OH How I Love Colons

I didn’t think anyone wanted to see a picture of a colon so I just put a funny¬†picture ūüôā

Shadowing orthopedics last week was such an awesome experience. It was something I could see myself doing. Orthopedics set the bar very high for the rest of the trip and I subconsiously knew that my next two weeks shadowing would probably not be as exciting because they would consist of more time in office visits and not blood squirting out everywhere and dislocated joints; however, I kind of refused to accept that fact.

I consider myself a fairly optimistic person that usually can find the positive in any situation and make it an enjoyable time. However, I know so many people are jumping up and down when they are told they need a colonoscopy, but I struggled to find anything exciting about watching colonoscopy.

On top of this, I am also hitting the slump of my travels. I just need a break and some time to myself. Not that I don’t love the people on my trip and hanging out with them, but I have just been gone for such a long time already and need a break from always being in that “on” mode. Before this trip, I was skeptical that there would be a time that I would just want to be at home and sit and do nothing (because if you know me that is almost impossible for me to do). But sometimes you just need a break and even just a weekend to yourself to do exactly what you want to do and not worry about other people.

This slump along with the exciting week of colonoscopies has just been such a wonderful time. My optimistic and upbeat self feels like it is dragging on the floor behind me wherever I walk. Colonoscopy after colonoscopy I tried to find something that would make it a little more exciting to watch for the ummteeth time. (You could probably show me a picture of a part of the colon and I could identify where it is.) I am so tired of watching the little camera navigate through the colon and clean out all the remaining poop in people’s colons. I tried pretending the doctor was playing a video game (honestly, that is what it looks like). Nothing seemed to help and I always found myself starting at the clock thinking it would make 2pm come faster. NEWSFLASH it makes time pass a million times slower.

So I found myself talking to God today when I started to nod off watching the colonoscopies. I sat there talking to him about how boring this was and how I could not imagine what it was like for this doctor to have to do this day in and day out for his life. God thumped me on the back of my head at that comment.

God made us all different and to have different passions. My passion may not be looking at colons, but that does not mean that someone else is not passionate about that. I may not understand it, but I’m not supposed to. That is what makes us all so unique. We have different things that make us excited. Mine might be Orthopedics and his might be colonoscopy, but as long as we are both doing what we are passionate about and trying to be the best that we can be, isn’t it all the same? We are serving others with our work to try to increase the quality of their life by doing something we enjoy.

With on more day in digestion and endoscopies, I cannot say I’m overly excited for it, but I am going to do my best to make the best of the situation. There are still so many things to learn from this experience in digestion – 1) I will never be a gastroenterologist. 2) I can learn from the way the patient and the doctor interact when they have to deliver both good news and bad news to the patient. 3) I can learn how the doctor works with his team of nurses as a unit and not as an authority figure.

Headed to Barcelona for the weekend. Can’t wait!!!

 

XOXO,

Kaitlyn

 

Rock Bottom

I don’t know if you have ever felt like you hit rock bottom, but the operating¬†room floor sure felt like rock bottom for me. My dreams felt crushed; I felt pathetic and embarrassed because they became concerned about¬†me while they had a patient with their internal organs exposed. If you know me, I hate being the center of attention for anything and I hate to be bother or a handful, so this whole situation was just awful for me.

Sitting on the floor in the corner of the operating room, I remember thinking what the heck am I doing? How am I suppose to ever be a doctor or a surgeon? Or more importantly how am I even suppose to survive today in Trauma/Orthopedic Surgery? I just sat there and prayed that I could at least survive today and then ask to switch specialties. I prayed that I would look at this program as a learning opportunity, and if I learned I was not called to be a doctor, I prayed that I would be content and calm about figuring out what my passion is.

Five surgeries and one day later, I think I figured it out. I love surgery, especially orthopedics. I love that each case may appear similar but actually, each case is very specific to itself.  I had the opportunity to see the doctors replace a hip, two knee replacement surgeries (one with a computer to help with the alignment and one manually aligned), a dislocated hip with a fracture in the neck of the femur, and the replacement of screws in a hip replacement.

I will spare you the details of trying to describe how awesome these surgeries were (once I survived the first one). It was so neat to see everything behind the scenes because I only have experience from being the patient. And it is far different than I would have thought.

Some of the doctors still offer me a chair to sit in during the surgery just in case, but I’m good now and no longer worry about when I will have nice little encounter with the floor of the operating room. Not sure I’m ever going to live it down with them. But they are so sweet and take care of me so well and include me in everything. They take time to explain the type of surgery they are doing and exactly why they are doing each step they are doing. They also stop in the middle to show me specifics that you just can’t explain with words. I just can’t put into words what an awesome experience it has been.

It has been a truly amazing experience in the operating room. Unfortunately, I only have two days left before I change departments, but they are like my family now. They invite me to their coffee breaks and we all work on our language skills. I will miss them after this week; they have been so influential in this process for me. Digestion and Oncology have big shoes to fill.

 

XOXO,

(Your next surgeon) Kaitlyn

The Adventure Begins

Teruel, is amazing. If that picture doesn’t convince you I think you might need your eyes checked because wow it is breathtaking. I think I can stand to live here for the next three weeks but that might be pushing it ūüėČ

So currently, I am participating in a program called Atlantis Project. With this program, I have the opportunity  to shadow some doctors in Teruel and learn about health care in Spain. I am very excited to shadow at the hospital here in Teruel. Our group leaders keep inferring that it is very different, especially because it is such a small hospital, so I have no idea what to expect. (Especially since I have not had too much time to shadow doctors in America, so I am really interested to see what this is going to be like.)

I will be shadowing tramatology, digestion, and oncology so I am very excited for the different experiences. I have yet to witness my first surgery so tomorrow might be the day I witness my first- really excited!!!!

To me, this is kind of where my journey begins on the path to becoming a doctor. Yes, you might say it began when I declared pre-med two years ago when I started at TCU, but this is really the first time I have thought so much about Med School and have shadowed so intensely.

One thing I didn’t really expect going into this program was that everyone was going to be older than me. I really expected most people to be my age or younger, but I found the opposite to be true. Most people are currently in the process of applying to Med School or there are a few that have been accepted to Med School already and some people that are going to be seniors and plan on taking a gap year. It is really a neat opportunity for me to hear about so many people’s experiences throughout the application process.

I really have tried not to put too much thought into Med School yet because I do plan to take a gap year after graduating, so it just seems really far off right now. And I realized how thankful I am that I haven’t obsessed over Med School yet and have tried to enjoy my time for now. We had two health advisers that talked to us that will be attending Med School in August. Oh how wonderful right? Wrong. This stressed me out so much. A) because they attended Harvard and John Hopkins for undergrad (casual) B) had the most perfect resumes C) got into Stanford and Harvard medical schools (because that is so normal). Yea, I think you can see why this stressed me out so much.

I am already a type A person that stresses about everything and this didn’t help. But in the middle of my stressing mid-life crisis, all I could hear is God whispering, “Don’t worry Kaitlyn, I’ve got you. I’ve got a plan for you. Trust me.” Yes these people are probably the best of the best, and yes you haven’t gotten all the grades you wanted, but He still has a plan for me. If it is God’s plan for me to go to Med School, I will go to Med School. I can’t just try to a long list of things that I think will be the “right” things to do to get into Med School. I have to do the things important to me to keep myself sane and have a life. God’s got me and all I have to do is trust him.

So that’s where I’m at. So excited to begin this adventure and learn so much about the health care in Spain and why I am passionate about becoming a doctor.

 

XOXO,

Kaitlyn

Salamanca, Te extrano mucho

Wow and just like that six weeks of study abroad are over. I can say that I am so glad to be done with classes, but I will miss so but I will miss the 5 hour long tapa tours, the weekend adventures, and all the wonderful people I meet on my trip.

When I arrived in Salamanca, I liked it but didn’t fall in love with it. Salamanca is small and more personal than big cities like Madrid, but still nothing stood out to me. Though I loved the plaza in the middle of the city. The square always had lots of people (minus siesta time) and I spent so much time there eating gelato. It was beautiful both in the day time and at night and I spent as much time as I could with friends in the plaza.

I didn’t realize how much Salamanca had grown on me until I arrived in Madrid today and I swiped the menu down on my phone and it said “Right now, it would take you about 2 hours, 22 minutes to drive home.” Home- that was what Salamanca was to me for the past six weeks.

I realized that Salamanca had  slowly grown on me. My friends and I discovered the secrets of Salamanca as we adventured down to the river and found parks to hang out in and enjoy a nice stroll. Quickly enough I started noticing that I loved Salamanca. The people there were so sweet and my host family was so wonderful.

It was hard to say goodbye. Salamanca had become my home for the past six weeks. I have never spent that much time anywhere but Fort Worth. It was hard to say bye to my Spanish mom Maria, who is so selfless and did so much for me during my weeks in her home. It was hard to say goodbye to Mar – our wonderful tour guide, that was so much more than a tour guide. She put up with all of our crap and was there both for the good time and the bad times. We all shared so many laughs with Mar.

As I watched the city get smaller and smaller as we drove away, I felt a heavy heart in my chest. I felt like a little bit of me was left behind as I looked out the window.

It was also so hard to say goodbye to my friends as I left for my next adventure in Spain, but the awesome thing about this study abroad is that I will be able to hangout with all these incredible people back at TCU next semester.

I will never forget the memories that we made on this trip. The laughs, the adventures, and everything in between. I can’t wait to be reunited with these girls in August in Fort Worth. And Salamanca, I will be back soon.

 

Tomorrow, I begin Orientation for the Atlantis Project where I will be shadowing a doctor in Teruel, Spain for three weeks. I can’t wait to learn about the health care in Spain and explore more of this wonderful country!

 

XOXO,

Kaitlyn Callaghan

Portugal

Free weekend = PORTUGAL!!!!!!!!

So for our last weekend of our study abroad, we have a free weekend. Six of my friends and I decided to go to Portugal together because Portugal is so close to Spain and who knows the next time we will have the chance to Portugal.

Two weeks ago, I found myself spending countless hours researching how to get there, researching the best places to stay, the best places to visits, and everything in between. (I think I could tell you every detail about Portugal and everything to see before even stepping foot in Portugal – I spent way too much time researching.)

I found myself booking the place we were going to stay and asking myself how am I old enough to book a place to stay in a foreign country and even traveling to another country without any supervising adults.

We unfortunately only had the option to take a 1 am train from Salamanca to Lisbon arriving at 7:30 am. (To say the least, it was a rough train ride and long day.) We arrived in Lisbon, and started walking to our apartment we were staying in. We were very surprised to find streets completely empty minus the hundreds of used plastic cups and plates from the very obvious party in the street from the night before. (We were informed by some locals that it was Portugal’s Independence Day.) So to say the least we were very unimpressed and worried about how the rest of our stay would go.

We spent the day seeing different sites in the city and walking through the streets getting to know the area. We went to the amazing Aquarium. We got a good view from a top of a tower built for a world fair. And the highlight of our day was when we stumbled upon one of the main squares in Portugal.

We watched the sunset by over the water. And we were fortunate enough to find a Euro Cup watching party. The entire square was converted into pretty much a tailgating and watching party for the Euro Cup (and Portugal wasn’t even playing yet). There was music to dance to, people to people-watch, food to eat, and we even made it on Portuguese TV! We made it big time! Sorry Mom I’m staying in Portugal.

Having the chance to experience this with hundreds of other people in this square was like nothing I have ever experienced. It is one of the reasons I fell in love with Portugal. It was so awesome and we definitely went back today to eat in the square and enjoy the atmosphere again.

Then today we went out to the beach to try to not look like a pale ghost anymore. Six hours later and I can now call myself pale lol. Maybe I’ll come back “tan”.

But it has been a really cool experience in all. I have just been feeling so grown up and like an adult after planning our days, where we eat, and navigating the city. Honestly, I could not imagine how my mom has planned the vacations we have done as a family. She has to have put so much work into it, and so much time. Trying to plan a three day trip to Lisbon was more than enough for me. I spent so many hours researching and trying to fun stuff to do and plan everything to work out, I almost went crazy. Maybe you can share some of your secrets with me Mom.

One more day at the beach, then we are headed back on an over night train to Salamanca for our last week. (Tears, I don’t want this to end!!!!) Maybe if I just don’t admit it, it won’t happen.

Prayers that I don’t turn into a lobster tomorrow!!!

 

XOXO,

Kaitlyn

 

P.S. Here’s some pics!

 

Embrace

I’m sad to say it is flying by, and in less than two weeks I’ll be headed off on my next adventure. This trip has provided to many opportunities to travel and see all the different sides of Spain. Avila, Zamora, Sevilla, Valladolid, Merida, Granada, Cordoba, Santiago de Compostela… It has been amazing to see so much in such little time. This has been such a great opportunity to improve my Spanish and travel around Spain, and I am so thankful for this it.¬†I have been trying to think of one word that would describe my time here and each time one word comes to mind – embrace.

Anytime you travel to another country, you know you are about to experience another culture and you always make assumptions on what to expect based off movies or what others have said about the type of food, the people, the cities. However, I have always found that I am surprised (usually in a good way) about wherever I am traveling and the culture there.

Our trip has been characterized by many unexpected turns and learning experiences. The first thing we all had to adjust to was the eating hours – breakfast at 8, lunch at 2, and dinner at 9. For the first few weeks, I was eating like five meals a day to keep myself from dying of hunger since I was not used to this schedule. Snacks have continued to always be a must and know I know why we have the stereotype as fat – we are always eating snacks because we have our meals so much closer. Almost any part of the day that wee are touring, you can look around and see someone in our group eating something.

While on the topic of food, I have learned to embrace the food that we encounter in the restaurants and in our homes of our host families. I wouldn’t consider myself a super picky eater, but I definitely don’t eat everything. So when we were served cold, pink “hot” dogs at a restaurant in Sevilla along with many other interesting dishes, we all knew that we were going to have to push through this dinner and make it fun regardless of how hungry our stomachs were. We spent the two hours laughing and having a good time despite the terrible food. These are the times the best memories are made and the most valuable time we have. As my roommate Maddie says, “Just don’t think about what it is or taste it.” Not that all the food has been bad or that we are malnourished, we have had some amazing meals and we have just learned with the not so good meals to embrace the time together and laugh.

There was another night in Granada that we went to see a Flamenco performance in a cave. Because it is Spain and not America, this performance started at 11 pm. So as our exhausted group watched/slept through the performance (we had a long day walking and touring the city) we were not mentally prepared for what we would encounter after the hour performance. Our wonderful guide Mar informed us that we would be walking home – our bus ride had been about 20 minutes from our hotel. I think our group negativity reached an all time high within seconds. I consider myself a pretty optimistic person, but even at this news all I could think about was how badly I wanted to be asleep in my bed right now. However, I knew I had to quickly change this mindset otherwise this walk was going to be miserable. One of my friends and I decided to start playing music out loud and start singing along to help time pass faster. (Yes, we did get a lot of looks from the people still out o the streets that night.) I can’t emphasize enough how much this helped. I knew we had been walking for a while, but I would have never guessed that it took one and a half hours to get home!!!!

 

One morning I was reading through Romans 15, I came across a verse that really stuck with me. I was feeling the third week slump blues, and Romans 15:13 really hit home for me.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

I was feeling worn out from classes and all the traveling and had gotten lost in the business of the trip that I was distracted from what a fun trip I was on. What is the point of being in Europe if you are not having fun??

It is amazing what a change of perspective can have on your experience. I took this verse to heart and decided that I was going to embrace every situation that came my way and enjoy this trip as much as possible. Ironically, the next few nights that followed included the cold, pink dogs and the long walk home at midnight. But now I can say I have great memories from these times. It has truly made my experience here in Spain so much better

With only almost five weeks through my three months in Europe, I know it will be tough to remain optimistic until the end as I will be busy with shadowing doctors, online class, and still trying to have fun. I pray that I will seek joy through all of this from the Lord who provides everything we need in abundance.

 

XOXO,

Kaitlyn Callaghan