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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Dietetic Internship Graduation! Week 41 of 41!

Graduation Week: Week 41 - THE LAST WEEK!!!
It felt like Staff Relief would never end but hallelujah it did and the last week of this Dietetic Internship has finally arrived!  Graduation week!!  This week spilled over with presentations, final training, and paperwork; no work days were completed in less than 10 hours.  To make this week even more memorable, on Tuesday morning I received a rather peculiar email; a fellow dietetic intern colleague Nick also received it verbatim:
“You provided patient care to a patient that has since tested positive for tuberculosis.  You provided patient care to “Mr. TB” on xx/xx/xx date, and have been exposed.  Please arrange to go to Employee Health as soon as possible to be tested for TB.”

Nick & I both received the email while in the office together.  I heard an awkward chuckle at the workstation behind me.  I read the email without fully comprehending it, then re-read it.  Before I realized it Nick & I were already in harmony through grunts and “uh huh,” logging out of our computers and nearly galloping to Employee Health!  As a reminder: TB tests require a small amount of innocuous TB strain to be injected to your forearm and then the ‘test’ is read 48-72 hours later.  Later that night I was at home regarding my forearm.  Not only had the area swelled, but also it was bright red with clear edges.  OH MY!  UH OH!  I was SURE I contracted TB!  To make matters worse, NPR was airing weekly stories on TB from across the globe.  I knew one thing: This was bad, BAD.  Like isolation and sequestration for months or even years, bad!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Blackberry Walk

 Most days after work I exercise.  Before I moved to Memphis, I was a bike commuter for two years in Athens, GA, climbing 6-9 miles of hills daily in weather ranging from 19°F to 92°F.  I got used to it, donning a ski mask and windproof gear in the winter, and buckets of sunscreen in the summer.  Honestly, I really liked the sweatiness, but I liked even more the constant physical activity in my day.  Since moving to Memphis 9 months ago, my days have been starkly different.  Out the door by 6:30 am, I hop in my car for a 16-minute highway commute.  I hate car commuting.  Hate it, hate it.  No exercise.  Wasting fossil fuels.  Consequently I became a car-driving gym-goer.  This habit has manifested itself at other times in my life and usually works away from the monotony eventually.  For example, for nearly 4 years I minimized all gym appearances, except during bitter winter temperatures, in favor of rowing on the Chattahoochee River for Georgia Tech.
I Love Memphis graffiti art
Now back in the gym trying my best to maintain healthy compliance, I despise the reliance on a commute.  Alas the weather has finally turned beautiful again, encouraging strolling a few times per week after work; I happily abandon the gym in favor of power walking.  Mapping out a three-mile loop from the VA Hospital to downtown Memphis and back, I stay challenged and sweaty.  On my second walk one 87°F afternoon, I discovered a wild patch of blackberries about 2/3 through that made my heart scream and shout with excitement.  In an abandoned driveway/parking lot between two buildings, a 100-foot length patch of weeds, vines, and bushes grew.  As I sped past the lot a few lone blackberries sparkled in the sun, grabbing in my eye.  Whoa!  Before I knew it, I was near skipping down this lot, popping berries in my mouth as my eyes jumped through the vines.  (Note: I LOVE BLACKBERRIES!).  What a treasure trove!