1. Slushy Lettuce
This week I had the opportunity to partake in another volunteering event. This time around we were delivering food from a food bank to patients who were severely ill and normally didn’t have the means to obtain groceries. To say the least, this was a very interesting and uncomfortable trip.
In our bag of goodies we had a very eclectic selection. What struck me first was the fact that they had soggy lettuce in a bag; it appeared that it had been frozen previously and with the Pittsburgh heat turned into a lettuce slushy of sorts. We delivered 2 out of 3 lettuce slushees before we decided that they were not going to be eaten or at the very least should not be eaten.
The second patient we visited was a male, 64 years old. He has had a few major surgeries in the past and suffers greatly from other morbid conditions. Despite the severity of his health, this was not the most striking feature of this patient. Me, a resident, and another medical student walked through a pathway hidden by bushes and weeds, it was apparent that this path was used only rarely. We made our way to the front door and gave a few stern knocks. An inaudible sound followed by the bark of a dog confirmed that somebody was home. 4 or 5 minutes later the front door opened and we were told to come in by a man hunched over, breathing heavily and very unsteady on his feet. I initially wondered why the resident didn’t rush to help this older gentleman that seemed ready to fall at any second. As I approached the door I found out why. The stench alone made me want to turn around and leave. It was a repulsive and persistent stench, the one that stays the same even after standing in the room for 15 minutes. This was not even the worst of the situation. The worst of it came when our eyes got adjusted to the dim light inside. We saw small dark moving objects all over him. As it turned out these objects were actually bed bugs. The place, the owner, and the dog were completely infested.
We decided to stay and offer the gentleman options about how to possibly move forward from his current situation, gave him medicine, and listened to his concerns. These are the patients, we decided, that are most at risk and deserve our full commitment.
2. Diabetes Y Nutrición
This week I was in surgery on Monday where I saw an ACL allograft and a shoulder debridement. On Tuesday I was in clinic where I am continuing to practice on my presenting skills when giving a patient history. The rest of the week was focused on putting my poster together, UCLA has a poster session next Friday where all medical students present their summer research. I will be presenting so it’ll be good practice before NMA. Finally, today I volunteered at a health fair where I met up with the other Nth scholars in LA, Andrew, Duniel and Carl. At the health fair I really got to put my Spanish skills to use (almost all of the patients spoke only Spanish) giving people information on diabetes and nutrition.
3. Dunking at Jackson Zoo
This week was another research filled week as I am approaching the end of my summer internship. Its amazing to see how much I have learned & grown this summer. I am currently finishing up a case report of a complicated case of Salmonella Osteomyelitis in a pediatric patient, in addition to the project I will be presenting at the NMA conference. Today was also a busy day filled with service and fellowship. Prior to going to church, Dr.Brooks and I volunteered at the Blue Bell Ice Cream Safari. This is an philanthropic event hosted by the Jackson Zoo, in order to raise money and aware of their Zoo animals. The park is often short on funds for supplies and medical treatment of their animals. The park has also been in some financial crises which has caused some concern of closure or relocation. Many local organizations come together on this day to volunteer their time at the Blue Bell's Sponsored event to host children of all ages, serve ice cream, face paint, amongst other activities. All proceeds go to the Jackson Zoo. Dr. Brooks and I saw this as an opportunity to give back in an unorthodox fashion while still making a difference. We served ice cream and were also recruited to help with the dunking booth and provide First Aid if needed. We had a great time giving back and seeing kids enjoy themselves all for a great cause.
4. Little Pantry That Could...
This week has been a busy one as usual. I shadowed radiologists in outpatient ultrasound, interventional breast, chest CTA, and neuroradiology. In addition to shadowing, I also got to connect with one of the first-year residents. She was extremely kind and shared a lot of helpful and honest advice about the residency application process. There were also two visiting M4s who just started their away rotations this week, so it was nice to meet them and hear about their experiences as they start preparing their applications. While shadowing neuroradiology with one the visiting M4s, the attending asked us to alternate scrolling through the images while he quizzed us on the types of imaging and the various anatomical structures. Although it was a little intimidating to be put on the spot initially, it was definitely one of the most interactive and rewarding experiences I had thus far.
As part of the Nth Gives Back Weekend, I volunteered at The Little Pantry That Could earlier today to help provide free groceries to the homeless and low-income families. Unlike most other food pantries, The Little Pantry That Could acknowledges that there is dignity in making personal choices and seeks to empower all those in need by providing them with the opportunity to “shop” for what they need without asking for any proof of qualification and need. It was a very humbling and inspiring experience not only to assist the visitors directly as their personal “shopper” but also to learn about the mission of organization from the founder and meet other volunteers. With about 15 volunteers, we served about 200 families today!
5. Fresh Food in MARTA
Dr. Stewart went on vacation this week so I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Arthur Raines in his clinic and with Morehouse school of medicine faculty as MSM hosted an anatomy workshop with Nth Dimensions for professors and anatomists for an international conference.
While with Dr. Raines, I saw an interesting cervical radiculopathy case with that affected the patient's range of motion and caused tingling in her fingers and we confirmed our diagnosis with lateral neck XR. We believed the patient to have a pinched nerve because there was less space between C5 and C6.
For the anatomy workshop at MSM, I helped to facilitate the external fixation demonstration with a rep from Zimmer BioMet. Dr. Ross and Raines were in attendance for these workshops too.
In terms of research, I was able to finish my analysis and speak to different people about how to write up my paper. My preceptor was hopeful that my project could get published.
I also volunteered with fellow Nth scholar Trae Simms at a fresh food market in the MARTA underground station. We helped to stock the produce and facilitate sales. This market is especially important for people who live in food deserts without means of grocery shopping.