I finally began to realize what my daily life would look life during my Senior Projects. Wake up at 6 am, leave the house at 6:45 before the sun rises, arrive in Philly at 7:50 and begin work immediately, leave work at 5:15, take the 5:29 train home, drive home after the sun has set, arrive home at 6:20 for dinner, go to sleep, then start all over again. Lather, rinse and repeat. This is going to be a long four weeks. I hope that I can make it. During the past three days, I have worked almost 30 hours, spent five hours in transportation between my house and Philly, drank almost 100 fluid ounces of coffee, and helped to raise $1,500 for patients. I am on track to raise (and maybe even surpass) my goal of $10,000. Nevertheless, I am having a great time. This is a teaser of what the life of a resident or doctor is.
Yesterday and today, I met more of the other volunteers that I will be working with. For the most part they are nice and I plan to get along with them all just fine. That is always a good thing. I met with more patients and heard some amazing and terrible stories. One patient was from Liberia and has personally witnessed militant activity. This has left him scarred with post traumatic stress disorder. I also met with a number of people who have no means of income whatsoever and are left to pay outrageously expensive medical bills for their necessary cancer treatment. However, there is always light in the darkness. Despite all of the sadness there is still some humor and some laughter. I saw a small sticker that had a picture of Wile E. Coyote holding a sign that said health tip. It said, “If you can’t afford a doctor, go to an airport – you’ll get a free x-ray and a breast exam and; if you mention Al Qaeda you’ll get a free colonoscopy.” All of the doctors and residents that I have met are always cheery and positive. I am fortunate enough to attend a catered luncheon conference every Wednesday, where all of the interdisciplinary doctors come together are discuss their more difficult patients. They come to an educated decision on the best course of action to take. I am able to learn about cancer and the entire radiation oncological field of medicine. I am also able to meet with surgeons and ask them my questions. One of the patients that I am looking after will be getting a esophagectomy to treat his esophageal cancer. I learned that they stretch the stomach after removing the esophagus. This is really interesting to me but may seem disgusting to you. Sorry.
Today, when I was leaving work I realized how tired I was. I was standing on the train because there were no available seats. I forgot that I wasn’t holding on to anything and as the train began to stop, I began to lose my balance. However, I did not realize that I was falling, so I didn’t catch myself. Then when I was about to fall over, I finally caught myself, but unfortunately I slammed my heel into a small woman’s foot. I apologized profusely and then when she had left, I went to sit down and forgot I was holding a drink. So I spilled my cream soda all over the floor. Ugh. I’m going to need a second spring break after this spring break.