Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Honor Baslim - Week 5

Hey people,

So this week was the week of Fourth of July so I didn't volunteer on Friday, but still had plenty to do before and after the 4th. Things for the most part were pretty low key this week - though I did meet Diane Keaton (she saved a dog and brought it to our adoption center) she pretty much looks exactly like that --->

We also are having some issues with one of our horses, Spurs. The instructors ride each of the horses on lesson days, however they've all been having it be very uncomfortable to ride Spurs. What this tells us is that their is something wrong with the horses gate - much like humans if there is something wrong with the way that the horse walks it often can do more damage or be covering up a more serious issue with the animal. So we're going to arrange for one of the veterinarians that works at Helen Woodward to get on Spurs to feel it for herself since it's so difficult to explain. I'll let you know next week what she finds.

On Saturday, because it was so hot and we were still down one instructor we decided not to have formal lessons with all the hot leather tack that is typically involved. So we threw bareback pads on the horses and got out the giant soccer ball (as pictured below) and let the kids and horses go to town with various tasks and challenges.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Last week I continued my never ending quest of contacting possible volunteers and organizations in the Daytona Beach area for the August 7th IDignity Volusia event.  I also helped to obtain basic supplies necessary for each station that will be at the event, like the DMV and Legal teams.  I was extremely excited Friday morning, as I was able to attend one of the main planning meetings.  I met one of individuals who helped organize the original IDignity event that took place in Orlando in 2008!  The meeting was full of representatives from different non-profits.  It was really cool to see so many people working together to make this event happen.  I am looking forward to seeing the leadership team again Tuesday night for more planning.  

Mike the head of Community Outreach at the VFCCH has been able to secure a number of bus passes to help the clients who live in the areas surrounding Daytona Beach reach the event.  Local non-profits will disperse these bus passes to clients later this week.

I am really excited the event is coming soon, a lot of people have been waiting for it. Many  of people in the Daytona Beach area were not able to come to the last IDignity events in DeLand or Orlando because of transportation.  This will be the first time they will be able to benefit from its services.

Rehoboth Children's Home

Week  7

So this week was my last week at the home. It was pretty heart breaking to have to say bye to the kids. We spent a lot time together this week taking a lot of photos and playing soccer. I spent the last couple nights with the girls because the directors didn't want them to resent them for sending me to the boys' house. We made churros and watched movies. The boys drew me lots of pictures before I left. One of them decided to forgo playing soccer to stay with me while I helped the rest of the kids with their HW. They made me a goodbye cake and some of the kids cried which made me cry....lololol. I'm gonna miss these kids so much, I already know I need to come back.

On my last morning I took the kids to the bus stop for the last time and might have teared up a little bit.....Here's Walter & Oliver waiting for the bus (LOL @ Olly's face)

This week my office work consisted of making short promo videos for the Rehab Center in English and Spanish. I had to take pictures of the center and the men. There is so much work to do here. The only thing I have left to do for them is finish the website. This experience was trying at times but I wouldn't change a single thing.

See you all at Stetty!


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Week 7: Best Week Ever

This was not yet my last week serving at the IRMC for the summer, and next week certainly will not be my last. Serving at Indian River Medical Center has honestly been one of my most valuable and gratifying experiences of my life and will always will be. It has provided me with countless friendships and connections, directed me to a more specific career path, built my character, and brought me tremendous fulfillment.

Not yet knowing what next week will hold, I have to say that this week was the best week thus far! As I mentioned I would last week, I took advantage of the invitation I received from a surgeons to observe live surgeries. It was absolutely incredible. When I arrived at the hospital in the morning, I went up to the operating room entrance, got changed into scrubs, and immediately began watching an ongoing gastric bypass surgery. There were three probes inserted in the patient's CO2-filled abdomen (COto keep the abdomen inflated for operating within). One site served as the entrance where the camera was inserted to display an enlarged image on the monitors. The other two served as sites where the surgeon entered to operate. All of the incisions were small in these cases. The surgeon sectioned off a portion of the stomach, and connected the other part of the stomach to the small intestine by creating an opening in each and sewing them together. The part of the stomach that was sectioned off will shrivel somewhat, as no food will enter it. As a result, food consumed by the patient will only enter the other part of the stomach and the patient will feel fuller much more easily. I believe that there was also some operation between the small and large intestine that I missed at the beginning, but the main goal of a gastric bypass is to "shrink" the stomach. The surgeon's work there was done. The PA (Physician's Assistant) and several others were left to the tasks of stitching up the exterior incisions, and the anesthesiologist to restore the patient to consciousness.

I then followed the same surgeon to a gallbladder removal surgery, mastectomy, and a thyroid removal surgery. The surgeon is a general surgeon, which is why he performs these multiple types of surgeries. Each one was extremely contrasting and fascinating. For the thyroid removal, I also watched the lab specialists create a slide from a section of the thyroid to ultimately identify whether the small mass within the thyroid gland was benign or malignant. The slide-creating process itself was incredible due to the various materials, substances, and methods that were used. The slide then was brought to a man in his office (I did not catch his job title) where he and I viewed the prepared thyroid cross-section through a microscope. The mass turned out to be benign and the man pointed out the microscopic characteristics that led him to make this conclusion.

What made this experience so exciting for me was the fact that I saw and felt what it was like to be in these job positions. I have been considering following the track to becoming a PA for some time now, but was bombarded with the innumerable medical career options and opinions of others. However, more than I have in shadowing or considering any other career, I felt very strongly as though I could be a surgical PA. Career searching has been a complicated and unclear process for me, but gaining the insight that I am from my experiences and conversation is leading me closet to finding what I will set the goal of becoming. And as many people do, I will probably hold several medical positions within my lifetime.

Aside from my day of viewing surgeries, I was able to do some more IC work and help in the auxiliary during the week. I am having such a wonderful time in each task that I perform and with all of the staff and volunteers. It has truly been an incredible Summer of Service for so many reasons. 

I hope that everyone else's summers have been as fulfilling as mine. I'm looking forward to seeing you all soon and continuing the education that I love!


P.S. Here's a real picture of me scrubbing up for surgical viewings!

Monday, July 21, 2014


I am currently working with the Volusia/Flagler County Coalition for the Homeless.  

For the last week I have been doing outreach, recruiting churches and helping to organize the IDignity Volusia event that will be taking place in Daytona Beach on August 7.  For those who do not know what IDignity is, it is an event that helps homeless and disadvantaged individuals get their social security number, birth certificate, state ID, and driver license, all things that would be needed for applying for jobs, or getting bank accounts. After having some complications we have a group of churches who have agreed to help with outreach, and a church to host the event.  Unfortunately we have not gotten as many volunteers as we predict will be needed, but both Mike, the outreach coordinator, and I will continue to work on recruiting volunteers. Our goal is to have most volunteers from the Daytona Beach area, so the community feels more connected and are more aware of the impact they can make in their own city.
 I have really enjoyed working with the staff at VFCCH and focusing on the outreach.  As most of us know, I am usually a very quiet individual, but this work has put me out of my comfort zone.  I am almost constantly working with individuals in a professional environment.  Mike has been working with me one on one, helping me build my confidence and helping me learn the administrative roles of planning a large event.  I am looking forward to continue working with VFCCH throughout my Summer and the school year.


Larry Swartz

Rehoboth Children's Home

Week 6

Wazzup everybody! (Yes I really said that but it's too late to turn back now.)

Brace yourselves. More unfunny jokes are coming.

So as this week wraps up it's really starting to sink in that I'll be leaving these kids pretty soon. While I'm excited to get back to school and see everyone, I'm definitely gonna feel the void of not seeing the kids. These kids have brought so much happiness to me during my time here. It's truly inspiring considering that these kids have all experienced some kind of tragedy or abuse in their lives. That being said, this week I worked on a number of things, chief among them being writing updates to each kid's history. Having read through each case, I have a deeper understanding to everything that they have overcome and why they might act up sometimes. However, I've decided to highlight some of the funnier moments in the week.

As I mentioned in my last post, Chici left for the U.S this week, leaving Victor to fend for himself in the kitchen. As an act of kindness, the house father, Adrian, offered Victor some breakfast. Which went something like this...

Tio Adrian: Don Victor! I made some duck eggs, do you want some?
Don Victor: EW.

Which was immediately followed by uproarious laughter of all those present.

I´ve really been enjoying the kids this week and trying to take everything in. And these kids are hilarious. We´ve gotten into the habit of telling jokes and funny stories during cleaning time to make things more fun. The little ones say the funniest things without even realizing it. For example...

Noe: Tia Bella do you know the Dora the explorer theme song?
Me: Dora dora dora exploradoraaaaa!
Noe: *unintelligible screech of excitement*

Lastly, I´ve gotten to know the staff around here pretty well too and we´ve begun to understand one another´s humor.

Tio Pedro: (Rather casually) Bella did you clean this window?
Me: Don't raise your voice at me!
Tio Adrian: Stop yelling at the poor girl.

I´ll definitely miss them too.

I spent the weekend with the girls who were only slighlty less behaved..... teenagers.....
But we had some good times playing charades and scattegories.

All in all it was a good week.

B love,

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Week 6: IC & Microbio

Subsequently to recovering from my jet lag (mostly), I returned to IRMC to, primarily, jump back into my infectious control work. The auxiliary (where regular tasks are sourced) was, and continues to be, extremely "slow" as the off-season continues. Also, the cancer patient navigator held two meetings while I was out of town. So, I only helped in the auxiliary here and there and with the patient navigator for a few hours this week. 

Nevertheless, I have been getting more involved with the infectious control project and was also eager for some more career insight. I spent the majority of the first day collecting and compiling data for IC. However, the second day, one of the IC staff members told me that I had permission to visit the microbiology lab! I spent the day almost entirely in the lab where I observed, discussed, and assisted with analyzing patients' lab samples. It was fascinating!

I was very excited to be familiar with many of their tools from my experience in labs at Stetson. The “media,” which I call “petri dishes” in labs at Stetson, are isolated growing surfaces for the samples. The gelatinous growing base contains 5% sheep’s blood because it’s characteristics enable an easier growing environment. Human blood has characteristics, such as more antibodies, that change organisms’ growth, making observation and identification more difficult. There are sheep that are raised for the sole purpose of extracting their blood for these “media" dishes. It is interesting to me, but maybe not to all. Anyhow, I learned details like this throughout the entire day from shadowing a woman who had worked as a microbiologist at IRMC for 35 years! She had even performed phlebotomies on sheep before her lab career. All in all, it was an exciting day for me as I experienced a working lab environment. Many labs are different, of course, depending on what is being observed or researched. Yet, in considering research as a career, it was great to spend time in a real lab environment for a day.

The rest of the week consisted of more IC data collection, making posters reminding faculty to use proper precautionary and sanitation practices, and spending time with the IC staff. I met some new staff members during this time and offered my help with anything they may need. Ideally, within my last week at IRMC, I will have some more exciting opportunities as I help serve the hospital. For one, I will be helping the cancer patient navigator with more cancer patient meetings and I expect to see a large jump in the hand hygiene compliance based on the behaviors I have seen this week. And a doctor this past week invited me to come watch surgeries any time, so I will definitely be taking advantage of that! 

Until then… B-love!

P.S. Here's a picture of me collecting data.