Monthly Archives: June 2011
Centennial Park,that is. Situated right next to Vanderbilt, I decided to pay the park a visit last Sunday. It turns out that I came on a good day, as the Annual American Artisan Festival was happening that weekend.
Rows and rows of white tents with artists and craftsmen selling their work, live music in the air, food stands clustered in a corner… this was just my type of thing! So I dove right in and saw some awesome (hey that rhymes!) work:
After I got my share of artsiness for the day, I headed towards the massive, columned structure not too far away. The only full-scale replica of the Parthenon in the world – right here in Nashville, Tennessee.
An art museum is inside, but I didn’t go in since I was planning to take Yufei there when he comes to visit next week. So just walked around the park some more. It’s quite a lovely place, actually, with a little lake, lots of porch swing type things around it, and plenty of trees and flowers.
Than after my little walk, on my way back, I decided to stop by a McDonald’s to get an ice cream cone. If you didn’t know already, McDonald’s has the creamiest, most delicious vanilla ice cream cones ever, and for cheap too, at little over a dollar, the price I was used to in New York and Canada. But I found out that it only cost 55 cents here. 55 cents!! Oh, Nashville, you are full of pleasant surprises.
Sundressed up for an afternoon at the park :)
Floral dress from Lulu’s, flip flops and sunglasses from Payless, bag from China.
I hadn’t planned on doing any shopping in Nashville, but who knew this place had an amazing designer discount store and a lovely little consignment boutique right near Vanderbilt? I may have a shopping problem but I just can’t help it when the deals are so good! I bought 4 things already (spent under $100 total) but I think I need to stop now; it’ll be hard though!
The designer discount store, UAL, is a treasure trove of goods from various designers at steep discounts. The store is a little crammed and it takes some time to find things that you like and fit you, but I like the hunting process and the people who work there are great. I found it by chance when doing some grocery shopping earlier this week and found these Trina Turk capri pants, originally priced at $216, for $16.99!
Then I just had to go back because I didn’t have time to look through everything, and I just had to get more stuff because I can’t help it. So today I bought a pair of $19.99 Serfontaine jeans that were originally $220 (my search for black denim that fits finally ends here) and a t-bags top that was marked down from $175 to $29.99.
Then today on my way to the post office, I passed by Clothing Xchnage, a little consignment boutique. I decided to take a look, and of course I had to find the prettiest pink floral dress from Ann Taylor LOFT that looks almost new and fits me perfectly for only $13. And so I bought it.
I’m very happy now because of my new clothes, but the ever shrinking room in my suitcase size and my bank account sure aren’t. So this is it for shopping in Nashville! Deep breath… it’ll be okay.
After orientation, camp, and moving in, it was finally time to get serious. On Monday I got all my paperwork approved and got my ID badge, and on Tuesday I began my official internship at VUMC!
Basically what I’ve been doing is just shadowing my host doctor, Dr. Langone, a transplant nephrologist, and sometimes other doctors, residents, and fellows. I get to the Vanderbilt Hospital at 8 am every day and go on rounds with Dr. Langone’s team as they check on patients in both nephrology and the surgical ICU. After that, I go to clinic with a doctor or fellow and observe outpatient clinic visits for various reasons such as post-transplant follow-up, pre-operation check-up, kidney donation, etc. Then at around noon almost every day there is some sort of meeting of conference going on so I go to that, which usually includes free lunch (yay).
On the first day I realized that I’d be free after about 1 pm every day, and I wanted to make the most of this internship so I asked one of the fellows to help me make some connections in the neurology department since I’m a neuroscience major and I’m really interested inneurology. This was successful and for the last 2 afternoons I’ve been shadowing on the neurology consult team, which gets called to check on in-patients in various departments who need to be checked for neurological issues. This has been really interesting and I’ve met some current medical students on rotation who have been great to talk to.
I’ve also tried to contact some more doctors in neurology and psychiatry, and hopefully next week I will be able to branch out even more. I think it’d be so cool to go on psych consults. Also I tried to contact a dentist (since I’m also considering dentistry) here but she’s away until next Monday so I’ll have to wait to see if she’ll let me shadow. And I’m in the process of being approved for the OR so I’m hoping to see a surgery soon!
Everyone I’ve met here – doctors, residents, fellows, medical students – have been really nice and receptive so far, and it’s great. I was a little nervous at the beginning that since I’m only an undergrad, people wouldn’t even bother with me or would be too busy to make time for me; after all, they’ve all got very important jobs to do. But everybody have been amazing at taking my questions, explaining things to me, and just being generally supportive. I was pleasantly surprised and this has definitely been a big part of me enjoying this experience.
In other exciting news, I got my lab coat today! Now I will feel much more legit walking around the hospital :D
Can’t wait for week 2!
As we made our way back from camp Friday morning, we stopped by an Applebee’s for lunch. After a week of eating cafeteria food on meal trays, my Cajun shrimp pasta tasted like heaven. Even the restaurant’s bathroom was a nice change from the shower curtained stalls at camp. After lunch we proceeded to our new hotel for the next 2 nights, a Hampton Inn and Suites near the airport. My room was actually ready when I got there and as soon as my body hit the bed, I took the most-needed nap I’ve ever had in my life. Then for dinner we were treated, once again, to pizza at Pie in the Sky. And after dinner, a much needed shower and laundry run.
Then Saturday was the the last day of orientation, where we had a camp overview, a talk by Dr. Langone (whom I am shadowing), a panel by past interns, and a review of some medical terminology. Then the interns went our separate ways to travel to their host sites all over the country.
I moved into my new home for the summer on Sunday, and it is awesome. It’s a dorm at one of the resident halls at Vanderbilt, but it’s really more like a one-bedroom apartment than anything else. I’ve got a living room:
A bedroom (the bunk bed is the only thing that reminds me that it’s a dorm):
An in-suite bathroom:
And a pantry (which I will never use) and a walk-in closet. I wish I could live here longer than just a month and a half so that I can buy more stuff to decorate it and make it cozy and homey because this is probably the best living condition I’ve ever had on and probably will have my own for the next few years. Sigh…
So after I unpacked and got settled in a bit, I decided to go out and get some food and other supplies. A trip to CVS with 4 things on my list turned into a shopping spree of 3 heavy bags of stuff (you don’t even realize the things you’re missing until you see them!). By then it was hot and I was tired and I really craved some type of Asian food or at least something other than sandwiches, so imagine my delight when I ran into an Indian restaurant that had a lunch buffet! It was almost 3pm by then and I was starving so I just had to go in. The food was great, the selection was pretty good even though they were nearing the end of lunch hour, and the meal only cost me $11.50 including tax and tip. The name of the restaurant was Sitar and I will definitely make my way back there during my stay.
After an unsuccessful attempt at finding a Citibank branch (turns out there are none in Nashville), I made my way back hauling all my stuff. I made another trip out later that day to get some groceries at a store about 10 minutes away. It was much bigger and the selection much wider than I was made to believe from the Yelp reviews I’d read; maybe that’s just the New Yorker in me again expecting every neighborhood establishment to be tiny. The cashier was very nice and friendly and called me New York when I told him that I go to school there, hahah.
So I pretty much looooove my new home for the next 7 weeks! Man why do my summer living conditions always beat Columbia housing? I’m never going to want to go back now…
Camp Okawehna was one of the most surreal, exhausting, frustrating, fun, incredible, and ultimately rewarding experiences of my life. I’ve had some time to think it over now, and I’m still not exactly sure how to describe it, but I will try here.
First of all, it was HARD. It was hard because of many different reasons. Before this, I had never worked with kids before, not even healthy kids, so spending a whole week being responsible 24-7 for 3 girls aged 9, 11, and 14 who have all had kidney transplants was tough. A lot of the times they didn’t want to do the activities, or didn’t want to get out of bed, or wanted to go back to the cabin before we were supposed to, or they all wanted to do different things during free time, or were just moody and upset for no apparent reason… you get the idea. Thankfully, one of the other counselors in the cabin is the kids’ nurse back home in Memphis was very helpful and made my job easier. Still, for a week I was care-taker, cheerleader, meal server, arts and crafts assistant, play companion, bug killer, clothes fetcher, bed maker, child transporter, style consultant… from 7:30 am to 10 pm or later every day. I had never realized how much work it is to take of children before this, but now I have a very good idea.
The other thing is, being an only child and thus a somewhat solitary person, it was quite a change to be constantly around children and other adults all the time. At times I felt like I was going crazy not having more than a couple of minutes to myself each day. I relished those walks to the nightly counselor meetings… which were just about the only “me” time I got each day.
Then there’s the fact that I had to be out in the woods, living in a cabin, with no internet and barely any cell phone reception, with bugs, heat, humidity, and dust. this is probably as far from NYC as you can get, and I’m a city girl if I didn’t know that already. Everyday I was caked in layer and layers of sweat, bug spray, sunscreen and dust, not necessarily in that order. Showers would help a bit but only for about 5 minutes. Ah the lovely wilderness.
But even though all these things made camp frustrating at times and I almost had total meltdowns a few times, I still had a wonderful time. The girls in my cabin, and all of the other campers, were such amazing and special children, so full of life and energy that if you didn’t know it, you wouldn’t even realized that they were sick. I know I certainly forgot that fact at times. It’s only when you see them having to take 7 different pills a day or having to miss out on activities due to having to go to dialysis or not being able to go into the pool because they had a catheter that you realize that they are sick, and how lucky you are to just be healthy and alive. And it has been a while since my days were this full and active that at every meal I was starving and ate absolutely everything on my tray (even the salt-less chips).
In the end, I’m very proud of myself for getting through this week. I’ve gained a lot of valuable experience, learned many important life lessons, and met some of the most incredible people. Camp O 2011, it’s been real.
The only good way to do this is through photos – so here we go!
Our Robins cabin flag that I drew and my girls colored!
Color competition draft:
There was a ton of pool time at camp:
Canoeing and kayaking at the lake!
Me and some of the other interns before the dance (where they had a live band and everything! And they played Green Day’s Basket Case which totally made my night):
Circus Mojo came to camp for a show and a workshop, where the kids learned how to do some of their tricks (it took me forever to learn how to spin a plate on a stick):
A circus complete with popcorn, cotton candy, snow cones, glitter tattoos, and giant inflatables? I hadn’t had so much fun in a long time!
A beautiful sunset over camp:
Lovely fruit baskets at the luau dinner (did I mention that the theme this year was Hawaii Camp O?):
Pinewood derby time! One of my campers won second place for best paint job – which I take at least half the credit for… her car was zebra striped – she painted it white and I added the stripes…
One of several intern skits at the talent show:
Prom time! Yes, there was a prom, and it was awesome. The girls got to pick out dresses and get their hair and makeup done and everything! The dining hall and tent were transformed for the occasion:
I was a little sad that Shelby and I were the only ones who picked out crazy dresses to wear to prom – but we totally rocked it!
All the interns plus our coordinator Stacey after prom:
And that’s a wrap! Reflections on camp coming soon…