Thursday, April 26, 2012

Lab Coats

Coffee in one hand, a thick blue folder in the other hand, and a pager on my hip, I walk down the hallway amid people clothed in scrubs. A yellow shirt and dress pants, my hair pulled smartly back to keep it out of the way, and my white lab coat tie the look together.

This has become my new daily routine (although usually it's sans coffee). I go from floor to floor in the acute/cardiac area, in and out of hallways, finding and reading charts, tracking down nurses, and working with the patients. The wonderful thing about a clinical is that it's learning on the job(minus the paycheck). And while on the job? You gain an incredible amount of confidence as you help people "ambulate" and "assess their gait"or other such things.

Some people are cranky, and don't want to be seen. Others are hurting and it's all they can do to keep their focus on what you're asking them to do. My favorite have a sense of humor  that could be used on a show called "Ninety-seven-year-old's say the Darndest Things." Most every person I have come in contact with has loved the fact that I am a student, and they are more than willing to work with me as I'm not the most adept at untangling IV lines, catheter bags, drain tubes, oxygen lines, and juggling an IV pole and an O2 tank.

I've done things I never thought I would do before, such as assisting people in the bathroom, talking with confused and disoriented pt's, adjusting and clipping catheter lines onto my pocket while we're walking in the hall, or helping someone get dressed. I get to tuck people back into bed, and make sure they're comfortable before I leave, and hook and unhook medical lines.

More important then that, is going into each room with a smile and something encouraging to say. Patience is definitely a requirement in a situation like this. So many people who are in a hospital situation are hurting. They're tired of being there, even if it's only been a day. They don't think they're doing well. They just want to go home. They hurt. They're never going to get better... It's sad =(. I saw today especially, that if you offer encouragement and help them to see the progress that they've made? They respond much better.

I see the hope. The smile on their face. There is no feeling like getting someone who is discouraged and saddened by their state to truly smile, so that it goes all the way to their eyes.

The story in the hospital goes, that the only medical personnel that patient's dislike seeing more than the physical therapists are the people from infusion, who come to poke and prod with needles.. Though there are some days where I'm sure we rate much lower, depending on the situation.

These people are in pain, and I've discovered a way to help them get better. I've discovered that being a joy to them rather than being frustrated with them, and smiling and talking with them rather than snapping at them, is a refresher to them and to myself. It's rewarding to spread a smile. Sometimes just distracting them from their current situation and getting them down to a new area of the floor, where they can see the view of the city while they talk about their family, is enough.

I enjoy it more than I thought I ever would. The hustle and the bustle. The new cases. The differing diagnoses. And all the lives that I get to become a small part of. All of it ties together into one long day, which sometimes leaves me ready for bed by 8. Like today. But you know? I don't mind. Helping people is basically one of the best things ever, in any capacity.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


I don't quite know what to do with myself... I completed my last practical today at 1:30. Being my massage practical, it was easy. A nice relief after my Neuro practical this morning at 9:30, where my professor did a scarily accurate imitation of someone with Multiple Sclerosis.

Needless to say though, I am so used to spending three or more hours a night studying, now that the majority of my stuff is packed, I'm at a loss with what to do with myself!

So here it is, a review of the last 8 months, by way of some pictures.. For your entertainment, curiosity, or boredom ;)..

Mom got a Facebook shortly after I left!

 By far the most beautiful study area I've ever had.

  Staying awake on the 6hr drive to and from home..

 Clinical 1, including surgery observation! 
(I wish I got to wear scrubs every day! They are basically awesome, I think)

 Mail from Mom, clearly labeled so I knew which one to open when!
(Love containing envelopes were opened at lunch, grown-up stuff envelopes waited till after dinner)

Lots of chocolate... Day, night, lunch, dinner, breakfast... Any time of the day!

 We did a lot of odd things in class.. Electrocuting each other, "cupping", taping, stretching, bending, bracing, stump-wrapping, and others.

 Study sessions the night before an exam! I learned quickly when you take 19 credits that you read generally through material and then study the guides given by professors hard-core the night before the exam. 

 The upper floor/top deck of the lab.

More chocolate.

We ate in the lab once or twice a month, sometimes potlucks, 
birthday celebrations, or late night studying!

 Beautiful sunsets from the top of the hill..

 Same lunch crew, same table, always full of interesting conversations...
I will miss these people, for sure.

 We managed to get out of the classroom once in a while.. 
Though conversation always seemed to focus around school.

 Coming home and becoming a "Hannah-sandwich"

Mom =)

The stress reliever = the gym. Which finally = running just over 2 miles.
Slowly, but it happened. 

It's been a whirlwind of a time. I'm still in shock that I'm done with the major coursework. From here, it's just clinical, which I'll be within an hour and a half of home at all times for. I think that'll be the best part =). 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


What do you do when no one is watching? When you're away from the people that you know will call you out on an unacceptable action, word, or outfit? Do you forget that He is watching?

Going away to college is probably the best opportunity you have to be able to figure that out. I lived happily with my parents my first two years of college before I transferred six hours away.. Until that point, I knew that they were paying attention to what I was doing, where I was going, and even what I was wearing. Now? I know they aren't. And honestly, three or four years ago, I probably would've pushed the envelope had I been in this situation, with this kind of 'freedom'. I am so glad that I didn't have the opportunity.

I know a lot of this is the conviction of the Holy Spirit, but I also think a lot of it comes from the ways that my parents raised me. They raised me to show integrity in my actions and the things I do. They know what I'm doing up here. They trust me to be smart and keep a level head.

The three biggest areas I see people pushing when they come to college are language, booze, and clothing.

This campus is one of the most vulgar, crass settings I have ever been in. There are many times while eating in the cafeteria I have toyed with the idea of shoving someone's face into their plate of food to stop the stream of "colorful" words that are flowing from their mouth like a contorted rainbow. Swearing does not make you sound "cool." On the contrary, as soon as I hear a four letter word fly from your mouth, I lose a good chunk of whatever amount of respect I had for you. There is no need and no reason for it. If anything, it shows you have a lack of creativity to come up with something else to say, or a lack of self-control to keep your mouth shut.
It isn't just swearing though. The amount of disrespect that goes around towards professors, parents, and other teachers is just as prevalent. I was raised to know that if I said something disrespectful, especially towards my parents, I would be able to remember exactly what I said. Because my rear end would be sore for the next couple days. It saddens me to see the people that didn't start off doing this in August, are now doing it. It's infectious.

Booze. Vodka. Rum. Whiskey. Beer. Weed. All of the above. It's everywhere. I would be willing to bet cash that I am the only person on my floor who has never had an alcoholic anything. I would also be willing to bet that half the people on my floor who have had something, did it from curiosity or peer pressure. Thankfully, I was blessed to be able to see what it does to people, and how it makes them act. Any curiosity I had in this area was sated simply through observation this semester.

Next, volleyball shorts are not shorts. They do not count. Anything made out of something other than spandex that is also the same length? Also does not count. Sports bras are made to be worn under a shirt. And a shirt is meant to cover your torso. Crazy, I know. Guys, boxers to breakfast? Really? And belts were created to keep your jeans above your rear end. Not cinch it below.

Joking aside though... I've found this is one area that it would've been all to easy for me to slip up in. While shopping today, I was considering an article of clothing.. I tried it on and decided I would get it. As I put it back on the hanger, that still, small voice kicked in. What am I doing? Buying something cute! But buying something that was more revealing than I should be wearing. But then again... I'm all the way up here. No one would ever know! Except for all the people up here who saw me in it... The Holy Spirit won, and the item went back on the rack.

Am I justifying wearing something up here, simply because there aren't any Christian guys that I know, that I could cause to stumble? (And in all seriousness, I know one Christian guy up here. I've seen him twice this whole semester.) Am I cussing and swearing to fit in? Am I getting so trashed Friday night I don't know what day it is until Sunday?


Why? Because in all three of these areas, integrity and godliness still apply. My actions and attitude here, around those who know that I am a Christian, but yet don't know me, are incredibly important to who I am and the One Who I claim to follow. I cannot honor Him if I am cussing behind His back, getting wasted on the weekends, or dressing in a revealing way. Why? Because you can *not* do *anything* behind His back. If the people around me see me doing any of the above, and confront me, what would my excuse be? I would have none other than I wasn't following His guidance. He gave me the Holy Spirit for a reason, and if for no reason other than this, I am so glad I was able to come up here for the last eight months, to learn to listen to His still, small voice.