Its beginning to feel a lot like WINTER

I have not been as on top of this blog as much as I would like to be and for that I apologize. 

Work has been more of the typical. I have been working with one client in particular since he entered into our program to get his health care needs straightened out. He is known to be a frequent flyer at the ER and has significant chronic illness history. The team in our health care clinic and I have been working on getting him properly medicated and well educated on his needs in order to produce better outcomes. He is chronically street homeless and has some cognitive decay which could be likened to early onset dementia. With the strides made by his primary care physician, psychiatrist and our work as case management, he has drastically improved in his cognitive function, physical health and personal morale. I write glowing emails to the people downstairs whenever possible because I could not be more grateful for the excellence they strive for in their follow up and primary care. Though this client bounced regularly in and our of ER departments, the health care system that made the most difference was his primary care. I am passionate about the potential of primary care, preventitive medicine and interdisciplinary team approaches to health care. When we face complicated cases such as these, the team work and communication shared by the health care team is crucial. These outcomes however are not typical. There are many barriers and boundaries that impede clients and professionals from receiving or giving the best care possible. I hope to enter the field of social work and health care to create pathways that bridge the gaps of care seen in our most vulnerable populations. 

On a lighter note…Friday night was spent with some friends at the annual Light Up Night. We saw the lighting ceremony, fireworks and ate some wonderful treats from a local bakery. The center downtown has a massive tree and skating rink and a villiage of local holiday gifts and treats. It was wonderfully festive but quite cold. Pittsburgh has proven it has much more to offer than I originally  anticipated. There is always something to do or a place to go which makes every weekend interesting! Saturday I went to see the  Potted Potter which is a summerative parody of all the Harry Potter books. It was lighthearted and funny, something I probably would have loved even more as a rabid childhood fan. (not that much has changed). 

Thanksgiving is coming up this week and it seems as though it has come so fast! I will be home for Christmas in less than a month! Some of my roommates and I are spending dinner here in Milgate and going to dinner with Chris’s family friend. I hope also to swing by TLA at some point as I am sure it will be a fun festive day there! 

It has been bitter cold here and I am sure its been cold where you all may be. Please remember those who are not blessed with warmth and shelter this winter, please give to those in need in whatever way you can. This is a deadly season for our most vulnerable brothers and sisters. I ask you to keep them not only in your hearts but also in your action this season. 

Oh happy day!

Life has been a whirlwind recently. Last week we opened up our severe weather shelter for the first time this season as the temperatures dropped down to the twenties. It was the kind of raw cold that makes thirties and forties feel mild. We had about 80 people come in our first night when they usually do not expect the numbers to rise that high until January. This workweek was long but fulfilling with a lot going on at OSN home base and Trail Lane. SWES is a crazy experience with people coming in of all backgrounds and essentially unfiltered. Our goal with SWES is to prevent deaths in the homeless population due to severe weather. People come in in all sorts of states so its always an interesting night for all involved. It is the opposite experience at Trail Lane where we know everyone well, are deeply involved in their needs and reside in a beautiful space.

Friday night a bunch of us went to a learn to salsa night at CMU which some liked more than others. What made it worthwhile is that our entry fee was donated to OSN to buy socks and other winter needs! I thought it was a riot! Kelly and I want to try and find lessons around here to keep life interesting this winter. Afterwards we met a friend of mine from work at a local pub, sang wrecking ball one too many times and chatted.

Saturday into Sunday was spent at our annual Advent retreat, a great way for us to unwind a little and focus on what is to come in the advent season. Our days were fairly unstructured to give us time to reflect relax and pray. This experience was rejuvenating and relaxing as I spent some time reading and writing a little. Kelly our director made a massive spread of thanksgiving dinner which we all enjoyed immensely. We ended our night by watching The Sister Act II in the convent which is arguably the pinnacle of Woopi’s career.

Overall it was a great weekend with another busy weekend to come with Light Up Night, Hunger Games and Community dinners this week.

Time definitely seems to be flying here as Thanksgiving quickly approaches and soon Christmas. I love being here but I look forward to seeing my family, friends and Ruby!