Tuesday, July 14, 2015


Today, things got a bit interesting. There's lots to do in class, but there's also a busy schedule outside of it. As usual, today began with a shower and breakfast. I always seem to get some extra foods or sides, so I have to begin calculating portions a bit wiser. That way I won;t feel so guilty. Anyway, I topped some oatmeal with tons of fruit like berries and pineapple, along with some brown sugar and cinnamon for some extra sweetness and some warmth, as food experts might describe. Breakfast was with my proctor group. I try to keep a balance with the guys on my floor, but also make sure I spend some quality time with the cohort. Today in class marks a great example.

Usually, I find it slightly difficult to find people who are considerably interested and fervent over issues regarding issues such as in healthcare or other issues in medicine. Taking a step back, I'll start off with what we began with in class today. We followed up with  some key terms yesterday and learned some new ones including Cultural Relativism, Cultural Construct, Medicalization, Cartesian Dualism, Compliance, and the difference between Chronic and Acute Issues (all intriguing concepts). Medicalization, for example, refers to when a health related condition is accepted as a disease, therefore, the fault is taken away from the patients and transferred to the hands of a healthcare professional. Cartesian Dualism, on the other hand (one of the more controversial concepts in my opinion) states the separation of the mind from the body by a medical professional. This, to me, for example, goes against what I think would be a more effective approach to healthcare and treating patients, based on the fact that the body and mind (physical and mental phenomena) are very interconnected- we are one body after all.

Further into class, and relating more towards to the name of he blog, is when we began to go further into the former. Also, to put things in context, we are reading a book called The Illness Narratives by Kleinman, a book that raises awareness to the importance of valuing patients' interpretation of their pain, referred to as illness. One of the things emphasized is how most doctors look at individuals through a Cartesian Dualism perspective and often overlook social, psychological, psychosocial, or other outside issues when looking at treating patients. Unfortunately, this took place right before lunch, but Hummd and I were able to share our thoughts after one of our classmates shared an opposing opinion towards this value of doctors familiarizing themselves more with their patients' lives. Being short on time, I was only able to bring up N.D.s, or Naturopathic Doctors and how much of their work encompasses these values as well as the value of treating root causes rather than symptoms. I can go more in depth into this topic (which is why I like having named this blog Sparks- it highlights how I felt towards the subject in class/it explains that I felt a spark within the discussion), as I made it event within a couple minutes preaching the knowledge I've come to learn on my own. For that matter, I've even written up an 8 page paper-turned-10 page research paper on alternative medicine, which encompasses and is interconnected with things like the medical system, politics and lobbying, research and studies, and more. For the sake of time, though, we had to leave it there; we are, however, going to discuss more about this the third week.

After some of that rising intensity with regards the subject, we had a break from it all at lunch. I fervently began explaining and sharing how I felt the exact same way as they were when I first familiarized myself with this whole social, systematic, and strictly biomedical view and approach to health (a.k.a. Western medicine). Moreover, we did have another great lunch, That does remind me of our time as a complete cohort- with Jenny. I miss her bright, free spirited self! She always manages to laugh and bring out the positivity and innate laughter inside each and every one of us (haha). I love it! Anyway, Jenny, if you see this, come visit us soon (well, we have to plan it our, but you know what I mean!)

Back in class, we slightly covered more of what we left uncovered and went over all of those terms from the beginning of the blog. We made many more references and discussed studies and facts about the [positive] differences and patient satisfaction that came from improved patient-healer interaction. After all that, though, it became study hall time. I took a brief break on my own account, but found Katherine and chilled with her as we continued to read some more. I have to say, it felt like I used up so much mental energy  interacting and thinking during the discussion . I also felt so tired after also splitting up into groups and going over sections of an article for tomorrow. I was tired from slightly insufficient sleep. I only tried to keep up as much as I could before arete saved me. this time it was actually funner than yesterday. We went around creating stories just by saying a word each (we  were in a giant circle) and also played a similar game, except that in this one the audience asked questions and about 5 select people/volunteers came up with answers one word at a time.

After arete was some scavenger hunt 2.0. Apparently there was a pink lamp hidden somewhere on campus and the member who found it would get their house some points. The cohort decided we'd stick together, but apparently Gwennie took the lead and got V House some points. Afterwards came dinner. I had some Chicken Parmesan, salad, and fries. I was with the cohort this time. One of the themes of the talk was about SOFT night, or Sign Out Free Time. Once a week or so, we get the chance to go off campus and have free time to just do other things outside the campus. Today's mission (since coming on this trip) for me was to get a haircut. Collectively, it was to get some ice cream... even with the crazy, fluctuating weather (did I mention we had about an hour long thunderstorm during class).
Finally getting to use the selfie stick!!!
Anyway, we planned it out and walked over to the local haircut place. I basically just got rid of the super long sides and the crazy long back that was very much outgrown and messy. It was actually kind of a success. It's not bad. On our way back, we got some Ben and Jerry's for ice cream as we made our peaceful way back to the gorgeously green campus as the beautiful sun simmered away in the horizon.
Post haircut, VSA hat pic. I know, I know... but
I just really am digging these hats now. They're great! (haha)
This beautiful Vanderbilt campus
view in this beautiful Nashville setting.
Immediately after coming back, I took a shower and had our proctor group meeting promptly after. I stayed in the main area where usually everyone hangs out to start on my blogging. I got to know my proctor, Tonny, more as we began talking about class, our interests, and some possible accomodating rescheduling (for the blogs). Thank God! Tonight I actually feel like I'll be better rested for tomorrow having gotten most of tonight's blog over with before 11 PM, the time for lights out. It feels good. I can only say that I hope things lighten up after today. Not to seem so poetic or anything (maybe a bit, but I could use some practice...), but I'll let the rain wash away the dread of today's hardships. I'll let the bad, crazy-long hair go away, and I'll allow some space for some more accommodating scheduling for tomorrow. After all these things and getting to chill and getting to bond with my proctor, I look forward to a new day tomorrow. Oh, and P.S., thanks for the coconut oil, Jenny. It really saves my skin with my eczema. Anyway, once again- here's to another day here at Vandy. Goodnight!!!
Oh you know, just with my proctor, Tonny
(below) and fellow proctor, Josh (above)

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