A Week Can Make All the Difference.

There are so many factors that have me on an emotional upswing this week. Susan and I had a productive Sunday that gave me a sense of accomplishment I have not had in awhile. For so long, it seemed like although we were working on the items on our lists, none of them were really getting crossed off. At this point, they are either getting crossed off or they just fall off.

I often think of Susan and I on a rollercoaster, but we usually aren't sitting in the same car. One of us is up and the other is down. Today I was thinking that metaphor is not quite accurate. We are probably more likely on a teeter-totter; hoping for balance because otherwise someone has some work to do. I don't mind the teeter-totter: it is less exciting than a rollercoaster, but less can be more.

Monday morning I went for my first run in a month. A combination of difficulty getting shoes that fit and a nagging leg pain slowed me down. It felt great to pound the pavement again, and to see all the people of the neighboring village. I am going to miss seeing them early in the morning: adults cooking meats by the roadside, children waiting to be picked up by pickup truck for school, monks walking barefoot to get food donations from the community, and people of all ages waiting outside their gates to offer food to the monks. It was a gentle 4-miles that earned me some nice blisters.

I love this feeling of calm strength that has me focused and productive this week. The patient load is lighter as a few have improved and gone home, and a few are in the hospital. With the exception of Sr. Pranee being away at meetings, everyone is back from their holiday breaks and working hard. That gives me time to work on my resume and worry that a repeal of the Affordable Care Act will lead to hospital hiring freezes that resemble the recession. I'm well placed to get a job, but would like to have a lot of options: my loyalty tends to keep me wherever I land for extended periods of time. I hear timing is everything, but that is not necessarily one of my gifts.


Now that I think about it, it is strange that I had such a productive Sunday. After a frustratingly hectic and sleepless night duty last Thursday, Friday morning had me taking Sr. Mary's blood and then heading back for a few short hours of rest. We tried to sleep early as we awoke at 02:00 AM to shower and get dressed - we were going to a wedding!! We hopped in the fanciest van I think I have been in, and cruised a smooth 6 hours to our co-worker Koo Gai's wedding.

It was such an honor to be able to witness this cultural event. She is from the South of the Isan plateau near the border of Cambodia. As a result, parts of the ceremony and thank you's were spoke in Thai, Isan (Lao), and Cambodian. A lot of similarities to American pomp & circumstance. The festivities were over by 1:00 pm and we made a quick trip to a temple in the style of Angkor Wat.

A religious point of interest to me is that this is the second time I have heard people speak of a combination of Buddhism and Hinduism. On both occasions it has been mentioned that the combination was meant to decrease division, but I have not been able to find much information about this. Perhaps it is just a blending of deities or customs, but it has sounded more significant than that. In any event, in an age where religions are often used to cause division and pain; the idea is fascinating if not ideologically feasible.

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