Thursday, September 20, 2012

Random Musings on Guinea...and Covington...

So today I just had a few random thoughts on going to physical is now in, so it should just be a matter of days before I am officially approved!

Is my 're-entry' shock going to be harder than after living in Honduras for 2 months since I'll be there almost twice as long, or will it be easier since I'll be working on a boat where the usual language is English and I'll be surrounded by lots of non-Guineans? 

I should really take a self defense class at some point...  Conakry will be the biggest city I've ever "lived" in at >1.5 million people.  (I know, I know, that's not that big...3x the size of Tucson, 1/4 the size of Phoenix)

How many times am I going to start randomly speaking in Spanish expecting French to come out?  (I did this in Kenya...someone spoke Swahili to me and I answered in Spanish...silly brain)

I hope I can find some friends that would like to explore the more mountainous regions inland...there are supposedly some nice waterfalls!  I'm hoping I'll be able to see the mountains from the boat - I think they might start about 30 miles inland, but since I'll be going during the dry (and MANGO) season, it's more dusty so visibility might be low.

However, before I get to Guinea, I will be near Covington, VA (known for its lovely smelling paper mill) working for a home health company starting in about 1.5 weeks until Christmas.  I have not done home health before, so that will be interesting in and of itself, as well as the fact that I'll be driving all over these tiny towns and rural countryside to get to my patients, which I will have 30 a week to see. 

I tried to go today to see if I could find a place to live (because it would be 1.5 hour drive each way to get to my office from all the driving between patients...that would put me on the road for probably 7 hours a day, and I tend to get sleepy with lots of driving.  Not a good combination.).  I've struck out so far...part of me just wants to take my tent and camp and come home on weekends.
However...that would probably equal a very stinky PT, with even less sleep and therefore even more likely to fall asleep while driving...  and I would like a refrigerator...  I could get by with a camping stove, but a fridge is a little harder to come by camping.  Unless I dehydrated all my food beforehand ;)  And by the time December comes around, it might be a little cold (although I do have a 0 deg sleeping bag...sometimes it still is hard to sleep when it's in the teens...thinking back to Cold Mountain...brrrr)   Yeah, my patients might not like me sleeping in a tent.  (good, I just justified my way out of that one...shew.)  ;)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Africa bound!

Today I verbally commited to making a dream come true that I've been dreaming about the past 4 years...  to be a PT on Mercy Ships.  WOW.  Pending my physical gets approved, I will be spending 3.5 months on the Africa Mercy stationed in Conakry, Guinea, on the west coast of Africa.  I will leave a few days after Christmas and return mid April...

While I applied for a PT opening in August, I really just knew that several others had applied and then I didn't hear anything for about a month (they said they would take 4-6 weeks to approve an application).  I was able to reach them on Friday to see if I was still a candidate or if anyone else had already filled the position so I would know if I needed to end my next rotation as a travel therapist at a certain time.  They said the Jan-April position was filled, but they might be opening up a spot for a 2nd PT in November for a couple months to help with all the orthopedic surgeries they planned to do, but it had not been approved - they would try to let me know Monday or Tuesday this week.
So after going for a walk this morning, I returned to a voicemail, saying they did indeed have an opening then, as well as the longer opening from Jan-April as the other person had to back out. 

Decisions, decisions...  leave earlier for a shorter time (6 weeks) or leave later for a longer time (~15 weeks).  I had been talking with God a little bit about if the short term one came open (originally she had stated for early October - November, which would be about 3 weeks from now) I was really a little nervous about getting ready in that time period - money, self prep, medical stuff (shots, physical, dentist, etc) and not getting to work in that period meant a little wasted time in my opinion (not that it would actually be wasted, but I knew my insurance benefits would be cut off a little before I could take care of all those physicals and shots and things...).  Then I was given the choice, 2 good choices, and it was one of those things where I felt like God just wanted me to choose my desire.  (Sometimes I don't like choices though, because I can be a little indecisive at times and both options allowed me to be home for Christmas, so that was not a determining factor)  I asked Kristin, the woman helping me through the process, which time they had a bigger need for.  She thought for a while and said the Jan-April spot because we don't have a PT lined up then at all.

Well, that made the decision for me.   BUT oh WOW, I'm going to be the ONLY PT??!!  Yikes.  Now I've been used to being the only PT from time to time, but this is acute care, I know there will be burn and plastic surgery patients, and probably all sorts of other cases I have not seen before.  (I do love my outpatient ortho...)  Yikes, what if I have to do wound care??  So I think I'm going to be in a little over my head... 

Thankfully God's not in over His head.  I've got a feeling I'll be thinking James 1:2-5 quite often these upcoming months.  Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance, and perseverance must finish it's work so that you are mature and complete, not lacking anything.  And when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, tossed by the wind.  Since I'll be on a boat, that wave of the sea may take on new meaning to me...

Right now I'm riding a wave of excitement and nervousness...  This is going to be awesome!  and hard!  I think the thing that may scare me the most (honestly more than treating things I've never seen before) is the fact that I will mainly be confined to a 500 ft boat.  If you know know I like to get outside and explore...  particularly mountains...  The rooms are tiny, so I don't forsee myself spending much time there...take a look at the single's housing here.  I'm not really clausterphobic, I just like to get out and see wide open land (not buildings or even sea for that matter, and I'm going to be right in between those 2 extremes).  So I think my biggest need for prayer may be that I don't get too 'antsy'.

I will keep you posted on my progress!  :)  Thanks for reading!

Monday, September 3, 2012

My New Toy

So for about 2 months I have been spending a lot of time experimenting with my new toy:  a food dehydrator!  It was a lovely birthday present from my parents.   So I've just been playing around with the variety of different things you can do with a dehydrator - right now I'm trying my first batch of chicken jerky, to be followed by the beef jerky while I'm sleeping tonight.
So obviously you can do jerky...this was marinated in Kikkoman's Teriyaki Takuma Collection which was AWESOME if I don't mind saying so myself.  Think mouth wateringly good...atleast if you like teriyaki like I do!
And then you go to the Farmer's Market and go overboard on buying fresh and happy fruits and veggies and have plenty of ways to 'experiment' with them...
My very first experiment was just drying plain zucchini and squash...nothing special.  Then I did the walnuts and almonds after first soaking them to make the easier to digest (dehydrating just dries them back out after soaking them...they are still considered "raw" if you keep the temperature of the food under 118 deg if you're on a raw food kick).
Then I decided I better step things up a notch, so I tried making some kale 'chips'.  (No, even through they're in a Fat Free container, they do still have fat)  You basically wash kale, rip it into pieces, put a little oil and whatever seasoning you want on it, then throw them in the dehydrator for about 4-5 hours.  I had a garlic parmesan mix that was very tasty on them, as well as just salt.  They're light and crunchy, definitely with a little bit of the bitterness that kale has, but I personally enjoyed them very much!
 Of course there are the regular other fruits: blueberries (took FOREVER to dry), sliced strawberries, halved cherries (also took FOREVER...aka a couple days), star fruit, cilantro, "sundried" tomatoes (halved cherry tomatoes), apples, peaches, bananas...  I haven't tried very many veggies yet, so I'll have to work on that some more.  I did try to make potato 'chips', which did not turn out very well - they got grey and were very starchy.  So I pounded it down into little pieces and figure I can use them as a soup thickener if I ever need to...

One of my favorite things has been making fruit rollups!  The ones pictures are actually just applesauce I had in the fridge I decided to experiment with.  I also did ones made out of dragonfruit, tomatoes (again to make into a sauce), cherry banana - blending in any leftover zucchini pieces to get in a bit of veggies!

On a similar note, I used Rawmazing's banana crepe recipe to try out the fruit rollup idea further - obviously mine don't look quite as amazing, but it was fun to try!
I also tried to make a kale-flaxseed cracker/wrap and they were AWFUL.  I'll have to try to make something a bit better than that and see if I can come up with some sort of tasty cracker type recipe...

So as the word 'experiment' came up quite frequently in this post, that would be the most appropriate word for how I've been eating recently...I've also read a book or 2 that make logical sense to me as far as eating the stuff you digest most easily (fruit, then veggies, then protein) first so it can get through your system the quickest.  Very interesting stuff indeed!