Wednesday, March 26, 2014

First Day in Santa Rosa

I woke up early today to go to Santa Rosa, where there is another posta for me to work in.  Lalo (ProWorld employee) and I had a great talk about my experience on the way to the clinic.  When we arrived, I was surprised by how small it was.  Belenpampa is a more elaborate healthcare establishment.  The waiting area for Santa Rosa is outside under a roof that looked ok at best.  I would not volunteer to sit under it during a rain storm.  After a few minutes he passed me off to the managing doctor.  She is very nice and very bubbly.  Her Spanish is fast, but I still get most of it.  I think I’ll enjoy working with her.  She passed me off to admission for the day, which is a service I’ve actually never done in Belenpampa.  There was a reason for that, being that too many people were already there and it’s not actually any kind of medical experience.  If this were my first time in Peru I would have been shocked by the amount of paper in the room, but I instead was pleasantly surprised by the color-coding.  They have a folder enclosing the patient histories, which seems to me like a great way to help keep things straight.  Belenpampa doesn’t have the same system, but they would probably have to dig deep into the rainbow to get enough colors.  My height was very advantageous in this context.  I did actually feel quite useful today, which is not a feeling I had in Belenpampa until after I’d been there a long time.  I’m sure my Spanish is a part of that.  When most of the patient histories had been taken out, I was summoned to triage, the staging area for patients where they are weighed and have their blood pressure taken.  More tasks and direct patient interactions!  Being a technical type of person, I analyzed the scale as a scientific instrument.  It looked about like the typical scales seen in doctors’ offices.  The large counterweight was held in position by a loose washer on a nail instead of the secure grooves I’m accustomed to seeing.  This meant that it could move a little bit while still being counted as 40 or 60 Kg or whatever it was set to.  One lady I was working with wanted to calibrate it to 0 before every patient, but that was completely irrelevant because we’d have to move the big weight anyway and it would end up in a different position.  Also, we rounded to the nearest Kg then always rounded down ~1 due to clothing.  I would have to guess the uncertainty of such an scale is probably 2-3 Kg.  Despite my fun thinking about the scale, it was wonderful to feel useful.  I also sometimes would call patient names to have them come get weighed and to have their blood pressure taken.  While it was necessary, I think they also enjoyed watching me attempt to pronounce the names.  To me, I feel like I’m pronouncing them right.  But occasionally people didn’t understand me and other patients would call the name again for me so it would be clear.  Very kind of them J 

See, the beauty about this clinic is that there aren’t very many students there.  A few who would be willing to help me out (although they’re all Peruvian), but not so many that things get congested like in Belenpampa.  There, it’s becoming hard to do things (except in Sala de Partos) because more and more students have been arriving as I spend more time there.  This really may be a better hands-on experience than many services than Belenpampa were.  I’m excited about my time here J

For lunch, Tania’s cousin who lives in Italy came over to visit.  She isn’t here long, so they had to take advantage of her time in Peru.  What a great lunch, as seen below J  I continue to be surprised by how similar many conversations here are to conversations back home.  Sandro started it by talking about how even though they didn’t have all the technology that kids have today, he thought they were made better people from it.  They went on to discuss all the problems technology is creating in the younger generation.  Very true, and this is totally a theme that would come up in a common conversation at one of my family functions.

Trout appetizer with the typical Inca Kola

Tania's Lomo Saltado :)

I did some project stuff in the afternoon, then had Spanish class in the early evening.  I have a different professor this week because Rodolfo had to travel with his other work.  She’s very kind, and used to own a pharmacy so she knows a good amount about the medical system in Peru.  Yesterday she started off telling me stories about her trip to the jungle about 10 years ago.  It’s absolutely crazy.  We started off talking about a beautiful set of birds she saw one morning.  I guess they always fly to some specific mountain in the morning, and they were able to witness that.  She couldn’t complement the incredible nature of the jungle enough.  However, it is important to not go during the most rainy season (February, start of March).  She almost got stuck in the lodge because the river was so high from heavy rains.  The guide decided to try crossing the river when it was clearly unsafe because she wanted to get home.  That’s crazy.  They tried 7-8 times until they were finally able to cross the river.  There was legitimate concern that they would be sucked into a small canyon that water was pouring into because it had gone beyond its banks.  They would not have survived if that had happened.  It sounded like a terrifying experience, so I’m glad I can go later in the year.  She has been a tremendous help with the interviews, clarifying words I transcribed incorrectly.  I think she gets a lot of enjoyment hearing what the doctors say because of her interest in the healthcare system.  She also clarified Essalud for me, which is the system where employees are covered by a premium paid by their employer, so healthcare is free to them.  I’m trying to get all the securities straight here, because that will help me a lot in unrolling the final paper of my project.  She also told me a lot of stories that will help me remember the different aspects of the healthcare systems and the doctor’s responses.  

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