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Showing posts from February, 2006

Extremely Quick Update

Just a quick update to say that the feis went well. I had forgotten how HUGE some Mid-American feiseanna can be, but despite feeling a little overwhelmed I think I played well and I certainly enjoyed myself.

This is a very busy week - not only is it our last week of regular CPE (next week is our presentation of our final unit evaluations), but the Jesuit community I live with is moving into a new house. With luck I'll have time to write sometime this week, but it's doubtful. I work the overnight on Friday, so there'll probably be something then.

Final note: I'll be in Cleveland from March 10th - 19th, for anyone who is interested!

What did I do????

I went out to dinner on Monday night with Gary Healy, formerly of Riverdance, who teaches with the Norton-Healy school of Irish dance here in Chicago. Gary is chairing the 2006 Oireachtas (the Mid-American Regional Irish dancing championships held over Thanksgiving weekend each year). Well, over a burger and Guinness he asked me to play the Oireachtas again this year.

And I said YES.

What was I thinking? As some of you will recall, the last Oireachtas was traumatic. I felt so out of place, so disoriented, and had a very hard time being back in such a high-pressure situation. I never ruled out playing for smaller feiseanna, but I certainly did not think that I'd ever return to any major competitions. As I recall, in fact, I think my sense at the time was that I would content myself with just playing for the "little kids" while leaving the more prestigious competitions to the musicians who are able to play more frequently than I am able.

I was shocked that I said yes, that I…

Monday Moaning

Actually, there's not much to moan about. After a (blessedly) un-eventful on-call on Friday, I spent two days at the Villa house in Michigan City. Understandably I slept much of Saturday morning, then watched television for several hours before taking another nap. Then we celebrated Mass, had a beer, and then went to dinner. To round out the evening, we enjoyed some brownies and ice cream while watching "Hustle and Flow." I slept in on Sunday and returned to Oak Park where I caught up on paperwork.

Today has been good so far. Not much happening, really. I'm about to head into "group" in a few moments, so I am sorting out all of my feelings [yes, that's the plural! I have *many* feelings now] and discerning what I want to share with my fellow group members. Tonight I'm having dinner with a friend at a local Irish pub (at 8:30) which is good because it'll give me a few hours to work on a ton of writing I have to do for my "final evaluation&qu…

Mid-Shift Post

Well, I've been here for six hours already. Six hours and nothing has happened! We've had one trauma and, while I do not wish to minimize the patient's suffering, that's been the extent of our evening's action. I reckon this is a good thing (people are well) but it does make for a boring evening. In fact, I'll probably grab some z's in a few minutes.

I suspect part of the cause for the dearth of action is the bitter temperature - it's presently 4-degrees Farenheit with a wind chill of -14. Perhaps such frigid temperatures keep people indoors. Regardless of the reasons, though, it's pretty quiet here and apart from my usual rounds of visits, nothing exciting has really happened.

It is still early, of course, and if anything major happens I'll probably write about it. I'm going to leave the hospital at 7:00 am and drive to Michigan City for two days of relaxation on the beach...in sub-zero wind chill weather. It's the villa used by the Chic…

Pre-Shift Post

Well, I'm now all nicely showered and sweet smelling: Jean Paul Gaultier, to be precise. Why am I wearing my finest "Marvin the Martian" tie and reeking of over-priced toilet water? Because I'm working the overnight shift!

As it seems to be my habit, I'll probably post sometime in the dead of night. While you are slumbering peacefully dreaming of sugarplums (what is a sugarplum, by the way) and happy fairies, I'll be roaming the floors of the hospital, an ever-vigilent sentinel in search of souls in need of soothing. (If I keep up with such descriptions, I'd sound more like one of the X-Men and less like a chaplain).

In other news, there's not much to report. It was a very busy week at the hospital and I was glad to be able to sleep in this morning. On Wednesday I worked at the Stritch School of Medicine's Auction for those students participating in medical immersion trips this summer. It was great fun and the students did a marvelous job with the …

Back to the Daily Grind

After a wonderful trip to Nashville for their fifth feis (I've played four out of the five, having missed last year) I now return to 'CPE World'. I just wanted to put a quick post letting people know that I had a good time at the feis and, while it's not relaxing in the "oh, I'm so refreshed and relaxed" sort of way, it does refresh the spirit to spend time with others who love their Irish cultural heritage and find a way of expressing it through music and dance.

Shot out to Rosemary, Jacki, and Wendy!!

Today begins week seven of CPE. That means 21 group session which is about 73-75 hours of sharing feelings. While my "wheel o'feelings" has certainly expanded, I find the best part of my education (as I have indicated before) comes through direct contact with patients, families, and staff.
I'll try to write more this week. I'm leaving in several minutes that I might spend an hour in the gym, go to our Monday morning staff pray…

New Discovery

This last month has been one of great personal discovery. My new-found love of Dunkin Donuts notwithstanding, I have found an even greater discovery: There is an EINSTEIN'S BAGELS just ONE MILE FROM MY HOUSE!!!!

This may not sound like a big deal, but it's pretty huge in Ryan world. After finding it last night, I resolved to return there this morning (which I did) and purchased a delicious Java Choco Coffee and a bagel. Sadly, I seem to have lost my penchant for bagels (I prefer now Enlish Muffins) but the coffee was lovely. It's the simple things in life that keep me going...

So let's see what's new. I'm heading off to Nashville on Friday which is very exciting. This tends to be a really fun feis so I'm hoping to enjoy myself. I'm also playing the Norton-Healy feis in two weeks and, although I'm looking forward to it, it's not so climactic insofar as it's here in Chicago and I don't get to travel anywhere exotic (oh, for the good ol'…

The Sound of a Breaking Heart

I have for a long time been fascinated by sounds. This should come as no surprise to anyone who knows that I'm a musician. Whenever I'm in a new sleeping environment - like a hotel room - I'll invariably wake up in the middle of the night and lull myself back to sleep by listening to and discerning the sources of various sounds. Even on road trips I'll close my eyes and listen to the sound of the wheels as they move across the pavement, the windshield wipers at various speeds, the radio, the hiss of air as it passes through a partially-opened window (this is all when I'm the passenger, of course).

The hospital is full of sounds. Pages for traumas blare from the overhead paging system. The rush of footsteps, the ding of the elevator, the beeps and blips of monitors, the "this is gonna pinch just a little bit" of nurses trying to calm nerves of one awaiting a blood draw, the steady beep of a flatline. There are myriad other sounds, to be sure, and there'…

Mid-Day Post

So I'm presently killing time as I wait to head off to work. I'm working a split shift today - 12:30 until 9:30 - and the only saving grace to the whole day is that I get to spend it with patients. On Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday of each week I spend 3 hours and 15 minutes in "group" where we process our feelings and thoughts and it is this processing that accounts for so much of the 'education' in clinical pastoral education (CPE). I don't mind it, really, but I will admit that I don't especially like sitting in a room for hours at a time.

So here's the plan for the next few weeks: I'm working the overnight on Saturday (4pm Saturday - 8am Sunday). This means that I have Friday off (yeah!) and that I'll have Sunday to rest (yipee!). I work all five days next week, and then I'm heading to Nashville on Friday evening to play the Nashville Feis. This is their fifth feis, I think, and I was lucky enough to play the first three. As one ver…