Saturday, January 18, 2014


My Thursday started off with a typical run, not too far or fast.  I managed to catch the bus shortly after arriving at the bus stop, so I wasn’t late to work! 

The clinic started off well.  I’ve been feeling more and more comfortable contributing, so I was directing patients about where to put their samples to be tested, and I was strongly considering taking down the basic patient information that Lady (the nursing student) does.  I know all the questions, the only part I was concerned with was getting the names right.  I was figuring out a system to make sure I got the names right without having errors in the book.  Unfortunately, the day took a turn for the worse very early on.  The doctor (Bety) asked the nursing student if she knew where these certain pills were.  She didn’t, so she turned to me.  I knew she was talking about when I was helping her yesterday.  These interactions were so insignificant that I didn’t mention them on my previous post.  There were a few bins she needed for organizing patient drug regimens, so I got those for her.  I also pulled out a bin that she was having difficulty with; putting those things in drawers is helpful but also really annoying.  Today, she said she’d given me a set of pills to set in a specific box, and they are not there.  I do not recall this incident, and it seems odd that she only accused me of this after I agreed to help her go through those old bins to try to find it.  She was really angry though.  For a solid 20 or 30 minutes she raved about how the gringo had lost the pills for this patient.  Where could he have put them, where could he have put them.  I am not the kind of person to go parading around an office looking for somewhere to hide pills.  If I did touch the pills yesterday, I would have put them exactly where she said because I don’t do anything in this office without checking to make sure it’s correct.  My lack of language skills requires this.  But I was unable to communicate all of this today.  She came at me speaking quickly and angrily, which naturally makes it harder to understand.  I actually was surprised by my level of comprehension, but it didn’t end up helping much.  My brain raced quickly, so I couldn’t formulate as sophisticated sentences as usual.  “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember” communicate different messages than what I’ve typed above, but I was never given the opportunity to express them to the doctor.  I just had to sit through her frustration, knowing there was no way I could help, and no way I could absolve myself even though I wasn’t at fault.  I talked to the nursing student, and she said that Bety must have been confusing me for something else.  I could tell that Nielida was also trying to settle her down and to support of me.  These things are helpful, but neither of them have the power that Bety does.  I spent most of my morning outside trying to avoid any kind of interaction.  I gave up my plans of trying to contribute.  I didn’t talk to patients.  I didn’t seek out opportunities to help, because I assumed they would be met with distaste.  Eventually Nielida had an X-ray to take, so I did that with her as a nice break.  I read my dictionary for a little while, then Bety set me to stapling together those pieces of paper for containing drugs for drug regimen.  I wasn’t about to object, and busy work didn’t sound entirely bad.  I promise I’ve already made enough of them to cover my entire 4 month stay though.  Eventually I got to go to lab with Lady, but even that didn’t really cheer me up.  I did not do a good job of staying engaged today, but I struggled to know what to do when I’m being charged of something I didn’t do by someone who is more powerful than me, and I don’t speak the language well enough to express myself.  I need an advocate who I can go to, but I didn’t think Nielida or Lady would be much help.  Of all the ways for my first discipline in the clinic to turn out, I wasn’t hoping to be bashed by a doctor for something I had no part in.  I’m glad that I will be able to switch specialties next week.  Tomorrow she won’t be there, which is a relief to me.  I can say that I had cooled down by the end of the day, and realized that in the big scope of things this day is not as enormous as it seemed.  But I did realize the importance of having a good mentor for my next rotation. 

Lunch was great, but Joaquin didn’t want to do a math lesson because he was tired.  Of course he still proposed playing soccer and other games, since those don’t require any energy.  I would have stuck around and played with him, but Skype and Meghan were calling so I couldn’t stay.  I know he wants to spend more time with me, but it’s impossible to appease everyone all the time.  That said, I do plan to make some time for him this Saturday. 

Spanish was good, I’m still enjoying my lessons.  I find that we typically spend the first half of our time talking about fairly random subjects, sometimes related to the homework and sometimes now.  I greatly enjoy this, since I get help with mistakes I commonly make in my daily speech.  Some of the most useful tips he gives are about the differences between English and Spanish words that aren’t always expressed by a translator.  For example, there are two words for ‘bring’ in Spanish.  But one means to bring from here to somewhere else, and the other means to bring from somewhere else to hear.  Or I could not use the word for ‘broken’ to describe a car, since in Spanish that would have to mean a physical break.  Very interesting stuff.  

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