Monday, February 13, 2017

Taylor Evans: From a Small Hospital to a Level 1 Trauma Center

            The population size of Waverly, IA is about 10,000. This is where I had been living and volunteering for the past three and a half years. I signed up to work in the Emergency Department of the Waverly hospital so I could begin to learn the ropes of real patient care. I often sat at the nurses’ station waiting for a call that would send the paramedics on their way to bring back a patient in need of help. During the majority of my shifts, I did not see that happen. Oftentimes, instead, someone would walk in with an injury or complaining of pain and they would be admitted and taken care of. I found the atmosphere to be fairly relaxed. Not in a bad sense, there just were not normally very urgent injuries. Typically, there were not a lot of patients at once, and injuries or concerns could be easily diagnosed and treated. I enjoyed working at Waverly Health and I am very grateful for the things that I learned there. Before moving to Denver, I thought I had a great feel for what an emergency department looked like. Boy, was I wrong.
            The population size of Denver, CO is about 650,000. To say this is larger than Waverly would be an understatement. This is where I am now living and volunteering, spending much of my time at Denver Health, specifically within the Emergency Department. Volunteering here showed me that I knew next to nothing about working in a hospital. Denver Health is the Rocky Mountain Regional Level 1 Trauma Center, meaning they receive patients from all over the region to give them the best care. This was quite a change from the small hospital of Waverly, IA where I came from.
            Things at Denver Health are urgent, fast-paced, and demanding, just as the patients and the injuries they sustain require. Half the time, I think I am more in the way than of any help to doctors and nurses who are constantly taking care of their normally full Emergency area. They are often receiving calls as well as walk-in patients that they sort through to work to get each patient taken care of. I have seen things here at Denver Health that I would not have experienced anywhere else, and I have already learned an incredible amount along the way. I have been able to see broken femurs splinted, manic episodes resolved, lacerations stitched, a trauma thoracotomy, and that was only in the past two weeks!
            I have learned so much at Denver Health, and continue to learn more every day. I have even found that carrying sticky notes and notepads in my pockets is beneficial because more often than not, information comes at me way too fast and I can’t keep up! It definitely helps to write things down and ask questions later. Slowly, I am learning the jargon, the thought processes, and the protocol that comes with working in such a large and experienced hospital. Luckily, I have two more months so I can continue to learn and work on my own medical education. I get excited to work at Denver Health every day, and I look forward to (hopefully) making my way back here and becoming an employee of the hospital that I have grown to love.  

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Joe Chamberlain on Denver: Weather, Parking, and Transportation

Students take part in Wartburg West for many reasons. One reason I came out to Denver was to get the experience of living in an urban environment. I want this experience because I do not know where I want to live when I graduate from Wartburg. I have lived in the Midwest my whole life in a rural environment, so living in a city for a period of time should give me insight on potential places I want to live post-Wartburg. Here are a few differences I have noticed in my short time here.

Compared to a Midwest winter, Denver is much milder. In the Midwest everyone cringes when they hear the words, “wind chill.” This is much less common here. From the short time I have been here, there has only been one time when I heard those words. From what I understand by talking to people that live here is that this is a rare occurrence. The snow in the Midwest does not come and go as it does in Denver. One day there could be 5 inches of snow on the ground, and the next day it could be 50 plus degrees out. When it snows in the Midwest, it stays for much longer than here in Denver, making the winter much tougher. However, this is completely different from the mountains, which people who are from here seem to obsess. Recently, it has been snowing so much in the mountains that they have had to close resorts!

Driving in the city is completely different from driving in rural areas of the Midwest. Compared to Denver there is no such thing as rush hour in Waverly or any small town in the Midwest. My internship is outside the city, so I am lucky enough to be driving out of the city when everyone is trying to get in, and driving back in the city when everyone is trying to leave. This is nice because I do not have to worry about traffic as much as others do. One nice adjustment to living in the city is you do not have to drive everywhere. The majority of things here are in walking distance. If you do not want to drive a car because of parking issues, you do not have to do so.

Parking in an urban environment can be a nightmare, especially if you fear that your car may get towed. It takes some luck and a little creativity to get yourself one of the tiny spots to parallel park your car into. I will be a pro at parallel parking by the end of this term. This was never really a problem in the Midwest. There seems to always be a good option, and I did not have to fear that my car might get towed. However, in Denver all day parking is hard to come by for free. Otherwise, you can park in places that allow overnight parking but limited day parking. I try to avoid those so I do not have to wake up and move my car. That is why, like stated earlier, I try to walk to places as much as possible. One thing that makes that easier is RTD, which is the bus system in Denver that is fairly easy to use and allows people to get places without having to drive and losing there all day parking spot.

These are just a few of the things that have taken some adjusting to moving here from the Midwest this semester. They all have their pros and cons. I can see why people would want to live in the Midwest rural areas and why people would want to live out West in an urban environment like Denver. I am excited to see what else I may encounter having to live in Denver, which will help me decide where I want to live post-Wartburg. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Elizabeth Crow on Life in the Big City

                I have always wanted to visit Colorado and for some time have been pondering the idea of living in the state after I graduate. When I first heard about Wartburg West I thought it was the perfect opportunity to not only visit but actually experience what it is like living in Colorado.  As I continued to learn more about the program I became curious about what it would be like to live in a big city like Denver. I obviously knew that the large city would be very different from the mostly rural areas in Iowa that I previously lived in, but I didn’t know how different. Upon arriving to Denver the first difference I noticed right away was the weather. I remember walking outside and it was sunny and 60 degrees. Back in Iowa if you walk outside in January the majority of the time it is going to be cold and gloomy.  I thought right away that I could I definitely get used to the milder winters here in Colorado.
                After living in Denver for four weeks, I have grown an appreciation for how close I am to everything. This is definitely not the case where I am originally from. It is nice to be able to walk to almost any location I need. Grocery stores are located only blocks away and I am able to walk down Colfax to the 16th Street mall and have a ton of restaurant and shopping options. I didn’t even need to drive to my internship because it was only a ten minute walk away. In rural areas everything is so spread out and you have to drive everywhere you go. Another appreciation of urban living I have is its pace.  The city life is fast and people are always on the go. Back home I felt like there was more down time that I wasn’t being productive with and that’s why I enjoy the pace because it is always keeping me busy and engaged.
                So far, my experience in Colorado has been a good one. Colorado’s culture is one that I could see myself being a part of. This program definitely won’t be the last time I’m out here.  As for urban life, after living in Denver for a bit, I am realizing that I truly enjoy it.  I am excited to continue to grow and learn out here in the city.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

McKenzie Kielman on Church Service at the Orthodox Greek Cathedral

            I would be lying if I said My Big Fat Greek Wedding wasn’t tucked in the back of mind as I entered the church that fateful Sunday morning.  As I walked out, my mind was filled with the many similarities of this visit to the others this semester to the Hindu temple, the Catholic mass exclusively in Spanish, and the Jewish synagogue. 
            When entering where the service was held, there was a beautiful dome with iconic scenes painted on the ceiling.  At the front were figures of prominent persons, but the largest image in the whole place was surprisingly Mother Mary.  Once putting a little more thought into it, it seemed logical.  With Greece being in Europe, the saints and Mary in particular hold a much larger role than for other Christian communities.  The statues and even murals were comparable to the deities in the Hindu temple.
            The mass, true to its origin, was in both English and Greek.  We had earlier in the semester gone to a Catholic mass in Spanish alone, but this service was actually harder to follow along with.  They would go for full sections, pages in the book we tried to use to follow along with, and then circle back to do it in English.  A kind woman, Eileen, sat in front of us and helped us along.  An interesting aspect of the service with the constant music.  Even at the end of spoken readings, they would do the last sentences singing.  The choir did a beautiful job and the dome created excellent acoustics. 
            Lastly was the sense of community.  After the two-hour service, the congregation joined together for coffee and food.  It was fun to see the families co-mingling.  Our new friend, Eileen, explained that most of the congregation does have a familial connection with Greece.  Much of the regulars in attendance do speak Greek, and that made me think of the community of the Jewish synagogue.  Both have a non-required, but suggested, heritage; this creates a unique dynamic within the church.  I loved being able to be a part of it for a day. 
            I wasn’t expecting to find so many connections to my other experiences, but it was fun to see ways in which these religions or circumstances related, especially considering how diverse they seemed.  We spent some of our Denver semester talking about inter-faith initiatives, and I think this helps show that there is much common ground that maybe isn’t considered.  I feel more equipped with knowledge as I encounter more persons of diverse religious backgrounds. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Carly Kinning Reflects Through Poetry on Greek Orthodox Church Experience

“A Reassuring Congregation”
I was nervous when entering this new congregation,
But a kind man gave me a welcome package.
I didn’t know where I could sit,
But friendly members guided us to the pews.
It was hard to follow along in the service,
But a gracious woman named Elaine guided me along.
I couldn’t understand the language,
But the singing was beautiful.
I knew little about Greek culture,
But Elaine and her daughter spoke with me about their lives.
I didn’t know if I should stay for coffee and Greek foods,
But I was personally invited to join.
I was nervous to try the different Greek foods,
But Elaine’s daughter assured me the Koliva was delicious.
I was nervous when entering this new congregation,
But I am thankful for the experience I have had. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Breyanna Primous On Shorter A.M.E. Church and Hometown Experiences

Are most predominantly black churches the same? I have found in my lifetime that they are in fact the same in quite a few aspects—aspects that some churches that do not have predominantly black congregation may not even incorporate into their services. These are the aspects that I have witnessed in my lifetime.
There are many similarities that I want to talk about and the most important one to me would be the ways that they support the community or bring awareness to certain issues in the community. Issues near and dear to my heart such as injustices against blacks and breast cancer awareness and how prominent it is in the black community. My mother, aunt, grandmother’s cousin, some of my mother’s friends and my best friend’s grandmother have all been affected by breast cancer. Because of all these women in my life, breast cancer awareness is something that is very important to me; and to be able to attend a church service dedicated to this, made my heart swell.
Besides the awareness that the church talked about, there were a few other similarities between Shorter Community African Methodist Episcopal Church (Shorter A.M.E.) and the Black Baptist Church that I attend back home. Most importantly, one of the biggest similarities that I have noticed would be the acceptance of the people in the church. The people of Shorter A.M.E. were welcoming and even asked us to write down our info so that they could acknowledge us during the visitor time in the service. Even walking into the church, we were greeted by an elder of the community and she was the first to start the conversation when we arrived. Going to any other church, I have experienced people talking to me after they realize that I blatantly say that I am a visitor or after I initiate the conversation.
Lastly, another aspect that I noticed was similar but very different for my classmates, was the length and involvement of the church. I am completely used to having to sit in those pews for a minimum of two hours, but my classmates have expressed that they have not had to experience that unless it is for a special service or something of that nature. Sami and I warned them that the service would be long, but I do not think that they thought that it would actually be that long. Along with the length, the liveliness, involvement and loudness of the church is just like back home. During the singing, and especially during the pastor’s sermon, the congregation were very lively, meaning they were shouting and out of their pews. Even though this was happening, it was actually quite tame compared to the services back home, and I go to a smaller church than Shorter.
While at the service, we got the chance to speak to Corlissa Boulden, who was the elder of the church that I spoke about earlier. When we arrived to the church she was the first one to talk to us and to engage in conversation with us. This made the church feel more welcoming, having someone who is a part of the church come to us and speak first instead of the other way around. We engaged in a conversation with her about her time at the church and how she feels about the issues of churches and injustices. Miss Boulden told us that she was originally from Kansas City and moved here a little over twenty years ago, and she has been a member of Shorter A.M.E. for about twenty years. She was very insightful about how she feels about the church. She talked about how she believes if the youth are not involved in the church at all, that the church will ultimately not thrive. She also talked about how she does not approve of some of the teaching styles and the way that the youth sometimes dress for service, but she felt that it was more about the worshiping and not what they were wearing.
Out of all of the worship sites and services that we have attended, this has made me the most comfortable. Usually when we have to talk to people at a worship site I tend to be a little nervous about how to approach them and what to say. Shorter A.M.E. was the exact opposite. I felt very comfortable talking to the people that I did talk to. Like I stated before, this service was extremely similar to the services that I attend back home, and I believe that is why I was so comfortable there. I felt like I was transported back to Saint Louis, sitting next to my mother, in our church.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Samantha Kopf on Being a Global Citizen

My experience at the Multicultural Mosaic Foundation has had a big impact on who I am as a person. It has made me realize more so than ever that everyone is human, and that there really isn’t an “other.” From now on if I view someone as an “other,” it isn’t because they are different, rather it is because I have not done a good job at getting to know them and their background.
We live in a society that tells us it is okay to discriminate against people, in fact, our society even tells us who we should discriminate against and often times why. Interestingly, through the media, we further construct which groups should be and are being discriminated against. This is evident in the stories that are covered in the news and how they are framed.
On Wednesday evening, the whole Wartburg West program went to the Multicultural Mosaic Foundation to have food and conversation with individuals who practice the Islamic faith. Of all the places we as a class have gone, this was the trip that I was most excited for because it is a faith that I have heard a lot about, but that I knew very little about. It was also important to me because I’d never really had the opportunity to interact with individuals who are practicing the faith and openly discuss their religion and background with them.
Prior to going to the Multicultural Mosaic Foundation, we had to read a chapter on the Islam faith; this was enlightening because it helped to put the differences and similarities between the Abrahamic faiths into perspective for me. Learning more about Islam through this reading solidified for me that while this Islam is portrayed as very different, it is in reality very similar to the majority faith of the United States, my own faith.
Reading and actual interactions with real people are two very different experiences.  Interacting with the community and individuals at the Multicultural Mosaic Foundation on multiple occasions has been such a wonderful experience. While there, the first thing I was struck by was how strong the sense of community was; everyone knew everyone. Different adults were taking care of all the kids running around and all of the kids were comfortable with all of the adults. Something that was striking was that the community we spoke with did not feel that they faced discrimination often (unless at an airport) this was so interesting to me because the media portrays the population so much differently. This among other experiences has confirmed in my mind that the media is so skewed and therefore is an unscrupulous source for information.
Through this experience and my continued devotion to being a global citizen, I have come to realize how important it is to keep an open mind in all situations.