Thursday, March 31, 2011


It is so hot here I literally stuck my head in the freezer this afternoon. Words cannot describe the heat and humidity.
I saw 8 patients this afternoon, most spanish speaking only. So here is my dilemma: when seeing these patients, you have to first know medicine and figure out what the heck is going on with them, then translate into spanish in your head in order to communicate to the patient and just pray you are making sense, then go to the pharmacy and see if they even have the drugs you want to prescribe. About 60% of the time they do, but if not, then you have to figure out what will substitute for what you originally wanted to use. This requires a lot of brain power, and by the end of the day, I’m completely spent.
This afternoon the clinic had a “dedication” of a new part of the clinic that will be opening soon. It is the new maternity and pedi ward. The 3 doctors from the clinic spoke, and then we toured the new facility (pics to come soon). We had homemade traditional island barbecue and live music. What a fiesta!
So, there’s one thing I left out of my “morning routine” yesterday - BUG SPRAY. lots of it. several times per day. We have various insects, geckos, and cockroaches in our apartment. Cockroach killing has become a nightly traditional at our house.
The clinic I work at is called Clinica Esperanza/Ms Peggy’s Clinic. It was originally started in the kitchen of an American nurse named Ms Peggy. From there, she moved to her basement for more space, then to donated space in a hotel, and eventually got land to build the clinic. There are about 4 exam rooms. The new ward upstairs is so interesting. I can’t wait to show pictures. There is another hospital on the island. It is the government run facility with minimal resources. The clinic actually donates supplies to the hospital. And the clinic is completely DONATION based. Some fun facts about the hospital (NOT the clinic I’m at!):
1. Rumor has it, if you go to the hospital with chest pain, they will give you an aspirin, tell you to chew it, and then to go home and pray. Honest to goodness truth.
2. Sometimes they have an EKG machine, sometimes they don’t.
3. No septic system. Just got running water.
4. If the lights go out (which happens very very often here) in the OR, they just keep operating. They get people to hold flashlights.
5. They currently do not have an ER.
6. The clinic donates lots of supplies and medications to THE HOSPITAL. The ambulance comes with a “wish list” of things and the clinic gives it to them if they have it. SCARY.
7. Most of the nurses don’t have past 4th grade education. A couple of years ago it was mandated they had to have a 6th gr education and a lot of them got mad bc they were going to have to go back to school
Mind you, I have heard these fun facts from other volunteers and islanders. But I keep getting the same info over and over so I feel like they are fairly reliable. I am hoping to tour the hospital at some point while I’m here.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

3.29.11 and 3.30.11

“If you don’t use it you lose it.” It’s true. Of both Spanish and Algebra.
Roosters start crowing about 4:00 am outside of my apartment. Since air conditioning is a rare find, the windows stay open. Which means I hear them crow for A LONG time every morning. There are also a lot of chickens and dogs and geckos. It’s a short walk to the clinic in the morning. Just across the road an up a hill. If you’re lucky someone will pick you up and take you up the hill. It’s about 100 degrees and 150% humidity here. You never feel clean, even after a shower. This place is really beautiful. Mostly jungle and beach. Yesterday was a pretty tough day. My spanish is definitely not what it used to be. I am seeing patients (kind of) by myself, but it’s definitely difficult when I can’t understand all of what they say, and I can’t say what I want to. After clinic I went down to the dock and read for a while. I will be tutoring an islander on her Math for the SAT. Yesterday was the first day, and my algebra skills leave much to be desired. It’s been about 10 years since I’ve done algebra, so I’m learning with her. Thankfully, it came back pretty quick. I will be tutoring her 2-3 times per week. Yesterday I was pretty homesick, and I prayed that God would just give me more of Him and comfort me. He did. And for that I am so grateful. Last night, I got a new roommate. She is from Switzerland, and she’s volunteering at a school here. I think it’s going to be nice having someone else to stay with.
Every morning the nurse at the clinics greets me with, “good morning, doctora.” Sounds weird but there’s not really a translation for PA here. The past two days I have spent some time triaging patients and working on my basic medical spanish. I have also spent some time in the pharmacy dispensing medications. Then I will see patients in the exam rooms for the rest of the day. It’s going pretty good. I saw about 10 patients today by myself between 8:00 and 1:00. Mostly spanish speaking only - which means i looked up a lot of vocabulary during the visit!
The manager of our apartment came by yelling at our room around 6:30 this morning. If you need someone here, you don’t knock or call. You just come by their house and yell until they come to the door. It works, I guess. My morning routing which used to consist of shower, makeup, drying my hair, getting dressed (in matching clothes) now consists of brushing my teeth and putting on scrubs.
We are done with clinic for the day now, and I am going to the dock for a while.

Monday, March 28, 2011

3.27.11 and 3.28.11

I arrived on the island yesterday about 1:00. By 3:00, I had already been to the grocery store, checked in at the hotel, eaten fresh watermelon, and picked up 4 hitch hikers on the way to the beach. Spent the afternoon at Tabyana beach. Ate dinner and watch firedancers and crab races on the beach. Last night after all our beach fun, a volunteer at the clinic drove us home. (Mom, don’t read this:) We rode in the back of the truck, down Honduran roads at break neck speeds back to the hotel. On our way back home, the girls who are volunteering at the clinic pointed out the “crack house” to me. I was so glad they did. Then went home, took a cold shower, and went to bed. Not a bad first day!
Clinic started this morning at 7:30. Patients were lined up at the door at 6:00 this morning waiting in line. We had already reached our maximum amount and capped by 8:30. We saw about 46 patients today between 3 doctors and 2 volunteer PAs. I worked mainly in the pharmacy today, and shadows a few of the doctors. Tomorrow I will hopefully be seeing my own patients. This afternoon we went down to West End to look around. Then ate dinner at this amazing place called “Wet Spot.” We were the only people there - gave new meaning to “made to order.” We just told the cook what we wanted when we walked in and he made it for us!
I am so excited to be here, and am anxious to see what all I learn, but I am really missing my husband pretty bad. Please pray for me that I will have strength to do what I’m here to do.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Well… I can’t believe it’s time to go! I leave for Honduras tomorrow morning. Please keep me in your prayers. Pray that God will help me to accomplish what He sent me there to do, and that I will learn A TON about international medicine along the way!