It stopped raining!!

Stevie and I decided to blog every few days so here is our next update.  This rotation continues to be amazing.  It’s a great opportunity to help people  in need, sharpen your physical exam skills, learn from experienced clinicians and enjoy the beautiful country of Jamaica.  Friday was our first day at Port Antonio.  This hospital is over an hour away but the drive is breathtaking in areas– you can truly see multiple aspects of Jamaican culture en route.  When we got to Port Antonio, I took care of all the kids in the A&E and Stevie went to clinic.   There actually weren’t supposed to be peds patients in clinic on Friday but because Issa Trust has done such a great job of bringing in pediatricians, the community has learned we are now there on Friday.  As soon as word spreads that the pediatrician is there, the patients arrive.   Stevie took care of many interesting rash referrals from simple vaginal candidiasis to disseminated scabies to a complicated rash which was likely super imposed with a staph/strep bacterial infection.  Often times these rashes have progressed past stages we see in the US.  She asked several of the patients to return next week so we could follow up on their progress.  Look at that continuity of care even while we’re in Jamaica!!  In the A&E I saw several typical pediatric emergency patients — asthma exacerbations, gastroenteritis with mild dehydration and an interesting 8 week old with a large lateral neck mass whom I referred for an ultrasound and asked mom to return with the results.  The physicians and the patient families are very appreciative of our being there.  I had two of the physicians I worked with explain to me how helpful it would be to have a pediatrician on staff at all times but unfortunately in Jamaica that’s just not feasible.  All the physicians there are fabulous but they’re not pediatric trained and they are super busy with 3 of them covering almost the entire hospital.  It’s a clear that having an extra set of hands on deck can really help!!  I had one mother tell me that she’s wanted to see an actual pediatrician for so long and was so happy to hear earlier that week that we were coming on Friday!!  One final note about Port Antonio that I don’t want to forget to mention– it’s beautiful and Stevie and I went to explore the city during our lunch break.  It’s bustling with life and unfortunately we didn’t quite make it to the pier (we had to get back to the kiddos) but perhaps we’ll have icecream on the pier next week!!

This past weekend was the best weather we have had in Jamaica yet!!  Although I will admit Stevie and I both got a little too much sun on Saturday!!  Our weekend started Friday night with a lobster dinner at a fabulous restaurant at the resort.  After eating way too much for dinner, we enjoyed live music and delicious wine– the combination definitely had us dancing in our seats!  Saturday we spent the morning laying out on the beach relaxing and then took a catamaran  cruise in the afternoon.  The cruise was perfect– tasty drinks, driving the boat, swimming in the ocean and completing it all with an awesome dance party with all the others on board.  On Sunday we participated in our first excursion away from the resort when we went ZipLining through a mountain rainforest.  This was perhaps the coolest thing I have ever experienced.  We took a sky walker to the top of a mountain, went on 5 zip lines and then went “bobsledding” around the mountain.  This experience was amazing and I recommend it for anyone in Ocho Rios!!  The weekend concluded with an amazing Asian dinner at Bayside restaurant followed by a gorgeous night on the rooftop bar.  I continue to be grateful to Issa Trust for not only allowing us to take care of these adorable kiddos but also to get to experience this country in a way that otherwise would have been impossible during residency.  It’s true in Jamaica, no problems man!!

Now back to the real reason were here, to help the children of Jamaica.    Monday was spent back at Port Maria.  The morning started out much slower then it had the previous Tuesday but by the end it had picked up and we’d seen plenty of rashes, ear infections, respiratory infections and viral gastro.   We also saw several of the follow up patients from the weekend.  The afternoon can be challenging because often the lab closes and the pharmacy closes well before you are done seeing patients.  Sometimes you feel like you are treating patients without all the information.  However, you learn to trust your physical exam and your gut (sick vs not sick).  You also have to educate parents about what to watch for at home and when to bring the child back.  The same is true back home but it sometimes feels magnified here!  All  in all, another great day.

We just got back to the resort and it’s gorgeous today so we’re off to enjoy this weather!!

Sunburned but still happy


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