I am a little past my halfway point of interning here at Dialysis Patient Citizens (DPC) and the DPC Education Center (The Center) and so far it has been a great learning environment and experience. Even though I have lived just outside of Washington, D.C. my entire life I was never a frequent visitor of the city and in just a few days here I discovered how drastically different it was from my hometown, Waldorf, MD. For starters, everyone here just moves at a much faster pace. In the mornings after getting off of the Metro train, I realized I was being run over by many people who were going at warp speed to get to their jobs and I was just not going fast enough for them! As I was walking to my internship, I realized I left myself plenty of time to get there but felt so out of place walking at a “normal” speed. I decided I should try and blend in with the city walkers and before you knew it, every day I was in a rush for absolutely no reason! Now I have gotten in the habit of walking so fast everywhere I go. My family members at home notice how much I leave them behind when we are traveling places.
I also came to the realization of how uninformed I was about health policy issues or politics in general. Interning here has expanded my understanding on these topics. I had to learn a new, extensive set of vocabulary and acronyms that have helped me better understand the world of kidney disease and the problems the disease presents to not only the patients’ physical but also emotional needs.
During my time at The Center, I have served as a webmaster writing and editing content on our website and assisting in developing educational materials for members. The background work that goes into both of these takes more time than one would think!
For the last month, I have been working to create a new class on our classroom site. In my first blog, I mentioned the need for mental health resource for patients. Since then I have been working hard finding the right tools and information that should be posted in the new class and this is something that I will complete before my time here is up.
I also had the luxury of helping out during the World Kidney Day fly-in event. It was a wonderful experience and I am grateful for being a part of it. Our members were incredibly inspiring and I loved being able to talk with them and get some insight on their everyday lives. I also had a great experience attending meetings with members of Congress and discussing issues such as continuing immunosuppressive funding and to create additional awareness on the Hill.
It sounds crazy to have this in writing since it feels like I just started, but I have a month left here. It has gone by very quickly and I look forward to getting my hands on as much knowledge as possible before my time is up! I appreciate how accommodating and helpful all of the staff has been to me throughout my experience thus far and I look forward to continuing to spread the word about DPC, The Center and kidney disease.