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Managua, Nicaragua
I'm participating in a month-long medical trip to Nicaragua, so I'd like to use this blog to document all of my experiences abroad and keep everyone at home in touch!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Day 10

This morning we opened the clinic in San Juan de Oriente. We arrived around 7:30 to set up the pharmacy and medical equipment in the relatively small Christian church before treating patients. Just like in La Concha, there was a long line of people already patiently waiting for our arrival. Fungal infections, UTIs, and allergies were the most common reasons for seeking help from us today.
Each day, I’d like to write about at least one particular family or person that had an impact on me. Today, that person was a 50 year-old woman who came to Leslie and me seeking treatment for an allergic reaction she had been experiencing for the past year on her leg. She wore long socks with closed toe shoes and described the area as a painful itch. After completing her health history and conducting a general physical exam, we asked her to take off her shoes in order to examine the area. Expecting to see a small amount of inflammation or redness that is characteristic of a typical allergic reaction, we were both shocked to see that the entire area from right below her knee to her ankle had turned a deep purple color. Right above her shin, there was a quarter size open wound partially covered by a blackish red scab.

Today was the first day this woman had sought professional medical help for the problem. For over a year, she had fought through the pain of the severe staph infection, hoping her body would heal itself. When Dr. Cerrato arrived, he told us we needed to tell her to go to the hospital or a health center immediately to seek a stronger antibiotic than what we had available to give to her. In the mean time, we were able to prescribe the strongest antibiotic we have in our clinic as well as a painkiller. I’ve been reminded several times in the past week I’ve taken my health and the resources I have available to me for granted. Today was certainly no exception. The majority of us never think twice about our easy access to healthcare professionals or medication.

We closed up the clinic early (around 3) because today marked the first day of the ceramics fair the city is hosting this weekend. We were able to walk around and see more of the exquisite pieces displayed on tables along the city’s main road. Several of the families expressed their gratitude for our arrival and offered us good prices for their handcrafted pieces. Tonight we are traveling into Managua to eat together at a Mexican restaurant. We are all quite interested in tasting Nicaragua’s interpretation of Mexican food!
Tasting one of the local sweets in San Juan de Oriente (pretty much a frito with sugar instead of salt)

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