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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving thoughts

This may have been the first time in my life I was completely away from any family and any semblance of Thanksgiving.  More on that when I get back, but for now let me reflect on thankfulness.  Everyone is thankful for their families, but never so much as when your only contact is a hasty minute or two on the phone because you're in a country where you're not sure who is listening or where/how you can get more airtime.  I am thankful that persistent friends woke one of our kids up for an early flight to the West Coast when her phone malfunctioned.  I am thankful that all three USA kids are with Scott's parents in CA, being stuffed like proverbial turkeys by Nana's amazing cooking, and riding bikes along the ocean to refresh their weary souls.  I am thankful that our Serge team in Kijabe took in Scott and Jack for a true celebration with friends from multiple countries.  I am thankful for a creative-cook of a husband who made this brick-oven turkey even though I didn't get to eat it (and who has effectively become the primary responsible adult in our household over the last couple months with my travel and work making me less and less functional).  I am thankful for my family-of-origin being together in West Virginia in spite of snowy roads.

But for this post let me be thankful for something else, with thoughts spurred on by the great philosophical movie, Two Guns.  We watched it on our TV service, which means about 20% was blipped out, but there is a scene in the middle where the two main characters are sitting in a bar.  Mark Wahlberg gives a speech on "why we fight", and it is for the guy next to you, your colleague and comrade who is with you in the struggle.

So today I am thankful for my Paeds team at Kijabe.  As of this week, we are fully staffed for the first time ever, as Dr. Arianna began work officially on Monday. Four full-time paediatricians, augmented by one short-term and two once-a-week part-timers.  Last week was a doozy, with one person out for a death, another on leave, and several other issues pulling us in multiple directions, as is generally the case. Yet as I walked back and forth on the familiar path to the hospital, juggling critically ill intubated patients with uncertain diagnoses, talking to families who were resistant to care, making hard calls on a baby whom we had resuscitated over and over, the usual, things that could easily drag one down, I was surprisingly unfazed.  I realized with gratefulness that in all these situations and more, I am working with a great team.  We approach patients with the same level of concern and dedication, we have a compatible framework for decision-making.  We pitch in for each other.  We are friends.

This was one of our primary goals coming out of our longterm planning retreat--strengthening team relationship is the essence of staying power.

So a tribute today to the Paeds team, whom I am missing, and the beauty of community in life and work.

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