Wow, just like that 4 weeks have flown by! Our experience here has been one that words will not adequately describe. On arrival, we were extremely overwhelmed with the health system, the lack of resources and the handwritten (rarely comprehensible) notes. Slowly but surely, we learned our way around and fell in love with the patients and the support staff. The nurses, doctors and residents were all extremely helpful at explaining how to navigate the system and helping us with day to day tasks.
During our time, we saw the cutest babies on the planet and were exposed to many diagnoses that we simply don’t encounter as frequently in the US such as rheumatic heart disease and myiasis. We also practiced independently and gained a new sense of autonomy. As we leave, we will take with us renewed strength (thanks Ms. Caryn for the massage), increased knowledge and the overwhelming amount of love that has been showered on us since day 1.Memorable moments:
- Telling a mom that her baby’s name (Chloe) was beautiful and asking her where she got it from. Her responding pleasantly, “Thanks! At first I thought it was a white persons name but now I love it!”
- Having 1 chair in my exam room and telling a young boy to sit down, then his mom walking in and him getting up to allow her to sit, stating, “Have a seat my love!”
- Hearing patients describe ‘mold germs’ and ‘balloon germs’.
- Riding in the ambulance to and from work.
- Walking around the resort and at any given moment, someone walking by and recognizing you and yelling, “HEY DOC!!!!!”
- Indulging in a beef patty every day after returning from work.
- Taking our first Noni juice shots (my eyes are still cringing as I write this!)
- Walking by the talking parrots (before knowing they were talking parrots of course) and hearing them say, “HELLO!” Then looking at each other for confirmation that we both heard the bird speak.
- Super Bowl party on the beach (man Jamaicans really know how to party 🙂 )
- Friday lobster nights at Eight Rivers!
Thank you to the people of Jamaica for instilling their trust in us and allowing us to care for their children, Issa Trust for the wonderful opportunity and the staff at Couples Resorts for taking us in and truly making this feel like home for us. One Love and we’ll meet again soon.
With all our love,
Shanna and Wanda
– Your friendly neighborhood pediatricians, Shanna and Wanda
“Excuse me ma’am, is there anywhere to eat at this hospital?” I asked the resident at Annotto Bay. She chuckled and responded, “Yes, there is a tuck shop right around that corner.” I thanked her, but in the back of my mind I had no idea what she was talking about. After multiple conversations with Diane, our driver Everton, and finally just breaking down and following the signs to the ‘Tuck Shop,’ I am pleased to say that I now know where to purchase my snacks! Yes, a snack shop! Now, for a little history on the origin of a Tuck Shop brought to you by our neighborhood sponsor…Le Google – The term “tuck”, meaning food, is slang and probably originates from such phrases as “to tuck into a meal”.
Along with being enlightened, we also managed to squeeze in some clinical experience. We saw, literally, the CUTEST babies everrrrrrrrr in clinic this morning. I joked with the mom’s while giving lots of advice on seborrheic dermatitis and breastfeeding. Meanwhile, Wanda saw a patient with congenital syphillis!
To wrap up our day, we saw a little girl who had stubbed her toe on a dresser and developed a painful abscess. We performed an I&D in A&E with the help of her mother and the sweetest nurse ever. I’m sure that little girl will thank us….not today….but some day…perhaps.
Wanda and Shanna (while sipping smoothies at the fruit and veggie bar and watching the waves hit the shoreline)
…until next time!