Archive for tag: community

The Beginning of the End

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.

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Made it back East to celebrate Christmas with my family

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.

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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. 

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Holiday twinset photo with Dr. Dybala taken by Dr. Coe

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!

On Community (and Chocolates for Breakfast!)

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.

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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 replied, "Breakfast!"

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.

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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.

Make Time for Fun

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 welcome parallel.

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!

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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.