A window inside life at Augustana College

Hurricanes and Health Care

Hey all!

Just a little update from Not-So-Sunny-Anymore Houston! It’s hurricane season now down here and boy, have we been noticing. For those of you not following along at home, the first hurricane of the season, Alex, has hit land. Now, its not close to us, its more down by Mexico, but we are still noticing the effects. The weather has turned from hot, humid, and sunny to cloudy, windy, and stormy. And it all happened so fast. One evening after work I came home and it was sunny as could be. I took a half-hour nap and woke up and there were just sheets of rain falling from the sky and thunder everywhere! It’s a nice break from the heat, but I miss my sunny Texas!

In other news, I’ve been keeping busy working and volunteering and have even gotten to shadow some speech-language pathologists (SLPs)! Last week I went with Jessi to work at Texas Children’s Hospital and got to observe one of the SLPs over there for a day. She specializes in working with kids with Down Syndrome, a population I haven’t worked with much. I really enjoyed observing her all day. The kids were great and I got to see an evaluation as well as therapy which was really neat.

Yesterday I was able to observe in the MD Anderson Head and Neck Cancer Center for the first time. They have about 5 different observation sessions set up for me over there with different SLPs and this first one was with a girl who does all the pediatric stuff. She spends about half of her time with the kids in peds and the other half doing stuff in the head and neck center. Although it was an uncharacteristically slow day for her, we were still able to see two kids, both of whom had rare brain tumors. The SLP said that it is sometimes difficult working in pediatrics at MD Anderson because all of the kids are here because they were too sick to stay in other hospitals and needed the absolute best care available and that’s why they ended up here. This means that speech is generally not a priority for them and many are on G-tubes (a feeding tube that goes directly into their stomach), so swallowing is not even a priority either. These kids are just working on staying alive. the SLP said that often her job is not so much working on speech and swallowing, but functioning more like a case manager and being the go-between between the parents and the medical personnel. She often finds herself functioning as kind of a translator and putting all the medical jargon into terms the parents can understand. I could also tell that she had developed a good rapport with the parents and that they felt closer to her and trusted her more than they did the doctors. I really liked my time with her and despite the heartache involved in working with this fragile population, yesterday was the first time I could really see myself working down here. I think my ideal job would be doing what this SLP does. It was great to get to see this side of things and really opened my eyes to a whole new world. (cue Disney music!) I can’t wait to go back and find out more about what these SLPs in the Head and Neck Center do on a daily basis.

We are keeping busy outside of work, too. Last weekend, 4 of us went to Kemah, a little beach town in Southern Texas not too far from Galveston. It’s kind of a tourist-trap little area with a boardwalk, a little amusement park, and lots of good food and shopping! We also went to NASA which is very close to there and got to see the Johnson Space Center which was pretty cool. It still looks basically like it did when they built it back in the 60s and it was like stepping back in time!

We found a Storm Trooper at NASA!

Kate, me, Jessi, and Justine enjoying the beautiful Gulf of Mexico on a nice sunny day!

Well I’d better go–work calls!

Leave me comments!!!

Love,
Katrina

p.s. Exciting news– They finally put my name on a little plaque outside my office door, WOOHOO! I’m official!

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