May 2011


I hate running. I love to have run. Being in school has put me in this horrible predicament: I am horribly out of shape and feel fatter then I have ever felt. So, what is the best way to combat such a situation? REACH HIGH! So I am signing up for a half-marathon in October in Durham. I have started the painful experience of getting back in shape. I can run a mile (don’t laugh), and I hate every minute of it. But, I would love to once in my life feel like an athlete. So here I go.

My dear friend Michael Watkins and I are tackling the gym together.  And I hope to join a fleet of my girlfriends in running the women’s empowerment half marathon in October.  (Thanks Cory and Austin for being willing to suffer through such a task with me.)

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So, its my penultimate day at Duke Raleigh’s ED with my preceptor. We had a patient come in that “barely spoke any English” per the triage nurse. “He has a friend with him that can translate” (also per the triage nurse). I am of course totally excited (and perhaps a little terrified) to practice my spanish again. I went into the room and introduced myself in English and in Spanish and then the Doctor walked in. He heard me introduce myself and petitioned me to translate for him.

Well, we muddled through somehow (thank goodness for the friend who was there that could fill in the gaps that I couldn’t do) Rosa, my Spanish teacher, would have been so proud of all the spanish I could still muster out. After the doctor left I started asking those other important questions that Rosa keeps telling us to ask… (and I am so grateful that I did!)

me:: De donde es Usted?
him: Honduras
me: HONDURAS!!! ( can you just imagine the excitement on my face when he responded with “Honduras”)
me again: Fui a Honduras a mes pasado! Donde en Honduras es Usted.
him: Las Merecedes.
me: LAS MERCEDES!!

( I of course had to be peeled off the ceiling at this point.) Can you even believe it? I of course was so excited that I couldn’t even attempt much spanish because I wanted so much to hear how he came here, what he was doing here, what made him come here. etc. I think I overwhelmed him a little with my enthusiasm. His friend very kindly translated all of my questions. And as I asked them so much of this patient took me back to our trip. He was so quiet. He barely made eye contact with me. I had to make myself slow down and be still to get him to stop looking so terrified of this crazy american who was drilling him about his hometown. When I got myself calmed down and still he told me a little about himself. He apparently came over here 5 years ago and had been working odd jobs here and there. He didn’t really tell me how he came here- I imagine that those are perhaps not the easiest questions to answer in that kind of setting. His family is all still back in Honduras, in Las Mercedes. I asked what their names were, but I am not sure I would have remembered the names even if I had met his family (Mom, Dad, and 2 brothers- both younger). I asked him if he remembered the clinic. He said that the building wasn’t there when he was still living there, but he did remember the group coming through. (again- how crazy is that??!!). He seemed so nervous to be in such a big hospital. His demeanor was so much like the people we met so many miles away. His friend said that it was so great that I could understand the vast differences in the hospital experience here vs back in Honduras and that he felt I could really understand his friends’ anxiety in a way others couldn’t.

I was in my own cloud of enthusiasm the rest of the day. I missed all my dear Honduran team mates and wished they all were there. I was reminded today what an amazing trip we took. I never would have even attempted speaking spanish had I not had all that time to practice, I would have perhaps never took the time to really ask where he was originally from, never would have had that camaraderie of a shared place and a shared experience of people.