The clinic was pretty boring today. No women were even in the staging area for a birth all morning. Still, there was some good stuff that happened.
The first set of rounds to inspect the babies was with a doctor I hadn’t worked with before. He didn’t have med students do any of the touching, but he was very thorough and described everything he was doing in very good detail. I still don’t understand everything by any means, but I think I picked up a few useful bits of information from this set of rounds.
Once that finished, we went to the largest waiting room of Belenpampa for a Catholic mass. I’m telling you, these things pop up everywhere. I guess that today is “Patient Day,” so this is their way of blessing their patients and thanking God for the healing he has provided. We only caught the very end of it because of rounds, but it was still super interesting to see. Once the service ended the priest came into the maternity/neonatal area to bless the rooms, the babies, and the mothers. It’s so interesting to me that government-funded clinics have such religious emphases since that would never happen in the US. I’m also still not yet entirely accustomed to having holy water cast over me, but I’m getting more and more accustomed to it now.
Much of the down time I talked with the med students. They’re helping me learn slang and other fun cultural components. They’re so fun and nice, they have spiced up this week significantly for me. Especially since I’ve been tired. We were able to watch the Olympics for a while, although figure skating was the only sport with TV time at the moment. It’s impressive, but there are other events I prefer. Sofia came by during a lull in Tópico and we enjoyed a figure skating rivalry. Both the US and Italy had strong presences in figure skating.
The last clinical event of the day was another round with the doctor I mentioned before, who asks questions and is very thorough. I enjoyed rounds a lot. I learned about the muscular development of babies and how that development influences their ability to take in food or milk. The woman had the baby in the wrong position and that’s why she was experiencing problems with vomiting. At the end he asked us if we had any questions. There were so many things I wanted to know more about but didn’t know enough to ask about. Fortunately he just kept going. He discussed some of the differences between the medical system in the US and that in Peru. For example, Tuberculosis is a significant problem in Peru, but it is hardly on our minds in the US. Perhaps the most interesting to me was his explanation of finances in this clinic. I guess that there was a recent change in September that made the budget even tighter. If they don’t conserve gloves, masks, syringes, etc, it is entirely possible that the entire clinic will collapse. When he put it that way, it is more clear to me why there are so many things that I see as needing improvement hygienically. They see it too. They want it to change. But if they don’t continue providing care in this way, it could be catastrophic to the future of the clinic and its patients.
The afternoon was normal. I played some soccer with Joaquin outside, which is always a joy. I don’t think steps are usually part of a soccer field, but it works fine for us. Spanish, ProWorld, etc. was typical as well.
In the evening I went to the Célula, although this was a different one than last time. We talked about having encounters with God, and John 4 was one of the central passages. I’m very familiar with this passage because we’ve studied it in IV many times, although Carlos did take a bit of a different perspective on it which I enjoyed. At the end of Carlos’ expositions we always go around person by person to discuss our response or what we learned. That could be intimidating, but I managed ok. The night ended with an announcement of a retreat that’s going on this weekend. I have other plans I was making, but I would really like to go to this. It’s funny because now I’m the guy who has to be convinced instead of the one always doing the convincing. I still don’t know if I’ll be hanging around the city this weekend or running away to this retreat. You’ll know Monday J