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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!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Day 5

We ran the clinic today with much greater efficiency. Since many of the students don’t speak very much Spanish, we had a medical translator with us in our small groups yesterday to help us communicate with some of the patients. Each time I would fumble in the least bit, he would take over for me. I began to feel a little frustrated because I wanted the opportunity to improve upon my medical Spanish by listening and speaking with the patients myself. Upon arriving at the clinic today, however, Dr. Cerrato told Leslie and me he wanted us to work together independent of the other groups and translators (in comparison to the other students, we speak by far with the greatest fluidity).

The two us saw and treated over ten patients in the morning alone! We listened to the people attentively and had no problems understanding and responding to their health concerns. Like yesterday, we first took patient histories and then proceeded to conduct physicals (including blood and urine tests when necessary).
The patients we treated came in with a variety of health issues- UTIs, gastritis, diabetes, ear infections, hyper-tension, skin rashes, parasites, arthritis pain, ECT. Many older patients with arthritis are forced to suffer from unbearable joint pain because they don’t have access to the basic over-the-counter painkillers we don’t think twice about taking in the United States.

Despite their squalid living conditions and the adversity they face each day, the people of La Concha are extremely happy. There was rarely a time I looked around the clinic and didn’t see several smiling faces looking back at me. I especially enjoyed treating some of the women and children. Dr. Cerrato taught me how to do a prenatal exam and let me aid in the process. I was able to hear the baby’s heart beat with my stethescope and feel along its back and head. I’m excited and eager to work in the labor and delivery wing of the Masaya Hospital in a week and a half. My experiences yesterday and today have made me think about my life as a pediatric surgeon or maybe an OB-GYN.

We finished today earlier than normal because the people spend their Sundays at home with family. On our way back to Masaya, we stopped at a nature reservation. One of the local guides led us on a two-hour hike. We saw a beautiful waterfall, a 250-year old tree, and several animals. It was really nice to get some exercise, but afterward we were all exhausted from our long day. Tonight we are going out to eat as a group and will then have a presentation on some of the cases we saw today.
I’m growing more accustomed to the local culture each day. Nicaraguan food is delicious! I brought about 30 just in case granola bars to snack on, but it doesn’t look like I’ll be needing any of them. Each morning we eat breakfast where we are living before heading out to the clinics. This morning, we ate the most “American” meal I’ve had- french toast accompanied by sausage, fruit, and rice with beans (a staple of every dish I’ve eaten here thus far). During our lunch breaks, we have been going to one of the wealthier homes in La Concha where they set up tables and chairs in the front yard for us to eat. I’ve never tasted such fresh food.

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