Greetings, and happy (almost!) holidays! I am writing this from the pediatrics team room, midway through my second of four night shifts. It’s 3am and I am running high on caffeine and sugar from the large bowl of holiday Snickers on the conference table, but rather low on sleep. With that in mind, I apologize if this post has an element of delirium to it!
Since I last wrote, I have completed the bulk of my pediatrics clerkship. There have been several highlights—not the least of which included a glorious four-day Thanksgiving break—and this will definitely be a rotation that I will be sad to see end. I have spent the second half of the rotation inpatient, on the hematology/oncology team. Hem/Onc was my favorite sequence of M2 year, so I not surprisingly found this month to be one of the most clinically interesting thus far. It goes without saying that many of the patients are very ill, which my fellow students on the team and I struggled with on a daily basis. That being said, the optimism and resiliency in many of the young patients was incredibly inspirational and gave much meaning to the rotation, far beyond the interesting diagnostic workups and treatment regimens.
I spent several afternoons making fleece blankets with one of my patients, a young girl with a recent relapse of leukemia. On the third day, I asked if the blankets were for different rooms of her house or if she was going to give them as holiday gifts. She answered that they were part of a fundraiser for a charity she has recently started for childhood leukemia. Beaming with pride, she told me that she had already raised $120 and hoped to double that with the blankets we’d been working on. I looked at her in amazement, not only by her generosity, but also by her modesty—so far beyond her years—in not having told me this on her own. I watched her focus as she meticulously cut and tied the small strips of fleece, and her delight as she folded each newly finished blanket. There was no anger that she had to spend Thanksgiving in the hospital, no self-pity that her hair had been falling out in large clumps over the past three days. Though it might sound cliché, in the high stress and demanding environment of third year, it is moments like these that truly put everything into perspective and remind me exactly why I am here.
The halfway point of my time on the heme/onc was marked by a very exciting, monumental day for the Mott Children’s Hospital: the opening of the new hospital! Over the course of just several hours, over 200 patients were transported along an 800 foot, indoor pathway between the old and new hospitals. This feat is made even more amazing when you consider the multitude of devices and machines that many of the patients are attached to. The move of the heme/onc floor was scheduled to start at 2pm. Like clockwork, our first patient entered new Mott at 2:02pm surrounded by a team of nurses and physicians, and another patient arrived every 3 minutes until our whole service was safely tucked away in their new rooms. I was amazed by the smoothness of this massive undertaking, which was planned down to every last detail. I feel lucky that I happened to be on my pediatrics clerkship on the day of the big move, as it is definitely something that I will remember!
Alright, I have been told it is time to stop writing, as it is time for a stair workout. The new hospital has 12 floors with several entirely glass-encased staircases that give amazing views of Ann Arbor. I’m not sure how my body will cooperate with that many flights of stairs at this hour of the morning, but I’m sure it will serve as a nice energy booster (last night we found the hospital’s football-inspired play room and had way too much fun running around in it). I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday, and I will check back in when I return…at which point I will be in the land of surgery!