Maybe in your career (stay at home parent, teacher, accountant, pastor, construction, engineer, business owner) like ours, you find your day not so much filled with what you were educated to do (teaching, preaching, designing, leading, operating) but more filled with problem solving. Sara and I have both had many days like that:
1) Your resident is not here today and has asked for an emergency day off to get her hair done for a wedding. Can you talk to her?
2) Your patient is here (5 year old) from Mombassa (6 hours away) for full mouth restorations and our portable compressor is down. Can you talk to their family and let them know we will have to reschedule?
3) Another high-school student wants to observe a delivery in maternity ward (the last one fainted) and they have no medical experience. Should we allow people to hospital gaze? Do we need a policy? But we don't want to discourage people?
4) Our new financial management software for dental is up and running? How does it work? Don't we need another computer? We are now going to be collecting our own fees? Can we get a safe? We need another receptionist don't we? Can we hire?
5) The nurse midwifes are not comfortable with breach deliveries and the use of vacuum and forceps. They are requesting (if not demanding) more and more c-sections. How do we change the practice philosophy and their attitudes to get our c-section rate down?
6) The staff is not coming to devotions in the morning. Do I make it mandatory? Do we eliminate devotions and just see patient from the get/go? Are the devotions I'm leading just not relevant, inspiring, or interesting to their live?
7) Our phones lines at our house have not worked for 5 days. I have called maintenance 8 times. Sara is on-call tonight and needs phone service....what else can I do?
8) The patient is demanding infertility treatment..but she is single, or perhaps HIV+. Can you explain the ethical issues to this patient from a Christian perspective,,,and they only speak Kikuyu. How do I talk to them?
9) The country of Kenya is out of IV ampicillan. What should we do?
10) They already orally intubated your dental patient before you could arrive in Theatre, but you need access to the full mouth and needed nasal intubation. What to do?
These are just a few examples of the problems we try to solve each day (many don't get solved). Some do by God's grace. Having the ability to communicate clearly, compassionately, and patiently cross-culturally becomes a paramount skill. The mechanics and science of medicine and dentistry at times seem easy compared to managing these type of problems.
I think we as a family need creative outlets. Maybe you find this as well. Doing something that does not present with a problem (how can I fix it), but presents with a blank template (I get to create). Maybe this is gardening (an empty flower-bed), fishing (tying a new fly), book club (sharing a new idea).
I think kids have a lesson for adults in creativity. How much of their time (pretending, playing house, coloring, gluing, acting, dancing) is spent on creative activities? Indeed if we are made in the image of God (He is a creator) being creative is an important part of who we are. It does not take much. Amelia, Meredith, and a few rocks become a sparkly dust factory.
Sara and I have both found blogging as an outlet for creativity. A blank post is soon filled with opinions, pictures, feelings, and stories. Some fabric, an idea, and a used sewing machine and Sara is quilting.