The lectures continued to be amazing, with Dr. David Lambert teaching us about SCUBA medicine and letting us try on his gear-- subject matter that I’d never been exposed to in any depth before (pun intended).
Dr. Otten, who works with NASA (?! so cool!), taught us about space medicine, and how you grow 2 inches taller when you spend time in space, how Apollo 13 was actually a pretty scientifically accurate movie, and how the #1 problem astronauts face in space are the psychological stressors. Also interesting, kidney stones are really common in astronauts, due to increased breakdown of bones from the lack of gravity meaning there’s excess Calcium floating around in the system, and so stones form. Super cool stuff!
On Wednesday, the 31st, we spent the afternoon doing cool team building exercises. Most of us have done stuff like this before, and a couple of us agreed--these were the best team building exercises we’d ever done. The first one was that we stood on square pieces of foam in a circle, and one person stood in the middle, and said something like “I have a tattoo,” and everyone with a tattoo needed to run to a different square, but there was always someone who didn’t have a square to stand on, so had to stand in the middle and say something about themselves. “I have a twin,” run run run, “I have 7 siblings,” no one ran, “I climbed the great wall of China,” one other person ran out. “I cried at least twice during med school,” a good handful ran. “I ran a marathon,” “I was tested for ADHD as a kid,” “I have a sibling I didn’t know about,” “I’ve been robbed 5 times,” and a surprising 3 or 4 people ran out.
Then we went and had to cross a “molten marshmallow pit” with 7 “pieces of graham crackers” to step on and we had to be touching the graham crackers at all times, and there were about 14 of us who needed to get across. So it was a cool way to test how well we worked as a team, who took leadership roles and why, how that works when it’s a group full of people trained to be “leaders,” etc.
Love it when people then ask you to examine how you felt about the situations, and your roles in them, your behaviors, and whether you could find the pros and cons to those things. :)
Cell reception cut out about 20 minutes out from camp as I drove in around 8pm. My fingers were crossed that the google maps I didn’t take a snapshot of or write down beforehand would hold--a lack of planning that became even more obviously irresponsible throughout the lectures later in the week.
Fog was rolling in, so I couldn’t see very far in front of my car, hoping there would be no surprise deer tonight, and being proud of myself for telling two different people where I was going, in case I lost the road. But I didn’t, and pulled into the gravel driveway that weirdly only had two cars in it that I could see, and just a couple lights on in the lodge, which was a rusticly built building that reminded me a little of the Bernstein Bears books, especially when I walked inside and found columns of tree trunks with the stubs of branches left on, and bank left on some of the planks of wood used for the rafters.
The first people I met were Matt and Andre, respectively from Australia and Denmark. People had flown in from all over the world and the country, including Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, Brazil, Texas, New York, Minnesota, etc. I’d come from Connecticut myself. Most of us were 4th year med students, but there were a few residents and a PA rounding out our 27. The sleeping arrangements were bunkrooms with 8 beds with quaint floral quilts shaded in purples and pinks for the girls side of the hallway, and blues for the boys. Luckily there were only 4 girls in the room I landed in.
We all had an early morning the next morning, and lectures from 8am-8pm planned, with a 7:30am breakfast, so most were asleep by 10pm, after sitting around the leather couches framing the fireplace or coming back from dinner in Roanoke. It was one of those groups of people who are here because we want to be, and in some cases went to a lot of trouble to get here, so the enthusiasm was pretty apparent, and infectious.