Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Last of Many

Last night, I decided to participate in a game of assassin with other willing VSA students. Since this was the second and last round, I didn't want to miss out. In the game, there's an assassin and a target. The assassin's objective is to "kill" their target using a spoon to swipe their target's necks. From the last round, I knew it would be tough to stay alive beyond the first hour. And this time, people were ten times more paranoid. Within the first couple minutes, screams could be heard from every floor. Somehow, I managed to stay alive past last night. But I knew my death was inevitable, I just had no idea how soon it would hit me. Half an hour into breakfast, Paige came over to my table. Finding out who her assassin was, she talked about how scared for her life she was. And before I knew it, she killed me without anyone ever noticing. Still, I was relieved knowing I was dead and no longer had to look over my shoulders. 

Dressed in clinic clothes, Urvashi, Ann, and I were led to our respective clinics by Jake. As the first person to be dropped off, we all went to the Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute. Interested in cardiovascular medicine from our lecturers, I was thrilled to be shadowing Dr. Damp. I was later met by two other individuals who would also be under Dr. Damp's care. While one was a second year resident, the other individual just started his fellowship at VUMC. Needless to say, Dr. Damp had her hands full today. I ended up shadowing the fellow during the initial meeting with each patient, and he would later consult Dr. Damp about his observations. Following their conversation, Dr. Damp would see her patient along with the fellow and I. Although the majority of her patients came for a regular checkup, it was all still very interesting to watch.  Both Dr. Damp and the fellow even let me listen to each of the patients' hearts and informing me on what was happening. They were keen on making me feel involved during the entire process. Before I knew it, it was time for Jake to pick me up  and head to the Commons. My time at the clinic left me wishing I could stay for whole day. I can't tell whether or not I enjoy the clinic or the OR more, I'm just grateful to have been given the opportunity.

For the second half the day, we were greeted by two lecturers. Our first lecture was on dyslipidemia by one of our very own instructors, Jake! By the end of his lecture, all of us were thoroughly impressed by the work put into his powerpoint. Not only were we familiar with lipids, but the differences between good and bad cholesterol. With exercise and high fiber, it's possible for an individual to have good cholesterol(High Density Lipids). In doing so, treatment using statins isn't as likely to be used because of lower risks. Following Jake's enlightening lecture, Dr. Johnson came for the third and last time on colon cancer. As of 2013, one in three Americans roughly die from the disease. Individuals who are 50 years of age and beyond are more susceptible to colon cancer, with roughly 90% of this age group affected. African Americans in particular however, have the highest incidence and mortality rate of all groups in the US. According to one of Dr. Johnson's maps, states with the highest rates of obesity are less likely to be screened while states with lower obesity rates are more likely to be screened. I wish this wasn't the case, but sadly it is. As the third most common cancer in the US and third deadliest, the issue of knowing what you eat couldn't be any more prevalent. 

Before leaving for the Mellow Mushroom. 
With today being one of our last SOFT nights, some of us decided to make the most of it and have dinner at the Mellow Mushroom. Since there are no Mellow Mushrooms in California, it sounded like the best place to eat. And I was right, their pizza was delicious. I don't think I've ever had that kind of pizza before. Its proportions are unlike any pizza franchise I've been to. With good food and good people, my last SOFT night couldn't have gotten any better. 

From left to right: Ciara, Sara, and Natalie

Reflecting on today, I noticed that today marked the end of many things. From clinical experiences to SOFT nights, today signals the official countdown until VSA 2013 really does come to an end. I've certainly come a long way since our first week here at Vanderbilt University. 

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