Before I flew to Rochester, I had a quick, minor procedure for my toe in my hometown. The podiatrist told me that I have small Achilles tendons and that I should wear open-toed shoes to help with the recovery. After spending two full days in heels from 7:00-4:00 and 9:00-7:00, I really want to call my podiatrist, ask her some questions about W-4 forms, and sob a little.
Last week, Adam and I didn’t do much. I can’t speak to his perspective, but this week, I’ve been thrown into adulthood. I’ve complained about rent, huddled around a television with six girls to scream at Andi (The Bachelorette), and discovered how to make coffee without a Keurig machine. I went two nights without a blanket and pillow in my bedroom with no lights, and I’m in sync with the 6:00 A.M. ambulances.
Yet, I love it here. I think that this is the “biggest small town” I have ever been in. I haven’t been to New York myself, but I can’t help but to think that this place is New York City scaled down into a few blocks. On one hand, you’ll find massive tour groups walking around with cameras, but in any one of the five bars surrounding our apartment, you’ll hear frequent locals laughing and shrieking to Katy Perry as the bar plays “Dark Horse” for surely the tenth time in one night. Mayo eclipses the city with its powerful skyscrapers, but there is definitely a positive relationship between employees and locals.
The history of the clinic itself is impressive to me. During the Civil War, William Mayo traveled to Rochester, MN to aid President Abraham Lincoln in examining soldiers for the draft. Serving in several philanthropic roles, Mayo soon opened his medical practice. His sons, William and Charles, continued the family practice. When a tornado struck the city in 1883, at least 30 townspeople died and several hundred remained injured; therefore, the brothers worked to provide relief efforts, transforming local hotels into temporary hospitals.
I could tell you more about the 76 buildings or how Mayo has ranked as a Fortune 100 company for over ten consecutive years. I could mention the one fire extinguisher I got to play with yesterday (they told us to use it!). Overall, I am still overwhelmed with the building that I work in. This summer, I will be working within the Plummer building.
Plummer, constructed during the Great Depression, served as the office for the Mayo brothers and partners. I will be working on the 3rd floor within the Program for Professionalism and Ethics.
This means that the entry to my office is almost directly across from the original Mayo brothers’ offices. Of course, I was honored to receive this fellowship in January, but seeing the offices really helped me understand the weight of this experience. As I looked around at the main room with every wall covered from floor to ceiling in honorary degrees, a Noble Peace prize, and awards, I couldn’t help but to be amazed at the brothers’ prestige.
Today, in one hour, I spoke with someone who handles $5 million donations, an ethicist trying to find a translator for the Dinkan (?) language to help a patient, and a Franciscan sister hoping to help the patients among the 800+ beds in St. Mary’s Hospital. I have looked in on offices of physicians that I have read about in national news – today, I gazed up at one of the main research buildings where a physician helped cure a patient’s cancer with the help of measles.
I’ve entered into something bigger than just some summer fellowship. I’m working for a leading provider in both care and research endowed with approximately $500 million in donations every year. I’m not throwing that number out to show off some figures for a company. As a not-for-profit organization, Mayo Clinic relies on its benefactors and patients alike for donations.
Over 80% of patients give to Mayo Clinic. Over 1,000,000 people visit Mayo per year in search for clinical care.
People give to Mayo because they have the confidence in what the organization does. They have entrusted Mayo to lead research in regenerative medicine, advance cancer care, and reform health care administration. They have entrusted the staff who work tirelessly to provide the best care.
They have faith in Mayo Clinic’s ability to transform medicine, to follow the tradition set forth by the Mayo family.