Saturday, September 30, 2017

Friends and Staff - Old and New, a Farm ----------------------------- and Graduating YES! Nursing Students

Old In More Ways Than One
Dr. Tony Carr has returned to Guyana after a six year absence.   It is great to have him here.   Tony and I created the PBL pages that we are still using today and with great success.  Before that we often had those days as a teacher when you felt you were the worst teacher in the world or more likely, your students were.   Our traditional ways of teaching were not effective in Guyana.   So we decided to steal McMaster Medical School's model, Problem Based Learning, and we have never regretted it.
Tony's first night in GT and he needed to go to Taju's, 
where he had a huge cup of ice cream before supper.
Yesterday, I was chatting with one of the first year students about how they felt the PBL course was coming.  She replied,  "It is great.  Your course is the first one that has asked and listened to us about what we think ...."   And then she went on to complain that there is too much work ..... so I'll just remember the first part.

Tony has come down principally to teach and supervise the psychiatry residents in the new Master of Medicine - Psychiatry that began late last year.    He brings the same enthusiasm that he had a decade ago.   And since he is here he wants to get involved with the nurses here at Mercy.  So, with enormous reluctance,  I'll let him use my classes during the week and I will be left with nothing to do .....😢😢😢😂😂😂.   Tony will be here for three weeks and since he never gives me the last word, I am sure he'll replace my blogging for a week. [Repeat emojis]

Another Old, But Not Nearly as Old, Friend
Donna Joy Tai, has been a Scarboro Fathers lay volunteer for 6 years, and I have known her all those years.   She retired as a travel agent in Montreal to do something with her life...   She has invested herself in the Boys Home, John Bosco, and the parish there in Plaisance.  She once sold me $1,000 worth of fair tickets when she knew I couldn't go that day .....  so "Give them to Rashleigh and Gregory" -- very persuasive!  She used to lead a weekly hymn/song session at Mercy Hospital, and  has continued at the new Mercy Resident Care facility on Pere Street.  She is quite involved with the diocesan committee on justice and human rights, and I am sure she is involved in other activities but I don't want to suggest she is working harder than I am .....

On a sad note and symbolic of out times, the Scarboro Fathers need to cancel their support of the Lay Missionary programme for financial reasons.  So Donna and her colleague, Bev Trach, will be leaving permanently at the end of the year.  I find it incomprehensible that as North American societies we have billions for war and self-protection and nothing for those who teach love and compassion.    Yes, I know she comes with her missionary baggage, but that has to be way better than wiping the burning napalm off your child's skin.    Maybe our children's children will shape a world we can only dream of.

And a New Friend
More accurate pictures next week
How new? I hear you asking.   I haven't even met her yet!  We have very lax recruiting criteria here:  if you have enthusiasm, Welcome.  (I'm glad Sister Sheila Walsh used those same lax standards with me 15 years ago!) And Tracy Meeker does have eagerness as so far she has not said no to any request to teach.  Tracy only found out about this work in Guyana in August and a couple of weeks ago decided to come .  She will arrive on Sunday for eight days.  Unless she starts saying no at the end of her time here, I'll get her to write a blog.

Tracy is an "advanced practice" nurse from the Faculty of Nursing, University of Ottawa.  She has her expertise in Mental Health and is currently the manager of a Shared Care Mental Health team at Ottawa Hospital, a small team working with usually very complex presentations but people who are not acutely ill.  She is also a clinical instructor and a guest lecturer for the University of Ottawa Nursing programme.   (More next week.)   

I have had housekeeping clean up the flat, asked laundry to wash all the towels and linens, warned the kitchen of both Tony's and Tracey's presence.   I had planned on Tony staying here with us, but after he got to Project Dawn, he wrote, "I walk through the guarded locked gates, into this block building, and into a different world.  Neat, painted and tiled corridors, beautiful hardwood floor in HUGE living-room, electronic keys, my own palatial room with working window-blinds which dwarfs the two double-beds, en-suite bathroom, wifi, nice ladies Samantha and Rima who can fix anything, all clean and shiny and functioning!!"  So, as the old saying goes, and it looks like it is still  true, "After they've seen Paris, how can you keep them even in my 'executive volunteer suite'?"

Here's a quiz about the uniqueness of my flat.  (I should have a prize for the first person to identify it, but I don't have any prizes.   And before I get this posted, Tracy will already be on the plane .....)
The answer will come "from above".
Nursing at Mercy and in Guyana
Last year, it was discovered that some students had paid to receive the questions and answers from members of the Guyana Nursing Council.   So in true Guyanese style, instead to trying to figure out who cheated and who sold the answers, everyone was forced to do a retake ..... and not only that, the whole style of the exam was changed and drawn up by the Department of Education.  So a huge percentage of student nurses failed the final exam. .... and they had to wait almost a year to retake.    The School couldn't cope with all the students, so they had to fend for themselves, working at call centres, cooks, restaurants, etc.  So now, that group and the present crop of students will be writing exams this Tuesday.   

As you would expect from me, I wrote to everyone including the Minister of Public Health:

I do not think there has been a year when there wasn’t some “talk” about leaks from the exam.   The only difference this year is that the Council got caught adding a little to their own pockets.
I really believe it is unethical to have only the students punished when it is the lack of control from the Council.  There needs to be balance in order to be fair.   This is especially true, as the “leakee” Council members bear the prime responsibility for the problem.  

The whole Council needs to resign… and a new leadership elected by all Guyana nurses with a mandate to bring Guyana Nursing into full accreditation in the Caribbean.   There is no redemption for the present Council members… They have been given more than enough time to move towards the 19th century!     The whole concept of the present four days of exams is crazy ..… It is so archaic and of very questionable value for the evaluation on nursing knowledge and skills.  The present style of the exam has no integrity… that is certainly one of the reasons the rest of the world has little respect for nursing education in Guyana.  The exam is highly subjective with no real testing for validity and reliability.

I believe unless this opportunity is not used for significant reform, then you can forget Caribbean respect for a decade.  As well, if your long term goals is for these new nurses to feel that they are welcome in Guyana to practice nursing, then screwing them around isn't going to help and making them the victims of the nursing council’s lack of integrity.   They will remember how you sacrificed them for your immediate solution.  Really, why stay in Guyana or even why stay in nursing here.
 With this in mind, I offer my suggestions:  There are techniques to determine who cheated on the exam and hold them accountable.  At a minimum, require these students to re-write.  Students deserve to be considered innocent, unless you have proof of their guilt.   

So far no one has responded to my letters, except personal friends. Do you think I should give up waiting for a response?  Nor have there been any conclusions about the parties responsible for leaking the answers; nor has the Nursing Council been overhauled.

However, for the last month the present seniors and for the last two weeks the previous seniors have been in school full time.  Crowded is too nice a word to describe the situation.    The PBL small groups are meeting all over, including my flat.    And the crowding has only increased the heat.. The tearful, sweating students have made me let them have two fans from my flat ....   (I hope I get some points in the afterlife for this!)

We will have a "double" Massive Prayer Service on Monday to show our support for these nurses taking their exam ..... and (in case you are RC) there will be enough petitions to convince God to be merciful.  My favourite Saint for exams was Joseph Cupertino...   When being examined for the priesthood, he was not good with the books and so only knew one answer -- and guess what?   That was the question the examiner asked him.  I needed him on my side for some courses.   The students have studied and the older ones have persevered to keep their dream of being a nurse alive...   How could a saint named Joseph not intervene for students from Saint Joseph's!

Speaking of Old - Mercy Day
Most of the Long Term Service Awardees
Last year I got over the shock of seeing some of my former students get their ten year service awards..  but I had forgotten...  So when Tracy Allen got her ten year pin - I questioned Human Resources' counting... it's true.. 
Tracy is now on  Nursing Faculty , part time.
And the five year crowd seems like they were First Year yesterday ....  There are other old students who are still working in Guyana at almost every health care facility in the country ..... and this is a good thing for Guyana.    Anecdotally, it does seem that the exodus of nurses has slowed from a decade or so ago -- and there is still way more Guyana needs to do to keep its skilled nurses, like salary raises, eh?

Martina, Mishea, Alicia and Bibi


You Need to Have Vision - Home in the Country

Huge Back Yard - Tilapia pond front

Front of Home 
Back of Home
My friend, Taju, is building a home outside the city and across the river in a small town of Bagotville.  He has always dreamed of having a farm and raising chickens, fish (tilapia), and even pigs.  (He's a liberal Muslim).   He is doing almost all the work himself except for some skilled construction stuff. He has dug by hand the big fish pond -- now really a dirt hole.   When he walked me around last Sunday, as he was talking you could see he had finished everything in his mind.  He works at the farm 6 days a week after starting his day at 4:30am delivering food to the food truck outside the Public Hospital, shopping for supplies and food for the Princess Kitchen,  and sometime after lunch is finished, he heads across to work for several hours before returning at dark to help with the restaurant on Durban.   

I am afraid that I didn't have that much vision..   or energy.   My consciousness is framed by lawns, level ground and sculptured gardens .....  and certainly not by a neighbouring pond with huge alligators -- he has killed one already.   (I tried to convince Taju to make friends with the O'Connor like him, my brother Tony who is a real alligator whisperer.)  

In a compliment to me, he said that he marks his work by a year from where he was last year when I visited Guyana.       And last year this property was bush with no cleared areas or even a bridge...  The neighbours on either side could not even see through the bush to each other. That is progress.   However, I did have to ask myself:  What the hell did I do in that year?  

Enough... probably more than enough for the week.  Thanks for reading with me.

And a welcome to his new home with a Sunday Morning Beer!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Week in Review - A Few Stories

Better Than The Dog Ate My Homework

"Only in Guyana?"   A student in my class told me that he was not able to complete his research requirement for the whole weekend... "Okay, lay it on me." (This will be good, I thought.)
Friday, he was riding home from school on his motorcycle when he got stopped by a traffic police officer on a routine stop.   After showing the officer his id's, the officer told him that he needed to accompany him to the local police station.   Once there he was informed that he looked like one of the escaped criminals from the jail.    They needed to hold him till they could verify his claim... He said that he wasn't released till late Sunday night.. and that is why he didn't do the assignment.

I love a good story and would have granted him a pass even if it was all a fabrication, but I thought I should inquire a bit more.
"So you were held all weekend and you were never charged with anything?"
He nods affirmatively.
"Did you get your one phone call?"
"Yes, I called my mother."
"She said there was nothing she could do. I just had to sit there till they figured it out."
There goes her Mother of the Year Award.  My look of disbelief encouraged him to continue.
"Yes; the last time it happened ......"

Stop!  This can't be true ..... "The last time"!??!   And then I remembered:  I am in Guyana.
He continued, "She came down to the police station and explained to the police who I was and everything.   They said that they had to conduct their investigation all the same even though they realized I was not the escaped criminal."
"Did you think of calling a lawyer?"
"It wouldn't have helped. They were doing their job."
Ugh, he wasn't angry at the whole thing.   He went on to describe the cell he was in .... and I'll spare you the squalid details.

I am overwhelmed by the passivity and hopeless acceptance of so much here, from simple things like someone receiving a traffic ticket for stopping at a red light but across the stop line (while the whole concept of stop signs and red lights are usually considered optional here) to this serious kind of detention.

Of course, I gave him a pass on his assignment... and I got myself a beer.  (Later that evening!)  I raised a toast with a can of Stag:  "Thanks to any god available that O'Connor lives in Canada."  Pretty selfish, eh?

Kim - Trump -- and Me in the Middle
On Thursday night, I went to a University of Guyana public debate on Constitutional Reform.  I was interested in how the human rights of  minorities were to be better protected... I think that technically any same-sex behaviours are illegal.  Cross-dressing even on Halloween is going to get you locked up.  If I lived in Guyana, I could have been arrested many times .....

The Debate on Reform started on time, but the introductions before the introductions were about 40 minutes long.  The event was not very academic and it certainly wasn't a debate; it was more a parade of people who wanted the audience to know how much they are already doing .....   such as the woman who addressed us on women's situation and stated often how they had the same rights as men ..... I wonder where she lived in Guyana?   It is not a right if you are not able to exercise it .....   And the woman who spoke on children's rights .....   more of the same.

I left and since I was at the Pegasus Hotel, I thought I'd have a beer.   Unfortunately, the tv was tuned to CNN ..... and there was the tragedy of earthquake deaths in Mexico and Kim calling Trump "mentally deranged".....  Does not the world have enough suffering without two boys still playing who has the biggest willie?  I was upset.

From the Worst to the Least Worse
The next morning, I was scheduled to teach Psychiatry Residents, as I did last week.  I attended morning rounds where there were four male patients:  a strong-looking patient (acutely psychotic) who thought that I was his father and who had not responded to treatment; a calm older man who was somewhat delusional; a sixteen year old gay youth who had left a lot of shelter placements and finally was brought in by the police as he was in someone else's house watching tv.  (He was described as demon-possessed since he was eleven and had survived a rat poison suicide attempt.)  And finally a man in his twenties who was described as schizophrenic and who said nothing but walked away to a corner of the room.  They all had family who had been exhausted by years of trying to help them.   And there was no shelter willing to accept them.

So the decisions about these four people was about trying to figure out the least bad option ..... and there seemed to be none!

And while I was thinking that what I had to teach was irrelevant to the Psych. Residents' world,  an even bigger black man (handcuffed and dragging Security with him) came into the Residents' office proclaiming his own particular gospel for all to hear.
"I smell a white man here."
"Wow, you are quite observant."
He looked me in the eye up close:  "I want to kill white men."  Security escorted him out.

And then it got worse.  Friday is not an Outpatient Clinic day and yet there were maybe thirty patients sitting and waiting to be seen.   So the residents would have to see them because "Everyone gets seen!"  The residents were already exhausted before this .....

The four Residents: Stephan, Veneta, Shonnette and Elizabeth.
And then my "I want to kill white men" patient came strolling back into the office... He had given Security the slip...    He smiled at me, so I guess I didn't look white anymore.  And then, a woman came in who was going to need to be admitted, but there were no female beds.. So a quick decision was made to send four men to the National Psychiatric Hospital in New Amsterdam...  It would free up a room for the woman.  And no one believed it would do much for the four -- but it was the best of the bad options.

There were no beds or spaces, no good treatment options, not nearly enough professionals ..... just not the resources for those in dire need.  And there's Trump, with unlimited resources, and Kim, depriving his people of everything, and CNN covers their tantrums as if they were more important, more spectacular than the world's real problems and appeases the soap opera addicts.    It is a sad state of affairs that mercy and compassion seem to have no place.

And there were still the thirty patients in the clinic, waiting .....  and a woman was brought in by her sister; she had not eaten, not talked, not slept for three days .....  And the Residents did not stop working.  I said to them, "I don't know what I taught you today, but you have taught me much. Thanks."   And I left  (maybe fled is a better word) knowing that in a small corner of the universe there is compassion and mercy.

Oh yeah... forgot the Nursing Students

I seem to have overlooked my brilliant class of students ..... I needed to exaggerate, as I yelled at them this week that their research was junk .....  and when I checked research from previous years they were at about the same level of junky-ness.   Anyhow, we had a field trip this week to a show of Amerindian crafts, dancing and stories.   A field trip is even better for teachers than for students! We arrived almost a half hour before the time we were told two weeks ago that the programme  would start ..... and that was only about ten minutes before it ended!  However, they did get to see the crafts and meet Michael Khan a marvelous storyteller.   And there was a free lunch of Pepperpot, cassava and soft drinks .....    


Some Pics from the week, including the Girls

My photography exhibit at the Ayr Public Library will be ending this week.   I was pleased with the display.  However, it is hard for me to hide my dismay that the Art Gallery of Ontario hasn't called me -- yet.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

How Long Have I Been Here?

Suicide Prevention Day - March and Speech 

No sooner were we leaving the airport two weeks ago than Bhiro told me that I was doing the keynote talk for the March in Better Hope on last Sunday.   I said, "No way.  You know I don't like to speak at public gatherings."  This is not because I don't like to speak; it is because I try to live by the fact that the Guyanese have a parade of "whites" proclaiming truths.   "I'll write your speech and you give it,"  I said.

After a period of hard negotiation, I lost and was told to give just a 10 minute speech in the middle of the speakers' list. Uh oh, now I knew it was the familiar barrage of important people talking to the assembled who were hoping that there would be food afterwards.   Fortunately, no matter what I said, it couldn't cause too much damage ..... kind of like preaching.

The March was to begin at 3:00 and walk  a mile to raise public awareness of doing something about the high rate of suicide in Guyana.  There is actually some good news: Guyana is no longer Number 1 at 44 per 100,000; We have dropped to 30 per 100,000.   This is quite significant and something to be proud of for the mental health system in Guyana and the numerous NGO's who have provided counseling and educational sessions throughout the country.

About 3:30, one of the organizers thought that maybe there should be some water as it was a scorcher, even by Guyana's standards.   So off we went to the nearest store to get water for 100 marchers ..... At this time, there were about 10 people - three of whom were driving.   And someone had to pay for it.  It is a good thing Bhiro was there ..... and he wasn't even one of the organizers.
Now it was 4pm and the crowd had come close to 20, with 5 of them driving... And we were still waiting ..... for what? We weren't going to get anymore people.  We were waiting for the police to arrive to guide us along the busy Public Road.   They too had been given a three o'clock time...  
But we were off -- after a fierce debate about whether we should walk in 3's or 2's.  The 2's won out because it was decided that we would look like more people.     We were raising awareness alright ..... The traffic driving west with us was stopped for us to walk the mile .....  

I took this pic from the end of the marchers!
When we arrived at the community centre field, there was already a cricket match that had been scheduled for this time. We had not!   However, the cricketers were gentlemen and sat down to listen to the brief speeches as we were already late.    The microphone was set-up to be at the backs of the audience as it was the only power outlet ..... interesting but the Guyanese took it as normal. To be honest, it wasn't a big crowd, with half the crowd being the cricketers, but at least the crowd outnumbered the speakers.

The MC reiterated many times in his opening (not so brief) remarks that this was a short programme. The first speaker from the Ministry of Public Health went 25 minutes.  Mercifully the other half dozen speakers and pray-ers were shorter but by no means brief.

My Speech

I had offered to be cut from the programme, as it was going on and on, but a guest is a guest.   I decided that I would be Canadian-brief and cut my 10 minutes to five.   I said that with the reduction of the still-high rate, about one half of the suicides in Guyana are impulsive and spontaneous with the ingestion of a lethal herbicide/ pesticide called Paraquat.   It is used in the fields for many crops; before the cane is harvested it is used to clear out weeds, snakes, etc...  One teaspoon ingested is lethal, so lethal that even if you drank it in an Emergency Room there would be no antidote or treatment. You will die a not-nice death within a few days.   There are in reality no restrictions on its sale ..... It is not unusual for a street vendor to be selling fruits, candy and Paraquat.   Banning Paraquat or at least lessening its easy availability would probably reduce suicides by half!

It is banned in all of Europe and most developed countries, except the US -- no one can explain the US today!   One Syngenta plant is in England where it is illegal to use for anything...  and shipped to -- you guessed it -- poor and less regulated countries.

The theme for the day was "Take Time; Save a Life"  which is almost identical to the previous year's, so I decided to be different.   I suggested that they forget about those contemplating suicide and think only of themselves - Be Selfish.    When they work in the fields and spray crops, did they know that it is absorbed by breathing and through the skin .....  and in 15 minutes you can't wash it off.   Paraquat stays in soil for at last 20 years... and in water some say 300 years...  There are trace amounts in the cereal they had for breakfast .....

Exposure to Paraquat, according to research by independent investigators (but not by Syngenta's researchers) leads to an increase in birth defects, elevated risk for Parkinson's,  trouble with lungs, kidneys, liver and more.   This is because it is a "Hit and Run" chemical:  it immediately attaches, but goes away and returns years later .....

And a line that got the cricketers' attention was this: "Hey guys!  Long term Paraquat absorption decreases testosterone production.  And (with my out-pointed, straight index finger) you want to know what happens?"  I slowly bent my index finger and it went limp... "And those little blue pills don't help with this problem.

"So be selfish:  get rid of this stuff!   Clean it out of your homes ..... tell local merchants to lock it up and label it.  Don't wait for the government -- a recommendation for a ban has been on a minister's desk ever since I came in 2002.   Do it for your wives and your children and yourselves."   (I chickened out of  adding, "You don't want your cricket bat to be the only part of you that's hard!" as the newspaper reporter had stopped writing.)  "And if you look after yourselves we will also reduce the number of impulsive suicides dramatically .....and you will maybe even get a Mother Teresa Award for caring about young people."

Dr. Harry (Bhiro) had a good speech on the theme.   He has become like a Psychiatry Saint ..... or since he is Hindu a Swami.   If you want credibility you invoke his name.  People need to be seen with him and just touch his "cloak" or the hem of his garment.

 You Never Know Whom You'll Meet  

The gentleman on the left kept staring at me throughout the whole programme.  After I had finished he came up to me and wanted to know where he had seen me recently... He knew he had.   We finally figured it out; it was at the Everest Cricket Club where I was writing the speech over a beer and some Banga Mary.  He (Primrad) said he was at the Everest praying!  He had to introduce me to his friends and told me that a custom in Better Hope was to have all guests have a beer....  Okay, I can handle that.   And then when I was leaving, he said,  "Well the first beer was for coming and you need  a second for leaving..." and all the guys agreed with him - so it must have been a real tradition.    I had a great chat with them about their lives and struggles and as I was was about to leave again, they told me about another custom.. "You can't leave on an even number of beers..."  by now I figured they might have been making this up...  Bhiro was leaving after having shaken the hand of everyone there, so I had an excuse to break tradition.

A Festival Dinner

As if  Bhiro had not had enough handshaking,  he had 4 tickets to an Indian Arrivals group dinner that evening.   He had to find two people to go with us, and with a stroke of luck he found two young women and off we went.  It was an Indian [South Asian] celebration to be catered with Chinese food by a Chinese restaurant and some karaoke accompanied by a single steel drummer and his computer who played Reggae most of the night.   It was a good time and good food... and we didn't see Bhiro the whole evening as he was making his rounds.

And I got my picture taken at the arrivals monument which is usually off-limits.  And this was just the first day of the week .....

I'll Let "My" Girls Speak for Themselves

I actually had a full week of PBL Classes and they were good.  Some other stuff like doing psychiatry rounds and teaching at Georgetown Public Hospital.  Those things will have to wait.

Thanks for joining me this week.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Up and Running.. Okay so I am Walking Slowly

Still with the Prison Shots

The End of an Era

and then Family Services
We had dueling Acrostics  - Finance
Helen Browman has resigned as CEO at Mercy Hospital.   There was a farewell event provided by staff and board and students.    Helen has worn many senior management hats at Mercy since assuming the role of Administrator after Sister Sheila Walsh left many years ago.     

Sheila asked me what I had thought of her; and to be fair I said, "Well, she definitely has better legs than you do."  While at the time it may have seemed to be one of my usual slightly-less-than-politically-correct comments, it proved that I was speaking metaphorically.   Helen did have "legs".   She was thrown into the deep end with only a couple of months' crash course in hospitals and doctors, started at Mercy to be baptized with the huge (literal) fire of 2010.  She led the staff in getting everyone out and safe.  And so it continued until this week.   She was [and is] committed to Mercy and its vision.   
I would have bet she was off to the States, but she has chosen to use her skills in the GT area.   I'll write more in a couple of weeks because Helen is in Miami but only for holidays... just in time for Hurricane Irma's arrival.
Helen looks a little too happy to be leaving.

On a personal note, Helen has always greeted me and my colleague volunteers with enthusiasm.   I made many requests during the years and many of them were complaints [believe it or not].    I doubt that I could have had a more supportive and accommodating boss.    It has been one of my pleasures at Mercy to see Helen mature into a strong leader... and now taking on another project.

 And A Continuing Gift

Yes, once again many people have donated dollars so I could provide the new First Year Students with internet tablets in order to do their research in the PBL course.   I had thought that many would have a tablet already and I would have a few leftover; but none of this years students had one.  Many have phones but no data plans... They thanked me again and again.   I said they should thank all you who support me.   I love it when they have the resources to do good work because, to share a Guyanese Proverb,

"Harse nah know how fast he can run
tigah ah chase am."

And then I ask them who are the Harses and who is the Tigah?  I don't have to be nice; they have more than enough resources to all get A's.   Well,  most have no internet connection at home; several hours of chores; and, some an hour's journey each way; and some still have not enough money to have lunch.   But I just see those as minor inconveniences -- and hope they do, too!.  

This year we have set a record for males in the class - Five! The males are going to find it hard going because there will be too many of them to take advantage of the women ..... I mean their generosity in helping with the one poor male in a whole class of women.

You Know You are Old When...

 Do you see any resemblance?  
And it is not that one is tough and mean-looking and the other cheerful and sweet...  Actually, they are father and daughter... Taju was a first year student in 2003 and now Althea is in my class.  I have known Althea also for many years when I would visit Taju's  (really, Allison's) restaurant, Princess Kitchen ..... I can't ever remember her expressing an interest in nursing and I can't think how she got so grown-up!

 Robin Hood was Never like This

For one of my first classes, I use an old "values tool" called Robin Hood -- with Maid Marion, Little John and the Sheriff of Nottingham... Basically Maid Marion chooses to sleep with the sheriff to save the lives of Robin and Little John who are imprisoned.  They are freed and Robin calls her a Slut.  Little John takes her away to live happily ever after.  They have to rank the characters 1 to 4 as most to least moral ....  This is hard enough for them as there is not a right answer, but then I get them out in front of the class to defend their position against others who thought differently --  and Out Loud!   No one has ever died, but this year it was close!  Remember the Tigah...

Great News for Psychiatry Residency - Hopefully

And no it is not that the Grand Old Master - Dr. Tony Carr is coming back again for three weeks later to teach in person with the Residents and (because he is truly a workaholic) with Mercy Nurses as well.

Now Tony is good ..... and there have been some very recent phone calls with people from the University of Texas Southwestern, Department of Psychiatry to explore possible collaboration with the Master's Programme at the Public Hospital.  Dr. Adam Brenner is the Residency Director there and along with several senior residents (Monica Gonzalez and Theresa De Freitas Nicholson and an Ethicist professor, Dr. Elizabeth Heitman) he and Tony are already enthusiastically providing support. The Texans knew of a colleague from Vanderbilt who has established a Master's Programme in Emergency Medicine at the Public for several years.   Dr. John Paul Rohde is the Faculty doctor from Vanderbilt and by great fortune, he was in Georgetown now.
Left: Dr. Elizabeth Nikram, Chief Resident, Dr, Harry,
Dr. Veneta Gangaram, Resident, Dr, John Paul Rohde, Vanderbilt,
and the non-doctor John.
We were able to arrange a meeting on Friday and it was an exciting time thinking about all the future opportunities in working with UT Southwestern.  Dr. Rohde did try and bring the docs from Texas in, but the internet was acting up.      I will certainly be updating you on the progress of the adventure.

My Girls at Saint Ann's

Yes, I did get there and they were wonderful.  Many of the older girls have left and a whole new crop of girls are there whose names I will never get straight.  This is long enough, so I'l save their stories for next week.

Rashleigh found me... we were going to watch
Manchester United play on Saturday at Frenzy's.  But the Game got
bumped for coverage of Irma on the local? South Florida station.  While
I wouldn't say that the tv signal is stolen, I suggest
that it is "used under a somewhat questionable license".

Thanks for reading, John