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Monday, April 7, 2014

Specialty 2-week rotation to Florida!

DIETETIC INTERNSHIP: Weeks 36 & 37 (of 41)
Alternative / Specialty rotation in Gainesville, FL: Weeks 36 & 37

Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to Florida I go!  My Dietetic Internship included a 2-week “Alternative / Specialty” rotation at a facility outside of the Memphis VA Medical Center.  It is the intern’s responsibility to seek out the location, find the contact information, and secure this bond.  What. A. Chore!  I wrote, I contacted, I searched for names, numbers, friends or family with whom I could stay for two weeks.  Honestly, it was all a bit stressful and at one point, I questioned why I was not just looking around Memphis and consequently happily sleeping in my own bed.  BUT.  My Internship Director kept telling us that often individuals find full-time employment at their Alternative Rotation site, and I wanted to make a thoughtful decision. 

Oak tree canopy
After a lot of contacts, I very happily secured a contract with the Gainesville, Florida VA Medical Center.  A long time ago (when I was a student at the great University of Florida), I made best friends-that-became-my-family in High Springs, FL, about 25 miles away from the hospital in Gainesville.  They accepted me for two weeks, as well as the VAMC.  Done!  Next step:  Drive.  It is a LONG way from Memphis to Gainesville, specifically nearly 700 miles!

While I hate commuting (With. A. Passion.), 25 miles each was was a bit too far for this standard Bicycle Commuter.  However, this was my daily beautiful morning view:  

Summer Pickling!

The beauty of visiting during the summer time?  My friend Billy & I made ALL THIS: 

At the VAMC, I was greeted by many friendly Registered Dietitians, all females.  It never ceases to amuse me that females overwhelmingly dominate this profession (~ 95%)!  In clinical dietetics it involves a lot of medical science knowledge, math calculations, and a desire to educate patients, many characteristics that are unisex.  However I suppose at the core we are talking about –food– and of course we know that it is a woman’s place in the kitchen! (CUE sarcasm here!)

By far the most poignant this week was a man with ascites that looked like he had swallowed a basketball.  Or he was pregnant.  Ascites is fluid retention specifically in the peritoneal cavity (abdomen) that is frequently associated with cirrhosis, liver disease, and metastatic cancer.  Check out these pictures (click HERE).  As you can imagine, the pressure takes away all desire of appetite during a time when one has significantly increased calorie and protein needs.  Bad news for nutrition.  Over the course of 3 days, my patient had 19 liters (5 gallons) of fluid taken off of him!!! (via paracentesis)  I also worked with a lot of oncology patients these two weeks and I became intimately familiar with adaptations and changes associated with cancer and nutrition.  Here are a few good reasons why a Registered Dietitian (RD) is important to have on your team if this affects you.

Two weeks came and passed, I learned a ton from the Gainesville / North Florida VAMC, visited with friends, my mom, and had the best hosts.  With the exception of the (long, solo, boring) drive, it was an excellent time!

"Great things never came from comfort zones."
- Unknown -


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