Once again, I started to feel overwhelmed after the pharmacy seminars on Friday. We discussed the most common ailments in this community, the various drugs we will likely prescribe in the clinics, as well as their positive and negative effects. We also learned how to distinguish between similar infections/diseases and what medications are used to treat them. We focused quite a bit of our time discussing the diagnosis and treatment of common parasites, skin infections, diabetes, and UTIs/STDs.
Before leaving for dinner, Dr. Cerrato reminded us that in the clinic WE will be the physicians and he is just a guide to help us along the way. I’m not sure how I feel about being told I’m a physician before I’ve even started medical school! I’m eager and excited to serve, yet nervous about the responsibility that comes with it. Dr. Cerrato also reminded us that we are here to both treat AND educate. The majority of the people in the communities we are working with know very little about health and hygiene. In order to help eliminate many prevalent public health issues, we must cut the problems at their roots by teaching preventative measures.
Overall, I really enjoyed my first day working in the clinic! We pulled up to the small Catholic Church in La Concha at eight to see a long line of people from all walks of life patiently waiting for our assistance. All of the chairs had already been moved out of the small building in order to give us ample space to set up the health center. Before seeing our first patients of the day, we unpacked the medical and pharmacy supplies and proceeded to split up into small groups. We were all individually responsible for taking patient histories, discussing current medical issues, and conducting general physical exams. We were then permitted to discuss the patients as a group and give our diagnosis/recommendations to Dr. Cerrato.
From opening to close, we examined and treated just about 30 patients, thus meeting our goal for the day. Tomorrow (when I'm hopefully not nearly as exhausted) I'm going to write more about the people of La Concha, the conditions in the clinic, and my experiences with some of the patients. I feel like in just four days I've already learned so much about medicine. We are all constantly working on our medical Spanish, bedside manner, proper diagnosing procedures, ECT. Each day I'm learning how to become a good physician.
On an unrelated tangent, it is extremely humid out. I need to come to terms with constantly sweating and remind myself that feeling sticky is a very small problem to have. I’ve decided to kick my coffee/Diet Coke habit and replace it with lots of water instead. Bug spray is also a must-have. I thought my “40% DEET Sportsman-MAX OFF” would no doubt keep the bugs away, but the pesky little things aren’t afraid of it for more than 15 minutes. I'm trying my best not to scratch away at my mosquito-bitten legs...easier said than done!