Walking in the Footsteps of Captain America

Week 5

Aug 4th – 10th, 2014

MONDAY: Flying in and Communication Workshop

Post-wedding flights into Cleveland on Monday mornings are not preferred. I was so exhausted coming back from Chicago last Monday, but kind of felt grown up flying into “work” like that with a bunch of business people who make these kind of trips all the time. Also fun fact from the airport: the Superman character (fav super hero) was created in Cleveland! That means this is a super city!

With only 4 hours of sleep the night before, I was unsure of how I would survive/be focused throughout the day and even into the evening for our third communication workshop. But, amazingly I persevered and did well!

The third workshop got real! We had to complete a history of present illness and medical history on a standardized patient all in the space of 10 minutes and were recorded at the VA simulation center in a regular looking procedure room. I just got through all the questions by the time we had to finish, and I think my pacing went well. My big problem was that I forgot to shake my patient’s hand when I came in, like a wacko. Everything else went fine. I’m not looking forward to watching myself in the coming weeks. If I were an actor, I would be one of those who never sees their movies…

TUESDAY: A Really Beautiful Woman and Zumba

This week, we had the opportunity to hear from people who have chronic illnesses, and one woman with neurofibromatosis (check this out: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/neurofibromatosis/basics/definition/CON-20027728) told us about her experience with the disease. Let’s call her Mary Anne. One I first saw Mary Anne, I thought she had some kind of allergic reaction or bad acne on her face, but really she had small tumorous growths all over her body. I looked at her how many people may everyday—with curiosity and a little unease. But then I thought less about her appearance as I listened her talk. Her story was incredible, and I loved hearing about how she transformed from a very insecure woman to an empowered nurse willing to discuss her illness with medical students like me or uncouth children who ask their parents, “What’s wrong with that lady?” in the supermarket.

Mary Anne also told us about the horrible ways doctors treated her over the years. Several times, attendings would bring in medical students to stare at her, and she became an exhibit and less of a person. She really taught me that at the heart of medicine is the person—not the disease. And no matter what, we should not forget that physicians exist to serve people. And patients are not supposed to be our intellectual entertainment.

The most touching part of Mary Anne’s story was when she told us about her father who also had neurofibromatosis as well. In his youth, he was so ashamed of his condition and also upset with himself that his daughter had it—even to the point where it was painful to look at her, but towards the end of his life, he attended a party she threw. I am not at all surprised that Mary Anne has such a large group of friends and acquaintances. She carried her self with such poise, and there was something so frank and down-to-earth about her—qualities you need in a good friend. During the party, her father who had dementia at the time, looked at her, took her face in her hands and said, “You’re going to be alright.” And with that phrase, he finally accepted that despite what she looked like, some people could look past that and love her for who she is truly. It was one of the last lucid things he said to her.

We are in a beauty-obsessed culture, but we often forget that beauty is not inherently physical. According the Webster’s dictionary beauty is “the qualities in a person or a thing that give pleasure to the senses or the mind.” Given that definition,  Mary Anne was just as beautiful as the story she told us.

After class, I went to Zumba and saw one our lecturers there. You never know who you will see in the gym!

WEDNESDAY: Chipotle and Coventry

I love where I live. It is near a very hip area of Cleveland Heights named Coventry with flower pots hanging from lamp posts, hipster-y looking shops like American Apparel, dozens of delicious restaurants, ice cream parlors, and a CHIPOTLE. After studying on Wednesday, it was nice to have Chipotle and to chat with some of my new friends here at Case.


Dean Davis invited the med students over to her husband’s FANCY childhood home and dang it was a nice place! Here is the picnic get up:


Look at some my IQ peps looking festive:


But the most important part is that this HOUSE is where some scenes from Captain America: Winter Solider was filmed! Check out this pic of filming:


Here is a link to this news story: http://www.cleveland.com/moviebuff/index.ssf/2013/06/captain_america_the_winter_sol_7.html

Now, this is the living room where a scene was shot.


This is me standing in the living room.



FRIDAY: Cleveland Museum of Art, Getting a couch and relying on kindness of strangers

I decided to spice up my Friday and study in the Cleveland Museum of Art with a buddy. This is a great spot! It’s free and has some really good food at their cafe. It’s a little pricy but the desserts were relatively cheap. I am still yet to look at the art. Spent too much time looking at Gray’s Anatomy.



Now I have a question for you. How many medical students does it take to assembly a couch? Answer: TOO MANY! My roommate and my couch finally arrived. It’s red. It’s fabulous. It’s ginormous. Thankfully, a few kind men at Walmart helped us put it in Jen’s car. It JUST fit in. Jen had to squeeze herself sooo close to the stiring wheel. It was scary.  I actually prayed in the car.


Then we had to take it up the stairs. We managed to get it out of the car and to the stairs, but were like, “hell no” when we thought about how awful it would be to take it up 2.5 flights. Jen called some people and within 10 minutes 5 guys came over to help us!


Now, Walmart couch/futons look pretty nice but the instructions for putting them together are not Ikea-esque at ALL. It took us about an hour and a half to put the dang thing together. I celebrated the construction by promptly eating ice cream on it an passing out on the couch.


I then woke up and decided to finish up some work and watch the new series, Outlander. I read the book a few years ago. In a nutshell, it is a time-travelling period piece romance novel. I was very SHOCKED by how much of a romance novel it was. Does the cover of this book scream romance to you???


Anyway, the pilot was pretty good. People are calling it the woman’s Game of Thrones…

SATURDAY: Indian Buffets, Going for a Walk, GARQs and The Nanny Diaries

Saffron Patch in Shaker Heights is okay. $10 all you can eat Indian food, but there wasn’t a very extensive selection. I also decided to finally study on Saturday. Ew. Exams are coming. I should probably finish the post so I can study, actually. Let’s wrap this up quick.

I went on a walk a friend in the evening and explored more the area. So many beautiful houses and we saw a DeLorean! (I want to own one one day.)



In the evening, Jen and I watched The Nanny Diaries. Very cute “anthropological” romantic comedy with Scarlet Johannesson and Chris Evans. Wow. Captain America again. Oh Captain my Captain.

SUNDAY: Cedarhill Baptist, Tree on Coventry

Another Sunday. Another church. Cedarhill….I really prejudged it. Thought it would all be middle-aged-old white people but it was very diverse! They also sang a lot of hymns I grew up singing. The sermon was not as impactful as the past few weeks, but it was a blessing to be there.

Afterwards, I went out to get some Thai food from Tree Country Bistro on Coventry. It’s alright. The pad thai was decent. It did have this sweet-vinegar-y after taste you may love or hate.

Okay, I have exams this week so I am going to stop this post here. Check back next week to see if I survived Block 1 of medical school!

Until next time… 🙂

Medical school medical student patient history chronic illnessbeauty zumba chipotle picnic captain america cleveland museum of art kind strangers sofas apartments cleveland outlander DeLorean


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