Friday, February 28, 2014


On Wednesday morning the urological residents rounded bright and early. (The chief resident of the doctor in charge [in this case, Dr Desai] always seems to be the one who does all of the talking/question-asking when the resident doctors round.) The CR asked me how I was feeling (very sore), took a look at me to see how I was looking almost 24 hours post surgery, rattled off a lot of things that went over my head and said that Dr. Desai would be around to talk to me later (since she's ultimately the one who holds all the cards as far as when I would be able to be discharged). She came to talk to me later on that day and said that she didn't feel comfortable having me go home (even though that's what she'd originally told me to plan on) since my white blood cell count was a little high––something that can be indicative of some sort of infection.

Another thing that caused my doctor some concern was the chest x-ray I'd had in the wee hours of Wednesday morning. (X-rays are standard protocol in the hospital, and the techs always come to take the x-rays so early––like 4 AM). My x-ray showed a small pleural effusion (this is when excess fluid builds up between the layers of the lungs). I was told that it could resolve itself, but if it appeared to be growing they would have to put in a chest tube to drain the fluid. I was really disappointed about not being able to go home, but I thought, "Okay, I can handle one more day in the hospital..." I actually wasn't really all that surprised. By now I've gotten used to the fact that my health is quite delicate and it's better to be safe than sorry, although it's always disheartening to find out you'll have to stay in the hospital longer than you were expecting.

Later that morning I had to get a CT scan to take a look at my kidneys to see if they looked clear of stones. The resident doctor that sent the orders for the CT scan goofed and accidentally ordered the scan with dye contrast instead of without, so that kind of messed it up since it made things more difficult to see. It still worked well enough, though, so I didn't have to get it redone. Good… you get lots of radiation from CT scans and I'd rather not get cancer if I can help it. ;)

Something I've failed to mention is that in the surgery my doctor placed an internal stent and also put in a nephrostomy tube to help my kidney drain. [A nephrostomy (depicted in the first two pictures below) is an artificial opening created between the kidney and the skin which allows the kidney to drain. A renal stent (depicted in the third picture) is a thin tube that goes from the inside the kidney through the ureter into the bladder and helps the kidney drain from with in.]
Thursday was my lowest day in the hospital. When my doctor came to see me mid-morning I was hoping for some good news (like that I would be able to go home) but instead I got discouraging news. She said that she still didn't feel good about letting me go home and that it most likely wouldn't be Friday, either. What?! I felt so discouraged! Was this earth shattering news in the long run, obviously not, but it was really demoralizing to have my expectations dashed again. I don't handle disappointment well. I've always been the kind of person that gets really excited about things, so when things don't go according to plan I tend to feel really deflated.

My doctor said that my numbers still weren't quite where they needed to be. My white count was still elevated and I'd had a temperature of 100° when my vitals were taken in the night. (I was kind of warm from being under a sheet and two blankets and I inwardly groaned when I saw my temperature because I knew that the doctors weren't going to like it.) My doctor looked at my chest x-ray and said that my pleural effusion had increased slightly, so she wanted me to go to interventional radiology (IR) to get things checked out.

I was hoping to go to IR sooner than later since I was NPO and unable to eat/drink but they didn't come for me until 2 in the afternoon. I was hoping to be back in my room by 3 so that I could watch Dr Phil (a TV show with a psychologist that helps real people with their problems––it's fascinating and I watch it every afternoon). I knew that being back in an hour was a long shot, but a little wishful thinking never hurts! This was not to be, though. Things took an incredibly long time and I didn't get back to my room until after 6:30! I was taken into the little IR holding area where I waited for two hours. Unfortunately my mom wasn't allowed back there with me so I was alone and bored in the cramped area. The patients on either side of me were quite interesting. On my left side was a young woman (probably around my age) who kept crying. I'm not quite sure what was wrong with her, but I kept hearing her cry and I felt badly for her. The woman on the other side of me seemed like she was high on pain meds (or something) and she kept calling out (loudly) for the for the nurse to bring her things and/or do things for her. My voice was shot (something I'll cover in a later post) so I couldn't get the nurse's attention the few times I tried to ask what time it was/when it was my going to be my turn. Time just seemed to crawl!

I was finally taken back to get my procedure at 4. I was transferred onto the procedure table and turned onto my right side. The nephrostomy tube was taken out of my side and some dye contrast was injected into my kidney. This was done to see if my kidney would drain the way it was supposed to, and it did, so they took the nephrostomy tube out. Next they put in a chest tube so that the fluid in my lung could drain. They took a culture of the fluid to see what kind of fluid it was/if there was any bacteria in it. (There was speculation that it might be urine which would've been bad since that would've meant that my kidney wasn't draining properly. Fortunately it wasn't urine, which was good. It was blood, which probably sounds bad, but it actually wasn't a big deal. It just meant that the nephrostomy tube had likely been irritating my lung.) Since my kidney was draining properly, the nephrostomy tube didn't need to be reinserted and the chest tube was left so that the fluid could drain.

The procedure was finally finished around 5:45 and the patient transport people were called to take me back upstairs. I usually can't complain about how things go in the hospital, but I do have some issues with the patient transporters. It takes them forEVER to get to you. Waiting just seems to be the name of the game when it comes to patient transport, unfortunately. I waited for 40 minutes and finally got back to my room a little after 6:30. I knew my hopes for being back by 3 for Dr. Phil were a little too optimistic, but I never expected to be gone for more than four hours!!

When I got back I was beyond ravenous since I hadn't been able to eat all day. The dinner trays had already come and gone, but my nurse managed to find one of the unclaimed trays. Although I was famished, I really didn't have much of an appetite, but I was hoping for something decent. Not to be. Dry chicken and plain rice it was and some unappealing looking vegetables. Needless to say I went to bed hungry! By this point I was feeling grouchy after a long, disappointing day. 

The one thing I looked forward to was the nurse I would have that evening… Claire. The hospital tries to keep continuity of care by giving nurses the same patients if the patient is still in the hospital the next day/night. Claire was my nurse on Tuesday and Wednesday nights and she was so pleasant and nice and kind. I really liked her a lot and when she left at the end of her shift both mornings she said, "Well, if you're still here tonight, I'll probably be your nurse." I really expected to be going home on Wednesday, and for sure by Thursday, so I didn't expect to see her again. On Thursday morning when I found out that I wouldn't be going home I thought, "Well at least I'll have Claire as my nurse tonight." When I found out that I'd been assigned to a different nurse I was so disappointed and irritated! After I've developed a rapport with someone and they know who I am/how things have to be done for me, I'm resistant to change! 

I will end my synopsis of Wednesday and Thursday here so that this doesn't get any longer, but there will be a few more posts to come.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Surgery Recap

I thought I would give an account of my surgery for those curious of how it went. I arrived at the hospital bright and early (5:30 AM) on Tuesday the 18th. I got checked in, situated and was taken back to surgery around 7:40. I'm glad I was the first case of the day so that I didn't have to wait a long time in the pre-op holding area (I've seriously waited for hours before).

While I was waiting for the ball to get rolling I had my mom take some pics on her iPad. They definitely aren't very flattering, but I like to document, so I'm posting them anyway.
I started to float away on Versed and was whisked away to the OR and surgery began shortly thereafter. My doctor (Dr. Desai) started by looking in my bladder and she found some polyps that she wanted to biopsy (bladder cancer is highly common in people who have long-term indwelling catheters). After she did that I had to be flipped over on my stomach for the stone removal so that my doc could have access to my back (since that's where she was entering my kidney). Thank goodness I was out for the flip/roll because I'm sure it would've been my mighty uncomfortable! The surgery took a little more than four hours from start to finish and everything went well.

[When Dr. Desai got inside my kidney/ureter she found out that my ureter was chalk full of the small, sandy stones which was really interesting since my ureter was clear of stones on the x-ray that had been taken in my pre-op testing two weeks previously. My doctor compared the x-ray from the pre-op testing to an x-ray that was taken on the morning of the surgery and my ureter was clear in both x-rays, so she could only assume that the stones literally fell out of my kidney into the ureter when I was rolled onto my stomach. That's really weird considering how they've been securely nestled in my kidney for the past few years.]

When I woke up in the post-op holding area I was in a lot of pain. I didn't seem to perk up quite as quickly as I usually do. I was there for two hours and I don't really remember a lot of what transpired. That's okay with me, though, since I was really hurting and because my mom and Chandra were only allowed to come back and see me for five minutes.

[Here's a funny story about my time in recovery. I was on a gurney and my head was really uncomfortable on the pillow since it wasn't adjusted comfortably (my head always tends to lean to my right side since it's so much weaker on that side since that's the way it broke in my accident). Whenever I'm laying down I always have a small pillow or towel roll under my pillow to prop my head up and keep it in a more neutral position. When Chandra and Mom came back to recovery to visit me I kept asking Chandra to "push the small pillow in." She kept saying, "There is no small pillow!" Since I kept repeating myself (I don't remember this) she started hunting around the little room looking for something to prop my head up with. She found a stack of graduated cylinders that are used to empty patient's bedside drainage bags and she wedged one of those (it was clean) under the pillow to make me more comfortable. Several hours later when I was up in my hospital room I was repositioned in my hospital bed and someone removed the graduated cylinder and said, "what's this doing here?" I was as surprised as whoever found it and got a good laugh when my mom told them why it was there.]

I was moved up to my room after being in recovery for about two hours. I felt pretty well, although, I was in a lot more pain than I'd been expecting. (I'm always in a haze after coming out of anesthesia and it's difficult for me to keep things straight, so I tend to ask a lot of the same questions over and over. Even now as I'm writing this it's difficult for me to remember everything as it actually happened in those 24 hours post surgery.) I know that I ate some chocolate pudding, though, and was delighted to see my dear friend Lacee, who stayed at the hospital for hours keeping both my mom and me company. Talk about loyalty… that's my Lace to a T!

This is a good place to stop since this takes me to the end of my surgery, but stay tuned because I still have a lot more to report on!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Quadruple Surprise

I’m working on writing up a blog post about my surgery, but it will take a while to cover all the details, so for now I will share this unbelievable story.

Two weeks ago 42-year-old Kimberly Fugate gave birth to identical triplets, something that is extremely rare. Kimberly got another shock during her C-section when her doctor saw a fourth pair of feet after the triplets had been delivered.

"They had got the three out and they said, 'More feet,'" Kimberly said. "'More feet' … That's all I heard and I said, 'Nooo!'" 

(Below is a picture of Kimberly and her quadruplets. Is it just me or does she look incredibly old for turning 42 the day after the babies were born? I suppose dyed hair and a more modern haircut would help her looks considerably, but I think she looks a good 20 years older than her actual age.)

A fourth identical quadruplet had somehow been missed by numerous ultrasounds, managing to keep her existence hidden until she popped out behind three of her identical sisters.

The Fugate four, named Kenleigh Rosa, Kristen Sue, Kayleigh Pearl and Kelsey Roxanne were named after family members. All four babies are currently doing well in a neonatal intensive care unit in Mississippi after being born nearly 13 weeks premature.

Dr. James Bofill, a professor of maternal fetal medicine at the hospital said the odds of conceiving identical quadruplets is astonishingly rare, especially in a case like Kimberly's, where she became pregnant later in life without the use of fertilization drugs or treatments.

The odds of spontaneous quadruplets is one in every 729,000 live births, and the chances of having identical quadruplets are almost incalculable (only one in 13 million, to be exact, with only 60 cases documented in medical history).

Kimberly and her husband Craig are also parents to another daughter, Katelyn, age 10. It must be so exciting for them to add to their family in such a big way after so many years after having their first daughter. The more the merrier, right?!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Surgery in the Morning

I thought I would share the news that I will be having surgery tomorrow (Tuesday) morning. I usually don't say anything before I have surgery, but then people always say, "Why didn't you tell me?!" or "I wish I would've known!" SO, consider yourself informed! :)

A few years ago when I had my annual x-ray of my kidneys my urologist discovered a kidney stone in my left kidney. When I had surgery to remove it, my doctor found that it wasn't one large stone, but a dense cluster of hundreds of tiny, little sand-like stones. My doctor tried to remove them as best he could, but wasn't very successful because they were so tiny that they kept falling out of the instrument used to retrieve them. (The doctor likened it to scooping up sand in a collander.)

So for the past year and a half those tiny stones have just been sitting in my kidney. It doesn't really seem like they've grown, but they're still there, which really isn't a good thing. For the most part everything has been going pretty, but it's not good to have them there and would be better to remove them, especially before they do start to cause me  problems. I figure it's better to get them before they get me, so to speak, so that I'm not caught off guard where a problem arises that could potentially make me life-threateningly ill (which has happened to me a number of times).

A few months ago my normal urologist referred me to one of his colleagues who specializes in kidney stones.  I met with this new doctor at the end of January. She was really nice said that it would be a good idea to do surgery to remove the stones so that's what I decided to do. The thing that makes this procedure more tricky is that the doctor has to remove the stones percutaneously. [The Latin origin of the word means "by way of the skin." Access to the kidney is made by making a small incision in the back and going in via that route instead of going up through the urethra.]

In 2007 I had a perc (abbreviation for the procedure) and that went terribly wrong, and I almost died. I don't say that lightly or to be melodramatic, it's just the truth of the matter. After the surgery I was delirious for 10 days and no one could figure out why I wasn't coming around. After the fact my mom asked my doctor just how close to death I really was and he said that I was "teetering on the edge" and things could've gone "either way." My mom said that those 10 days were the most terrifying days of her life. It was a very sobering experience for everyone involved (most especially my mom).

I'm confident that things will go much better this go around than they did in 2007, though. I'm not really nervous at all and feel very calm about the whole thing. The other day my sister Kristin asked how me nervous I am to have this procedure and I told her that on a scale from 1 to 100, I'm about a 5. I don't feel like my work on earth is finished yet, so for better or worse, people are just going to have to stick it out with me  a little longer! ;) I have to stay overnight just to make sure I'm doing well, but I'll most likely be coming home on Wednesday if all goes according to plan.

I don't look forward to having surgeries/being hospitalized, but there are a few perks, which I'll expound upon in a post after I'm home and back in commission. But for now, I will leave you with one of the things I look forward to about having surgery... I love going under anesthesia! I'm sure that sounds ludicrous to most people, but there's just something about the "floating away" sensation that I love! I better call it a night before I go any further, lest anyone get the wrong idea about me!

Leave me a comment to read when I'm back to the "land of the living" because they sure make me happy and are the best medicine! :)

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day 2014

Happy Valentine's Day! I absolutely love Valentine's Day. I might not have a significant other to dote on and share romantic Valentines with, but I do have lots of family and friends that I love that make this day special. I always send cards to my nieces and nephews because I want them to know how much I love them. Plus, it's fun to get mail. At least, I know how much I loved getting mail as a kid (and still do!).

A few weeks ago my mom told me that she'd ordered me a present for Valentine's Day, and remarked several times in the following days how excited she was to give it to me.  She gave it to me first thing this morning… a book that I loved as a child called Bathwater's Hot. I hadn't thought of this book in a long time, but last month my mom and I were watching something on TV and it made us think of the book. We both spontaneously started quoting the first lines from the book. We just looked at each other in surprise and laughed. It was so random that we both thought of the book and began quoting it at the same time. 
I love the illustrations and it was fun hearing the story again. (Yes, my mom read it to me for old times sake!).
Our Valentine's Day "haul." Card from my friend, Lacee, and niece and nephew, Kimball and Rebecah. My mom also gave me a box of assorted chocolates and I gave her Dead Poets Society, one of her favorite movies from back in the day.
Pretty flowers from my friend Kellie:
The Valentine cards my mom and I gave to each other. The one my mom gave me (on the left) was very appropriate considering my love of assorted chocolates. (My mom and I always eat them together. I take a bite and then she takes a bite. That way we get to taste them all!)
I thought it was cute how my mom and I both included inside jokes in our cards. ("After all these these years" from mom in her card and in my card "thanks for being my best friend in all the world a googol times over.")
My mom and I are at home together by ourselves today since my younger sister went on a little trip for a few days. That's okay, we like hanging out together and are happy we can spend Valentine's Day with our BFF. ;) My mom is making pizza for dinner (she makes THE BEST homemade pizza!) and we're going to watch The Inheritance (a TV movie that was on when I was a kid that was a favorite in our family).

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Twins Separated at Birth Reunite!

I heard one of those "one in a million" stories on the news this morning that I wanted to share. The story was about two 25-year-old girls: Samantha Futerman, an aspiring actress who lives in California and Anäis Bordier, a French fashion designer who lives in London.

On February 1, 2013, Samantha received a Facebook message from Anäis saying that she'd looked up her profile online after seeing one of Samantha's videos on YouTube. Anäis thought that there was an uncanny resemblance between her and Samantha, and after looking at her profile realized they were both adopted. More than that, they were both born on the same day, in the same city (Busan, South Korea).

Anäis said that she had always felt as though something was missing in her life. She never knew that, after she and her sister were born, they were each placed in separate foster care agencies and adopted separately. DNA tests confirmed what the girls had already concluded, that they are twins who had been separated at birth. What an amazing story! Not only did the girls find out they had a long-lost biological sibling, but a twin sister! (I always wished I was a twin, and I always thought it would be fun to have same-sex twins.)

Here are Samantha and Anäis as little girls:
And the girls spending time together the first few times they met:
The girls on the set of Good Morning America for their interview that aired this morning:
Samantha has two adopted brothers, but Anäis is an only child, so I'm glad that these girls were able to stumble upon each other by accident, because every girl needs a sister! 

Monday, February 10, 2014


Last Friday I had a little "playdate" with my friend Sienna and her almost 2-year-old son Gabriel. He plays while his mom and I talk; it's a win-win all around! (Even adults need playdates every now and then!) My friend and I could go on visiting for hours, although Gabriel is usually spent and ready to go home long before his mom and I are through talking.

My friend is pregnant and will be having a baby in a few weeks. I knew that this was the last time I would see her in person before having her baby, so I insisted we take some pictures! It took several tries to get our smiles right and for me to keep my eyes open…
… but we finally got a keeper!

We tried to include Gabriel in a picture, but he wasn't interested in posing with us. It's understandable when there's lots of fun toys to focus your attention on!
My friend said that she feels huge, but I thought she looked adorable for being full-term. Having never been pregnant myself, I'm sure it does get uncomfortable. Since I don't know if I'll ever see Sienna pregnant again (because who knows where her husband's job may have taken them if/when she has another baby).

I savored looking at Sienna in all her pregnant glory! I know that sounds kind of weird, but I've just learned to take full advantage of opportunities when you have them. (I've mentioned before that I regret not taking more pictures in the past... I really wish I had a good picture of just my dad and me, I wish I would've taken a picture of myself in my nursing uniform when I was in nursing school, I wish I would've taken more pictures in the hospital after my accident to document my recovery, etc.) Moments can never be re-created, and once they pass you can never go back.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon

I don't claim to have a very vast vocabulary and there are tons of words I don't know. In fact, I hear words all the time and I think, "What does that mean?" I often ask my mom because she's really smart and lots of times she knows and can educate me. Other times she knows, but isn't able to articulate it (something I understand because that happens to me all the time!).

The other day I completely stumped my mom, though. I asked her what the word "doppelgänger" means. She said, "Doppelgänger?! I've never heard of such a word." Well, then I was determined to learn what it meant so that I could find out once and for all (since I've heard it many times), and to also prove to my mom that it IS in fact a real word and not something I cooked up in my head. :) I wasn't quite sure how to spell it, but I just started phonetically spelling it into Google and Google quickly guessed what I was trying to say and finished the word for me. (I love how Google does that because it's made searching so much easier when I don't really know what I'm looking for!) Anyway, this is what I found:

Doppelgänger: Someone who looks like someone else, or a ghost who looks like a living person. (Click HERE for more of the interesting origin behind the word.)

As soon as I found the definition I wasted no time in emailing it to my mom (who had already gone to bed). The next morning I said, "See, I'm not crazy; it really IS a word!" My mom told me that she had no doubt that it was a word, it just wasn't one that she was familiar with. Oftentimes when I learn a new word or become familiar with something relatively obscure I start hearing it/seeing it pop up all over the place. I told my mom, "You mark my words… you'll start hearing that word more often!"

It was only a few days later when we did hear the word doppelgänger while watching Good Morning America. I said, "I told you we would hear it!" They were sharing a story about a photographer who had done a project capturing photos of people with their doppelgängers. It was very interesting because none of the people were related, and yet they all looked so much alike. Some of them looked like they could even be twins. I thought the women in this first picture looked so much alike it was uncanny:

On Monday I heard doppelgänger again, used by Kermit the Frog of all people (or I suppose I should say "characters")! He was being interviewed on Live with Kelly and Michael about the upcoming Muppets Most Wanted movie. My mom was at the grocery store at the time, so I told Chandra to hit record on the TV so that I could show it to my mom when she got home (thank you, DVR!). My mom loves Kermit, so I couldn't wait to have her hear Kermit use the word the word "doppelgänger." She got a big kick out of it.
I knew that there had to be a word for this phenomenon of starting to hear a word/name/song all the time once you become familiar with it. I went to Google (Google… how did I ever get by without it?!) and entered "the phenomenon of starting to hear something all of the time once you become familiar with it" and I got my answer. This phenomenon is referred to as the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon. I read a few interesting articles on it, and this is what I found out:

Baader-Meinhof is the phenomenon where one happens upon some obscure piece of information––often an unfamiliar word or name––and soon afterwards encounters the same subject again, often repeatedly. Most people seem to have experienced the phenomenon at least a few times in their lives, and many people encounter it with such regularity that they anticipate it upon the introduction of new information. (I know that this is true, hence the reason I said, "You mark my words, you'll hear that word again very soon" to my mom.)

An example of when the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon: Your friend told you about that obscure bluegrass-electro-punk band yesterday morning. That afternoon, you ran across one of their albums at a garage sale. Wait a minute… that’s them in that Doritos commercial, too! Coincidence or conspiracy?

The term was coined by a commenter on the St. Paul Pioneer Press online discussion board, after hearing the name of the German left-wing militant group Baader-Meinhof twice in 24 hours. The phrase became popular on the newspaper’s boards.

They say that everyone has someone out there that looks like them. I still haven't found my doppelgänger, but I think it would be pretty cool. Perhaps my doppelgänger would be found if I were famous and had an easily recognizable face. The man pictured below (on the right) looks an awful lot like President Obama, doesn't he?
Another word I've being curious about is "boondoggle." I've heard it semi-frequently lately and every I do I wonder what it means. I always fully intend on looking it up, but then forget when I'm finally on my computer. Here's another example of the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon… My friend Sienna sent me an email a few weeks ago and used that word.  I thought it was pretty ironic since it's one of those mysterious words I've been meaning to look up. 

Boondoggle is one of those words that have several different meanings and can either be a noun or a verb. Here are some of boondoggle's meanings:
  • a braided leather cord worn as a decoration especially by Boy Scouts
  • to deceive or attempt to deceive
  • to do work of little value merely to keep or look busy
  • work or activity that is wasteful or pointless but gives the appearance of having value
  • a project funded by the federal government out of political favoritism that is of no real value to the community or the nation
  • to do work of little or no practical value merely to keep or look busy
Now that I've mentioned two words that are new (to me) you'll have to leave me a comment if you hear either of them and experience the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon in the relatively near future!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Who Knew Sand Could Be so Beautiful?

Yesterday I read an article on a website called Viralnova and it talked about a man from San Francisco named Andres Amador. This is a short excerpt from the article about Andres Amador's unique art: "He doesn’t paint or sculpt. He prefers a medium that is temporary but absolutely beautiful: a sandy beach at low tide. He uses a rake to create works of art that can be bigger than 100,000 sq. ft." After seeing the pictures I was blown away!

Here is Andres with a rake (his instrument of choice) and a picture of him standing in the middle of his "canvas."
Andres said that his art is, "more about the process and less about the result" and that he "knows it will be temporary." While making his beach murals, he uses a rope as a guide so that he can make the geometric patterns. (I was wondering if there was some special trick or technique he used to make them so perfect, especially in the picture below.)
He even offers his services, helping people propose. (I wonder how much he charges?!)
According to Andres, his masterpieces only take a couple of hours once the tide is low enough to create the designs. 
By raking up the wet sand at low tide, he is able to make contrasting sand colors. (I'm glad the article addressed that because I was really curious how he achieved contrasting colors.)
When asked WHY he does it, Andre gives the best answer… “The unanswerable question! Its fun. I get to be at the beach.”

It's amazing to think what one man can accomplish in a few hours with a rake, some rope, a lot of patience, an incredible amount of talent and the ability to see the big picture throughout the entire process. I think these creations definitely have spiritual parallels if you think of them in that context. If a man with a rake can create these beautiful sand murals, the possibilities of what the rest of us can do with our time/talents are endless!
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