Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Another day at M

Today, I ate breakfast with a bunch of people from Indiana. Then I took an extremely boring computer class. I wandered around a huge cafeteria for a while trying to figure out how to get and pay for the food I wanted. Here at M, there are separate cafeterias for patients/visitors and employees. Today, I found out that there are 30,000 employees here. That's more people than live in my home town and my college town combined.

In the afternoon, we toured the whole facility. Two separate huge campuses separated by several blocks. There's something people call a "subway" system underneath the buildings on each campus here, but the only thing subway about it is that it's underground. It looks like an airport, really, with long corridors decorated with extravagant art and architecture and specialty shops and food places all along the hallways on either side. Here at M, you can get and do almost anything you would need. There's a post office, a credit union, a barber/beauty shop, all kinds of clothing/gift shops, education centers, and libraries up to wazoo. Today, our nursing educator specialist told us that when she was in this program, she called her mom to tell her, "They have the world's largest nursing library here." I don't think I'll be calling my mom about that particular piece of information; each to their own.

I toured with the seven girls that are located on our sister units and the other two girls who are on my unit with me. We're referred to as "heme-onk, BMT", and I think it's fitting that this town has Canadian geese everywhere we look. "heme-onk" sounds like a sound one of them might make. Out of the 140 student nurses here, I have heard that thirteen are boys, and there are none on my unit. One of the patients - we'll call him grampa - in a waiting room of one of the units saw us all walking past on our tour. He made some grunting noises and then said something like, "Well, I thought I was on 'Deal or No Deal' for a minute." I did kind of feel like I was on the bachelor or something with all of these twenty-something girls dressed up with heels. I wore tennis shoes with my dress pants today, because I'm cool like that.

One of the girls in from Georgia kept taking pictures of everything. She said, "Yes, I'm going to be obnoxious like this all sumer long." After someone said, "That's why you have a memory," she pointed to her camera and said, "This is my memory," and then added in her very Georgia accent, "Mih who' fayemlee's gotta saee this." She says she's going to post them on Facebook, so I'll put them on here once I get them.

Today, I learned that this hospital was founded by the sisters of St. Francis of Assissi. I just read about him in A-town when I went to the library last week. The book talked about his early 1800's, I think, pre-conversion, extravagant life living like a rich guy, though his family was poor. Somehow, he had a lot of money and was intent on becoming a knight. He partied a lot and was always ridiculously generous to all of his money-wasting friends. Then, some point along the way, he asked a beggar to switch clothes with him and just stayed as a beggar - choosing to be poor, though he had been living an extravagant life. I don't know what happened after that, but it must have been significant, because he became a saint, and the people at M closely associate themselves with his lifestyle and values.

There is art on the ceiling in the children's hospital. One scene depicted a painted, blue pond with sculptures of duck and hippo legs hanging down. When a little one who is sick in bed is wheeled down the hallway, she sees this colorful curious-looking pond scene.

There is a bell in the waiting area of the radiation therapy clinic that patients ring to signify that they have just completed their radiation treatment series. Our nursing educator specialist said that someone had rung it so hard the day before that it fell off the wall and had to be remounted.
Things I have learned by default:
"Atrium" means there's glass windows somewhere.
When you want a panini for lunch, you have "go out there and through that other door."
There are beautiful, random grand pianos everywhere, and they are not off limits.
"Cold" is relative to where you grew up. So is "big".
There is no shortage of goosebump inducing sights or experiences here.

More later. Time to go out on the town.

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