Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Hospital Observations

After a five-day stay in the hospital, my Dad was discharged today to go home.  It's been a wild few days with my Stepmom also in the hospital for fractured ribs and moved to rehab in the meantime.  But, God, in His graciousness, allowed all things to happen at just the right time.  While Dad recuperates, my Stepmom is being cared for getting therapy.  Dad's motivation was to get home to take care of her, so if she was home, he wouldn't be taking care of himself.  

Spending a lot of time with Dad in the hospital, I made lots of observations.  And, as I often do, I'll share my findings...

Hospital WiFi is the greatest invention since night baseball - Hospitals have come a long way and one of the greatest accomplishments is free Wifi for patients and guests.  My Dad was admitted Thursday evening and had a procedure yesterday, but the remainder of that time, was a "sit and wait" while the doctors observed him and ran tests.  i was able to log on to my work laptop and do work as if I was sitting at my desk.  It was amazing.  Aside from being limited on the conference calls I could make, it was the perfect setup.  And, focusing on work kept my mind off of worrying about my Dad.

When you find a yummy option at the cafeteria, stick with it - I ate lunch everyday at the hospital.  Oh, I could have left and gone to a local fast foodery nearby, but I figured it was easier and quicker to just eat there.  I became a fast fan of their turkey burgers.  A turkey burger on a wheat bun with pepper jack cheese hits the spot.  I think I ate them out of pepper jack cheese because they were out the last two lunchtimes I ordered.  

If you just sit quietly, you'll hear all kinds of interesting conversations - Dad's first roommate (he had two different ones - number two had quite the potty mouth), was never without at least five visitors at a time.  They were a sweet family, but never.stopped.talking.  For those who know me well, know that's a lot of talking.  I knew all of their business from where they had lunch to what they were fixing for dinner.  One day their Mom, the wife of the patient, had "wandered" away and they weren't sure where she was.  That began a conversation on "GPS-ing" senior adults.  They said GPS chips should be embedded in senior adults so everyone could find them if they wandered off.  Part of me thought that was brilliant and part of me thought that was a bit too "mark of the beast" for my comfort.  Needless to say, never a dull moment if you just sit and listen.

Clean living is worth it - My Dad is 87 years old and probably looks and functions 10 years his youth.  Aside from his wild Navy days before he became a Christian, he has lived a very clean life.  He quit smoking in the 50s back when it was cool and very accepted.  Because of that clean living, he has very few health issues, outside of his heart conditions.  Dad's second roommate looked to be in his 50s but clearly had a lot of issues brought on by more than his young age.  He looked like he'd lived a rough life and based on his profane language and conversations, I'd say that he wasn't a clean liver...nor was his liver clean.  I rode elevators with patients who reeked of cigarette smoke and were checking out and I wondered how soon they'd be back in for some other complication.  It was sad.  My 80+ year old Dad was in better health than many people 30 years younger.  I may not be the healthiest living person in the world, but after witnessing what I did in the halls of the hospital, I am convicted to keep away from any debilitating vices.  

Parking and Pick Up are Two Different Things - When you drive around a hospital parking lot and garage, you need to be aware of your surroundings.  Stopping in the middle of a drive to potentially wait on someone isn't a bright idea.  Might be best to pull over.  And if you are doing the same at the patient pick up area, be conscious of those trying to pick up discharged patients.  I had to almost get out and ask a man who was having a conversation with an aide and in mid-drive to move so I could get to the entrance to pick up my Dad.  May i never be that self-absorbed and unaware.  

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Gospel According to GMAT

I received my letter of conditional acceptance to the MBA program this week and I'm beyond excited!  I find it completely against my nature to be excited about returning to school, but I see it as God's Way of changing my heart, as I've ruminated upon recently.  The conditions of my acceptance are dependent upon my GMAT score.  My GMAT is scheduled for May 25 and I'm working on prepping for that now.

There are multiple sections of the GMAT - analytical writing assessment, integrated reasoning, quantitative and verbal.  As I'm preparing by studying things I've long since forgotten, I take practice exams, get daily practice questions and evaluate how I'm doing.  The last test I took I scored a 50%, which isn't bad, though as a perfectionist, I want to do much better.  Technology has made this prepping amazingly easy.  I have about five apps on my iPad that I can use to not only study, but also to prepare via practice questions and exams.  There is even an app that acts like Angry Birds and when you answer the questions right, and quick enough, you unlock the next level.

In studying for the exam, I'm also reading a lot on tips and information about the test itself and techniques on taking the exam.  Interestingly enough, this exam is known as a CAT adaptive testing exam.  What does that mean?  It means that when you answer a question, and you get it right, the test gets progressively harder; if you get it wrong, it stays at the same level of difficulty.  That's where the "adaptive" part comes in.  I have to say I don't like that adaptive stuff.  If I'm doing well, why not help me do well and keep me at the same difficulty level?  I suppose it's to stretch me as a student.

After reflecting on this interesting testing technology, I realized that the GMAT operates much like God does in our spiritual journeys.  If we struggle in our faith in a test or temptation, God will continue to use experiences in our lives at the same "difficulty level" to stretch and grow us.  But, if we succeed the faith "exam", the next step in our journey may stretch us even more.  We have to trust Him more, believe in Him fully, and sacrifice to Him in ways we may not have had to do before.  Like the GMAT, God adapts to us.  He knows us better than any computer test does.  He knows our heart at the depths where we never travel.  And the difficulty level rises so we can become more like Him.  I don't like that "testing" either, but the outcome is beyond glorious in results.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Welcome to CardNation!

After a long 26 year wait, the NCAA Trophy is back in the Ville.  I could write blog post after blog post on all the stories woven in the Year that was the Cards.   But the best way to sum it up is to show the highlight video from what will surely go down in history as one of the best championship games ever.  L1C4.  If you don't know what it means, Google it. 

Monday, April 08, 2013

The Case of the Missing Remote

One night last week I began my normal bedtime ritual.  I set my alarm, plugged my cell phone in to charge and began to place both of my TV remotes on the nightstand.  Why two remotes?  Because I live in the dark ages, people.  I have one remote for the actual TV (circa 1994) and one remote for my cable box.  I love my TV (also a throwback VCR/TV combo, mind you) and plan to keep it until it gives up the ghost.  

But this night, I wanted to finish watching an episode - of Big Bang Theory, Duck Dynasty, or some other hilarity - before going to sleep.  So I had my remote on the bed beside me.  Always a bad move.  Normally that will mean it will be wadded up in the covers and I'll roll over on it, or it will fall to the floor and I'll retrieve it when I wake up.  This time was different.  When I woke up an hour or so later, I began my ritual of nightstand arrangement and realized the cable box remote was missing.  Oh no worries, it probably fell on the floor.  But it wasn't there.  Hmm.  Maybe it was lost in the covers.  Not there either.  By this time I was wide awake perplexed about the missing remote.

I got up and began to look under my bed, under my recliner.  Surely it couldn't have gone far.  But it was no where to be found.  I almost started believing aliens were involved.  As I was losing my mind, I also began talking to the stuffed animals in the room for their observations (don't judge me....I've loved stuffed animals all my life...they'll be around until I'm 80+, just sayin')  I decided after about 30 minutes of my search to give it up and go to bed.  As I lay in bed pondering my next move, which involved going to the cable company the next day to get a replacement remote, I decided to stop the whirlwind in my mind and pray.  What a novel idea!  I should have started with that one.  I prayed that God would first let me sleep and turn off my brain.  Second, I prayed that He would help me find my remote.  Simple prayer, but big to me at the moment.  

I woke up the next morning and kept my head down....kept it down looking under every piece of furniture within rolling distance.  Finally, I was standing at the right angle and distance from my recliner and saw something in the back under the recliner, far away from reach.  Could it be?  It was! It was my missing remote!  It's very possible that after reaching under the chair, I pushed it further back rather than revealing its location.  I was thrilled!

My extreme concern and worry over a silly thing like a remote was a great lesson in trusting in God, casting all my cares on Him.  Instead of fretting, I needed to pray, and rest knowing that He would take care of the situation.  It took me a while to submit to that master plan, but when I did, it worked.  Even though I still spent a majority of the morning with my eye out for that remote, God was using that time to continue to stretch my faith that He would provide.  And He did.  Like He always does.  Not necessarily in the way I'd like, but He His Timing.  God is good, all the time...even when remotes are missing.