Monday, July 16, 2012

Operation Overwhelm

The sun was shining through the closed blinds as I got up this morning. It was a beautiful, warm morning and was the same as any other. I’m kind of getting tired of the same breakfast everyday: eggs, bacon, and hash browns. I really hope they switch it up a bit, or I’ll settle for cereal every morning to eat a little healthier.

We began our week of Pharmacology class with some lectures. Lectures in the morning aren’t the best idea, and we learned by the end of class today that we are more alert in the afternoon. So next time, we decided to have discussions in the morning to keep us on our toes, then lectures after lunch. We began reviewing the social impacts and regulations of drugs, then went more in-depth with HIV/AIDS. AIDS originated from a transmission of the virus from a chimpanzee to a human.  Did you know that HIV/AIDS is the sixth leading cause of death of people ages 25-44 in the United States and in 2008, 2.1 million children under the age of 15 had HIV/AIDS? To brighten things up a bit, early detection of HIV can prevent AIDS. But, I am still astounded by the large number of children who have this terrible virus. Three drugs are needed to treat HIV, and developing drugs takes at least 15 years. 

Preview days at Vanderbilt are the best. They have a whole assortment of food. From salmon to pizza, and a whole dessert bar, you will definitely find something to cater to your taste buds.  I especially enjoyed their pecan pie. Boy, was it delicious!

After a wonderful meal, we began class with a discussion on informed consent.  I acquired much knowledge about those papers that look like you HAVE to sign, when in reality it is not even a legal document. An informal consent is rather a process that acknowledges your respect for the people signing it. As a group, we created our own informed consent on a hypothetical situation. It involved a 15-year-old pregnant girl who is a first generation immigrant, high-school dropout student, and who lives in a poor rural area. She is told by her mother, who heard from her neighbor, that there is a clinical trial going on to stop the bleeding during her pregnancy. We discussed the problems that would arise when presenting an informed consent form that is written in a 15th grade level to this young girl. To combat the problems, we created an informed consent form that catered to the young girl’s needs. In it, she was informed on what’s going to happen during the clinical trial, the risks, benefits, alternatives, her confidentiality, and compensation. It was fun writing out our own form, making sure every detail was mentioned, and that she was able to easily understand it. Only 22% of all people who take informed consent forms actually read it.  To be honest, I don’t usually read every word written. For one, it’s hard to understand and it’s very long. But even if you sign a form, you have the right to leave the trial or whatever it is at any time with no reason at all.  I was amazed to learn all these new facts that I can apply to my life.

I learned about many informed consent behaviors that turned disastrous. For example, the US sent over baby formula to Africa so they can test it. It’s not their country, so they didn’t really care. Of course, many African mothers gave it to their babies, but they weren't informed that they needed to use sterile water. As a result, many babies died. It’s very unfortunate to know that they would do this to a certain population. Back then, the US had many prejudices against certain people. I’m very thankful there are more regulations and laws today that prevent things like this to happen again.

After a very overwhelming,but informative Pharmacology session, I headed over to my Arête class, fencing. It was really something different for me. I am not a very athletic person, but I enjoyed it. We learned how to hold the sword, how are stances are, and how to move forward and backward. I’m excited and scared at the same time for when we actually get to fight each other. Fortunately, we have padding and a helmet on, so that should calm my nerves.

Free time passed like a breeze. I take advantage of this hour everyday beginning to blog. I then headed to dinner and ate some cheesy, meaty lasagna and a piece of carrot cake. My friends and I rushed over to the tie dye area, because it was first come first serve for the white t-shirts. We were the first ones to get there and got to work! It was my first time making my own tie-dye shirt, and it was pretty fun. I hope the paint stains on my fingers pay off! Since it was also SOFT night, we walked to CVS to grab a few things and dropped by Ben and Jerry's. I bought a delicious iced coffee. I honestly don't know if coffee works for me. Anyways, when we arrived back on campus, I immediately went to the laundry room. I was able to use a washer right away. It's really a madhouse down there, knowing 150 students need to use it. Since this is more of a summer camp, I don't get a whole college experience but I do experience dorm life. Everyday we have many activities, so our schedule is tight and packed. Times are strict, and there's not too much freedom. Nevertheless, I still do experience many aspects of college. From being away from home to folding my own laundry, I'm getting a little taste of it. 

My proctor group is really adding to this wonderful experience, and I can't wait for our proctor group night tomorrow! More bonding, more fun!

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