Tuesday, March 19, 2013

New York, New York

March 11th to March 18th

Monday was awesome!!! My program went to the FAA headquarters to meet with the department that regulates and licenses privatized space flight! IT was so cool. I met some aerospace engineers and what not. No big deal. A lot of people think that NASA regulates American space travel, but that is not entirely true. The Air Force regulates military space stuff, NASA deals with civic space stuff like the International Space Station and experiments, and the FAA regulates privatized space travel. A lot of people give Obama flack for retiring the shuttle and say that he is limiting America’s future; I used to be one of those! In all actuality, what Obama did was push more for the private sector to take the lead. The government uses private companies now to ship stuff to the ISS and will eventually use them to send people. One of the things the FAA does is inspect launch sites and the space vehicles, including a spaceport in Oklahoma! That night, I also went to a comedy night at a local restaurant. It was pretty funny!

Tuesday was pretty interesting. Lauryn and I went on a trip with one of the veterans at the Community Living Center (CLC), which is pretty much just a nursing home. The guy had some brain trauma and had some problems with words, but he still functioned really well. We had to get him some ink for his printer. He is a phenomenal artist! He started using computer programs, hence the need for ink. Lol He was a super smart dude! It was really cool.

On Wednesday, it was just Lauryn and I manning the ship while Diane was out of the office. I was kinda nervous about it at first, but it was actually pretty easy. I made a flow chart for the Code Blue cart that we had worked on (see previous blogs), met with a neuropsychologist to talk about career options, paths, and possible shadowing opportunities, sat it on some meetings, worked on the Healthcare Equality Index stuff(again, see previous posts), and then called it quits. The veteran who we went to get some printer ink with the day before swung by and brought us some food to try that he made! He is a cool dude. Since the new Pope was elected, I walked down to the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception! Diane recommended it. That place was amazing! There were reporters everywhere and it was super busy. I have been to a few cathedrals and basilicas in my day, and I have to say, that one is pretty high ranking! It was so ornate and decorated! You could tell that it was built a lot more recent then many of the ones I have been to. It just looked a lot newer and modern. There weren’t any flying buttresses or Gothic architectural features. That evening, I went to Union Station, got two fantastic crepes (I was starving, don’t judge), and then headed off to an event. I had the privilege of attending the opening ceremony for the building for a Student Veterans Association at George Washington University! It was pretty cool. I got to take a picture with General Casey, he was the Army Chief of Staff between 2007-2011 I believe. He has done a lot of other stuff too! It was an honor to meet him.

Thursday was spent ushering around the film crew again! They had to film my boss, Diane, and a little bit of the narrative medicine group meeting. I got so engulfed with it that I completely forgot my meeting with a staff psychologist! I felt so bad! What a crappy first impression. I sent an email that morning making sure he was on for that afternoon… I felt like a complete idiot. After apologizing profusely, I asked him if he would mind rescheduling; he agreed to reschedule! Friday was an interesting day. My boss, along with the programmers who were developing the app, presented the Mt Capitol VA mobile application to the director and the rest of the quadrad. That was an interesting experience. The app’s landing screen called it something along the lines of “The VA Healthcare Network,” which was not what he wanted. He really wanted it to say My Capitol VA. The application was being made for the DC VAMC first, and then it was going to be used as a template for the other VAMC’s. The generic landing screen was just so it could be used easier later on for the other locations. The director thought that we had developed an app for the whole VA and not just the DC VAMC, so he was not so happy since it was using DC VAMC money. Eventually, things got straightened out and he realized that it was being developed for the DC VAMC and then to be used as a template for the other VAMC’s. The DC VAMC is the center of innovation, so we do that a lot. The DC VAMC pioneered doctors using tablets for charting as well as using telecommuting for talking to doctors and getting a consult.

The weekend was the highlight of my week! I got up at the crack of 4:45, got ready, met my friend from Virginia, and then hopped on a Metro bus to Chinatown, where we boarded another bus to NEW YORK CITY!!!!!! A lot of friends from the RSU Honors Program were on a Study at Large trip to The Big Apple for spring break, so my friend and I decided to go visit them! It was a blast! I really missed those people, and it was great to see them again. My best friend Tommy was on the trip too, which was probably the best part! We arrived at Penn Station around noon, met up with the group, went to Time Square, ate some great food, went to the St. Patrick’s Day parade, went to Central Park, went back to their apartment and dropped off our bags, explored Brooklyn, ate at a pub, and then just hung out the rest of the night. It was snowing for a large part of the day, which made the parade and Central Park really beautiful! I got some great pictures. On Sunday, we went to the Natural History Museum and Planetarium, walked around some more, ate at a nice French Restaurant, and then hung out some more. I honestly think I was more excited about seeing my friends more then I was about seeing NYC! Two days was not enough to fully see NYC, obviously, so I knew I would have to make a trip back there in the future. But it was really fun to hang out, play cards, watch some movies, and explore with my peeps. It was fun hanging out with Dr. Ford and Dr. Gray, the Honors Director and his wife, who is also a professor at RSU. They were the ones chaperoning the trip! Got some good life lessons from the two of them! Haha All in all, the trip was amazing, the week was busy, and I am ready to kick the next week in the butt!

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