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.

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