Countdown to Haryana

photoToday’s guest blog is by Patricia Toland with our U.S. Managed Healthcare Services team. For the next two weeks, Patricia, a registered nurse, and nine other Lilly Connecting Hearts Abroad Ambassadors will volunteer with the Lilly NCD Partnership in Haryana, India. Patricia’s preparation for the service trip began weeks ago, as she shares here. Stay tuned to LillyPad and Lilly’s Facebook page to learn more about the work of our Lilly Ambassadors and NCD partnership in India.

Three weeks to go: Our Connecting Hearts Abroad trip to Haryana, India, is on my mind.  It’s been fun—and humbling—to see how people have responded. When I went to see my doctor for my pre-trip shots and explained that I was going to India as part of Lilly’s Connecting Hearts Abroad program, he asked several questions and even joked that perhaps he should apply to work at Lilly. And a customer with whom our company is working to improve diabetes care among geographically-dispersed populations is hopeful that my experience in India will provide valuable insight on screening for and treating diabetes among large populations.

Two weeks to go: Colleagues are asking about my attire for this adventure. There hasn’t been this much interest in my apparel since junior prom! Clothes for this trip include shirts infused with DEET and pants that filter out ultraviolet rays. We’ll also be wearing traditional Indian attire on assignment. My clothing selection has been based on how much it weighs and how fast it will dry. I also have glasses that fold in half for easy storage. By day, I’m downloading apps and guide books. By night, I’m puzzling over maps and reading about Indian history, culture, cuisine, and public health. I’m starting to get excited.

One week to go: Everyone is so supportive. My boss is covering my geography while I’m gone. My cab driver, who’s from Mumbai, has offered to take me to the airport for free. One of my customers wants to follow my blog. Even my dentist took me on a Saturday to ensure my new crown was good for an overseas trip.  A friend made me a sari. And my cousin has volunteered to make my weekly NFL pool picks. I’ve also started taking anti-malaria pills. I’m paring everything down to the essentials. Why take shampoo when a small bar of soap will do? Sunblock can work as lip balm. I have printed my schedule and am now rifling through my dresser for my red Lilly shirt. I have decided to go with the flow, learn all that I can, and help where I am most needed. I’m definitely excited!