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Friday, December 10, 2010

courage

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I knew the Veterans Affairs Clinic would be an interesting month for me...So far...

on Day 1: A patient barked at me in the hallway for no apparent reason.

Day 2: A patient came in and after I talked to him for 20 minutes I realized he was wearing a sweatshirt with a big deer head on it that said WELL HUNG TAXIDERMY.

Day 3: My clinical pharmacist preceptor is about 5 months preggo, and our patient noticed and said, "I didn't know you were expecting?! I thought your butt was just getting big!"

Day 4: Diabetes Clinic: A man came in with uncontrollable blood sugars due to non-compliance (eating poorly and not taking his oral meds and insulin) and after I told him all the body systems his diabetes could negatively effect: his eyes, kidneys, nerves at his extremities, and that it could even cause erectile dysfuntion....He screams, "Now, you got my attention!"

I have spent time in various clinics: Coumadin management, Heart Disease Risk Reduction, Diabetes Care, MTM, and Lipids.  I feel passionate about this patient population because my Daddy and father-in-law are both Veterans....and there is so much NEED. They need our care; it is the least we can. In 10 days I have heard as many stories that would just break your heart and make you cry. They are in pain, emotionally and physically...but their resilience is awe-inspiring.

It is a bittersweet mix of feeling a great deal of satisfaction when you feel like perhaps something you tell the patient may ultimately help them take better care of themselves....versus feeling so sad for the patient that tells you he has PTSD and stays "hunkered down" under his comforter each day until the sun goes down. At the end of each day, he tells himself, "I will try again tomorrow."

Then you have the moments where they crack you up, make you laugh, or shock you! Thankfully, (due to my crazy family and interesting upbringing) I am not easily shocked. I feel at home and quite comfortable there.  What does that say about me?

Regardless, I thought I would be learning a great deal from my preceptor this month, but I am learning much more from the patients.
“Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others.” - Robert Lewis Stevenson


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Deciduous Heather