Yesterday was my last day of work in the Pediatric HIV clinic at UTMB. I am going to miss it sorely. I loved the people I work with and the patients I grew attached to. Learning the medicine was fascinating and brought me to my ultimate career, working on the social problems was addicting (no pun intended), lunches with friends were fun, and so it goes.
Here is a picture of the “HIV team”, my boss Dr. Janak Patel, and our social worker Debbie Konopik. Our team is actually expanding now that I am leaving to include more faculty and a fellow, but this the closest picture I have.
We had some good and crazy times. Like I tell everyone when they ask about my job- there is never a dull moment in the HIV clinic. I will leave you will a few snippets of the countless stories I now have:
1. Patient stabs boyfriend and leaves him on the floor in a pool of blood. When the ambulance comes to help her with her injuries, they find his body.
2. Mom is high on crack, methadone, meth, and marijuana. Gives birth to a 35 week preemie at home on the floor and carries the child around on the street with the placenta in one hand and the baby in the other. Both bloody. Once admitted to the hospital, both baby and mom are found to be HIV positive (among other things). The baby is later diagnosed with Hepatitis C exposure and CMV infection.
3. 10 year old patient admits he has a crush on me and gives me a cat figurine from the flea market at his next visit.
4. Woman in jail for prostitution. She has complications with HIV medications and gets a serious infection after delivery. She also has a long list of psychiatric illnesses. Once released from jail, she showed up in clinic with her little baby and she is a new person (for a while at least)!
5. Mom leaves a message on my voicemail. “My daughter is addicted to drugs. She needs help. Please get her into rehab and out of the situation she is in- for her sake and the baby she is carrying.”
Rape victims to women considering abortions to high school kids to innocent children without parents and CPS cases the clinic is never dull. I have found a lot of satisfaction there, and I am going to miss it. I am not sure what I will do without the adrenaline rush of the clinic!