Another Week in Jamaica

 
Monday was very busy last week! I’m not sure if that’s usual for a Monday or if word has spread that there’s a pediatrician that is visiting. I have had plenty of people asking when I’d be returning so it may be a combination of both.

Earlier in the week I had an impressive case of a patient with left sided lymphadenitis and what appears to be a left peritonsilar abscess after trauma. He was punched in the neck the previous day while at school and the swelling had occurred overnight.

I also discussed an interesting patient with Dr. Ravi later in the week! She a young known asthmatic who began having an adverse behavioral reactions whenever given albuterol. According to the chart (called a docket here in Jamaica), the reaction happened both at home as well as at the hospital. The patient wound up being treated with Atrovent in addition to steroids with the plan to be sent home with atrovent for rescue. I’ve never seen a case of albuterol/ventolin allergy.



When it comes to language, while English is the official language, of course many patients speak creole or patois. I’ve been fortunate enough that I’ve been able to understand most people for the most part. Sometimes I need to ask for clarification but it’s relatively uncommon. Of course, even though we may speak English, my accent is obviously different from a Jamaican’s. I’ve had some people think I’m Jamaican and you can usually tell the confusion when I start speaking. So to head it off, I introduce myself as a visiting pediatrician from the US. This week while in clinic in Annotto Bay, I had a fun conversation with a 7 year old girl. While setting her up to go home she turns to her mother and asks in mock whisper: “She’s lives somewhere else?” Her mother responded: “Yes she’s from far away!” The girl paused a second before saying “That’s why she talks like that?” It was so cute I had to laugh. I turned to her and said: “Yes! That’s why I sound funny!” It made me wonder what Americans sounds like to Jamaicans.

My final day in Port Antonio was this past Friday and it was a busy one! At one point I had 7-8 charts waiting for me to be seen. I was able to get some help from the other Doctor in the A&E. I particularly remember two patients. One was an infant present with URI symptoms and wheezing. He overall was well appearing and mother already had an albuterol inhaler. Unfortunately she wasn’t instructed on the proper use of the inhaler and so the child was only getting his medication once a day for the wheezing. I spent the visit breaking down what was causing his wheezing, why he will likely wheeze unlike his sister, the effect of the medication, and the appropriate times and frequency to use it. She was very grateful. Its reminded me of our job to educate our patients and their families about their health so that that can own and improve their lives.

Until my next and final post!

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