Sunday, August 20, 2017

Can't sleep tonight

It's about 2 o'clock in the morning (in California) so it is daytime in the Philippines. I've decided it is just fine that I am not asleep.  Today was a pretty special day watching Julia and Michael get married.  My mind is running over today and the last few days and I'm so thankful for so many wonderful blessings.  I'll start out with my friends. On Thursday, Laura Nausin took me all over to buy little things from about six different stores and then I went to her house to sew up Jeffrey's barong for the wedding.
Going to the wedding all dressed up

The Filipino people as a whole are much smaller than we are, so I had to make adjustments on my dress and Jeffrey's barong. Bonnie Carter and Pam Hoskings came over to say Hi and reconnect. I was thinking tonight of the times I taught PEP in school with Pam, went camping, took pictures before prom, and attended baby/wedding showers with her. Bonnie seems to have worked in Young Women's forever and in the Relief Society when I worked in Primary. We have connected so many times over the years. I got a hug from Grandma Nausin and Vickie too. They have added to my life immeasurably raising my kids and at girls camp.  Laura's mom is starting to be a fixture in my life also.
A special visitor who came was Lisa Lambert. I thought I wouldn't see her at all because I knew she went to San Francisco in the morning. But on Thursday night she came over with cinnamon bread and a hug. She is my exemplar, friend, and who I want to be like when I grow up. she can get more done in less time despite the roadblocks thrown in her way.

Today Teemaree decided to visit her mom down past Fresno and watch Michael get married. Though our children grew up together and we went camping too, my fondest memories are working in the Relief Society together. I'm so glad she made time to come today.
Teemaree decided to come down for the wedding on her way to her mom's house.
The lifetime friend I have is my sister.  After I was born my mother prayed for a sister for me and Susie has been a blessings ever since. She has been a major help, support and last minute fix-up in all of the weddings in our family.  Thanks mom and a generous Heavenly Father for my sister Susie.
Life is better with Susan Eames
Entertaining Caleb and Jayson while the pictures were being taken. It had to be around 100 degrees today
I am so thankful for the love and dedication of my family. They love and help each other out.
Matthew took a nine hour test, finished a paper, took his wife out on a date, then headed to the airport to find stand-by flights so he would be at his brother's wedding. As soon as the ceremony was over he hopped in the car with Andrew and drove to the Fresno airport to get a flight to San Francisco to find another flight to North Carolina. He plans to finish another paper as he flies and reports to work on Monday morning at a new job. I'm praying he gets on early stand-by flights all the way home.
Matthew and Rachel on Friday night.
I have a deep gratitude and thankfulness as I watch my boys who have grown up and become father's themselves. There is a deep joy in watching them take care of their children.
Caleb and his dad

Well, I'm getting tired so I'm going to try going to sleep now and I'll post again about this really fabulous day another time.

Keep paddling

In the early 20's I helped out at a boy scout camp that my brother ran. One of the most hilarious sights was watching the boys learn to canoe. There were several requirements including swamping the canoe and throwing rope for thirty or so yards - feet? Most of the city boys did not know how to paddle a canoe and in the best case some scouts zig-zagged across the water. Sometimes they ended up traveling in large circles usually away from where they wanted to be. It took quite a few tries for them to go from point A to point B. They just kept paddling until they could work smoothly, even if not evenly. The rope throwing was just as funny to watch as the rope mostly traveled sidewise instead of in front to "save" the other scout. They did pass off their requirements, though they were by no means perfect by the end of the week.

Back in my girls camp days, in the craft area,  a sign asked us to guess how many items were in the different jars set up.  One jar of jelly beans looked very inviting and quite a few of my friends and I made some guesses - we didn't win. At the time I wondered how long it took the "bean counter" to figure out exactly how many were in each jar.

My work in the dental clinic resembles both of these previous experiences. I told Sister Stewart about going to scout camp - she has been to scout camp too.  We both have watched scouts learn to paddle. Running the front desk while the dentist work their magic in restoring teeth sometimes feels like zig-zagging all over the place while trying to get from point A to point B. My highest priority each day is to make sure there are patients in the chair,  enable any help needed while they are there, and then to get the paper work done.

To get a patient in the chair requires a schedule and a patient chart to be filled out. That sounds pretty simple. Missionaries are rated on a 1 to 4 category, 1 being urgent and 4 needs a cleaning (prophy or prophylaxis) in six months. Patient charts are made on paper and on the software. Paper for the dentists to keep track of procedures and the software chart to make reports from. After each patient leaves, a rating is given by the dentist to decide if that person comes back for another appointment. The ratings are entered into the computer. Entering each procedure on the software system is not difficult just a matter of pressing the right buttons, but can take some time. To make up a daily schedule the missionaries sorted by their ratings. The computer has macros that decide how far away their mission field is and other factors giving priority to one over the another.

But the computer does not take into consideration the time a patient needs to heal from an extraction, or swelling to go down on a root canal so that more fillings can be done. The computer also doesn't find any patients that have been forgotten or unfinished. Fallible senior missionaries get to take care of those issues.

So here is the story:
While entering data into the computer the front door rings and the missionary is let into the door by pressing a button about knee level. Greeting the missionary, "Have a seat for a little bit. I'll tell the dentist you are here." Walk back to the operatory, "Your 6:30 missionary is here" or Elder/Sister so-and-so is here. Walk back back to the computer and start entering, answer the phone, go back to the computer, have a different doctor come out and say his patient hasn't arrived, call front desk, if no one answers, walk up an incline to the front building, search for missionary, page missionary on the intercom, walk back down and remember where you left off at the computer. Get a call for Jonah to come help in the MTC nurses office (she is a trained nurse and can administer immunizations) put gloves on to assist Dr. Stewart sometimes for 10 minutes sometimes for half an hour. Go back to the computer and remember what was going on before leaving. Just as I finish the next day's schedule a field missionary calls with an emergency that will need to be fit in. Redo the schedule. Then I find a doctor is scheduled for two root canals/extractions etc. in the same hour, redo the schedule. Check the calendar, answer the phone, go get a missionary, answer a question from someone walking in. Redo the schedule.  Sometimes I tell Sister Stewart that I'm still paddling.

Another part of my job is answering questions. Usually Sister Hoem's is manning the front desk (making schedules and patient charts). Whenever Sister Stewart sends a report to the Missionary committee or whomever it is that she sends reports to, she needs numbers, all kinds of numbers to put in those reports. Number of missionaries served, screened, taken care of. Number of procedures done, how many were urgent, Where those missionaries came from. Who needs to be seen the most. Luckily I've never worked on money amounts - for supplies, procedures, or how much it saves to take care of the missionary in the MTC versus in the field. I work with numbers, I'm the bean counter. I have poured over charts and lists and count each missionary who has been seen - probably two or three times for different lists. If a man from Salt Lake walks into the Clinic I wonder what kind of question he will have. Inevitably I will be counting somewhere to find part of his answer.

Sometimes I wonder if there are guardian angels watching from the shore laughing as I zig-zag along paddling as they watch my actions. Are they happy I'm getting more experienced? I do know they make sure missionaries are not missed and that the schedule goes pretty smoothly despite my slip-ups.
I have also come to appreciate the value of numbers and how important they are to the questions that need answers.
"We take care of the health of the missionaries," is pretty vague. Versus "The dentist extracted 15 "rotted stumps" of teeth or more accurately root tips this week to avoid infections in missionary mouths.
A big question is who needs dental care? Isn't that suppose to be done before they come? There are lots of answers, I just provide the data numbers to help answer them.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Pop up memories

Today I jumped on my email and got a pop up memory from Shutterfly from four years ago.

This is after Matthew and Debbie's engagement party in Provo, UT
I had forgotten that we stayed with Grandmama and had Sunday dinner
So much has happened, Talia is returning from her mission now
Then just a little later Debbie and Matthew got August. August is a good month for the Adams!
Matthew and Debbie August 24, 2013

I am outside of all the hoopla going on for Michael and Julia's wedding, but I am just as excited for the both of them.  I'll be coming back to California just briefly for their wedding and flying back here just after. I am so happy for both of them and love to see the light in Michael's eyes in pictures.
Michael and Julia August 19, 2017

Four was just yesterday and so long ago. Lots of things have happened in four years! Our first grandson and now three grandsons and a granddaughter, three children married, graduations from  different schools, and a mission served, now Jeffrey and I have a new lifestyle. Wow, what are the next four years going to bring?

Sunday, August 6, 2017

How you seen things......

I have to admit, looking at the river behind our apartment building I see muddy rain runoff. I noted that the river is finally getting lower and not so dangerously high.
The children on the other hand see this river as a playground! Both Saturday and Sunday I watched the frolics going on across the river.
Is the river more shallow on that side? Splashing, some swimming and diving off the board.
A regular picnic going on
Children seem the same all over the world they all wanted to get on the board and own it for a minute
I guess they weren't deterred by the color of the water
They would climb on and jump off into the river


Sometimes I write little notes about ideas I have for a certain blog or another. Today I emptied out my backpack and found some of the different notes laying about. I got to thinking about the highs and lows, frustrations and euphoria that are all mixed up with my missionary service.

I input data on computers everyday to spit out schedules, detail procedures done on each patient, and tally up numbers for all kinds of reports. Whenever a question is asked, I'm the bean counter who goes looking for all the data. It's a good thing I enjoy jig-saw puzzles as I have to get into repetitious numbers and patterns, finding little clues and nuances for those answers. Another reason I am perfect for this job.

"Putting numbers in the computer is an easy thing, so I was perplexed why no patients showed up for the afternoon appointments on Thursday. The computer program kept showing no missionaries for the afternoon and looking further I concluded that most were going to the temple sessions. I left it alone and decided something would come. As usual the timing was right. The software program Dentrix had a serious issue on all of the computers not showing the procedures as completed. It was very fortuitous that the dentists had time to look into what the problem was. But they didn't really have the time because two emergencies came in from the MTC and a field missionary showed up hoping for an appointment. Sometimes I wish the angels would just come down and write out the schedule instead of me agonizing over all the details. I call it tracting - dedicated work with lots of details, little reward seen, but consecrated time to the Lord."

My heart is so heavy this morning. One sister had six teeth, some just decayed stumps extracted from her mouth today. Another sister had three teeth extracted and is going to come back another day for 21 more fillings. Most teeth have 3 or more cavities. I had to turn the x ray pictures into icon size instead of the full screen as my emotions started getting a little hard to handle. It's not good to be crying at the front desk. It could create a bad impression on incoming missionaries.

Primary class was a success today! We didn't get stuck on how many years ago Jesus Christ touched each of the children and blessed them. I had the children drawing on paper doll chains (boy dolls and girl dolls) while I showed videos of children from all different parts of the world giving their testimonies about various parts of the gospel. The came from the Children's Friend "One in a Million". Using a creative outlet in every lesson I found is essential. I claim a success though the last seven minutes was the usual chaos of talking and running up and down chairs. Still the first 43 minutes were peaceful. It's all how you perceive things.

Jeffrey is out tonight going visiting with the counselor in the bishopric. I wonder what insights and joy he will come back and tell me about. Visiting members in their homes is magic!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Big and Little

Today is the day that Jeffrey has worked and prayed for about 10 months.
Religious Freedom seminar put on by the University of the Philippines and the J Rueben  Clark Society
He was not the one in charge, just one of the many people who pushed through to have this seminar. There are many different religions represented and quite a few dignitaries, ambassadors, senators, judges and people from different countries.

When I jumped into the car this morning leaving Jeffrey to get a taxi to another location, it was raining very heavily. Traveling through the dark and heavy downpour, I watched a man on a motorcycle get a wave of water thrown up from a car that almost knocked him over. Any low laying places had pools of water. My heart clenched because Jeffrey was told that if it rained too heavily people wouldn't be able to show up for the seminar because Manila is so prone to flooding. I started praying for the heavens to part and allow this conference to go on and that those who could change policies for good would be able to attend.

At the dental clinic, Anton asked if we had water pressure. He suspected a leak and he was correct. No water to run the compressors and vacuum. With 15 minutes till the first missionary was to arrive  anxiety started to rise. But like all the miracles that happen around the missionaries, everything was in working order when they walked in.
Around 9 am when I walked outside, I could see sunshine. Yes, God is answering big prayers and little prayers today.

Putting up boxes

Dr. Stinchfield drills a hole with his........drill and burr
I''m not sure why he had a syringe full of vaseline but it was helpful in some way
The screwdriver was the only tool I recognized as normal
Ta-da!  Patient Charts are now put directly into the Dr's operatory

How many dentists does it take..........

After a break, the dentists turned back on their power for their chairs and tools and there was a distinct pop in Dr. Stinchfield's operatory.
The three dentist immediately go to check it out. But there is only room for two dentists to get their hands in the "mouth" of the problem
Using the tools they have on hand - all dental related but not necessarily engineer related, Dr Stewart and Stinchfield go to work.
Using the same light he uses to see into his patient's mouths Elder Stinchfield looks into the problem. Elder Stewart is a pro using the materials on hand to patch up problems.
After a 20 minute delay, the operatory was up and working again.
The ongoing question is how do you maintain and continue running a charity clinic? 
Use what you have - mostly an inventive mind.

Fantasy Spiderman and real Spidermen

I am continually awed at the amazing results that men with low technology and high creativity can achieve. The Area office and MTC compound, along with the Patron House and Temple across the street are constantly in a state of repair, renewal and restoration. I've come to expect construction zones just like the BYU campus. Something is always coming up or going down, being cleaned, built, or restored.
Some amazing men put together pipes for scaffolding and planks to stand on and repair or construct walls pulling cement and supplies up with ropes and pulleys. They nimbly climb up 3 or 4 stories and run down again for another tool. They are the original Spidermen casually spending the day on a thin plank hammering, chipping, smoothing and troweling the walls of the compound.
Three stories up casually walking along a plank of wood set across two poles
I don't know why the old MTC wall needed something, but it is getting a facelift from these creative men with PVC pipe and a sharpened nail and hammer to chisel out the old and bucket of cement brought up with a pulley and laid on with a trowel.
Having watched men chip out cement on the side walk and then painstakingly pick out the right color rocks to cement back in, I'm almost afraid to ask how they get the two different colors on the wall.
There are long poles propping up the scaffolding
Real Spidermen creating functional beauty.