First Week at Faulkton
My first week in Faulkton has been quite the acclimating experience. Coming from Sioux falls one of my biggest shockers was having to pay attention to the schedule of things being open. For example, I missed the grocery store the first two days. However the quality of service offered in Faulkton has been fantastic, as nearly all of the amenities I grew used to in Sioux Falls are available here, even down to the name brands at the grocery store.
The hospital facility is extremely nice as well. My only experience previous to this program was some time spent at IHS on Pine Ridge, so I didn’t know what to expect. However the facility here is honestly nicer than many of the hospital facilities in Sioux Falls. The providers are excellent, they are all very passionate about what they do and are very immersed in the community.
We had one patient experience this week that really stuck out to me, a child with abdominal pain came into the ER and was having a heck of a time with vomiting and diarrhea. It required quite a few different medications to stabilize the patient before being medi-flighted to Sioux Falls to consult with a surgeon there. The patient ended up being fine and I saw the same child at mass on Sunday. It was quite the experience seeing the result of a case in the community as it was not something I had been able to experience in Sioux Falls.
The second week of my experience was very interesting as I was finally settled into the community. I was able to access the Faulkton City gym, go golfing with some community members and my girlfriend, Sopida, came to visit the town and experience the community as well. Sopida’s trip here was a blast, the community welcomed her with open arms and we went to the lake with many of the people from town for a bonfire last Sunday night. Monday we relaxed and drove around the community and went to the park. Then Friday the Fischers took me golfing at the course in Faulkton and to dinner afterwards. It was a great time and I am so thrilled at how everyone has welcomed me into this community.
In the hospital the second week flowed much better as I had also settled in there. I spent most of my time with Dr. Anderson in the clinic, but also spent some time in the ER and rounding on patients in the hospital. Seeing the dynamic of a community physician in practice is amazing as that is not something you get to see in a city. These patients are Dr. Anderson’s friends and neighbors, which must make it so much more emotionally taxing to treat patients.
I also had the privilege to spend some time in the PT/OT departments. I asked for this experience to be set up so that I would be able to understand their exact role in the healthcare field. A patient who had survived a stroke was kind enough to share the background story with me during PT, and it was truly moving how optimistic this patient was despite the fact that movement to the left side of the body was coming back slower than is typical. This experience is something that physicians sometimes miss out on, the final stages of recovery for patients, but I was glad I got to experience this story.
My last week in Faulkton came and went very fast. Throughout my stay the community was very welcoming and this did not change going into the last week, I was invited to attend a T-ball game with many of the providers as they had children on the team. In addition to this we were taken out to dinner by Dr. Anderson on our last night in town and got to meet her family. It was very refreshing to see a parent in medicine who still had a very close family relationship such as Dr. Anderson has. I have seen too often medicine take up nearly all family time.
The final week I had the experience of making rounds on the nursing home with Dr. B. I had never done this before and I was interested to see how the physical exam is altered in order to make take care of those who are too elderly to make their way to the clinic most times. I also got to see some of the administrative side of things in the nursing home and how chart visits are done in order to keep up with the Medicare regulations behind nursing home care.
Another experience I had during my last week there was spending half of the day with the veterinarian. This was an interesting experience as we got to see twenty head of cattle getting ready to go out and breed. It was cool to see as these cattle quite literally represent the economy of the community. Being from the city I merely saw walking steak, however the amount of care they receive is impeccable. I had always thought they were just left to pasture until slaughter, so it was a good experience to learn otherwise.