Eva Gomez

The Last Breath

The title is so dramatic but it really felt like such a depressing ending. My internship ended a few hours ago and I couldn’t be more thankful. The limited amount of time I had was truly the best. I got the chance to be able to see what it’s like to work in a healthcare profession. My department was audiology. The study of the ear. At first I was jealous of others who had surgical tech and other departments I’ve heard about. But then I realized that this was a chance to take other careers in consideration and be enlightened by new ideas and concepts. I did end up with a few problems. My supervisor wouldn’t answer my calls or emails which frustrated me but I got over it soon after I realized he was probably a very busy man. When he finally answered, I was a week behind on my hours and realized I had to work more hours than planned. I didn’t mind, but I had to plan accordingly in order to finish on time. This encounter allowed me to become organized and prepared to map out what my next move would be. Strengthening my ability to be flexible and finding alternative ways to resolve problems. I also had the chance to really see how communication impacted every patient. If the audiologist was not informed of any family history or any other vital information, it made the doctor’s life harder in diagnosing the problem. Communicating with patients effectively was also such an important aspect. Simply being honest and straightforward allowed the patient to open up and ease their anxieties. It was great seeing that first hand.

I enjoyed this internship so much. I REALLY LEARNED A LOT. I was wrong for judging this field so early on. It was really was more than ear checkups. The connection audiologists made with the patients and their family was incredible. Their patients varied. They had infants, toddlers, children, teens, and adults. Each one with a different story or background. Every single one was unique. Pediatric patients made their job challenging but at the end of the day their smiles and laughs made up for it. It was worth it. One of the toughest things I ever watched as an intern was when the doctor gave the patient the news that they needed a hearing aid. Although it may not seem all that depressing but most patients came in denial of their decreasing hearing. They didn’t want to admit that they were aging. It was sad. But we as always medicine always finds alternatives. We presented them with solutions, and treatment. It was truly a blessing to witness these people change and shape the lives of their patients.

Throughout this internship I was blessed to have Dr. Collen and his colleagues mentor me. They really helped me and encouraged me to continue to succeed. They opened my eyes on how valuable being a minority is. They helped me realize that I needed a career that included what I love the most: kids and sports. After telling them I loved kids, they would try their best to always have me in the room observing pediatric cases. They even allowed me to experience what it’s like to work with them. After hearing I enjoyed working with kids, my supervisor even allowed me to consult with the speech therapist to get an idea of their working environment. They all offered great advice and opened my mind to consider things I previously would ignore. For that I am thankful.

– Eva Gomez, Class of 2018

Week 6

This week I didn’t work as much as I would have wanted to. Monday I had a doctors appointment. And Tuesday they didn’t open. I went it on Wednesday from 9-5. And Thursday I was unable to go due to another appointment. It was frustrating to be behind since my hours need to be done by July 14. This week I only totaled 16 hours. Now I must work longer and accumulate enough hours to finish properly.

On Wednesday though, I really enjoyed shadowing a different audiologist. She had more pediatrics, which I enjoy observing. She also had a few patients whom were humorous when told they had significant hearing loss. It was good to see that some people never let health issues ruin their mood. One patient even joked around having to grow his hair longer to hide the hearing aides. It’s been a privilege to be able to observe them do their tests and interact with their patients. Each patient is unique which is quite interesting. I realized how there’s a variety of professionals working together to deliver the best health care possible. When the audiologist would diagnose the patient with hearing loss she would immediately inform the patient that they qualified to be a candidate for hearing aides. After doing so, she would refer them to the hearing aid consultant who discussed their next step. If the audiologist found that all results came back positive she then would refer them back to their physician to clarify and do possibly choose another way to go at the problem. Everyday there’s a new case that is more unique than the last.

Eva Gomez

Week 5

I was notified that I’m officially cleared to start my internship at Kaiser. I was excited to start. I’ve never looked into audiology, which is why this should be interesting. I honestly didn’t even know such thing existed. Although I was cleared, my supervisor seemed to be awfully busy. I called and emailed and for three days straight no one replied. I left voicemails. I emailed. I even had to text Mr. Pfeiffer, our AIME instructor. It was intense.

Finally on Wednesday, I received an email in the morning asking for me to start at 9. I was a bit frustrated since I wasn’t notified on time. It was 8:45 and I was still in my pajamas. I was bummed I couldn’t make it even if I tried taking a lyft or uber. I didn’t want to make my first impression a hurried one. I gave my supervisors assistant a call and we discussed my days and times I’d be able to come in. Thursday was my first day.

My first day was quite interesting. My goal was to help as much as I could and learn about audiology. I was able to witness one of the most interesting tests audiologist perform. It was designed to test the patients balance, more specifically vertigo. This test required the patient to wear special goggles. From the computer the audiologist was able to track the brains movement as well as the inner ear, responsible for balance. I was able to assist, which was cool. The audiologist I was with, Mr. Harlan was such a great mentor. He would explain each test to me and he would also give me advice for my future. His words truly hit me. He mentioned how it was important for me to continue my dedication and hard work because I was a perfect example of a minority. I am a Hispanic female. I am prone to fail, he made that clear but he really added to the million reasons why I shouldn’t let that define my future. Instead I should use that in my advantage to help others just like me.

Eva Gomez

Week 4

So far the internship hasn’t started at Kaiser. For me though, it’s my last week at the UCI Premed Summer Program. I love it! We started off the week with simulations labs. We were taught how to incubate properly, how to find the right location to perform an epidural, CPR, & were able to practice diagnosing patients with a manikin that cost more than a Ferrari and was able to vomit, laugh, talk and even breathe.

Each lab was exciting. Incubation was one of the labs I struggled with. There’s so many components to take in mind while performing this. We were told to use a flash like tool to find the vocal cords and be sure to stay along that area to avoid releasing unnecessary air into the stomach creating the patient to vomit. This was where I struggled, I kept inflating the stomach. It took me a few tries to finally get it.

The epidural lab was fairly simple and I was able to get it on my first try. We located the hip bone and followed it to where L5 and L4 would be and pinned the needle in the middle. It was interesting to learn that some doctors use this procedure to minimize the patients pain during labor or pregnancy. Since I have practiced CPR in every one of my ROP classes, it was easy too. Working with the manikin was epic. They provided stethoscope to be able to listen to its artificial heart. It was incredible to be working with a device that medical students practice with. It was as if we were the doctors. We were allowed to order tests to diagnose what the patient had based on its symptoms. I was proud when I ordered an EKG and from there we determined what the manikin had.

Later that day, we were able to visit the cadaver lab. I was personally anxious. I imagined myself to be the first one to request to step out. I suffer from anxiety and I knew this was going to affect me severely. Fortunately, I was wrong. The moment they gave us our baby blue scrubs I felt an urge of excitement. Once we stepped into the building, it was lonely and creepy. The smell was penetrating. I think I’ll never forget that smell. I can’t explain it, but it was sad. The cadavers were a year old. They didn’t seem as human as I was afraid they were to appear. There were 5 stations each with a cadaver. Each had a different part of the body dissected for learning purposes. I held a rib in the first one displaying abdominal organs. Let’s just take that in, I held a rib. It gets better. Each station informed us about the anatomy and the interesting facts. The second station was the most boring one. It was the spine. The third station was my favorite. Since I loved sports medicine, this station displayed the muscles and ligaments in our body. We were able to touch the soleus, which is the smallest muscle in the body, the gastrocnemius, and we were able to see the ACL. It was lovely. There was also one leg on display. Just one leg, it was amputated. And as many girls giggled. The male body part was still attached. Out of respect and maturity, I didn’t laugh. I was proud of myself. Then there was the skull and nerve lab. We were able to see inside the skull and where the cranial nerves once were. It was interesting. This cadaver still had their eyelashes and tattoos. This was where I kind of had a moment. The last station was the heart, lungs, spleen and liver. It was a 45 year old women. She once had a pacemaker. You could see it in her heart. We were able to see and hold part of the lung and the heart. It was pretty exciting and interesting. I proved to myself I wasn’t such a baby like I thought I was. The beauty of all this was realizing how people are so brave and devoted to medicine. These people donated their bodies to medicine. So students can enhance their learning. Medicine is truly beautiful.

I am beyond grateful to have been able to experience this. I really owe it to Jody for making this all work out. I met so many people who will have such a bright future ahead of them. I also met people who had such amazing stories and I was truly inspired. This all was a dream. Never did I think I was going to afford the program nether less obtain the scholarship. We had our closing ceremony and was able to keep our white coats. Wherever destiny takes me I’ll never forget this experience.

Eva Gomez

Week 3

I have not yet been placed in Kaiser, which is a sort of relief to me since I know I am not missing anything. I’m doing the UCI Premed Summer Program which will run from June 12-23. This week was my first week. It has been interesting to see how so many people are interested in the medical field and their inspiration to do so. We were placed into groups along with a college student who will pursue going into medical school. It was very interesting. It got to know each other pretty well. There was so many people from different schools but most were from the rich areas.

I think that was one of my challenges. Trying to feel like I belonged. Everyone talked about their vacation plans or how they had a car. One dude was even talking about Fashion Island and how he loves going because he feels rich. Most of the time I’d say “must be nice”. They had iPhone watches and really unique last names. I swear I was the only one who had a straight out Mexican last name. I finally made a friend by the end of this week. There was a few students that came from Compton and East L.A. I talked to the girl from East L.A. We had so much in common. We talked about Mexican food 25/8 we were both afraid we wouldn’t find someone to relate to. And we found each other. It definitely made it a lot more fun having someone to talk to.

Even though I envied the rich kids in the program they turned out to be very social and friendly. Everyone would participate and collaborate. Someone would always have a question to ask. They all seemed like they knew what they were doing. It was inspiring to see so much talent.

-Eva Gomez

Week 2

So far, this internship process has been smooth with a couple of rocky patches. The instructors are so kind and understanding. Especially my OCAPICA instructor Jody. She is always arranging and adapting to any problems or concerns we may have. The people whom I meet with and interact with have made the disappointments bearable. Recently we were told that our internship was going to be pulled back a few weeks due to our medical clearance. Kaiser told our instructor that we needed to have our TB testing done before beginning. Those who are familiar with TB testing know that the process takes some time, two weeks. This was informed to us all a few days before our internship was initially supposed to start. This made us feel a bit disappointed and upset. We had told our family members that we would know sooner where we were being placed. This would have calmed all of our guardians’ worry since most of us were planning to board public transportation to arrive at our destinations. We would have to plan accordingly to our location and schedule in order to arrive safely and punctually. Unfortunately, we were not given this precious information but rather given the bitter storm of sadness. The information given only brought stress and worry upon us, something I’d left behind on May 26, the last day of school. I was overwhelmed with stress because now I was unable to plan accordingly. Anyhow, both my instructors have done their very best to fix the situation and inform us thoroughly. I appreciate them very much and I believe their communication is the strength to this internship.

In addition to this internship I was blessed to be accepted to an UCI Internship. I applied and to my surprise won the scholarship. I was anxious to bring this up to my instructors. I wanted to do both. But was told by my parents to choose one. I was beginning to give up hope, till I informed Jody. She was able to arrange something with UCI and thanks to her, I am able to do both with also completing my hours. Our instructors will have a huge impact on us since they will be with us throughout this journey. They deserve recognition for having to deal with us.

Something I am fairly worried about is how stressed this next few weeks will be. Although I get stuff done while I’m stressed, I tend to forget about my health. According to my parents I become distant and very moody. On top of that I become anxious and have continuous anxiety attacks which to this day I am still learning how to deal with. I have been told I am prone to always getting sick due to the excessive amount of stress I apply to myself. I believe throughout this whole internship I will learn how to better cope with stress. I now know the importance of quality time with myself and how to better balance my life. I know that any profession in the medical field will be a bit stressful which is why I will be exposed to this early on.

Eva Gomez

Week 1: Blog Introduction Questions

My name is Eva Gomez. I am interested in the medical field. Still unsure of what career path I’ll take. My favorite movie is Titanic. I hope to gain communication skills that will benefit my life. I also hope to gain knowledge that can help me understand and clear my career pathway. Going the extra mile has helped me get to where I am now. I never gave up or let anyone tell me I couldn’t handle the amount of stress and responsibility. I’ve learned that believing in yourself is the essential key to succeed. I want to continue to grow as an individual which is why I decided to join this internship. This internship will open my eyes to the different areas of the medical field and create professional networks and skills that I will use in the future.

Eva Gomez, Class of 2018