Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spring Break 2012

This was supposed to be done weeks ago...I contemplated not even posting about it since it's sooo late. And ridiculously long. Most of it was written, I was just having trouble finishing it. Alas, here is a synopsis of what I did for spring break this year. It was all too important to my own personal growth not to document it. And....I know I'll forget the details if I don't include them here. I was in the St.Joseph/Benton Harbor area which began in planning a medical student retreat hosted by the Southwestern Medical Clinic for us up at MSU. So, that's where I'll begin.

Southwestern Medical Clinic is a collaboration of clinics in the Southwestern MI area that essentially acts as a hub for medical missionaries all over the world. Doctors either come there during a year off from the missions field, work there to provide financial assistance and overall support of missionaries all over the world, or settle there after having spent significant time in medical missions throughout their career. While the clinics may appear like any other "normal" medical primary care clinic, knowing that they are run by like minded followers of Christ makes the clinic and the doctors an interesting model for Christian health care and missions.

We spent the afternoon at a local church catching up with friends from other MSU campuses and being challenged to consider how we may use our Dr. title down the road. We went to the dunes, which was cold and windy, but still fun and then spent time that evening at the Hayward's for a dinner that could easily be considered a feast. And Chris gave me a bloody nose at the dunes. I played a small role, but it just sounds way better if I say he did it. He did find this heart shaped rock though, so I'll call it even.

Those are wine legs (drips on the sides) that tell you about the
bitterness or sweetness of the wine based on alcohol content.
More dry = bigger width between the individual legs

I stuck around for the rest of the week and got to stay with a local doc (Dr. Barb Carlson) who works at one of the Southwestern Medical Clinics. It was nice to change up a weekly routine. We had some good conversations and she has some awesome golden retrievers. She took me out for pizza on Lake MI and we even went wine tasting with some of the other physicians in the area at the Tabor Hill winery. So delicious. And so informative!

Mosaic is a resale store in Benton Harbor, MI that Erin, Andrea and I all spent some time at this week. It's affiliated with the OCCDA: Overflow Christian Community Development Association. OCCDA was started about 4ish years ago in hopes of making a difference in Benton Harbor, MI. As stated on their website, "We have strong hopes and dreams to see God’s love poured into the city by putting our hope in action. We strive to break down the economic and racial disparities in Benton Harbor and its surrounding communities through community development."


An overhead view of the store

An awesome mural in Benton Harbor. I'm secretly hoping I discover I'm an artist later in life.

The HERBIE Clinic. Where Doc Sherry and tons of volunteers see 80+ patients from 8-noon for free every month. They have a diabetic counselor, an orthopedic surgeon providing joint injections, an ER doc who is a DO and does osteopathic manipulative medicine, about 5 primary care providers, a lab with cholesterol, urinalysis, and hemoglobin A1C testing, and a pharmacy. It's all funded by donations and by the doctors who contribute out of pocket. I loved the entire week, but this was for sure a highlight. A special thanks to Doc Sherry and the time she spent helping me understand how to make something like this a reality.

I learned a lot of lessons this week. Two of which came from my time with her. Number one, I was convicted about believing people without jobs, no heath insureance, an income below the poverty line, and maybe even without a house were more in need of a Savior than people in nice looking homes, in nice looking clothes, with friendly looking smiles. While I still wonder how those basic needs I've taken for grated for years might be met, the lesson learned: Everyone needs a savior. I was ashamed I'd become so blinded to that. Doc Sherry has a private practice, a free monthly clinic, and a warehouse ready for mobilization in case of a disaster relief effort. So watching her interact with patients that spanned a huge spectrum of different cultures or financial stabilities with a heart transformed by a God, who doesn't see the barriers we put up within society to separate people, was an enormous encouragement and challenge to begin asking God for an ever changing heart and mind for all people.

Second, I learned the power of an intentional doctor patient relationship. She has a relationship motivated by Christ's love. End of story. The interactions I was privileged to sit in on taught me to be bold, to ask hard questions, and to have compassion for all areas of a person's life. Our patients deserve that. She was the family doc/psychiatrist combo I've thought would be so cool. It's hard in a medical community where for so long medical professionals have been trained to intentionally neglect such a personal topics. It's hard when you worry how a patient will respond. Or how they may view you differently. I'm learning I have to fight for the spirit of love, of power, and of self-discipline. Paul reminds Timothy, God did not give us a spirit of timidity. Another good thing to pray for...wisdom and a spirit that is in tune with the Holy Spirit in those sacred times with patients.

A trip to the west coast of MI wouldn't be complete without a walk to a lighthouse, the enjoyment of a sunset, or an overpriced Kilwin's ice cream cone. I spent the afternoon in solitude in downtown St. Joe browsing the shops and eating the most delicious falafel EVER. After working at the HERBIE Clinic Saturday morning, the week at Mosaic, and a couple of job shadowing days (one with a nurse midwife!!)... it was the perfect calm before the storm I knew was coming at school.


  1. I really love reading your blogs and look forward to hearing more about your life every time you write! I get so inspired to hear how you're incorporating God so much into your career and your life, and how passionate you have become for both of those areas. It's very uplifting, and reminds me of the things I want to achieve as a (hopefully/assumedly, because I WILL get there someday) future doctor as well.
    And I miss you! So glad to hear you're doing so well!! : )

  2. I miss you Amy. :) I can't wait to talk to you in person and hear more about your life!