Sunday, November 27, 2005
Thanksgiving weekend activity: 20+ hrs spent watching "winter sonata" a Korean Drama. Lol, guess I still have a bit of asian in me. besides...he's just the "perfect" romantic lead.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
So, another "last day". I was so bummed to leave Tohatchi Clinic. It's been a great place to learn and I have loved every minute of my stay here. My preceptor has been one of the best that I've worked with and laughed with, he and his wife even came out to a narguila/hookah place with me this past Tuesday. I've been to gourd dances, pow-wows, learned to cut down trees, had a traditional dinner on a horse ranch with a famous rodeo family, and even a traditional puberty ceremony. Today I was given a farewell party by the nurses and staff at Tohatchi. They gave me a beautiful necklace with bear fetishes and turquoise for strength and protection, and they even did my hair up in a tradition hair knot (Tsiiy¢¢).
Tomorrow I'm off to Cleveland once again.
Tomorrow I'm off to Cleveland once again.
Saturday, November 05, 2005
I smell like corn. I've never smelled like this before, but everything from my skin and hair to my clothing smells like smoked corn. Probably b/c I just came back from 5 hrs of separating corn husks and sewing them into a circular 6 foot diameter platter. I just returned from a Kinaalda, a Navajo puberty ceremony. the first Kinaalda was done for Changing Woman, who was raised by First Man and First Woman I went with a medicine woman and her granddaughters to an isolated place in Navajo country for a 13 yr old's ceremony for her first menses. It was an honor to be a part of these ceremonies and to have people there to walk me through the various stages. I attended day 3 of a four day ceremony for this young girl. It took place in a traditional Hoghan, a ceremonial house that's octagonal shaped, you also can only walk clockwise through the house. It was wonderful to be part of this warm community, if only for a few short hours. The hoghan was filled with women, ages 6 up to past 80 all with one task, to make a cake. Outside campfires had pots of mutton stew and fry bread cooking as well as 4.5 ft wide, 1 foot deep hole filled with burning wood. Once the dirt hardens the ashes would be taken out and we'd place the plate made of corn husks at the bottom. 10 or so women take 4 bags of cornmeal and help the Kinaalda make her cake. It's a great community event, everyone has their role from the Firewatcher to the young girl who hands out the bundles of sticks used for stirring the cornmeal. I had the unfortunate tasks of getting on myhands and knees and sewing this cornhusk plate together...I suck at sewing, particularly when it's cornhusks, oh well, my section held together for the most part. By the time the cornmeal, boiling water, wheat germ, sugar, and raisings were stirred sufficiently it was close to sunset and we had about 8 large buckets of batter. We placed the cornhusks into the pit and slowly poured hte batter in, the kinaalda and the medicine woman began the blessings of the cake, and everyone who participated also blessed the cake by taking dry cornmeal and scattering it clockwise on the cake. we covered the cake with individual cornhusks, followed by newspapers, flattened paper bags, the dirt that was taken out to make the hole, hot ashes, and then firewood. The cake will be cut and finished at 4 am tomorrow after an all night round of traditional singing and chanting. After the cake was put in, the Kinaalda made her 4th and final run of the day towards the east with a large group of ppl following her yelling "OIIYYEEEEE" the whole way. It's been a great day. Later this week I will return to visit this same medicine woman and her family, they're saving me a piece of cake :)
Thursday, November 03, 2005
Today was a crazy day at the clinic. We had 1 practitioner sick, the other on leave, the other took off mid day, which left just Dr. Buffaloe and me to cover 3 pages of appointments and all the walk-ins. On top of the physicals, pile of ear aches, casts for busted ankles, and old ladies needing their feet checked, I found myself giving my first "you've got cancer" talk. It shook me far more than I realized. I was talking to the patient, a young Navajo in his 20's, when a number of red flags came up. Weight loss...fatigue...strange unremitting abdominal pain radiating to his back. I wasn't sure though, after all, he's so young, right? I spoke with him for awhile about his studies, he's in his first year at a liberal arts school but had to withdraw b/c of the abdominal pain. He's gone to multiple hospitals for help with abdominal pain, each time they dismiss him as a case of irritable bowel, run a series of screens for infection and send him home with ulcer meds. Each time he comes back, the meds never help the pain. He noticed a lump on his collar bone in february..they told him it was a lipoma, a fat deposit. In june a abdomen CT was done but he never heard back from the hospital about the results. Finally he comes to our little clinic b/c his pain has become worse in his back. I took a break from seeing hte other patients and dug through his chart and go through his labs with him. Noone's told him anything about all the tests they've run on him the last 9 months or what they thing is going on with his health. I tried to go through what the values meant, etc...then I got to thte CT and had to go to Dr. Buffaloe to find out the results. We call the center and get a faxed copy...."extensive retroperitoneal lymphadenopathy...differential includes lymphoma or metastic testicular cancer." So, I went back to the room to tell this poor boy. I've never seen such fear in someone's eyes. He was terrified and near tears, even though I tried to explain that nothing would be conclusive until biopsies were done. I wonder if he could tell that I was as scared as he was. Then he asked me about a lump he noticed on his neck. Wasn't like any lipoma I've ever seen, they were swollen Supraclavicular nodes...they were huge. Anyways, we got him in for a biopsy this coming monday, we'll see what happens, I told him to call the clinic or email me if he doesn't hear back about the path results within the week, I hope he doesn't fall through the cracks again. So all in all, an eventful day...lots of happy healthy patients, and some sick ones.