Departures and Reunions

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Riding his bike, an elderly man approached the intersection. His military green cadet hat and faded jacket looked familiar.

Pbu! Jum reap sua! (Uncle! Hello!)” I crossed the street to meet him, placed my palms together, under my chin, and bowed my head. In Khmer, we call our friends, and our patients, family.

But he didn’t always feel the same way about me.

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Sinking Sand

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are sunny days ahead?

“I threatened to walk out unless they gave me a real mask… it’s a tourniquet stapled to the mask. I barely pulled and the staples tore away.”

“That’s totally unacceptable!” My jaw dropped open, reading the text from my former classmate, the maternity nurse. “Did you get a real mask?!?” Anger filled my throat; I swallowed it to try to calm down.  My breakfast sat on the table untouched. Continue reading

What is That Sound?

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Rays of hope shining through gray skies.

Over a month ago

Thump, thump!  Staccato steps hurried down the hall.

“She is wearing a mask,” my coworker whispered.  Seeing the patient in the hallway, she ducked into our office to distance herself.

In the setting of a pandemic, I thought it’d be normal to see people wearing masks.

But I understood. We were all a little scared.

~ ~ ~

Clink. 

Forks dropped against porcelain plates in the sink, as my husband washed dishes at home.  “What if one of us gets sick? Who will care for our kids?” He worked in the hospital, and they were preparing for the worst. Continue reading

Why Do I Like Ramen So Much?

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I’ve been contemplating why I like ramen so much…

My husband’s theory is that people love certain foods because of nostalgia; when they eat a particular food, it brings back happy or fond memories. For example, he and my sis in law reminisce about Black Forest Cake, but not just any Black Forest cake, but Black Forest Cake purchased from Sam’s Club. “Whenever we had a birthday, that’s where our family got our cake, and it always stood out to me as the best. That is my cake standard.”

I don’t have that kind of history with ramen; I tried my first bowl of “authentic” Japanese ramen after I graduated from college, married, moved to a new city. Honestly, the first time I tried it, I wasn’t even that impressed.

Gradually, my tastes began to change. The meaty but creamy broth, the chewy noodles, the half boiled egg… ramen had become one of the foods I always crave.

But why?
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Bright Reds and Flashing Sirens

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A different view of the inner city. Spring 2019.

A whirlwind of colors whizzed outside my desk window. They were the bright reds of fire trucks and the dizzying, flashing sirens of ambulances.

Is it safe to walk to my car? 

Usually I don’t feel anxious about my commute, despite working in the “rough” side of town.  But those emergency vehicles had lingered for quite some time.

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Soaring (not snoring)! -2018 Year in Review

2018. How do I describe you?

Despite living on 4-5 hours of sleep nightly (because my toddler detests sleep), I learned to trust in God to survive each day.  The result?

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”-Isaiah‬ ‭40:30-31‬ ‭

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Two Choices

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Around the corner, I heard a soft, but labored, panting.

Curious, I walked into my patient’s room to find him breathing rapidly.  I took his vital signs: blood pressure was a little high, pulse ok, temperature ok.  His respirations were fast, but his oxygen saturation was 100%.

Normally, when I call a doctor to report a patient’s worsening condition, I’m ahead of the game.  If my patient’s short of breath, I hook them up to oxygen.  If they have ‘as needed’ medications available, I give them. If he’s aspirating (choking on fluids), I raise the
head of the bed, I shove a yankauer in their mouth and suction the crap
out.

But this time, I was empty handed.  Continue reading