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Nov 2, 2007

Field Trip

This afternoon I went up to Morehead, KY to St. Claire Regional Medical Center for a class. I went with seven of my classmates. The purpose was to discuss Mental Health in a Rural Community. I'm telling you, those people are the NICEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD. We got to the end of the tour and all eight of us were ready to sign our names to whatever they put in front of us. Even the Muslim in our group, regardless of the fact that there are pictures of Jesus everywhere and nuns all over the place.

(As a nerdy aside: I made a brilliantly funny joke today, which I will now share with you. We were standing outside the OR and there is a painting hung which shows a bunch of surgeons operating. Naturally, they are all done up in full sterile attire. Behind one of them was Jesus. He was, you know, guiding the surgeon's hands or something equally poetic. But Jesus was not in sterile attire. So I said, "I guess Jesus doesn't need to worry about contamination, since he's not even wearing gloves." Go ahead and take a moment to regain your composure after such a brilliant joke. I'll wait.)

However, then we had dinner with a psychiatrist who works both inpatient and outpatient psych at St. Claire. She was such a DOWNER. She starts off by saying that she had intended to be a pediatric oncologist and live in NYC or Chicago and be a very metropolitan lady. However, she married a Kentucky boy who wanted to stay here, then she got knocked up while she was in residency. So they moved to Morehead in order to pay off her loans and get established before moving to the big city. Then she got knocked up again and her husband decided to be a stay-at-home dad. So, basically, she's stuck in Morehead with a job that she never intended to do with a life that she never planned. Hm. Inspiring.

She went on to tell us that 1/3 to 1/2 of her patients have experienced some sort of abuse. Many of her patients have children fathered by family members (read: incest). She told a story about a patient who decided that he was old enough to move out of his parents' house and so needed a "crazy check" of his own (read: disability - 3rd generation!). This is less than inspiring. In fact, it makes me want to run the other way.

MANY of my classmates are from "out in the state" and can't wait to get back there to practice medicine. I am from the suburbs of Indy. Granted, my school did have Drive Your Tractor to School Day, but that was for the minority of students (I always felt left out. Why didn't my family have a tractor?). I have never experienced what these people are going through and, frankly, cannot imagine myself working in that type of community. Ever. In our third and fourth years, we are required to do rotations in rural areas. I am terrified of this time.

Also, we had a scrumptious dinner at the hospital. However, I apparently needed to define vegetarian to them. This does not mean pasta and chicken with most of the chicken picked out. I haven't eaten meat in three years and tonight I ate a big chunk of chicken. My belly is yelling at me as we speak.

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