Welcome back for Spring Tri and my very last one at NUHS!
Congratulations to all my fellow 10th tris on making it this far,
oh my god! The 10 of us ND 10th tris had a pretty good break
working at the clinic. We had a generous number of days off around
Christmas and New Year's and got to see plenty of patients, as well
as give each other some well-deserved treatments. Two of us
finished and sent off our residency applications -- a very exciting
and curious process. I am proud to share with you that I finished
up my numbers at the end of last trimester (Disclaimer: the way to
do this is to never think of your patients as numbers!), and am
preparing to head out to Montana for a preceptorship in Billings
starting in February. So, get ready for stories from the West! But
first, let me fill you in on the latest.
Made it back East to celebrate Christmas with my
This first week back I worked at the Salvation Army clinic in
the city, where I got to suggest treatment options and watch my
fellow DC interns do rehab with their patients. The most striking
case was a patient with a history of a self-inflicted gunshot wound
to the foot. The patients at the Salvation Army clinic are all
residents of a program for recovery from drug and alcohol abuse
and/or addiction. They live and work in the same building as the
clinic, and come in for supportive care during their stay in the
program. The patient population at the Salvation Army clinic helps
to put into perspective some of our patients seen in the Lombard
clinic. In Lombard, it is easy to get worked up over the evils of
gluten and a lack of sleep, but working with patients who have
spent the past months to years addicted to cocaine and living on
the street sure provides some valuable perspective on the
definition of health and disease.
DC Intern Andrew checking out the view from his office at the
Salvation Army Clinic
In preparation for my departure for Montana I've been getting
all my ducks in a row. Lately, I've been catching up on some
volunteer hours with the very organized Oak Park Food Pantry. This
past week has served to remind me of all the different types of
people out there in the world that I can help by sharing my
medicine and my time.
Holiday twinset photo with Dr. Dybala taken by Dr.
At the Lombard clinic I've been tying up all the lose ends,
preparing a Grand Rounds presentation for this week, and spending
time transitioning my patients to their new interns. It is hard to
say bye to my patients! They have taught me so much and I like to
think I've really helped them to feel better, too. Thankfully, I
know they are in good and capable hands, and will get to learn and
heal with the help of different minds than mine. If all goes
according to plan, you should be reading one last post from
Chicagoland, and the rest will come from Montana! Here goes the
beginning of the end!
I went home. I flew in and out of Boston on my way to and from a
wedding in the Adirondack Park in northern New York. My parents
have 2 more weeks to pack before they move out of my childhood
home, a place they have lived for the past 30 years. While the home
itself is large and lovely, it is really the neighbors that make
that place home.
On Sunday night we had our neighborhood grandmother, Mrs. Chris,
over for apple pie to celebrate her 80-something birthday. She
brought the remainder of a box of chocolates to share and when I
asked if she had eaten the others for lunch, she giggled and
The Hartnetts, our other neighbors, also came over to sing happy
birthday and share dessert. You have to understand that all of this
transpired over the course of about 15 minutes; my parents realized
they had a pie to eat, Mrs. Chris popped her head in the door on
her evening walk, I called my best friend Annie (living momentarily
with her parents next door while she and her boyfriend wait for
their new apartment to be ready), and within 5 minutes she and her
family had walked the 100 yards from their front door to ours. And
we had a little party!
After pie, Annie's boyfriend Drew helped my brother with his
statistics homework, while Annie and I tried to come up with the
perfect caption for the photo of Mrs. Chris and the birthday
sparkler in her piece of pie.
This is the community I come from. It explains the high
expectations I have for Home, wherever that place turns out to be.
I know that Chicago is not my true Home, but while I am here, the
NUHS community is serving and supporting me better than I ever
imagined it would. I chat with my professors in the hallway and I
see them at our botanical garden, on the train, and walking around
campus. There is an online community too, on Facebook pages, where
my fellow students and our professors post links to relevant
articles and information about upcoming seminars, workshops,
presentations and club meetings.
The recent improvements on campus at the library and the ongoing
work in Janse are providing us with more places to congregate
during downtime and create community on campus. You might think
that 28 credits and all the work that goes into keeping current in
all those classes would leave us little time to engage with our
community, but it seems that all that work actually brings us
together. We commiserate, we struggle together, and we experience
success together. We are a small community of hard workers with
similar goals and morals when it comes to healthcare. Some of us
come from different states, some of us love Chicagoland, and some
of us feel lost in this expansive city, but no matter your
perspective on this place as Home, the NUHS community certainly
offers a supportive community if you are willing to engage.
Happy Post-Memorial Day! I had an exciting week and weekend.
Week 3 of the trimester meant 3 quizzes to test our recall of
information covered thus far, and also a review of some basic
science information. I am still figuring out how to study for this
new phase of my education because we are building upon an
already-laid foundation. For example, we are learning to understand
EKGs in my Cardiology class, and the process cannot be separated
from reviewing the anatomy and physiology of the heart. As you
know, I am also studying for boards and reviewing for class is a
I stayed busy outside of class by coaching lacrosse on two
beautiful evenings this week. Spending the time to engage with my
community is made even better by doing so outside. My beginner team
is finally starting to understand the game and ask good questions,
how satisfying! I also attended the wedding of a college friend and
her awesome fiancé over the weekend. It was such a treat to catch
up with college friends I rarely see or haven't seen in 4 years! I
took the time to play tourist in the city and lounge on the beach
with old friends; so refreshing!
The highlight of my week at school was my Friday lunch date with
my group of ND student friends. Most of my buddies that I started
the program with last January have taken the flex track, while I
have stayed on the full track of coursework. This means that I no
longer have classes with my best friends here at National.
Thankfully, my closest friends don't let my absence from their
classes affect our friendship, and we all make the effort to spend
lunchtime together throughout the week. Yeah, we eat our lunches in
good company, but we also play together! Above is a picture of this
week's group effort; Allison and Miranda make the base while I form
the wheel on top! We couldn't have done this without 3 spotters
(JheriAnne, Kate, and Mia) and the photographer (John.)
What's the moral to this week's story? Take the time to play,
explore off campus, and get some sun in the midst of all the
classes and studying; it is so nurturing, and definitely helps me
to love this process of becoming an ND.
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