the little things . . .

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Yesterday was a day when two very difficult weeks eased into a distant memory, and I was left feeling great appreciation and satisfaction that it was successfully over. After two weeks of having my bone densitometer not working and having to cancel patient after patient appointment, six service visits from four engineers, and having electricians in to rewire the lab, everything was repaired and put back into order. The culprit that wreaked all this havoc was a tiny 1/4″ washer that was blocking the x-ray beam. Who knows how long it had been there – it was in a part of the machine that was sealed. The machine movement caused the washer to migrate over time until it got to a place that caused all this trouble. It was so tiny that four engineers worked on this machine and no one saw it.

In this country where we have too much to do and not enough time to do it, each engineer was trying to get the work done quickly and go on to their next appointment. Each of them came from a distance and still had far to go. They replaced every part in the machine that could have been causing trouble. The engineer that came yesterday came from farther away and had another call in the evening when that lab was closed. So, he had all day to spend with us, and he was kind and patient. He was more experienced than any of the previous engineers and worked quickly, but methodically from top to bottom to make sure each part of the process was exactly right. He was of great assistance to me because he knew the machine software even better than I do, and he gave me great advice about how to maintain my unique configuration.

 It was just before noon when the lab technician came in to show me the washer. I’m going to have it framed.

After months of having almost no technical computer support due to lack of informatics staff, I asked one of my staff if he would be willing to learn the things that I know (and more) and to provide support for our department. After talking with him, I found he was much more knowledgeable than I was previously aware. He was very happy to take on this responsibiltiy. This is such an incredible relief to me as I have been spending at least half of my time doing computer support. On Wednesday in our staff meeting, I told my staff how very much I appreciate their “can do” attitude. There is nothing that I ask them to do that doesn’t get done. If they don’t know how to do it, they find out; and they do it right.

After lunch yesterday, I went to a weekly meeting that is often intense. For a change, everyone seemed relaxed. Then when I got back to the office, I got a call from one of my former students. We talked for an hour. This student wanted so much to go to graduate school, but felt he could not afford it. He now has a wonderful job as a chemist and the company is going to pay for his graduate school. Things do work out well don’t they?

I also heard from my friend who is in the Peace Corps in Nicaragua. Her life is very different than here: a bed, a chair, and a table for living space (and no hot water – ever). She is still in training and only gets internet time once per week. More later.

And then when I got home, I had a surprise Valentine package from my wonderful daughter that lives far away. This is what she sent.


And a little while later, I got a visit from the other wonderful daughter and that adorable granddaughter of mine. I am so blessed to have so many good people around me.