I think I mentioned briefly in my last post that I was doing my last dietetic internship rotation at an HIV/AIDS clinic (one week down, two to go!), and it involves both outpatient counseling at the clinic and inpatient counseling/medical nutrition therapy at a residential treatment facility.
I picked the rotation not only because I haven’t worked much with the HIV/AIDS population, but because it intimidates me quite a bit. The majority of the folks in the residential facility are drug users and/or have been in and out of prison. They’re a little rough around the edges, and in most situations I would probably try to avoid them at all costs. I may also judge them, write them off as “doing it to themselves,” and forget all about them. That’s pretty much the “easy way out,” mostly because people who have been through a lot with drugs, alcohol, crime, abuse and violence make me uncomfortable. Perhaps because I can’t relate (thankfully), or maybe assume they’re judging me as much as I’m judging them (um, hello white girl from the Upper East Side).
“good food plate” from Candle Cafe
As the nutritionist, however, I feel a bit differently. Perhaps because I have a defined role in the patients’ care and certain aspects about their health to be responsible for. But also because it forces me to know them. I can’t say I’ve had much time for one-on-one counseling with the patients yet, but I’ve read through their charts and learned some of their stories from my preceptor. It’s heartbreaking to hear about a woman who was physically and sexually abused at a young age, which led her down a decades-long path of substance abuse, jail time and infection with HIV somewhere along the way. A lot of these folks never had a chance at a “normal” life before becoming victims of abuse, getting abandoned by caregivers or mixing up with drugs or gangs. It really makes me wonder how some people get such shitty ends of the stick, if you will, and I feel damn thankful to be pretty far toward the other end.
I’m not really sure where I’m going with this – I can’t make much of a difference in only two weeks – but the rotation is definitely opening my eyes and giving me some always needed perspective.
I guess that’s a good segue into a somewhat abnormal week in running that could have gotten me all whiney and “woe is me” had I not had the above experiences. My Achilles has been feeling a little weird, so I had to cut back mileage a bit and go with the flow regarding the training schedule (note: I am not good at going with the flow).
- The original plan: Friday – 7 miles; Saturday – 13-14 miles; Sunday – 7 miles
- The actual: Friday – spinning class at the gym, elliptical and lifting; Saturday – 8 miles, 40 minutes spinning; Sunday – 10 miles
I had Achilles tendonitis a few years ago – it set me back a good couple months and prevented me from running the Eugene Marathon in the spring (before it was cool!) – so I want to be really cautious and hopefully stop this from becoming an issue. Luckily, I learned some great PT exercises during the previous injury and started doing them ASAP, along with icing, stretching and XT. This morning I set out for an easy run with the vow to stop if I felt pain, and came home 10 easy and blissful miles later.
The Achilles felt fine, which was really encouraging. Not sure I’m totally out of the woods yet, but am thinking positively about this one. I’m also thinking a little more positively about my questionable job situation post-dietetic internship and just applied for my first two RD positions. They’re probably the first of many, but you gotta start somewhere. I guess the all-important key learning for the week: in the grand scheme, things aren’t so bad.
Question: How have you gained perspective recently? What do you do when you feel an injury or niggle coming on?