Sunday, July 18, 2010

miss b's 5/6th grade goes camping

"Make sure you put your marshmallow stick in the fire for a little while before you put a marshmallow on it. You know... you need to fertilize it first."

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Terrible things

During our first semester of nursing school, our instructor showed us a video about a woman who contracted HIV from a needlestick. She, a nurse at a hospital, had just given her patient an injection. As she recapped the needle, she stuck herself. She immediately reported it, took prophylactic medications, had her blood drawn monthly, and waited. Eventually, the test showed that she was HIV positive.

As novices who still stuck injection pads with trepidation, the movie was terrifying. As we discussed the movie afterwards, my classmates did a lot of lamenting about what an awful thing she was experiencing, how sad it was that that one instance had ruined her life, etc. While I agreed that her situation was unfortunate, I was much more struck by what happened in the nurse's life next.

She began to research needlestick prevention and learned that there had been many safeguards developed that often weren't purchased by the hospital because they were more expensive. She learned that many nurses were unaware of important safety rules. She began to travel and teach about needle safety. She got married and  adopted several HIV+ children.

When I looked at the woman's story, I was overwhelmed by all of the things that had blossomed out of her trial, rather than the awfulness of the trial itself. James tells us to rejoice in our trials, because they make us better. God uses them for his purposes, and we can find joy in that.

We've been experiencing some trial lately. When Matthew was in the hospital, I realized how important plasma donation is. It's used as replacement therapy and it's used to make other treatments. Matthew received five courses of IVIG, and the immunoglobulins of a thousand donors are in his bloodstream as I write this. Without it,it's impossible to say that he'd be alive right now.

I just made my first appointment to donate plasma. It's a small, small thing. But it's evidence of the good that comes from having trouble, so I'm thankful for the opportunity to do it.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Chivalry and the hood

Yesterday Matthew and I were going to visit a friend who lives a couple of blocks away. We walked hand in-hand, I on the right side, closer to the sidewalk, and Matthew on the left side, closer to the rowhomes. We came across a couple of guys hanging out around  a stoop, who looked at us and shook their heads.

"Man, you're all wrong," one guy said to Matthew.

We were confused. What was wrong with what we were doing?

"I'm trying to school you," he said. "See, you gotta let her walk closer to the homes."

The others nodded in assent. "That way, if shit goes down, you can protect her, or she can get a head start."

Who knew?

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Loftuses visit the loftuses, Part I

This weekend, most of Matthew's family visited our small house. Asher was sitting at the table when all of a sudden he got a very strange look on his face and started to cry. Turns out he'd taken a spoonful of pepper from our salt-n-pepper set.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Stranger things have happened in hospitals

Osteomeylitis. Today the word slipped out of my mouth, without my filter blocking it. I stared at it as it hung in the air.

Of course, my first thought was, "Wait. Did I mean to use that exact word? Did I miss a syllable? Why didn't I just say that the infection had spread to the bone?"

"Next week, I want to try giving you two patients," says my instructor. "I think you're ready."

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Matthew says

that I should have been an internal medicine doctor, because I love making lists. Today, I will make five: things to do for E.'s arrival, to make more space for her, days we can go to dinner with C. and M., things to do before Ethiopia, the food for next week's music day, ways to organize A.'s health information so that he can communicate better with his doctors about treatment, ideas for C.'s bridal shower...

OK, so that's actually a list in itself. But I think I'd still rather be a nurse-midwife.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

On Nesting and Voting

I overwhelmed my husband last week. Not intentionally, of course. I was just swept up in a wave of ideas and wanted to do everything all at once.

Allow me to explain: it was spring break. That means I'd been at home more than usual, and spent some time noticing how spartan the place really is. I've also been realizing how much nursing school precludes many creative activities that I enjoy. So when I get a block of creative time, I work: completing two sofa pillows, hanging pictures, planting our future "potted garden" (!), completing a hooded towel for my nieces birthday...

... and painting. Now, the question "to paint/not to paint" was a difficult one for me, because I didn't want to get to get carried away with the aesthetics of our house to an excess. I also didn't want to waste what little money we spend on things that were less important than, for example, supporting relief efforts in Haiti, supporting the community, blessing others, etc. I am very cynical about the broader elections in this country, but I firmly believe that the way we 'vote'-- by the things we spend our hours and dollars doing and buying-- is an important thing. I get squeamish about buying too much plastic junk from China. I can't shop at Gap anymore. Being in Target for too long is overwhelming, because it stirs up in me way more consumerism than I am comfortable with.

Anyway. One of the things that Matthew and I agreed upon in premarital counseling (and we really agreed, because we each wrote it down separately without prompting) was that we wanted an open, welcoming home. And lately I've been in several homes that were decorated in a way that was cozy and welcoming. But how to do it without wasting money?

Enter Sandtown Habitat ReStore. It has paint and basic painting supplies, and supports the neighborhood economy. It gave my friend A. a job when he needed one, and so, I thought, it was a good vote. Our walls are now halfway mint green. The rest of the painting job will have to wait until I get another break in classes, but I'm happy about the choice.

How do you vote?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

An Anatomy Lesson with Lydia Loftus

Lydia: (grabs at her throat) Boys grow a bump here. (pinches to the side of her neck, grabbing a ligament) And girls have this.
Me: Huh. What is that?
Lydia: I don't know. But it's made of cheese.
Me: Oh?
Lydia: Yeah. And boys have meatballs.

Monday, March 22, 2010

First Shots

Yesterday at New Song, the service's theme was Relocation. People talked about their experiences as those who had been living in Sandtown for 4, 20+, or their whole lives, working to flesh out the love of Jesus in the neighborhood. Having just moved here, I found myself becoming very excited about ways that Matthew and I could get to know our neighbors and neighborhood kids better, things to pray about, and carving out time to just sit outside with people, especially as the weather continues to warm.

It turned out to be a day of dreaming. After church, my dad and brother were coming over for lunch, but since we had a lot of food in the crock and we live so close, 4 other friends joined us. A couple of them are graduating from UMBC in the spring, and they all talked about what they thought the near future would hold for them all. They also helped us move the furniture for the house show tomorrow night, which we were really thankful for. Later  I went for a run in nearby Druid Hill Park with a new friend, who teaches at New Song Academy, and talked about her transition into the neighborhood two years ago, as well as ways we could get to know some kids.

The day ended with more hanging out in the neighborhood. Matthew went up to Harford County for the Missions Conference at NCPC with some folks, while I stayed behind with a family and was able to hear more of their story (I can't get enough of stories!), share dinner, paint nails with S., and tuck in the kids. Afterwards I sat on the couch to read, because E. asked me not to walk home alone. She had gardening magazines, so of course I happily complied.

In the midst of reading about lettuce, I heard a loud, almost crackling--like fireworks-- sound, coming from the north end of the block. The gunshots fired once, crackling-- and then again. I couldn't see anything out the window except people moving down and away from the intersection. Soon, police cars began wailing their way up the block. A helicopter with a searchlight went overhead. I heard snatches of conversation from outside: "Somebody needs to call their mother." E. called me upstairs, and as one of the kids came down from the third floor, she asked if he was ok.

"I know what just happened," the 13-year-old said. "Somebody just got shot." And he headed upstairs.

Having just finished mental health nursing, as a result of which my new favorite question is "How does that make you feel?", I wondered about the effects of these events on kids like C. Surely, some sort of coping mechanisms develop-- at the cost of an otherwise oblivious childhood. In his sermon yesterday, Allan noted, "There is not a person who has relocated, remained, or returned to this neighborhood who has not shed tears for the kids." I believe that this is where Gd has called us for the next few years, but my feelings are mixed about sorting through issues such as this one.