“The book that I read that changed the trajectory of my career was…”

Answering the prompt, but changing it a little about "If I had an influential class in high school?" And I will instead answer the prompt "Have I ever read a really influential book that is still kind of impacting what I do now?" And the book that I read that changed the trajectory of my career was Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder. So it's a book written about Dr. Paul Farmer, who is a global health doc specializing in a lot of things but primarily infectious disease, and he was one of the first people that was really advocating for people living in poverty to be treated for tuberculosis, which historically had been really challenging because it's a super long treatment regimen, you know, 12 months to 18 months at least when the book was written, and the drugs are really expensive. They're often very toxic, so they're chemotherapeutics. They're - in addition to curing you of tuberculosis, they might also make you deaf or blind. So just really gnarly drugs that need to be taken regularly. And if they aren't, it can cause tuberculosis to become resistant to those medications which is hugely detrimental to society. So we've already seen multi-drug resistant and extremely drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis, and as much as we can keep that from happening, the better. Just it gets so much harder to treat and more expensive. So, but the purpose of the book was sort of describing Paul's approach to treating folks and how he was not satisfied with the answer at the time, I think, of the World Health Organization, which is basically it's too expensive to treat people for tuberculosis in like these certain areas of the world. I think "It's not cost effective" was the term, and he really pushed back against that. And at the time I was considering maybe going to med school and it's kind of counterintuitive 'cause I read this book about this physician doing something I feel really powerfully about, and it made me not want to become a physician because I think I was so focused on the fact that like he's trying to impact these, you know, one, two, three people, this handful of people in this area, and really it's the system that's broken. It's the World Health Organization saying "This isn't cost effective," and ultimately, you know, he's working to prove…

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“Prop 3 was the most important contest to me personally.”

So I didn't vote this week. I voted, I think, almost over a month ago now, because Michigan is awesome as heck and we have absentee voting. So I actually kinda forgot it was election day until people were talking about the results. The most important contest was actually to me, not between candidates, but on a ballot proposal which was Proposition 3, which is enshrining the right to reproductive rights in the Michigan Constitution, and it passed. And that makes me really, really happy and really, really relieved that I live in Michigan. I'm originally from Wisconsin which has been gerrymandered all to hell. It's awful. So, a lot of bad stuff has happened in Wisconsin in the last decade or so, especially, because of that. So, Michigan's laws and stuff are superior. They really are superior, they are. The way that Michigan votes is the reason that I'm alive. It's the reason I now have guaranteed reproductive rights. It's - I will never leave Michigan ever. So yeah, Prop 3 was the most important contest to me personally.

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“It was not like riding a bike.”

But I did learn my senior year of high school, I learned to play the guitar. Someone from my church gave me some free lessons and I played throughout college, and that was the one I enjoyed the most because I like have written songs ever since I could write and to be able to write my own songs and then like actually play them, like come up with the music for them and everything was really satisfying. I just played for me. I didn't play in front of people or anything. I just played because I enjoyed it. And I still have my guitar which was my dad's old guitar and I hadn't played for years though, because once I got married and had kids it's like well, I don't really want to - part of it was something that I did for me and I couldn't with all those people around. So I dunno, maybe last year when I was alone for a weekend, I got out my guitar and I was like, "Maybe it'll be like riding a bike, you know?" It was not like riding a bike. I remember, you know, five or six chords, but after that I like had to look 'em up and it was like, "Oh man, I've really lost my skill here." But, still very fun, and I'm glad that I did it and that I could still sort of kinda do it.

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“… we all were in the art studio making the cave.”

And then he even had us do hands on projects. Like I will always remember this. So we were studying kind of like, I call it caveman stuff, but like, the Paleolithic and Neolithic type of stuff. And you know cave paintings, and so he had us, as a group, as a class, make a cave out of cardboard and make cave paintings and think about - like we each got to make one painting in it and you had to think about like why would you make that painting. And so I have - I had a cat at the time so I drew like an outline of her and that was gonna be my cave painting 'cause I really loved my cat. And I remember - and then like this one guy worked at a factory and he could get refrigerator size boxes, so he brought those in and we were all like, "Yeah, that's so awesome," you know? And so we all were in the art studio making the cave. And this one, she was kind of a more like liberal, smaller, soft spoken girl. Uh, lady, I should say. And this kind of like huskier, you know, huskier, commanding kinda guy were arguing because - I don't remember which one's which, but one of them wanted to put cardboard on top of our kind of like U-shaped cave to make it look more, feel more cave-like. And the other one's like, "No, that's gonna block the light or something, and we should have it open." And they were like - and everyone else in the room was quiet. It was just like a circle with them kinda in the middle and everyone's just like listening. So instead of it being like everyone's putting input in, it's more like there's these two people arguing with each other and then I guess whoever wins, we'll do whatever. So I tried to come up with the meet in the middle solution and like, you know, "Both ideas are good, why don't we do half of it with a covering to kinda get that feeling and then the other half is open to let the light in." But they were both so into the argument that I don't even know if I was like heard or you know or acknowledged or anything, but yeah. And I thought it was interesting…

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