It’s been a while since I last blogged, so here’s a catch-up of the past couple weeks.
Our first week ended early for some of us… the clinical instructor for the seacoast site of the mental health class was a last minute change who already had plans for that Thursday and Friday, so we ended up with an extra long weekend. A few of us went to the beach on the Thursday… unfortunately it was a steamy day everywhere in the state EXCEPT at the beach! But if you laid down on the sand the wind sort of went above and you could soak up the rays. I ended up with a rather ugly, blotchy sunburn from where I missed, or totally omitted, the sunscreen, but it felt good to be on the water blissfully ignoring the books that we all brought with us. A few of us got ice cream on the way back, too. Khalua brownie, mmm…
That Saturday I headed up to the hometown to visit my best friend from high school. She and her sister and I laid out in their parents’ back yard for a while and went for a short hike. I felt very wimpy on my short hike, definitely need to get in better shape! But at least I felt like I accomplished something.
On Sunday I was lounging around on the couch playing a disturbingly addictive game of Mah Jong (I really really want to buy the full version of that game, but I’m concerned that I will never again get anything done if I do) when a girl from school called to ask if I wanted to go to her friend’s little sister’s graduation party. I didn’t know any of these people, but I figured it was a better way to spend my time than glued to the couch playing Mah Jong. It was a lot of fun, actually. I met a few people who I had been in All-State with ten years ago. I doubt that I ever actually met them then, but it was fun to find connections between people. The world is small (as I’ve discussed before). Everyone there was super-nice and I had lots of good food.
Memorial Day itself was pretty uneventful… I spent some time on the porch with my text books, but at least I got some work done!
Second week of class was another short week because of the holiday. It started off with a quiz in our adult health class that, ahem, every single one of us bombed. It was so sad it was funny. Needless to say, that quiz is not going to count. Not to make excuses for us, but we had quite a lot of information to try to absorb in a very short amount of time, on top of two other classes and just trying to get into the swing, and a holiday weekend. Hopefully we’ll be more on the ball next week for our 2nd round! I actually felt kinda bad because one of the professors for that class is amazing and we all feel that she’s a great teacher, incredibly dynamic, gets us involved and thinking, etc. We felt bad failing on her. But what’s done is done.
To offset the failure on the quiz, I did get my final grades for first semester and I ended up with, ack!, a 4.0 for the semester. I didn’t even think that was possible. I haven’t gotten a 4.0 for a full semester since, well, I started getting GPAs. So I’m happy about that. If only it translated into free tuition…
Friday I had my first mental health clinical. I had to get up at 4:45 in the morning (blahhhh) to leave by 5:30 so that I could pick up a classmate by 6:00 to get to the seacoast by 6:45. It’s all a bit too early for me. But at least we don’t have to wear our uniforms for this clinical! We didn’t actually talk with any patients on our first day. Instead we did a bit of a hospital tour, tour of the facility, discussion of some of the issues, listened to report (they do taped report at this hospital). I have to say that I was a bit dismayed by some of the stuff that I saw/heard. Apparently this hospital used to have a 65-bed mental health facility, including a gymnasium and a pool for therapeutic use, the patients could earn privileges to go outside and walk the grounds, etc. Well, this hospital is now for-profit, so they don’t really admit people who don’t have insurance. And they shut down most of the mental health facility to turn it into a heart and lung center (which is obviously more profitable than providing mental health care). The gym and pool are gone, the patients cannot get off the ward. I can sorta see it from the insurance point of view… if the patient is well enough to be using the gym and the pool or walking the grounds then perhaps they are not in need of inpatient care. However, I also feel that therapy needs to be provided on multiple levels. The therapy currently available seems to focus largely on pharmaceuticals (which, by the way, the hospital’s owner only buys in bulk, so they only stock the “best-seller” meds, meaning that a patient may not be able to get the med that is best for his/her condition… or at least won’t get it in a timely manner) and group discussion. Good therapies, but I think it’s rather short-sighted to think that people only need those therapies. Having a physical outlet such as a gym or pool, or the ability to be alone with one’s thoughts on a walk through the grounds can also be necessary and useful. I guess they don’t want people to get too comfortable there, or something. Personally if I was stuck in that joint I’d be itching to get out ASAP. But I guess it’s good to observe all sorts of facilities to be aware of the different types of care. But I’m kinda jealous of my classmates who are at the state psych facility… I’d like to see what they get to do. I never thought I’d say that, but it’s true!
So, that’s the past couple weeks…
This week I only have a half-day on campus. Tuesday and Wednesday we’re in clinical sites for our adult health class. I’m psyched because I’m going to be at another hospital in the city near me, so another short commute! Plus we’re going to be spending part of our time on a cardiac floor, and this hospital is known for it’s cardiac care, so that should be cool. And it’s a Catholic hospital, so another experience in different kinds of hospitals. I’m looking forward to that.
We’ll also start working with patients in our mental health clinical. I’m a bit intimidated since it sounds like we pretty much just walk up to a person and start talking. Our instructor assured us that the people there don’t mind talking about their stories, but it still seems awkward to me to have a group of students descending on people who are already dealing with a lot, but I’m sure once I do it once it will get easier (I hope!).
Off to study for another quiz!