Presentation at MCW

Jessica, Namine, and I gave our annual talk on equipment and accessibility at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

It’s a yearly tradition for us to give a talk to a class at the Medical College of Wisconsin. For a couple years during quarantine, we gave the talk virtually; we’re happy to say, however, that we’re back to giving it in person. There’s just something about being there. (And that’s coming from someone who doesn’t relish giving speeches!)

And speaking of… speaking, I have become more comfortable, as the years have gone on, with speaking to the class. Jessica still does most of the speaking, and I’m more than happy to have the primary role of clicking “next” on the slides. But I think our overall comfort in giving the speech has rubbed off on Namine.

It used to be that Namine would have zero desire (or less) to speak in front of the class. She was comfortable being talked about, she just didn’t want to say anything herself. But as we’ve been asked to speak in front of various groups — not just the MCW, but at the Variety fundraiser as well — she has become more comfortable and felt more welcome in speaking her mind.

I suspect that speaking in front of groups is not just something we’re not always comfortable with, either. We usually get a bunch of questions after our talk is done, but this time around there weren’t too many. Once the students were excused by their professor, however, several came up to us to ask some questions individually. And that’s fine with us too: we’re there to share our knowledge, inasmuch as our 15 years’ worth can be shared in an hour and a half, anyway.


After our talk was over, we headed over to Children’s Hospital (which shares the enormous campus with the MCW) for some bloodwork that Namine still needed to have. We had budgeted enough time in between, so we had some time to kill.

In one of the lobbies of the hospital, there is a large touch-screen kiosk where anyone can create a virtual airplane with a message inside. Namine created a message of her own, wishing others a happy Halloween, and then explored some messages left by others.

Namine is an old pro at having bloodwork done. She has long since gotten over her fear of needles, but she also has a system. She is particular about instructing the phlebotomist when to put the needle in her arm, and they are very good about accommodating her.

We fully expected this to be a routine blood draw, but something in the room drew Namine’s eye. It was a poster advertising the SmileyScope, a VR headset intended to calm and distract children for an easier time having blood drawn. Namine needed no distraction, but being a technologically savvy teenager, she greatly enjoys VR games.

Of course, this wasn’t a game, but rather a slightly interactive movie. There were a few options available; Namine chose the underwater exploration. She was able to keep the headset on a little while longer after the phlebotomist finished taking her blood. This allowed her to finish the looping video one last time before removing the headset.

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