Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Simple Life

At long last I feel as though I’ve enough mental energy to actually write something. Not much mind you, but my life has definitely slowed down at least a little. This year has been one of frenetic activity for my family, as Heather has kept you updated we’ve traveled all over the Midwest and seen a lot of new country, couple that with the crazy pace of hospital rotations and I wonder where the year went. I’m sitting here in my living room writing this just after composing a little paragraph that not too long ago seemed an eternity away- the For Sale ad for this little trailer house we’ve called home for the last 4 years. As I look at this last semester of mine rapidly drawing to a close I’m astounded at the changes that have taken place in my life over the course of my tenure here in Iowa- my transformation from a green, single, eager first year vet student, to a happily married father of one (soon two) children, higher education weary, almost veterinarian has been a whirlwind that almost seemed to happen while I wasn’t looking. I remember a wise friend saying years ago that vet school would be over before I knew it, and was she ever right. I’m realizing daily the importance of treasuring every moment- I think experiencing the exponential development of a young child does that to you. This year has been difficult for me in some ways- I don’t enjoy being so preoccupied with activity that I don’t have time to think about anything else. I’ve learned that the study and practice can be so consuming that unless you’re careful very important things can fall by the wayside. I have to say though, that this whole thing has taught me at least one very important lesson. Not terribly long ago I was part of the Anesthesiology team at the hospital, and a wise old Anesthesiologist, just months from retirement, told a group of us nervous young anesthetists something I don’t think I’ll ever forget. We were discussing various monitoring techniques for critical patients with some of the younger anesthesiologists: Intra-arterial blood pressure measurement… Esophageal cardiac auscultation… Capnography… Expired gas analysis… Pulse oximetry… ECG monitoring… Blood gas analysis… on and on went the dizzying array of various wires and tubes and digital readouts and beeps and alarms and gauges we were responsible for… some of us must have been looking a little concerned because the good old guy interrupted the discussion: “Now just a second… Don’t forget- when you have a patient asleep and the alarms start beeping and the gauges are swirling, and you can’t remember which hose hooks to what and what wire goes where… get back to basics, dive under that drape… is the patient breathing? Are the gums pink? Do the capillaries fill normally? Is there jaw tone? Everything else is secondarily important to the basic stuff you already know how to do.” I don’t think it was until later that I realized the other applications of what he said… I was reminded of Micah 6:8, “He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” I realized that so often I would get so overwhelmed with what I though God wants me to do that I forget the absolute rock bottom basics. I think that this verse is really the foundation of Christianity, as my prof so succinctly put it, “everything else is secondarily important to the basic stuff you already know how to do”. Then I wondered… do I really know how to do “it”? It’s pretty easy to spend so much time learning how to handle the fancy new information and issues that we lose focus on what the simple tasks God has always had in mind for us. No wonder Jesus referred to his yoke as being easy. Leave it to us to complicate such a simple concept. Ben


Lynn said...

Hi Ben,
What a great post! It won't be long now before you are done, and your little one is here! Looking forward to hearing all about it.
Blessings from the Bartletts

Sheri said...

Praise the Lord for the schooling being behind you! It's been 'fun' lurking in your life through this blog.
When is the new wee one to be born? Where is the new wee one to be born? Is school done already or is it a spring graduation you're anticipating? Do you have a vet practise all set up you'll be joining?
Praise the Lord that you are still mindful of the necessities of walking with the Lord; to put Him first no matter what. Keep that focus till we meet Him in the air!

Benjamin said...

Hi Lynn,
Good to hear from you! We're enjoying the rest here in ND, heather's feeling fine.

Hello to you too Sheri,
Our newest addition is due on (or around, lol) the 3rd of February, so it's coming right up! The baby will be born here in ND. It was actually pretty amazing how the Lord worked things out in that regard- I ended up having two weeks free in February at the last minute- PTL, He truly is in control! I have two more rotations at the teaching hospital- advanced swine medicine for two weeks, and general food animal medicine and surgery for four weeks- then I've got a two week externship at a practice here in ND, after which I'll be done. We'll just have to drive down for graduation on May 5th. I'm joining a practice near Park River ND (about 50 miles from where I grew up), I'll be the third Doctor there, focusing mostly on food animals, dogs, and cats. I'm hoping to start work somewhere around the first of June. Hope all is well with the H's :).