Month: December 2021

Jell-O, Phone Calls and Other Small Stuff

As I reflect on my year of clinical rotations as a medical student, my mind instantly conjures up some of the biggest moments I’ve experienced.

There have been euphoric highs, like delivering a beautiful baby girl to first-time parents on Mother’s Day. And heartbreaking lows, like having a panic attack in the bathroom after a patient with psychosis shared his delusions about race with me.

Scrambled Eggs

You, an astrobiologist, fly up from NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., to visit me, a sophomore in college, at Yale-New Haven Hospital. I’ve just had a new type of chest catheter inserted: a “port-a-cath,” a subcutaneous device to replace my Hickman catheter. It promises a reduced chance of infection. But you didn’t need to come all this way, for such a minor surgery.

Teaching DASH to Lower Blood Pressure

Julie was in the twelve-week, RN-to-BSN capstone course I taught. I suggested students create a project from an issue they were passionate about because it could prepare them for a master’s thesis or even lifelong work. Julie chose teaching parishioners at her church healthier eating habits. She believed they could reduce risks from high blood pressure that disproportionately affect BIPOC (Black, indigenous, persons of color) communities.

On the Mayo Clinic web site, Julie found the “DASH Diet,” (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), and she decided to implement its information and teaching materials.

How Flooded Basements and Pandemic Times Opened My Eyes to the Climate Justice Movement

Nine years ago, when moving into our current home, the neighbors warned us: “This street gets water. But don’t worry, it only floods during the ‘100-year rainfalls!’” Looking back, it appears “100-year” is an understatement, given the three flooded basements we’ve navigated in under a decade! Thankfully, our basement stays dry since we have replaced multiple sump pumps and added a generator. But, what if we couldn’t afford to spend thousands on this?

I was forever awakened to the impact of climate change on lives and homes. 

Chocolate, Holidays, and Habits

Food is often a focus of the festivities and family gatherings that mark the holidays. But unfortunately, a season that should be a time of rest and joy can turn stressful, when food that’s meant to be enjoyed becomes a source of anxiety and guilt.

Holiday behaviors for many people include overeating, followed by New Year’s resolutions to eat less and exercise more. On the other hand, those with eating disorders may dread being confronted with so much food and having to explain why they are not “indulging” like everyone else.

Reflections on a Memorial Bench and LinkedIn

While on a recent hike, I reached the top of a hill. It wasn’t much of a climb, but I was glad to be alone so I didn’t have to hide the fact that I was out of breath. Perched at the top was a bench. I sat down, still breathing hard, and took in the vista. During the climb, my eyes had been focused on the ground in front of me. I took a picture that I’d probably never look at again.

Cooking My Heritage

My parents immigrated to the U.S. from a small village in Xinjiang, China—a place surrounded by the Gobi Desert and mountainous terrain. Due to Xinjiang’s geographic location, my parents were raised on salted fish, mutton, and boiled potatoes.

Speed Eating

Eating is always an adventure in the mad rush of 9-1-1 shift work. I once inhaled an entire steak I had just barbequed in four giant bites because we were getting sent on a rural call forty minutes away. It was my only chance to eat before midnight.

Coffee has become a religious experience, both getting a cup in before the first action of the day and rebolstering in the afternoon. Some of the younger EMTs constantly sip on energy drinks but that puts me in SVT. (Supraventricular tachycardia refers to a racing heartbeat that is uncomfortable and potentially dangerous.)

“One of Them”

Suzanne Smith was an elderly white woman who experienced a violent assault some odd years ago. Since then, she’d never been quite the same. Plagued by fears and sleepless nights, the concepts of medicine and psychotherapy were alien to her, and from my understanding in speaking to her children prior to her coming in, she wasn’t keen on speaking to medical professionals.

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