Monday, July 9, 2012

One Year in Wichita: Trials, Joys, Celebration

It is July SEVENTH two thousand and twelve.  As I step out of intern resident shoes and into junior resident ones, I reflect on the year behind me. 

Thought # ONE: I am one year older
Two Thousand and twelve continues to press on and we are swept along with it.  Have you ever climbed a mountain?  Taking step after upward step towards the peak of a stony mass comparable in size to a city?  Sometimes I get caught up in searching for the upper most spire, the goal of the day's march.  Sometimes I loose track of milage, geography and time pondering questions from back home.  Sometimes I plod along like a mule, too stubborn to be hindered by the next step.  And sometimes I pause, lay down my daypack, swig a gulp of cool, filtered stream water, and wonder at the beautiful wilderness.  Don't forget to live in the scenery sometimes. 

A curious marmot on top Mt Wheeler

Thought # TWO: Finished twelve rotations in family medicine
One year of residency has done tons to build the confidence, experience, and demeanor I need as a physician, but there is so much still to learn.  Very thankful for another two years of familiy medicine residency to build and fine tune knowledge and skills under the supervision of my faculty doctors. 

Thought # THREE: Deeper friendships
 I am thankful for my fellow residents and faculty who have been supportive this past year, whether in constructive criticism or just hanging out watching fireworks ( I have been to four shows this year!  Two professional shows at the start and end of River Fest, one quite admirable show put on by an army captain and neighbor of my residency faculty member, and the last was a-top the hospital on July fourth - the whole city was ablaze in red-blue-gold-green - kind of like that movie Independence Day with Will Smith ).  Also thankful for my room mates, the church in Wichita, family and friends outside of Kansas; I am confident God is using these to inspire and instill love and peace in me. 

Building a porch with church friends

Star Wars Exhibit in Wichita

Thought # FOUR: Developing Heart - Sahel Africa

Central/South America were the global regions most on my mind before residency, but this might be changing.  I'm running into many people here who are re-classifying my vision for service.  Many of my colleages here are picking rotations in north central Africa and central Asia, to help staff rural hospitals in desperate areas for a time and possibly return for longer.  The assets of these regions are minimal compared to the western world, the level of need is too grand for any person to "fix", both physical and spiritual, but I think it still worth while that someone in this world commit to serve those nations too.  I am currently looking into options for an international elective rotation in one of the Sahel countries and praying about what serving in the Sahel might look like. 

Thought # FIVE: Conflict and Resolution - Life is learning
Life and work in Wichita has not been a complete "piece of cake".  What I'm about to share has been a source of greif and shame which has been one of the few dark spots on my overall delightful year in Kansas.  I have received feedback from a few hospital staff, other residents and some faculty doctors that I come off as arrogant, not teachable and unconventional.  While many of my colleages and friends assure me that I'm simply "miss-perceived", I know there is more truth to this than I feel comfortable admitting.  Perception can be reality and I feel this is a grave issue to my ability to communicate with the medical team and patients.  What has hurt most?  The idea that I am a representation of Jesus in my work environment = Jesus is arrogant, unteachable and a poor communicator.  Uggh

A list of efforts in this area:
My program gives residents a free Life Coach to help improve public image, work out the crinkles/stains; she is a great lady.  My little church just finished working through a sermon series on the book Crucial Conversations which is geared towards handling coorporate relationship conflict.  I am in one-on-one mentorship by a residency faculty member. Prayer and a solo study in the Bible on these topics.

The cool thing about this experience?  The realization of my need for Jesus.  Whether perception, truth or both,  I can point to where I was... and where I am... and then point to how I want to be and how Jesus is changing my heart about it.  It is not by my "goodness" but by His power through me. The end result has grown me into a better person, a better physician and a better follower of Jesus.

Thought # SIX: New saddle to ride
Last Spring I finally returned my friend's bicycle and fixed up a few new hot rods.  One was a old Raleigh mountain bike from a local Wichitan whose son had been riding it to work and beat the junk out of it.  The second was a white commuter road bike from a chemical engineer moving to Houston... where he will likely never ride to work again.  In the end, the replacement bike is an old eighties model Centurion.  After adding flat resistant street tires and corke handlebar tape, I get to work faster than ever!  price tag? $200 US

Thought # SEVEN: Exploits in the Soil
In the last few posts I have been sharing pictures of my front yard garden which is a patchwork of bulb flowers, ground cover and weeds.... This front garden was a nice stress releiver, but a real garden has now taken its place!  A friend from class said I could have his extra seeds this Spring and that began one of the coolest projects I've ever followed.  The garden, begun in early May, is more mature than I ever possibly imagined.  It's not my green thumb either, it is God at work in nature.  Cool stuff.  I love picking produce and living off the Kansas crust! 
Three different types of tomatoes, yellow squash, zuchini, green beans, sweet corn, cucumber, Four types of peppers.  Whoop! 

Mom and Dad 610 feet underground.  The Kansas Salt Mine Museum