Thursday, May 31, 2012

Indonesian parade

 Well life has been hurry up and wait lately. Thankfully yesterday we started getting patients though! I was so excited to see all the interpreters come on and then the patients. Made it finally feel real and that I was a part of something meaningful. I don't feel like I'm doing a whole lot but a patient I had yesterday made me feel like my small contribution of an assessment was needed as we prepared him to have cataract surgery seeing he could not afford it in his country. This scripture also brought me comfort D&C 64:32 but all things must come to pass in their time, wherefore be not weary in well doing for ye are laying a foundation for a great work. And out of small things proceedth that which is great. I guess I really just want to get started and really involved but still feel limited by all the waiting and my skill level but I know I need to be patient because it will come and fall into place as I gain more experience. As for today I do get to go ashore and be in a parade as part of the opening ceremonies! So I get to go to Indonesian soil! :)
on the helodeck

enjoying some indonesian food

Pretty much what we did all day in Indonesia was pose for pictures

On the shore with Pat and Diana. USNS Mercy in the background

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Don't rock the boat baby!

Dont rock the boat I am on the usns mercy ship sailing away from Guam now! We left from Guam yesterday and so far no sea sickness! 

Emily Blotter and me before we boarded the Mercy for the first time!

Krystal and I made it!

Jenni our fearless driver in Guam

Party vehicle

Talofofo falls aka tourist trap

kind of pretty?


Sushi birthday dinner, the best!

Everyone is really friendly and helpful. All the navy uniforms are a bit intimidating At first but everyone is very approachable. Actually if you imagine top gun or pearl harbor with more of a navy emphasis thats what everyone looks like, so lots of josh hartnett eye candy everywhere! There are about eight other NGOs here besides the lds charities group that I am with. There are also people from the Canadian and Australian navy forces.  There are people from the air force, army, and marines too. It really is a joint humanitarian effort. Everything is in military time and punctuality is being 15 minutes early, which I guess will help me be more on time to things now. We wake up at 5:30 to go workout ( actually more like three different times a day we go to pt- physical training because besides meetings there isn't a lot to do) and then to chow(eat) as they call it!
Eating Chow in the mess decks

After that we muster, yes that is part of the navy lingo I am learning, which basically means to report for duty and roll call.  We then have to clean the berthing area (where we sleep on racks) and we  have to have our beds nice and neat looking. I am on the top bunk of three, so I am very close to the ceiling, which makes it a bit challenging to make my bed for sure.

 We have little curtains to close off our beds to block the light so we can sleep too. The ship has a ton of stairs! There are 81 just to get from the berthing area to mess deck, which we go up at least three times a day. Luckily all of the stairwells are color coded so you can figure out where you need to go, kind of like the different metro lines.  I am still a bit nervous about what I will have to do for the nursing aspect of it all but we are doing a lot of training next week before we reach country.  I am assigned to the casualty receiving area, kind of like an ER triage. I am eager to get started on it all though and start working! I feel extremely privileged to be here learning from people with lots of experience and knowledge. I don't know yet if I will be able to do any medcaps( getting off the ship to do clinics in country) but I hope I'll get to do at least one to make my JEV worth while. All the updates on navy life for now! Signing off civilian Whitney RN

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Bon Voyage

I had a blast celebrating my golden birthday (turning 24 on the 24th) this past weekend with lots of dear friends. I also was glad to see so many people because I leave at 4 am May 22nd for Guam where I meet the USNS Mercy ship. I fly from SLC to LAX to Hawaii to Guam! I have been frantically trying to pull all the last minute details together for the trip, which has been fun and stressful! I finally bought a camelbak backpack, which I have been eyeing enviously for years when my fellow hikers have had ones. Now I am the proud owner one!
It still amazes me that I am going on this trip, project, ADVENTURE! I was thinking about it today and how the timing of everything has just worked out perfectly. Even though I was distraught in the beginning of the year over things not working out as planned, they have all seem to fallen into place so that I am able to go on this project. It has definitely been a lesson to me of trusting in the Lord's timing. I know that now I need to lose myself in His work as I go on this project.

Luke 9:24 For whosoever will save his life, must be willing to lose it for my sake; and whosoever will be willing to lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.

I will try to keep everyone updated through this blog as much as possible. Please pray for the whole project that we will be able to be effective and be able to help in the best way possible those we will be serving. Thanks!
My home for the next 40 days and 40 nights
My home for the next 40 days and 40 nights!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Growing pains

Last weekend I indulged my inner child by running the color me rad race (where you become completely covered in colored corn starch and paint as you run a 5k), buying a hula hoop for my work's talent show, jump roping, and playing airplane with friends (ya know where you fly on people's feet). I guess eventually you have to grow up a little bit from the Toys R'us kid mentality and tell the lovely cashier that you probably shouldn't get a rewards card for the store. (even though I was tempted to because there are a lot of cool toys there!)
    Unfortunately sometimes growing can be a bit challenging. Not being in school has been a really hard adjustment for me. I really do miss studying because I miss learning. I miss the structure of school, the atmosphere, and all of my friends. My heart yearns to be back on campus and I am always excited when I can find an excuse to go back. Which is becoming less and less as I find out the city versions of everything I use to find there. I have learned a lot though from this change and there have been some fun changes. Or at least they seem fun because they are new to me. I got my first completely my own credit card that I have to be in charge of now. I pay for my own vaccinations, get my car registered, oh and I have a job.
   Yes somehow I landed a job at Provo Care Center. It is a home for people with developmental disabilities.  A lot of them are older too so it is somewhat like a nursing home. The crazy thing is I am the Health Services Director, which I didn't even know I was going to be that when they hired me. Sadly the fancy title just means a lot of paperwork, administrative work, and people passing the buck to you for everything that goes wrong. I love the people I work with and the residents are great. I am the most happy when I get to be on the floor working with them.What is interesting about it is the fact that it is an active treatment facility. Meaning we have to run all these programs to help them maintain and learn new skills. This principle helped open my eyes in nursing because it is so stressed that we need to teach our patients how to care for themselves but sometimes we rarely actually do that. I think as a student too I was always extremely eager to do things on my own and for the patient. Effective teaching really means having the person do it themselves even if it may be slow or not as perfect as we would like it to be either. The whole teach a man how to fish and he will eat everyday sort of principle, something I am still trying to master for sure.

This is where I work.

The fancy plaque outside of my office. I'm official :)

The most exciting news I have though is that I will be leaving in ...oh my goodness 18 days till I leave on USNS mercy navy ship with the  Latter Day-Saint Charities group!!!!! Basically I will be going as a nurse on this giant hospital/navy ship to Southeast Asian countries(Indonesia and the Philippines) where they bring people on to the ship for surgeries, exams, etc. or we go out and set up clinics in the country or go into their homes to visit them. The church is just one of the NGOs that will be helping the navy with this special project. 
      Yes after years of wanting to go I am actually going on this project. It is hard to believe and I feel so privileged to be going. It was interesting how it all happened because I had kind of written it off as a possibility and I wasn't sure if I would be around in provo still for me to go. In my one of my desperate moments during unemployment I emailed the lady in charge of setting of the group to go to see if they needed anyone. She said no, but would let me know if anything changed.  Just a little bit later when I got a couple job offers she also asked if I could come in for an interview for the ship. When I met with her I just knew I was suppose to go and she told me that even though the Navy and herself were in charge of picking who goes on the ship that ultimately it was the Lord's team. I am so glad she was in tune with the spirit to be willing to interview more people she thought needed to go. I ended up being able to take my current job and still go on the ship!!! (well that is if my boss hasn't forgotten about our little deal yet) Don't worry my vaccinations, malaria pills, mosquito repellant, and flight itinerary are all set for me to get on the ship! I am really getting excited and a little stressed too. I hope that I will be able to really help the people in these countries and to learn from them as well. I hope because of my lack of skills as a nurse that I will actually be helpful and not a hinderance. I know it will be a huge learning curve but I am very eager to take on that challenge. I will be posting and updating on the trip as much as I can. 
    Even though some of these experiences are great opportunities they have definitely challenged me, but I keep on reminding myself of a few things to get me through.
 One is 
"Fear thou not; for I am with thee; be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea I will help thee; yea I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." Isaiah 41:10 I know He has been with me and supported me even during the times I may have ignored Him. Somehow He still blesses me so much and I know I need to live up to and be more deserving of those blessings.
The other one is something a friend told me once to repeat when I was feeling weak,
"I am strong, how strong? TOO STRONG!"