Monday, August 29, 2016


August has somehow managed to come and go at a remarkably quick pace. I cannot believe I have already been in New Orleans for almost 2 months, where has the time gone? Last week I started my volunteer work, which I love. I am currently helping out on Tulane's Abdominal Transplant Unit (TATU). Although I have volunteered and shadowed in medicine before, I was in a clinical setting, not a hospital, so there is definitely a different feel to the place.
The transplant unit is an interesting one. The staff I work with are awesome, they not only help to keep me busy, they teach me medicine along the way. The patients are such a diverse group of people that I am learning so much about different cultures and views of life. Our floor has about 20 occupied bed, give or take a few depending on the day, and so far I have met almost all the patients.
Generally, I go into the patient rooms, check if they need anything/how they are doing, and do what I can to help them out. A lot of the people on our floor just want to talk, some don't have support systems, while others do, but there is a number of patients who just want me to stay with them for a bit, and talk. One of the people on the floor has a good list of jokes so I look forward to those visits, but I also look forward to visiting the other patients as well.
I am learning that aside from medicine, a lot of what people need to heal is something science can't provide. A lot of these people tell me that they feel significantly better when they have a visitor. Of course you have others who don't want to be bothered, and to each his own, but they all appreciate that the option is available.
In addition to visiting patients, grabbing them basic essentials, I sometimes help them eat if they are unable to do so themselves, help the nurses with tasks, and help the secretary as well. Everyone really works as a team to make sure that the patients get what they need. My first day I was able to help the secretary organize and laminate patient help sheets that are designed so the nurses can understand the patient's needs if they are unable to speak or if there is a language barrier (I've attached pictures). We sent copies to different departments so I was able to roll around the hospital and see the other areas (Neuro/Stroke, CCU, etc.) which was interesting. So far I am loving my assignment and cannot wait to go in this week!

Hours for August: 16

Friday, August 12, 2016

Welcome to New Orleans! Even though I broke my pelvis my second week here, I have been able to still check out a bunch of cool new things. A group of us went to white linen over the weekend and got to see some really cool art galleries and different exhibitions. The wheelchair is definitely limiting things I have access to in the city though, NOLA seems to be pretty inaccessible in terms of wheelchairs.

Yesterday was my orientation for volunteering here at the hospital. Because of my obvious physical limitations at the moment, we aren't exactly sure what kind of volunteering I will be doing. I would love to do tutoring services at lakeside in pediatrics, once I'm healed I will be looking into that. For now though I'm going to try and make the best of my limits, visit patients in the downtown facilities, maybe work with patient's families in the E.R.

We have another orientation tomorrow to check our PPDs and finish going through expectations/rules so I should be figuring out where I will be working shortly. I'm looking forward to it! My doctor's appointment today said that I will probably be in the wheelchair for another month, crutches for a month after that, so studying and getting work in has been difficult but I am learning a lot about mental toughness and will have a new scope to relate to my patients with in the future!

Also, dominos and frozen meals have become my new best friend. My roommate and I have given up on dishes and fallen to the appeal of paper plates (microwavable and no mess, yay!) Shout-out to Yama for the idea. As Charlie Sheen would say, #Winning