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Friday, October 18, 2013

Breastmilk, fiber, and fried rice

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC):  Week 30

WIC = Women,Infants, and Children.  Yep, that is all I saw this week during my week at WIC.  WIC serves the financially underprivileged through a nutrition commodity program.  Directly, no money changes hands, only vouchers and education.  Registered Dietitians play essential party to this transaction as the nutrition expert for the pregant and post-partum woman, and the growing infant or child.

In the weeks leading up to this week’s rotation, I was slightly apprehensive.  My assigned WIC clinic was at one of the least desirable shopping malls in South Memphis, known for its crime and tumbling desirability.  Yes, there was Macy’s, Sears, and close to Graceland, but the area has fallen from grace, and several armed security guards roam the corridors.  Two local friends warned me to not stay in the area after dark.  During my lunch breaks, I frequently exercise-walked the thoroughfares and browsed the shopping selections.  I unearthed several bargains, but constantly looked over my shoulder.  During one lunchtime saunter, my security was infinitely unmitigated as I spied one security guard plugged into the wall, focusing intently on his charging cell phone.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Going Back to School

School Food Service:  Week 29 - Memphis City Schools

Who remembers what it is like to be less than 10 years old?  What about in high school?  How did you respond in ‘social interactions’?  What did you like to eat?  When did you like to eat?  How much?

What an interesting change of pace to transition from medical maladies to school food service this week!  For one week my mind reverted to sophomoric ideologies and preferences; it was tougher than I remembered!  One day I worked as a Lunch Lady at an elementary school (what fun!), and one day at a high school (a bit nerve-wracking!).  Going back to elementary school was so much fun!  Not only were the cafeteria workers friendly and welcoming, the kids were hysterical.  I walked around talking to them about their favorite foods, favorite snacks, encouraging each to try different foods on their trays… generally forming a personal Inquisitorial Committee.  Before leaving the cafeteria, several kids insisted on sharing their love with me, passing me through lots of hugs, and “I hope you come back!” salutations.  The high schoolers, on the other hand, were not nearly as lovely.  It did not take long for me to read through the words and body language of the kids, recalling the constant turbulence of emotions.  I left that afternoon SO thankful of my age and perspective.  (That was a first; I usually lie about my age! J)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Old and The Restless

DIETETIC INTERNSHIP: Weeks 26, 27, & 28 (of 41)
Vacation!:  Week 26
Geriatrics & Palliative care: Weeks 27 & 28

These next two weeks were filled with the old, the very old, the young old, and the very sick.  I spent two weeks alternating between Geriatrics (>65 years old, often inpatient 4-6 weeks for rehabilitation) and Palliative Care (less than 6 months to live).  I was full of emotions before this rotation began, knowing my past may interfere with my present.  Daily, valetudinarians dominated my workload, and I wobbled between emotions.

My past includes my father, a Veteran, who passed away at home 8.5 years ago.  He peacefully and painfully died at home, aided by personal administration of palliative sedation.  Any time some of these words are spoken within my earshot (particularly “palliative”), or in regards to a young individual, (my father was 54 years old), my nose begins to tingle and flare, my eyes open widely, instinctively searching my surroundings, reflective of my minds speeding thoughts and connections.  This rotation not only posed professional challenges of a new patient population and goals, but also of managing my own reactions.