Tag Archives: the south


This week I began my rural rotation with the SEARCH scholarship program. This is a short-term experience offered (AND funded) by the Health Resources and Services Administration to give health care students the opportunity to decide if they want to work in rural health. Before I received my National Health Corps scholarship, I never knew so much about government health departments. Now I feel like they are a rich great-uncle I never knew I had. It’s almost enough to make me a Democrat. Whoa. Sit down, I said almost.

It’s Day 2 of the program and if I didn’t already want to work rural, I do now. I am living in an apartment in North Carolina with some other students and driving 45 minutes out to “K-town” (I don’t think privacy policies apply to entire towns but it feels better. Besides, it reminds me of British books where the characters lived in D-shire and traveled to B-ham). K-town is a small farming town that boasts a pretty river, a rich history, and an all-out fantastic community health center. The population is a poor one and the patients seen in this clinic often cannot pay, have limited transportation, and face multiple health risks.

Community Health Centers like the one in K-town accept patients with Medicare/Medicaid and also offer a sliding fee scale to match the patient’s income. But if the patient still can’t pay? They are still seen and treated. The facility itself has been recently renovated and offers family, pediatric, and OB-GYN services as well as dental and behavioral health services. This means that a lot of referrals are done in-house and consults are as easy as a knock on your neighbor’s door. I had the privilege of shadowing a very talented Certified Nurse Midwife as she examined patients from all sorts of backgrounds…and all very different from the Hawaii demographic. In some ways rural is rural. In other ways, they are worlds apart.

I left one side…

And a mere 17 hours later, I arrived on the other.

I’m enjoying the combination of a visit back to my southern roots and a taste of future practice. Before I left, my thoughts were fairly wedding centric. The day I flew out, we had a  wonderful Friday of Father-Daughter trousseau shopping (yes, Daddy Bill knows what a trousseau is and yes, he let Megan and I go into certain shops alone. But he was very helpful at the decent stores). And after a full day of flying, it was great fun to be with Lindsey and Whitney for a night discussing all things bridal. But the work I am doing now is turning my eyes to the future. Roger and I are excited to start life together and then find out where we will invest two years of that life! There is one rural community out there that God has our names on…and we can’t wait.

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Fair to Middlin’

Every once in a while Mom would bust out a Southern saying that we had never heard. She would say it nonchalantly and the kids would look at her quizzically at which point she would claim to have always used this saying (She also did this with children’s songs. Please ask Megan for her rendition of “Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree” that I promise you we did not hear until high school). But I loved that Mom would put on her southern drawl for phrases like “haven’t seen her in a coon’s age”, “big for yer britches”, and “them’s fightin’ words”.

This week I’ve been thinking how so many things in this life become “podunk” when you think about being in heaven with “bigger fish to fry”. This is a list of all the things Mom doesn’t care about anymore:

-She doesn’t have to be careful about saying something that will hurt her friends’ feelings.
-She doesn’t have to bother with changing the radio station 19 times because there is nothing good on.
-Late-night television isn’t mildly funny and mostly gross and make her feel like a midnight prayer time is necessary before sleeping peacefully.
-She doesn’t have to smell a filthy mystery smell coming out of the refrigerator.
-One and a half glasses of wine don’t make her too fuzzy to do the productive things she meant to do in the evening.
-She doesn’t have to think about her body getting older every day.
-She doesn’t have to deliberate over social events and guilty feelings for non-attendance.
-Dirty jokes don’t make her laugh on the outside and cringe on the inside.
-She doesn’t lie awake with regrets.
-She doesn’t need to clean her apartment in order to think coherently.
-She doesn’t have to balance a checkbook or pay a credit card bill.
-Professors don’t bother her by attaching a minus mark to a perfectly good letter A.
-She doesn’t have to worry about boys and future marriage or nonmarriage.

OK, those last line items haven’t been on her list of worries for 30 solid years. So maybe you are wondering who this list is really about. Maybe me.

But seriously, I am bored with books I used to love because she is reading better ones…hearing better songs…writing better words…loving bigger…worshiping sweeter.

Don’t misunderstand me, life is “fair to middlin” but tonight, I am so jealous.

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