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Confessions of a Curious Mind

A funny thing happened on the way to the NY Times...

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Lauren

A funny thing happened on the way to the NY Times...

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My life took a VERY surreal turn today. I went to the New York Times Center in the middle of Time Square to see....KATE WINSLET! The movie obsession of my life. In person. Live. Third row center in a teeny tiny theater. It was absolutely utterly incredible and unreal. She has been my favorite actress for the last 11 years. I cannot believe it. I came so very close to actually getting to meet her but alas her bodyguard had other ideas at the end of the evening. Nevertheless it was an incredible experience. It was an hour and half of her and her hubby, the ever-brilliant director Sam Mendes, talking about their new movie (which previewed two clips that were phenomenal!), past projects and each other. First of all, I am pretty sure they are the most amazing hollywood couple anywhere. They were incredibly honest and funny and most of all just genuine and warm. It was great. Better than great.

So on my way to the center, I got out of the subway tunnel and was in front of a building that looked oddly familiar. There were construction guys taking it a part piece by piece. I noticed a lime green door and I realized where I had seen it. A little over a year ago with Debbie. It was the Nederlander Theater "Rent" played in for 11 years. There was one little poster left saying "No day but today. Last performance Sept 7." It was so strange to see the place where a play changed my life and helped me cope with my grandfather's impending death. I first saw Rent when I saw my grandfather for the last time. Then I saw it last year when two of the original cast members returned (Sigh...Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal). I realized that meeting them was my last surreal moment in new york and then I walked literally NEXT DOOR to my next surreal moment. It was something. One ending leading to a new memory.

In between these two events I went to buy a granola bar since I had no time for dinner. As I went to pay I realized that I had left my wallet in my office at work. I sadly explained that I had to put the granola bar back and this older woman, who frankly did not look like she had much money, said "No no, I will buy it." I kept saying no but she insisted, saying, "It's only 75 cents and you need it."

Whoever said that New Yorkers aren't friendly are wrong. They are just different. They are not like Southerners and may not be outwardly warm but are friendly. It's just that when you do come across the occasional rude person they are usually exponentially rude, therefore giving everyone else a bad rap. Anyways, thats just my thoughts about NY so far.

Also, I got to see Jack's Mannequin a little over a week ago in concert. Andrew McMahon is wonderful and a humongous musical talent. I hadn't been to a show in a long time and although I had a sinus infection, I was able to find a nice seat in the front row away from the General admission crowd and just watch and take in his whole incredible show on the piano. If you ever get the chance see him live, do it. If only for his performance of "Caves," a song he wrote about cancer and surviving, just go. <3


Well, I am 17 days away from finishing my first semester of grad school. That is INSANE. I have worked my butt off and learned more than I could have ever imagined. I have been through every range of emotion (From feeling like a complete failure to "wow, I can rock at this one day", or being lonely/isolated to being with amazing cohorts that get it) and have grown so much. If there is one thing that is frustrating other than the given lack of a life, its that I wish I had more time to take in the huge amounts of knowledge and experience coming at me. I wish I could retain it all but finals are making me realize how easily I forget things. Hopefully it will come back when needed.

Today is World AIDS Day and working in an HIV/AIDS clinic has changed my life as well. I am so glad that my internship is there- it was a slow start but has really worked up to learning so much about people, cultures, society and myself. Today for example, I had a patient who is in her 50s from West Africa and is at the moment an undocumented resident. She has NYC's emergency AIDS insurance for her AIDS meds- a program that was started to help prevent people from dying. However, she recently has been having many multiple abnormal pap tests. She was referred to an Oncologist. He said it was "probably vaginal or cervical cancer" and gave her a prescription for a cream to apply once a week for 10 weeks and to come back. Now I KNOW from personal experience that is absolutely NOT the standard protocol. The standard would be a biopsy, ultrasounds and blood tests. But the doctor didn't do any of those things. She was in my office shaking. Bad enough to already have AIDS. But to hear the word "cancer" and have a doctor do almost nothing, not even additional tests? That's an outrage. Her emergency insurance doesn't cover the cream. What is she to do? Some may argue, "Well, she is illegal." This may be true HOWEVER, in the US no ER can turn away patients of any kind. When or if she does start dying from this and collapses in the street, paramedics are going to take her to the ER and we are going to end up spending THOUSANDS of dollars on her care regardless. So why not help her upfront, before all the agony and more costly care? This is what I see everyday. It's hard to look at a woman shaking, literally, and into her eyes and say "There isn't anything I can do, but I will make every phone call I can to try." Its heartbreaking. We have to remember that some of these people leave Africa and come here illegally out of desperation. They are impoverished, beaten in many villages and raped by men, and have no way to thrive. They come to this country with hope but with little knowledge about how to take care of themselves and the dangers of these medical conditions. I could go on and on and on, sorry. I just see the injustice everyday and will fight for my patients. And that's one of the unexpected but rewarding aspects I am discovering about the field of social work- to fight for justice.

I wouldn't want any other career.

So although it may be stressful and school is hard and I get lonely and dealing with my mom getting in the hospital again (for the 2nd time after Thanksgiving) is rough and it's REALLY freaking cold outside, I feel really fortunate. I am living in NYC and going to the best clinical program in the country. It may suck at times but god damn I'm lucky. I need to hold on to that more. So although New Years is a month away, I am realizing how much my life has changed and grown in 2008.
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