Traveling Back in Time

Last week I spent 5 nights/6 days in Lander, Wyoming – a middle of nowhere town 305 miles from Fort Collins, CO.  I seriously felt like I stepped back in time to the late 80’s/early 90’s.  The purpose of my trip was to spend 40 hours for clinical rotation at a public health campus for the developmentally delayed – people born with developmental delays, mental retardation, those who suffered horrible car accidents, those who suffered from brain injuries, etc.  The campus is incredible – complete with various apartments/houses that are similar to group homes, but much more homey and roomy, a cafeteria, a cafe/restaurant, a huge pool for the clients (for therapy), a barn with horses (for therapy), green houses (the clients keep jobs which can include watering the plants and flowers), a small shop that takes donated clothing and other goods and recycles them and makes dog leashes, bookmarks, notebooks, first aid kits, etc. and sells them for very cheap – all proceeds go towards the campus and it’s mission, and many other incredible and resourceful buildings.

The campus itself was nice, the town was small but relatively nice (in that completely rural, middle-of-nowhere, tiny town way) and the local gym (small, carpeted, very different) gave me a free pass for the week which was nice 🙂  Getting to this small town was a pain in the butt, let me tell you, and I’m so glad I left early in the day because it took me 6 hours of driving and should have only taken 4.5 – thanks snow!  It snowed 18 inches in Lander before my arrival and other areas of Wyoming had suffered from a bunch of snow, too, so the roads weren’t very good.

muddygapinwinter  120 miles on this road alone got old very quickly.  I was very thankful for my AWD Subaru!

view from house 95
For our rotation the facility allowed us to stay in a nice, homey, house with 4 bedrooms & 3 bathrooms.  This is the view from the house… it was 15 degrees at the time I took this… (you can see the icicles hanging from the roof to the left)

During our 40 hours we had the chance to shadow and work with nurses who visit the different homes on campus and monitor the health needs of the clients who live there, we participated in discussions with the campus doctor, sat in on behavioral medication discussion sessions, met with the Chaplain, assisted the clinic nurse with taking care of vented patients, sat in on a IPP (similar to an IEP, but instead for a developmentally delayed middle aged man living on campus) … just to name a few of our activities/duties for the week.  It was a very eye opening experience and I enjoyed everything so much.  Probably the most beneficial aspect of the week, for me, occurred when it was my morning to work in the clinic with one of the nurses.  We were just going to do routine morning care – suctioning a trachea, administering a breathing treatment, taking care of a woman on a ventilator, etc – but sadly, one of the clients was having some trouble breathing.  After several moments of helping the nurse take care of the client and not seeing results, the patient began to go into respiratory distress.  The doctor was aware of his condition, came into the room twice, and after unsuccessful attempts by all to help regulate his breathing, we had to call the ambulance so the client could be transported to the local hospital (The good news is, the client survived and though he spent a night in the hospital, was back the next morning and feeling much better). The beneficial aspect, for me, was watching the nurse take care of the client throughout the entire episode & watch the client’s vital signs change – he went from labored breathing to rapid and labored breathing to skin color change to lowered oxygen saturation and very high heard rate so quickly.  I was able to watch true respiratory distress, which is something we’ve been learning about since nursing school began.  It was a stressful situation for all, but a learning opportunity for sure.

After a long week & when I finally made it home Friday night at 6pm after another round of driving in the snow, I was so so thankful for my Subaru.  It drove well, it made me feel safe in the snow & as for gas mileage (which was a big concern when I purchased an AWD vehicle….)


I drove 522 miles on a tank of gas…


And averaged 32.4 mpg!

I refueled today and still had 1.5 gallons left in the tank.  Not bad, Subaru, not bad 🙂

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