When I showed up to work today I knew I was looking for either Reynaldo or Jorge, because you couldn’t pay me to work with Adriano again. I conveniently saw Reynaldo as I was walking into the building. He paid me for the dictionary then agreed to let me work with him in his office today. For some reason, doctors don’t seem to start working until about 9AM. I guess that’s typically when people start arriving to have medical consultations. Tomorrow I might arrive to Belenpampa closer to this start time to avoid awkwardly hanging out for 45 minutes.
My time with Reynaldo was better than yesterday. He had 14 patients to meet with in the morning, which usually only goes from 9 until 12. The doctor-patient time seems comparable to what a family doctor would have to do in the US. As interesting as many patients were today, I’m becoming convinced that I couldn’t be a family doctor. It’s hard for me to imagine myself sitting in an office all day like that. I think I would go crazy. It’s certainly valuable and necessary, but I do have to report that I will become part of the problem with the shortage of family practice docs.
The first patient of today was not in very long, but he had a skin abnormality that Reynaldo told me looked like Leprosy. That was terrifying, I didn’t realize that was still a significant problem here. The test came back positive, then they filled out an epidemiology sheet outlining where he had been after the symptoms had started. I don’t know what is done with epidemiology records here. Interesting patient number 2 was a man who had painted cars for over 30 years. The problem was that he was working with lead-based paints and didn’t wear any kind of protection for 17 of those years. Yes, you read correctly. 17. The effects of lead poisoning were now setting in, with the most significant factors being shortness of breath and an overworked heart. Lead can’t just be removed from the blood, so the best things to do are prevent further exposure and rest to let the body heal. It’s astonishing to me that no one told him to wear protective gear for 17 years of working with lead paint. That’s absurd. I’m honestly surprised he’s doing as well as he is. Another interesting case was a little girl who had hives. This is an allergic reaction on the skin that typically arises from food. There were several women who came in for complications after pregnancy, although the doctor said that what they were experiencing was not abnormal. Another woman was probably starting menopause. I saw another little girl who had to wear leg braces at all times and still couldn’t walk even though she was of age. Anything I didn’t understand I could ask Reynaldo or the pharmacy student who was working with him. That’s a much better feeling. In terms of patients it was really an exciting day.
In the afternoon all was normal until I decided to go check out the gym. Tania and Sandro told me about 2 more that are nearby, so I checked those out too. They were less expensive, but not as nice. The machines were old and they seemed dirty. So I returned to the first gym that I mentioned yesterday, which is very clean and almost all the machines are new. It is definitely comparable to a good but small gym in the US. Another nice thing is that because of the newness, there are very few members and I get the gym to myself! Sweet gig.
In the evening I was supposed to go to a dinner with ProWorld (though they weren’t paying this time), but I for some reason mixed up the time. I thought it was 7:15, but when I rechecked the text at 6:50 it said 7. Oops. There was no way I could get to the plaza on time. So, I spent the rest of the night preparing my class schedule and beginning some application brainstorming and writing. Don’t hate me, but in the fall I think I’ve figured out a Fall schedule where I only have classes Monday through Wednesday. That would be very convenient for any potential interviews, and it will give me the freedom to work and volunteer for much of Thursday and Friday. The Winter semester isn’t so pretty because upper level physics classes are never scheduled in a convenient way, but I should be able to tolerate it. That semester will be difficult because I will not have taken an intensive physics class in over a year. I still have 2 credits to fill that I’m unsure about; if you have any brilliant ideas, please send them my way J