In case you missed part one, check it out here. Otherwise, here we go with part two. Let’s start with Friday morning. I thankfully slept better than the night before so when the alarm went off at 6am, I was a bit more rested. I spent the early morning doing Insanity Pure Cardio and showering. I then joined everyone for breakfast in the complimentary concierge lounge on our floor.
I dug into some eggs with ketchup, fruit, and a brown sugar maple muffin with peanut butter. Everything was surprisingly good. I actually ended up taking another one of those muffins back to my room for pre-flight food on Saturday. After breakfast we all walked to Myriad for day number two of the conference. Our morning consisted of shadowing customer service representatives. It was interesting to see all they do in a day. I think they’re probably saints because only those with incredible patience could deal with insurance companies all day, every day. It was so heartening to see how much work they put into getting tests covered for those people who really need them. Also, these representatives are responsible for identifying some of the discrepancies that may come up like ordering the wrong test given the indications listed on the test request forms. They have the patient’s best interests at heart, truly.
Next up was an interesting case conference with some of the genetic counselors. They had some very funny and sometimes frustrating calls to talk about. My favorite one was the funniest of all. Someone sent in a buccal sample (cheek cells collected by mouthwash swish) and when they sequenced the gene it came up with all sorts of polymorphisms and changes that weren’t in the normal database. Turned out that the sequence exactly matched that of a cow. That person must have had a large steak before doing their sample…and they probably didn’t brush their teeth. Haha. So the lab sequenced the cow’s DNA rather than the patient’s.
Afterwards was snack time. On the menu: fruit salad, all manner of cookies, and mini carrot cakes. I am a sucker for the latter so I had two of those. My cookie was some sort of dark chocolate with white chocolate chips, basically delicious.
Sugar fueled, our last session was in another building. It outlined some non-traditional roles that genetic counselors fill at Myriad. We spoke with a regional medical specialist, a clinical director in sales, and a person in the marketing department. Regional medical specialists are typically genetic counselors who work in regions of the country as an in-person liaison between Myriad and the providers. They go out and help answer questions and address any problems with test ordering. They also do a lot of provider education. It’s a pretty cool job though it requires a lot of traveling. They travel roughly three days a week and spend the other two doing phone follow up. I’m not sure I’d like to travel so much. Who knows though, maybe it would depend on what region of the country…
Shortly after the non-traditional role session, we filled out some evaluations for the program coordinators and then dug into the lunches we ordered the day before. I got the bistro salad which had chicken, crasins, bleu cheese, candied walnuts, almonds, and mandarin oranges. There were also some tomato slices, broccoli florets, and cucumber slices. I dressed it with raspberry vinaigrette and had a mini loaf of sunflower brown bread on the side.
I really enjoyed the bread. The salad was good too, especially the bleu cheese and crasin bites. It kept me nice and full for the whole afternoon which we spent taking pictures and saying our good byes to half our group. What a lovely day it was outside! I apologize in advance for the abundance of group shots. We all got along really well so we figured a few shots to document the cohesive friendship wouldn’t hurt. Plus, we needed some with the lab, some with the crazy pretty sculpture in the hotel lobby, and another where you could actually see all of our faces!
Upon seeing a bunch of our friends depart for the airport, the remaining got dressed for hiking and ended up chatting it up in the lobby for a while before heading to an early dinner at a local-famous Mexican place.
They are known for their different moles so we got a sampler platter to try them all out. I fell in love with one made with peanut butter, poblano, banana, walnuts, and Mexican chocolate. It was awesome!
To kick our immediate hunger we had chips and salsa along with some poblano queso dip. It had a great pepper flavor without being too spicy.
We figured that we should celebrate our trip’s end in style, so what else did we order but margaritas! I decided to try a unique one first off.
Then I finished up the night with a house margaritas with salt on the rim. I think I actually liked this one better but the first one was a nice change of pace.
To eat, I ordered a new-to-me dish: enmoladas. Basically they are corn tortillas folded into triangles and filled with refried beans then doused in whatever mole you want with pickled red onions. Side of rice rounded out the meal. The whole thing was delish and I pretty much sopped up all the mole I could get my fork on. Loved it.
Dinner was brought to a close with an authentic Mexican serenade. It was adorable.
Thankfully we had gotten there for dinner around five in the evening because when we left to catch our cab, there was a line out the door. Our cab took us to our next activity: hiking to The Living Room! Essentially, this is a place on top of “mountain” where hikers have arranged all these rocks into lounge chairs and couches, etc. We were a determined bunch because we heard it was the best place to watch the sunset. We started hiking at eight and boy, it was a steep one.
I’m sure the fact that the air is thinner in Salt Lake City than any of us was used to combined with the fact that there was a big fire outside the city polluting the air.
We climbed and climbed and climbed and ran into a really nice foursome of guys also hiking to The Living Room. When we finally arrived there were plenty of people hanging around but thankfully a bunch left and gave us all room to find some seats.
I grabbed an “arm chair” and we all settled in to watch the sunset. The boys we met even shared their celebratory beers with us for making it to the top without dying.
The sunset was, without a doubt, beyond beautiful. I’m so glad we went. It was the perfect way to end the trip.
On our way down we got to see Salt Lake City come to life at night. By the time we were back down to the hotel it was getting pretty dark.
Before heading to bed, we all hung out for the last bits of time we had together. We chomped on some cheese and drank some beer courtesy of Amanda’s parents. It was her birthday the day before and they had sent things to her room as presents. Obviously you couldn’t put that on the plane so we figured we could help her out a bit. We also watched a whole bunch of silly YouTube videos before calling it quits.
I woke up the next morning at 5am for head to the airport. Amanda and I shared a cab which made the morning easier and thankfully security was fairly quick. Both my flights were on time, always a blessing, and the whole thing went by without much complaint. I snoozed, read, and did a whole ton of sudoku puzzles. When I arrived at home, Matt and Ashley came to pick me up and they spent some time with me checking out my apartment (they hadn’t ever seen it before!) before leaving me to my own devices. It was so good to be home yet bittersweet. I had such a spectacular time. I didn’t want to leave. I kind of miss everyone already too. I’m so thankful for the experience though. I learned a ton.
Question: What sorts of things do you like to make
sure you do in a new city or one you’re visiting?