, consequently the day of my birth. From when I was very young I never understood why I could not have parties on my birthday like all of the other kids. Why couldn't my friends come over and why couldn't we have a pool party? As I became older this was replaced by a deep frustration with the "Oh Merry Christmas/Happy Birthday" gift. I get you two separate gifts, I deserve that as well! I feel more as an after-thought to most, "Oh yeah it was your birthday like a week ago right? Happy Birthday." So when someone makes a valiant effort to remember my birthday it makes me very happy indeed. My friend Jessica did just that last night. She put together a little party in my honor. Nothing big or extravagant but nice and simple which suits me just fine. She took the time to remember and that is fantastic. Not only did she make the effort to learn that I dislike cake but LOVE cheesecake and so had one of those for dessert but she also got me a gift. :D She got me some bamboo!
I have been wanting some bamboo. Strange I know, but I have. I like all things Asian very much! So Jessica went to the Asian store (that is actually what it is called) and got me some bamboo! I'm very excited about this. Let's just hope that I am able to keep it alive! I've never been very good at keeping things alive, well other than people I suppose, I mean I am a nurse after all. So here's to a great 28th and hopefully by the 29th some flourishing bamboo.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


"To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that's a full day. That's a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you're going to have something special." -Jimmy Valvano "Don't give up....Don't ever give up." This speech was given by Jimmy Valvano at the 1993 ESPY awards shorty before his death after a battle with cancer. These words have been on my mind a great deal lately. Things are about to change a bit for me, and it's no secret I'm very bad at change. I'm scared and fearful of the unknown. But for once in my life I am not over-thinking things. I'm following my heart without thinking about what comes next or what I may be leaving behind or what chances I am taking. And I must say, so far I feel pretty good. I have taken a new job. Currently I work on the Medical/Oncology unit at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. I have been there for five years. It has been my home for five years. I have formed lasting friendships and have learned a great deal. At times I have loved it, at times I have been brought to tears, both from happiness and from overwhelming frustration, and at times I have felt nothing at all. I have now taken a position at Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City on their immunocomprimised unit. I cannot begin to describe what it is I feel right now. I'm anxiously excited for this new change. I'm overwhelmingly terrified by this change. I am shaking with fear but calm at the same time. I'm a mass of contradiction. Regardless of all of these feelings I know that it is right. I know it's the right thing for me right now, whatever this may bring and whatever this may lead to it is the right direction. I have always subscribed to my own form of belief in "destiny." I feel that things happen for a reason. We go through life making choices and decisions and people and opportunities enter our lives when and where they should. This is how I feel right now. It was difficult getting to this point, and I'm sure it will not be easy from here on out, but it feels good and I'm excited for this new opportunity.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

It's In My Soul

"There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well. The more I see of the world, the more I am dissatisfied with it; and everyday confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of either merit or sense." Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite books. I read this book every December. I can't explain why. It is in no way a "holiday" book so to speak. However, there is something about it that screams hot chocolate, snow, and fireplace to me. Although at present time I have none of the above. Boo. Anyway, back on track. I actually did not read the book until I was in college. Strange I know. But the moment I picked it up, I was in love. Took me only two days to read. I often find myself relating to Elizabeth. Obviously I'm the heroine, right? We're both incredibly sarcastic, witty, and quick with the the opinionated comments. The eternal pessimist/realist within us dominates. Also the prospects of our ever marrying are slim to none, although she beats the odds. Regardless of these charming traits, we, Elizabeth and I, are at heart a sentimentalist. Though we rarely allow many to see this. So I begin to read again. I am only a few chapters in and I hear the British voices in my head, picture the English countryside and laugh aloud at the wit. I love starting out hating Mr. Darcy and then falling hopelessly in love with him. I love the twist of fate that gives Lydia and Mr. Wickham everything they want and deserve. Most of all I love how this book has become a part of me, a piece of me.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Give Thanks

In the true spirit of doing what everyone else is doing, I thought I'd post about those things that I am grateful for this holiday season. For the first time in almost 5 years I was able to spend Thanksgiving with my family. I've either had to work or they have gone out of town and I was unable to go with them. Not only did I get to spend Thanksgiving with my family but I had 2 Thanksgivings! So over the course of this past week I've had m
any opportunities to see the very many blessings that I have and those things that I am incredibly thankful for. So without further ado....

I am incredibly thankful for my job. I know I times I complain a lot! But I'm truly thankful that every day I get to do something that I love and grateful that I even have a job in a time where many are struggling to find work and provide for themselves and their family. I've pretty much always knows I wanted to be a nurse and I can not imagine doing anything else.

On that note, I'm very grateful for my health. Everyday I see people at their worst. They are sick and vulnerable. I see people struggling with chronic diseases, terminal diseases, and even simple health problems that are not permanent. I'm not in perfect health and I'm definitely not in great shape, but I'm healthy and that is truly somethi
ng to be thankful for.

I'm thankful for books. I know this one is cheesy but it's me. I love to read, literally LOVE to read. If I had to choose only one thing that I could do for the rest of my life I would read. I can't bare the thought of not reading. And the dying breed of bookstores brings an ache to my heart. But I am indeed thankful for books. They bring great joy to my life and I feel incredi
bly lucky to know that I have something that makes me so happy.

This one may sound silly, but I'm thankful that I'm single right now. I want more than anything to become a wife and mother and as hard as it is to believe, I have faith that someday I will. But I've also learned to be thankful for the experiences I've had and things that I have learned because I am single, things I could have not learned and experiences I could not have had otherwise. I've learned to love and live every day. I don't do it perfectly, but I do it and I try to love it.

Last but certainly not least, I am indeed incredibly thankful for my family and friends. The people in my life I am closest to and those people who support me through everything. I have had a really rough couple of months but my family and those close friends have supported me and loved me through everything. I know how much I am loved and that means more than anything ever possibly could.

And there you have it, a serious and sentimental post. One of very few that you will behold from me!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Love the One You're With

I sit here at what I lovingly call the "Holgate Bed and Breakfast" aka my grandparents home in Cedaredge, Colorado. Don't worry, nobody else knows where that is either. Hence the magic. They live in the middle of nowhere. I often tell people they live outside of Grand Junction, when in fact their home is about an hour and half outside of Grand Junction. My grandfather is, for lack of a better, more loving term, a hermit. Which is one thing I so lovingly and willingly inherited from him. I'm a homebody. There is probably nothing I love more than curling up at home with a blanket and a good book, a movie, an athletic competition, or a great friend and some conversation.
So I find myself here, in the middle of nowhere, sitting on the porch, wrapped in my colts blanket, contemplating what it is I love about this place so much. It does not possess the majesty of the snow covered mountains I see outside my window every morning and, although am hard pressed to admit, absolutely love coming home to after a long trip. It does not contain the immense and beautiful architectural genius of the skyscrapers contained within those large cities I love so much to visit and imagine myself living in one day. Nowhere in sight is the breathtakingly gorgeous clear blue waters I have beheld on the beach in Haiti. So what is it? It's the stars you can see because we are miles and miles away from anything resembling a city. It is the sounds of my nephew laughing in the next room and who, despite my best efforts, continues to call me Carlee. It is the complete quietness I hear as I sit on this porch. It is the long hug I receive from my grandmother and my very reserved but loving grandfather. It's the fact that I have terrible cell service here. It is the solitude. However, despite this word, solitude, and the fact that I associate this place with it, I find the reason I love this place so very much is because of those I am here with.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Don't Cry For Me Haiti

It hasn't even been a week and already my heart aches toreturn to Haiti. I'm certain this is in large part due to several things, one being that I was quickly thrown back into my life and "reality" as we call it so often, and secondly because I think I've fallen in love with the people of Haiti. It caught me by great surprise, this longing that I'm feeling. I did not feel it with such force when I returned last year, but this year, it hit me with a ton of bricks. Maybe it's the feeling I get as I lose myself in serving them, maybe it's their spirit and their faith, maybe it was the sun! All I know is I can't wait to go back. So while it's fresh in my mind, here are a few of my favorite pictures and a list of those things I learned while I was in Haiti!.


*Pamprin is just Naproxen
*You can get constipation as well as diarrhea while in a third world country
*Toothpaste has an expiration date
*People are strong: The body may break easy, the Spirit endures
*Roosters are a worthless animal
*Tricks to bartering effectively
*Fanny packs are in fact cool; in that "I'm camping, saving the world" sort of way
*Miracles Happen
*You can be pregnant for 2 years
*Work hard, play hard
*When you give, you do in fact, receive

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Au Revoir.

It is my last night in Haiti. Part of me wishes I'd left this morning with a few of the other members of our group as I am a little homesick. But part of me is a bit sad that I won't wake up tomorrow (at 4 am no doubt thanks to the resident rooster) and throw on my green scrubs, put on a headband and pull my hair back, grab my pack and head out to another outreach clinic. This place touches you. It has a way of drawing you in. You fall in love with the people, the culture, it becomes a part of you. It's all so bittersweet. It's so difficult, yet so rewarding, as I imagine most difficult things are. I sit think about those things I have to do right away when I get back to snow-covered Utah. And how I'll be thrown right back into my normal life. Katie says that a lot times people have a difficult time talking about their experiences when they get home. I remember that from last year. It's hard because you recall those things in your mind but it's so very difficult to put them into words. I love coming and doing this. It's takes me a day or two to let my guard down and jump in head first, but I eventually do it, and then I don't want to stop. Once again it's been a fantastic experience. And once again I don't regret an ounce of the time I spent here.


I'm playing a little catch-up here. Friday afternoon we headed up to Montrouis, pronounced "Mon-We." There is an orphange there of approximately 25 children that we went and did "well checks" on and of course treated for anything we may have found, usually colds or stomach aches. These children live in a two bedroom house and paint. Their paintings are quite good, this coming from someone who can not even draw a stick figure. We also checked out the adults who worked at the orphanage and cared for the children. One man had TB. Horrible sounding lungs, coughing all over everyone. We referred him to Hospital Albert Sweitzer. We saw a few little babies that were sick with colds, some runny noses, and quite a few impacted ears. Nothing too extreme. We worked hard. Some of the community kiddos snuck in and in all we treated about 50 people on Friday. Friday afternoon we played. And we played hard. We spent the night at Indigo Beach Resort which is a club med of sorts. It's quite luxurious around here, most of us Americans would consider it probably a glorified Super 8. But it was nice. They have a pool, the ocean is beautiful and we had a great suppers with some local music and dancing. Soaked up a lot of sun! Thank you to my great-granfather for the Greek blood coarsing through my blood that makes it so I tan beautifully and do not burn. Fantastic. We did a lot of swimming, especially with our interpreters. Matt, Lesly, Big Mack, and Steevenson had never swam before. It isn't part of their culture. In fact many Haitians are scared of water. It took some coaxing to get them in the water, especially Big Mack. It was so funny. This boy is probably about 6'8" and standing in 5 feet of water he was clutching to us with dear life. Poor child. They acclamated well though and had a fantastic time. We sat and played on the beach and watched the sunset. It was gorgeous (pictures to come). It felt like two entirely different days, in two entirely different places. Saturday we returned to the orphanage but this time opened our "doors" to the community, we held a pediatric clinic. We had gotten them to spread the word that we'd only be treating children. So once again, lots of runny noses, dirty ears, UTI's and vaginal infections. We did see a little boy that had an abscess on his head. It was painful to touch. All we had was topical lidocaine and a scapal. Kirk (our MD) lanced it and drained it. This kid did not budge or shed one tear the entire time, although we could all tell that he was in pain. It was amazing. I played in the pharmacy this time. I actually really enjoyed it. Dosing and disensing meds. Looking up dosaging for amoxicillin based on weight and mixing. A little different for me and I loved it. It was a fantastic weekend. Probably my favorite part of the whole trip.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Captopril Anyone? Maybe a little Metoprolol?

Today I went to one last outreach clinic. It went really well. We were set up in a little school house with three rooms. I triaged in room one, the two doctors saw patients in the second room and then they would proceed to the third room, the pharmacy, to pick up any medications the doctor had prescribed for them. It went really well, we saw over 70 patients, which was because we had to close up shop early, we could have seen many more. Here are a few things you see in Haiti.....
  • Arthritis
  • Heartburn and Indigestion
  • Colds
  • Urinary Tract Infections
  • Worms
Haitians have the highest blood pressures I've ever seen. Today the highest I saw was 202/116. These people are walking around ready to stroke out right before my eyes. Because of their high blood pressures we subsequently get a great deal of complaints of difficulty with seeing and headaches. This year we did not have a great deal of prescription meds, we had a few, but very little.

As we were packing up, we had a little jam session with our interpreters Matt and Stevvenson. Someone had a Justin Bieber notebook and Matt had "Baby" on his phone. We were all singing and dancing. It was a great stress release :D Justin can make anyone move those hips.

To top off the day, a nice relaxing late afternoon soaking up some wonderful sun by the pool. My tan is getting pretty bombin'!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Just Keep Swimming....

So I missed yesterday, sorry. The power has been going on/off for the last couple of days. Hopefully it lasts long enough for me to get this up :D Things are going well. Today I spent the day at an orphanage teaching the nurses and caregivers some basic first aid skills, wound care, and care for burns. It was interesting to find out what types of things they'd been taught to do to stop bleeding or how to tell if a wound is infected. Most of them knew some of the basic principles. It was great to see how much they cared for the children and wanted to provide them with good care. This orphanage was amazing. It was beautiful. Most of the orphanages that we go to are run down, they're dirty, the children have wounds and sores, and their caregivers don't know how to care for them very well. This place was clean. They had wonderful staff who knew a great deal. The grounds were beautiful. They had good food and great buildings. It was so great to see an orphanage flourishing the way it was. I had a great time. Sometimes it's difficult for me because I am not able to see the fruits of my labors so to speak, I'm not able to see what kind of long term difference the things that I do make in these people's lives. But here it felt like we were teaching them things they would use and put into practice. It felt good.

Oh did I mention we didn't have water for 2 days? Not fun! And I finished my book and my nook doesn't work. I'm upset about that.

Tomorrow it's back to a community clinic for some very high blood pressures, indigestion, headaches and women who have been pregnant for 2 years. Will try to keep you updated!

Monday, March 28, 2011

And here we go...

So, I realize I'm not very detail oriented, so I'll try very hard to put more detail into these posts. However, you'll have to suffer through the ideas and contemplation that I also decide I must include :D

Yesterday (Sunday, March 27th) we went to church. It was a great experience just to relax and focus on the Savior and the gospel. Many wards meet in this particular building. There were three having meetings at the particular time we went. There is of course no air conditioning so it is quite warm. I realize all you lovely people in Utah/Wyoming are experiencing snow at this moment, haha sucks to be you! They also have no microphone or PA system, so it's very difficult to hear, and there are quite a lot of people. However, I was quite impressed at how quiet and reverent people were, focusing so much on hearing the speakers. After church we a couple of us relaxed by the pool, ah yes, the place we are staying does have a pool! Again, sorry all you people stuck with snow! Worked on my tan, got some reading done. Pretty fabulous. For dinner we went out to eat. We went to this restaurant called The View, quite fancy, quite pricey, not so much in American terms, but still on the higher side. Everything was in French/Creole, which of course I do not speak. Also, for those of you who know me, I have a tremendous amount of food allergies, of which can get me into serious problems. This kind of prevents me from trying new and exciting things. So I settled with pasta and a cheese sauce, it was good, but everyone else's looked much better. By now you're probably thinking, wait, I though she went there to do humanitarian work, sounds like she's playing! We're getting to that. This was sort of our "day off." It was very interesting though because this part of town that we went to was what you'd consider "upper scale." The streets were clear, people weren't living on the streets in tents, it didn't smell. Seeing such immense contrast is amazing. I suppose that you see this is the US too, but I suppose for me it was magnified.

Monday, March 28th

Getting down to business. Today I went with one of our groups to what we call an outreach clinic. This town that we went to was up in the mountains, about an hour from where our compound is. These people have limited access to any type of healthcare. We took two Haitian doctors with us, there were three nurses, a nutritionist, a social worker, and an aide, plus two wonderful interpreters. I had two primary jobs, the first was triaging, the second was reading the doctor's orders and "filling prescriptions". Basically a quick assessment of the patients chief complaint and associated symptoms and factors. It was difficult for me because I'm so used to being very thorough and being able to communicate with my patients. This is of course very difficult when you cannot speak the language, even with an interpreter. I wish very much that I could speak the language, that I could converse with these people much more. A majority of what we see is headaches, stomaches, generalized pain, sound familiar? We give out a great deal of OTC meds, tylenol, ibuprofen, antacids, vitamins. These people have outrageous blood pressures too. We were very limited this year with meds, especially prescription. There was one we were giving out that had been brought by a previous group, I don't even know what it was! I kind of feel like we're giving these people a temporary fix. A few days, maybe a couple of weeks worth of meds. Is it worth it? This is going to sound cheesy, but it gives much more meaning to Intermountain's "Healing For Life" mantra. Did I just use the word mantra Emily? Yikes. Anyhow, it was a long day filled with many emotions. I want to help these people. Sometimes it's difficult for me to see the good that it does. I hope that we helped them.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Haiti, Part Deux

After a very long day of traveling, here I sit, back in Port-Au-Prince Haiti. Quite surreal. It's amazing the difference that a year makes, but funny how it all feels familiar, as if I never left. The heat, the food, the people, the contrast. It's all so overwhelming. You look around and although you know that it's real, you don't want to believe it. You don't want to believe that this is the life millions of people lead. Living in tents, on the side of the "road." Poverty is a difficult concept to comprehend. I sit here with a great deal of anticipation and anxiety for the next 10 days. Excited to begin working on the several projects we've set for ourselves, but scared knowing that I have none of the familiarities of home. I have to rely on my own instincts, my knowledge, and my abilities, none of which have ever been my strong point. It's difficult for me not to internalize too much what I see and the many emotions I feel while I'm here. I know it will once again be an amazing experience.

Friday, January 7, 2011

'Cause The Hardest Part of This Is Leaving You

Brace yourself, I'm about to go into uncharted territories. For those of you who regularly read this blog you know I'm not much for pouring out my heart and being serious. I keep my intimate feelings buried deep, this includes my religious beliefs, and very rarely show that part of myself. For those of you who have never read this, you'll just have to take my word for it.
This semester I am in a New Testament class. We're required to complete assignments on the week's readings. We have our choice of assignments to complete. One of those choices is a blog post so here we are! While I was contemplating the reading this week it coincided with an event that has recently happened in my life and I'm going to try and integrate them as eloquently as possible and just run with it. Try and keep up.
John 1:1-14; 17:1-5
5 Truths about the Pre-mortal Jesus Christ
1. Christ was with God before the foundations of the world were laid.
2. He laid the foundations of our world.
3. He was foreordained to come to Earth to be our Savior.
4. He was the first spirit son in the premortality.
5. He was made flesh and sent to dwell with us.

5 Truths about the mortal existence of Jesus Christ
1. John was sent to testify and bear witness of Jesus Christ.
2. He was rejected by His own.
3. His mission was to bring about the eternal life of man.
4. He gave all glory to God.
5. He testified of God our Father.

Christ is referred to by many names throughout the scriptures. If you look in the bible dictionary there's an entry lists the instances and names by which Christ is referred in the scriptures. Here are a few....
1. Christ: in Greek this means the anointed; Jesus who is called Christ, is the firstborn of the Father in the Spirit, and the only begotten of the Father in the flesh.
2. Messiah: Aramaic meaning the anointed; denotes the king and deliverer whose coming the Jews were eagerly expecting
3. Jehovah: The covenant or proper name of the God of Israel; "unchangeable one," or "the eternal I AM"
4. Immanuel: God with us; sign of God's deliverance
5. The Word: messenger of the Covenant

While reading the above scripture references and contemplating the many names by which our Savior is known one thought continually entered my mind, eternity. Recently a friend of mine passed away after a long battle with testicular cancer. I met Brett at the hospital after he was first diagnosed. Through chemo treatments and hanging out we became friends. I think I was drawn to Brett by the sheer contrast in our personalities. Brett is one of the most optimistic people I have ever met, and those of you who know me well know I barely know the meaning of that word. Through everything his positive attitude and immense sense of humor shown through. He was also one of the most giving and caring people I've ever had the opportunity of knowing. I didn't know Brett for very long and didn't see him a lot in the past year, but I know that he influenced my life in ways I still don't know. It tore my heart a bit when I found out that he was terminal, and a great deal more when I learned of his passing. I've thought about it a lot over the past few weeks. It's difficult to try and wrap your head around the thought of such an amazing, not to mention young, person being taken from this earth. But while I am incredibly sad at the fact that I wasn't able to get to know Brett as much as I would have liked or spent as much time with him as I wanted to, I have comfort in my knowledge of my Savior and his plan. His plan is an eternal one and I have no doubt in my mind where Brett is right now. Even with the heartache that has come with Brett's passing it has reminded me of my testimony of my Savior and His plan. It has reminded me of the strength of my knowledge and reaffirmed those principles I know to be true and hold dear. Even though I hadn't seen Brett in awhile, I still feel the weight of this loss in my heart. But I know it's not the end, I know I'll see him again and that brings immense joy.