In the past five days I have had the wonderful opportunity to shadow at three completely different sites. Although these places provided different experiences and knowledge, they all had one thing in common – the employees were very welcoming and eager to teach.
My first experience was with a group of 24 young adults and 2 physicians from the University of Michigan. They were doing a 10 day program with the Global Brigade. They had to fundraise enough money to bring over medical supplies which allowed them to treat those in a village called Abor as well as neighboring villages. I heard that one mad walked 4 miles just to get treated! I believe that they had 6 different stations, but I was only able to observe 3 of them. They first placed me at the doctor station, where the patients would come in to talk to the doctor and he would prescribe them some medication. The doctor that I was with took the time to teach us things about malaria, such as what type of mosquito transfers the parasite and what symptoms are associated with it. Next I went to the triage station. This is where the students would take down the vitals of the patients. This process was somewhat slow because the group did not know exactly how to take the blood pressure correctly. Also, everything was in pounds and degrees Fahrenheit and needed to be converted to kilograms and degrees Celsius. It was quite uneventful. Lastly, I went to the OB/GYN station. I learned what the uterus, bladder, and Pouch of Douglas looked like on an ultrasound machine. The doctor that was in charge allowed us to hold the flashlight while the examination was going on. We told him what we saw and then he would pull out the ultrasound and showed us how to determine if a woman had an infection or not. Towards the end of the day we got to see some fetuses! I remember seeing the heartbeat of the baby for the first time. It was exciting. We even got to see a lady who had twins! We learned how to measure the diameter of the head to determine how far along the woman was in her pregnancy. I also learned that women who are pregnant gets free healthcare for their entire term as well as 6 months after the child is born. I find that this is very interesting because it is different than the states. That was a good way to end the day. I think the group serve close to 500 people that day.
Two days later, I got to go to a small clinic called DIS, near the guesthouse. It just recently opened in December, so the patient list is not very big. They currently only do out patient care, but hope to one day be able to do in patient care as well. I was first in the consulting room. The nurses tried to show me how to determine someones blood pressure. It was difficult, and I still do not think that I can do it. I will eventually be able to. I wasn’t learning much so I asked to see the laboratory. Here, I met John. He is the lab tech. I learned a great deal from him. I observed which tests can be done to test for typhoid as well as malaria. I don’t know what a positive test for someone with typhoid would look like. But I did get to see the malaria parasite under a microscope! John also showed me what sickle cells looked like. He is very knowledgeable and taught me a lot. Throughout the day, the other employees would come in and talk with me. The environment was great and everyone was very welcoming.
Today, I went to the Regional Hospital. First off, Thomas was supposed to show me a “short cut” but it ended up taking us 40 minutes to walk there. Oh well, it doesn’t hurt to get some exercise. When I finally got there, I was placed in the accident and emergency room. I saw a man with a big Inguinal hernia, which is located in his groin area. He was clearly in a great deal of pain. I also got to see the nurse put in a catheter. The man was screaming. Watching it made me nauseous and hot so I ended up having to sit down outside of the room. It wasn’t very busy in there today. Though, I only was there for about an hour and a half.
So far I have enjoyed my experience at the various healthcare facilities. I’ve learned so much and can’t wait to go back!