Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Med Student Input

I slept in today because I was so tired from the last few days.  It was very nice, I enjoyed it.  I went off to work as usual, but had some difficulty catching a bus.  I waited at least 15 minutes, when a red bus arrived.  I look for red buses since that’s the color of San Jeronimo, which is the bus I need to take.  But this one wasn’t marked, so I assumed it was one of the other bus lines that looks similar.  As it pulled away, I saw a sign in the window that it was actually what I was looking for.  Oops.  Five or 10 minutes later, I saw another San Jeronimo bus coming my way.  But it was in the far lane from the bus stop.  So it drove by and I couldn’t flag it down.  I assume it was full, but it was still frustrating.  So 25-30 minutes after I arrived to the bus stop, I was finally able to catch a bus.  There is something nice about buses having schedules with all the buses looking the same.

The clinic was good today.  In the morning I helped with a few X-rays, then watched while some patients were given drugs orally or IV.  I asked if I could give injections, and it sounds like that is a good possibility in the future.  Although I do think I may be talking to Dr. Jorge tomorrow about switching disciplines, I’m not sure.  I’m sure I could do injections in another part of the clinic as well.  Later we were looking for some patient histories so we could add the new files into them.  A med student from the school in Cuzco came in and started helping us.  We got talking about the differences between how med school works in the US vs. here.  I guess that they just have 4 years plus 2 years of specialization.  They don’t go right in after high school, but have to train for some tests first, then those tests determine the discipline you go into.  You go to the university in your town, so people in Cuzco really only have 1 choice.  So maybe the whole med school thing takes 5 years with that, I’m not sure.  Their exams also are different than ours.  Instead of having exams in every class, they only have 2-3 exams per semester that span all their classes.  I’m sure they cram hard for those things, but it seems like a strange system to do it like that.  I also learned that Belenpampa isn’t technically a “clinica,” but rather is a “posta,” which is basically a free or cheap medical facility.  So the prices are lower because of government subsidization.  Most clinics would charge ~10 times what is paid here for medical services.  Still cheap compared to the US, but it does seem more reasonable if an X-ray costs more than $4.  It was great having someone to talk to and hear experiences relevant to my own goals.  I also learned that I might be able to get more hands on experience in the ER of a nearby hospital.  That would be incredible, I hope to do that in the near future.  I need more information though.  Attempting to organize folders into alphabetical order for 2 hours is much more tolerable while chatting.  I must say, the electric medical systems we have are absolutely wonderful when contrasted with that mess of folders.

Back home I had lunch, played soccer with Joaquin, and went to ProWorld.  Surprise, today was a cultural lesson about the history of Cuzco!  I am very disappointed that I wasn’t informed of this by ProWorld, but I was glad I showed up in time to catch almost all of it.  Because the girls are part of a university program they’re getting a way more in-depth orientation that me.  I guess that’s fine, but I wish they would let me know when cool things are happening.  I ended up basically missing my Spanish class because this presentation went long, but I was fine with that.  The complexity of Peru is fascinating to me.  This country has such an ancient and sophisticated history, I enjoy learning about it immensely.  There aren’t many 3 hour presentations I could sit through and stay engaged in for the whole time, but I was totally attentive all the way through this one. 

In my Spanish class, I’ve been learning about reflexive and reciprocal verbs.  I already had a decent grasp on reciprocal verbs, which are basically things you do to yourself, or at least that’s how it’s written grammatically.  Examples include brushing your teeth or getting up in the morning.  Reciprocal verbs are similar, but they describe the actions of people in a group.  This is a way to differentiate between looking at someone compared to the 2 of you looking at each other, or you hugging someone versus you giving an awkward hug that isn’t reciprocated.  This thought process is very unique to Spanish, so it’s cool to learn more about it and understand.  If I want to become fluent, the key is to not take English phrases and translate them into Spanish well.  I need to be able to think in Spanish, the way that Spanish native speakers think. 

I later returned home and ate a very unique cultural dish; Papa John’s.  I must confess that it was nice to taste something familiar again.  Tonight was very fun with the family.  First we talked about an incident that happened last time some volunteers tried to cook something in the apartment.  Apparently they were used to using gas stoves,  so they didn’t realize you can’t just turn it on low and leave it there without making sure it catches fire.  So the room filled up with gas, then BOOM explosion.  All the stuff they were planning to make was strewn across the floor, their hair was singed, and one of them lost her eye brows.  The family had left to relax while the girls were cooking, so they came back to this chaos.  It sounds absolutely hilarious, although I’m sure it was scary at the moment.  We also celebrated Catie’s time here, since she is leaving tomorrow afternoon.  Delicious cake from the store and many many pictures.  Here is the best one of my family (I left my SD card in my camera, but I’ll update this post tomorrow so just scroll down to see it):

Also, the Lima tickets weren’t as cheap as I thought.  The timing brought the price up to almost $200.  Not worth it, so I'll reschedule my Lima trip for another time :)

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