OVERVIEW

Thank you so much for taking time to look at our blog! We are a group of edical students who are passionate about training and in underserved areas. This January and February, we are in Peru, the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica internationally as well as locally in Flint and Lansing completing volunteer service, rotating in hospitals and clinics, and learning about international medicine and local underserved health care. We appreciate any time you take to read our reflections and any donations you might offer.

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Wednesday, January 15

First week in Peru
 
Day 2 (1/12/13):
Now we are on a bus to huancayo that has spotty wifi. It took about 10 mins to load my email. We should arrive in huancayo at 8 to 9. Lima reminds me of Quito. It just goes on and on forever and very dusty  with lots of poor housing complexes just lining the highways and sprawling up the mountainsides. I have had weird food so far. I had beef heart on a stick. I actually thought it was just steak and then later discovered it was heart. It was my fault bc I communicated with the guy in Spanish so missed that somehow. This morning had French fries with weird sauces and a cut up hot dog over it, it is called salchapapas. Anyway, gonna nap now bc I hear that's the best way to avoid motion sickness and the bus ride already has me a little queasy. I'm excited to meet my host fam.

Day3 (1/13/14):
Hey! Peru is good so far. Lima was nice but I saw very little of it. It is huge though. I am excited to see more of it after I leave huancayo. Huancayo is a medium size city of about 400 k ppl. It is super industrial and pretty dirty. Today we just went to the hospital and buddied up with Peruvian students.  it was a public hospital and super crowded and run down (by U.S. Standards). I Saw a patient that has tuberculosis of the vertebra that weakened the vertebra and also seeded the Spinal cord and he broke a few vertebra and now he is paraplegic, and tuberculosis really only spreads beyond the lungs when tb goes untreated or inadequately. treated for years, so that was interesting but very sad obviously. Hopefully I can get some pictures of the wards before I leave. Tmr I am spending the day with an obstetrician bc I told the group leader I like that. Also tmr I start Spanish lessons with a tutor that is coming to the house I'm staying at.  Things are insanely cheap here. For example lunch costs 7-8 soles and includes soup, a choice of one or two entrees and dessert. And the exchange rate is $1 equals approx 2.75 soles so that lunch is about 2.50- 3 bucks. Also bc we are in a town in the mountains that's like 8 hrs from Lima there is actually no diversity here so when we walked Down the street ppl are obviously saying "look gringos" and pointing us out. It's kinda funny. Also tons of stray dogs and cats here. That's sad too. Ok more later. 

Day 4 (1/14/14)
Today we went to the same public hospital as yesterday. I didn't end up going with the obstetrician like I was told yesterday. Instead I paired up with a Peruvian med student and went on rounds with her on the women's surgery ward. It was actually a lot of the same type of surgery cases that are seen in the US (at least the same as my two months in surgery). Lots of gall bladder surgeries, appendicitis, pancreatitis, and a few trauma cases from car accidents. One lady had a hydatid cyst in her liver that was 14 cm though, which apparently is common here. Another lady who was in a car accident had worsening cellulitis surrounding the knee. Another lady was thought to have a small bowel obstruction but the Peruvian surgery attending thought that the obstruction had lasted longer than it should have and so it was possibly intestinal tuberculosis or some other rare tropical diseases that I forget now. Then after rounds on the surgery wards I went with another American student in my group and the same Peruvian med student to the pediatric ward and the Peruvian student basically just reviewed a medical chart with us and taught us medical vocab for about two hours , which was helpful. I am trying to learn a lot of medical vocab these past few days. But the chart we reviewed was of an 8 year old boy who spoke Quechua and had an orbital fracture because he tumbled down mountain during a mudslide. His left eye was actually hanging out of his socket and it was in a bandage. All that was in the morning. After lunch we had our first Spanish lesson. It went well. I hope to really recuperate some of the complex grammar that I have lost over the last 7 years since I studied in Sevilla. I am really enjoying my host family. They are all very affectionate like a typical Latin family and seem to love us a lot already. Anyways, I'll try to update again tmr. 


Day 5 (1/15/2014)

This morning I went to the women's and children's hospital. First we rounded in the obstetrics ward. 
It was similar to the other wards, where against both of the longest walls are rows of beds, with maybe 8-10 beds in each row. So there's no actual patient privacy and no curtains between the beds. And there are classic type pictures of Jesus and the virgin hanging everywhere. And when we round there's a huge group of us, including the Peruvian attending, 2-4 Peruvian residents, 2-4 Peruvian medical students, and 2-4 American volunteers. So all of us go bed to each bed and discuss in detail the patient's case, even in the case of them having miscarriages or pelvic inflammatory disease, both of which are the cases of patients in those wards. The ob/gyn was very nice to us and explained a lot of things, and spoke more clearly Than the attendings I've rounded with in the past few days at the general hospital. However he didn't wash his hands between patients, just moved bed to bed and examined every patient. The Peruvian medical students were super helpful with helping me learn anatomy and medical words, like cervix, dilation, Fallopian tubes, steroids, bowel sounds present, etc etc. the patients were pretty standard I thought for that ward, some miscarriages, uterine fibroid, dysfunctional vaginal bleeding.

After that I went to the pediatric ward, which was smaller. This attending spoke very loudly and clearly but didn't seem to be very sensitive to the patients, for example he talked about diabetes causing blindness in front of a young girl admitted for diabetic ketoacidosis and was generally brash with parents. But on the other hand he seemed very smart and ran the ward and his resident team very similar to the American wards.

Then I was prompted to go to a vaginal delivery but when I arrived the baby was born already but then the mom had post partum hemorrhage, and a TONNNN of blood was being lost, but I had to leave because our ride arrived just as the obstetrician that we rounded with arrived to handle it.

During lunch I had a long convo with my Spanish teacher where she tried to make me use verb tenses that are more complex. I have the feeling she is a very good teacher. She charges 20 soles per hour, which is about $8. So I feel like I'm getting a lot for my money and bc I'm paying for lessons I hope 
that keeps me motivated to study.

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