Reflections on the month

Having reached home (brrrr, it’s cold), I thought I would summarize the last week as well as give a few thoughts about the last month. My last few days flew by — the 25 wk preemie was holding his own on CPAP, I admitted a child with failure to thrive (less than the third percentile for weight/height/head circumference), went to Ocho Rios for coffee (yum, Jamaican coffee…) and a movie, and wrote a few more referrals to Bustamente. Saturday I soaked up as much sunshine as I could while saying ‘good-byes’. Despite my best effort, I am still ‘white with spots’ (freckles) as one of the children at Annotto Bay described me :)! My return flight was smooth including customs, and I discovered that it is indeed 20 degrees in Iowa as well as Jamaica…unfortunately, one is Fahrenheit and one is Celcius.

It is incredibly hard to believe that the month is over. At the beginning, I was slightly skeptical about what this experience would be like. I have no more doubts now! For those looking into trying this rotation, I definitely recommend it. It is a great chance to ‘try your wings’ before entering fellowship or taking a real-world job, since you get to function a lot by yourself. Also, the rotation exposes you to a few things that you don’t see often here (at least I haven’t — such as lots of versions of fungal infections, worms, rheumatic fever).

Helpful hints: Take something to read or study with you every day…you never know when your driver will stop at the airport, another clinic, or any number of places on the way. Not to mention that during the majority of my stay, I rode with other hospital employees rather than the drivers as the hospital vehicles were often in the shop. Therefore, you may be waiting for he/she to finish work. On the bright side, you can obtain many different perspectives of Jamaican healthcare by talking to the numerous people who provide rides — I learned a lot from the hospital administrator, parish manager, parish accountant, health officer, and a taxi driver in addition to the regular drivers.
Along the same lines, always take something to eat / drink.
Play volleyball at the resort — apparently, I am the 3rd of 3 of us to do so…it would be fun to continue this tradition :).

Most helpful items I brought with me daily: Otoscope/opthalmoscope & tips…could have used curettes. Harriet Lane, hand sanitizer, stethoscope, toilet paper. Needs I encountered: Port Maria clinic could use some Pap Smear swabs, Annotto Bay would love a Red Book…and I don’t know for sure about Port Antonio.

Enjoy! Feel free to email regarding any questions you have. Thanks for following my journey!

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