Take A Walk

Warning: cheesy post coming up….

The older I get the faster time seems to go by. I can’t believe I’ve already been here for 3 months, it feels like I blinked and yet here we are the beginning of October. I still remember the anxiety I had over wrapping up one job, moving across the country, figuring out the logistics, and preparing to start a new ‘job’ but now those concerns are long gone and I wonder why I had them in the first place.

I’ve gotten in to a new routine and feel comfortable in my responsibilities here at PATH. One important part of my daily routine is my commute to work. Most days, I walk.  Aside from developing killer calf muscles, this time in the morning is some of my most inspired of the whole day. I genuinely think I can save the world during these walks.  I have these grand plans running through my head about how much I’m going to accomplish today, about how I will make a difference in the world, some new app or technology I want to invent, things I might blog about and oh that blog I started a month ago still isn’t done, and what kind of food truck will I sample for lunch today.

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This morning, I was thinking about how so far for the most part things are just working out exactly how it seems they were supposed to.  I didn’t know when I got my MPH a couple years ago that I would end up with this opportunity but it does feel like it happened for a reason.  I am reminded daily by a mural at PATH of one of the reasons I decided to get my MPH. The mural says, “We envision a world where innovation ensures that health is within reach for everyone”. Yeah. Seems completely logical, right? Most of us, we don’t think twice about where to go for healthcare needs and just know that we are entitled to be in good health.  But we know that’s not true for everyone.  Things worked out really well for my family in what could have been a tragic situation so I would only hope others would also get the healthcare they need and deserve.

Several years ago, My Mom out visiting with my brother and family in Oregon came down with a bad cold. We thought that’s all it was. As the days passed, her cold progressed in to something more serious. Eventually, she went to the ER and went downhill immediately and was admitted in to the ICU a few hours later. I got one of those calls that was basically, you all (my siblings and I) need to come out here and say goodbye, they don’t think she’s going to make it. I was so frazzled that my friend had to buy my plane ticket because I wasn’t even capable of doing that (thanks, Terri!). The plane ride from Boston to Portland was the longest of my life. When I arrived, things were grim. Over the next several days, they became even grimmer as her health declined and it was still unclear as to why. But then, literally in the nick of time, her team of Doctors figured out what was going on and saved her life. She had gotten a strep bacteria infection that turned in to full body sepsis.  As my Mother is amazing at all things, her healing and recovery were no exception and thanks to the plethora of health innovations in the U.S., now 11 years later she has only few lingering effects from that illness.

But, what if she was a Mother living in a developing country? She would not be here today. And no one should have to lose a Mother to something curable. Or a child. Not when there are ways to save them or prevent an illness in the first place. That’s how I connect what I’m doing at PATH to making a difference in the world.  The women and children in developing countries are far from where I sit in Seattle but what I’m doing may make a lasting impact on their lives.  I can’t stress enough how lucky I am for the PULSE experience, how lucky I am that my family can access lifesaving healthcare, and how lucky I am that I will contribute to getting an RSV vaccine to those in need.

Now as my day draws to a close, I realize I didn’t accomplish all those grand plans I had in the morning but it’s okay because it’s time for another walk.

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In other news, it’s still gorgeous here, the space needle still looks good at night, and I
think my photography skills are improving.

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Taking a walk with my daughter at Lime Kiln State Point Park in Friday Harbor, WA. Unfortunately, the only whales we saw were in a museum and made of cement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15 comments

  1. Great post – I love the introspection that occurs when we take the time to just be outside or wander…. I experienced the same on my walks to my PULSE assignment and it’s a little slice of heaven that you’ll want to try to hold onto long after your assignment is over! Keep up the PULSEing!

    1. Thank you Geri! It’s so true – I don’t think I realized how much I needed that alone time until I had this experience. I definitely think taking solo walks will be something I take home with me and continue long after my PULSE assignment.

  2. What an amazing blog, Caitlin – thanks so much for sharing! Loved your honesty & how you brought us back ‘home’ to our ultimate sense of purpose in working in this space — so that health is within reach for every mother, child & person. Keep the grand thinking on your morning walks going — & jot notes/ journal so that you can share through the PULSE+ track once you’re back! And on a cheesy note, keep holding your little girl tightly — she will remind you why we’re working so hard (for the sake of her little peers!)… & also because she is growing too fast (as they all do)!!! Keep up the great work — & great blogging 🙂

    1. Thank you Ahsiya for the kind words! I remember something you said during orientation about how to make a sustainable change – do something 30 times over 30 months. I think this is one of those things – I can’t imagine not continuing finding time to take walks when my assignment is over! It’s amazing how fast life moves, isn’t it!?

  3. A wonderful blog ! Thanks for sharing your family’s story and your mission too. I just heard someone say today – it only takes one i.e. one person can make a difference – and in that spirit – please know that whatever you do/will do sitting in Seattle will still truly make a difference in others lives! The pic with your daughter is TOO cute 😉 hold on to it!

    1. Thank you Manu! It took some time to find a way to feel connected to the people this project will actually impact. And then I realized, like you said even just one person can make a difference whether you are in an office or out there with others or in a developing country or anywhere! You might not see it right away but you are doing something! And seriously, she’ll be too old to want to be held like that before I know it! 😀

  4. This is one of the best and most inspiring posts I’ve read here. Thanks for sharing. Keep up the walk!

    1. Thank you Lucas! I hope you are having equally eye opening experiences on your assignment! When in doubt, go for a walk – my new life motto!

  5. Great post Caitlin!
    It was fun to learn a bit more about you as well your thoughts about your PULSE assignment.

    1. Thanks Kevin! You’d think after 8 years of sitting 3 feet away from me for 40 hours a week you’d know all there is to know! I hope you are taking good care of my cube while I’m away 😀

  6. You are very inspiring Caitlin. What an awesome story. You have a big heart and real drive. Keep up those big thoughts and plans. Doesn’t it feel good to have those feelings of “I can conquer the world” sometimes? I love it!

    1. Thanks Mandi! And same to you! It really does feel good when you make that connection that what you are doing really does matter. I hope for more of those moments along the way and long after the assignment is over! Love reading about your experiences and look forward to hearing more!

    1. Thank you Helene! Another highlight of this whole PULSE journey is meeting inspirational people like you! Hope all is well at PATH in Dakar!

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