• akshataparekh

The Beginning

Updated: Oct 11, 2020

It’s been two months into this internship and from the very beginning I wanted to document my journey. Well, it’s never too late. I have another 8 months to tell you all my stories from this internship and training. As I sat in the car on my first day dressed in Indian clothes with a mask on (thank you COVID 19), I was excited to start this journey. I have been interested in how expressive arts contribute to the medical field and this internship came as a blessing during this challenging time. I was happy to have a supportive site supervisor who comforted me to not worry and that she had my back. We would explore this journey together. As I started to get closer to the hospital, a cloud of nervousness and fear covered me making me feel weak and having a thought of turning back and skipping this year of internship. On the surface, it felt like I was scared of contracting covid. I then took a moment to understand and realise that it wasn’t that entirely, maybe just about 5% of my total fear. What was strange to see is that the fear took over my body. I felt shivers and my body retracting. Questions of whether I am meant to do this? Will I be able to do this? Am I good enough for this training and internship? Do I deserve it?, were going through my mind.

I somehow got to the hospital and waited for my site supervisor to come in to guide me through the first few hours. The first two hours flew by in no time until I got to my first client. I sat there and felt the need to use everything that was taught to me in those few years of my training at Lesley University even though I didn’t have to. I saw myself being present, empathetic and building a good relationship with my client for those 50 minutes. It’s a tough place to be in where the diagnosis is so uncertain and the client may or may not have hope and you are there to sit with that uncertainty, distress and discomfort; even when the concerns are not restricted to only physical and mental changes. In many cases, family and finances are things that probably matter more.

Considering all these difficulties, my first client created art as a symbol to represent his journey. This was his last chemotherapy and he was happy to go home after this long treatment. As he made this journey home and I continued with my day, it wasn’t that bad. I managed and got through the day well. I went back home to follow all the safety protocols (went straight to the shower before interacting with anyone) and slept off like a baby after this long first day. Phew. Looking forward to what the next session has in store for me…

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