Week 1 via cut & paste

Day 5, finally figured out the blog — I apologize in advance for the long copy/pasted version of my first week : ) .

I landed in Jamaica on Monday without problem. I actually slept through both flights – the beauty of leaving almost post-call. Customs was easy, and despite a brief oops at airport lounge when my name wasn’t on their list of guests, check-in went smoothly and I am now installed in villa #9 for the next month. In addition, I was able to recognize a vacationing couple who Diane knows and thoughtfully emailed me regarding and I ate dinner at the buffet (yummy) with them. Afterward, they showed me the parrots (really) and the view from their room – gorgeous, I would love to have the pictures they took off their balcony! I spoke with my driver, found the laptop/cell phones, and enjoyed some free time.

Wednesday was my first day on the job. I met my driver in the circle out front and we set off on the winding roads to Port Maria. Arriving at the complex, I discovered ‘my’ room had been damaged by recent rains, so I was taken to the clinic (first building encountered). I unloaded my two bags worth of necessities in a small room; my first 16 patients arrived shortly thereafter. Things I learned today: 1) Dramamine is a good idea, but it doesn’t take away driving down the ‘wrong’ side of the road and the random passing of Jamaican driving! 2) Clindamycin is not stocked at the Port Maria pharmacy. 2) Obtaining a urinalysis by dipstick here means you test pH, sugar, and protein. Diagnoses included abrasion, cellulitis, cellulitis, URI, dental abscess, URI, and my case for the day: a 7 mo with vesicles on her tongue, lip, and under her eye. I wish I had taken a picture and hope she continues to drink well to stay hydrated.

On Thursday, I returned to Port Maria. I was much more comfortable with my surroundings, but much to my chagrin, the first pediatric patient didn’t show up until 11 AM. However, based on the number of mothers who were there and took down my clinic dates for the month, I should have more than plenty from now on! Diagnoses today included: fungal infection, fungal infection, URI, URI, impetigo, and a child with tight heel cords who can’t walk yet/stands on his toes whom I sent to ortho for a referral. I learned today 1) A referral consists of a form that is filled out that the patient then takes to the specialist. I also obtained sheets for x-rays and labs for future use.

Today I headed for Annotto Bay Hospital. Despite it not being c-section day, it was newborn day and we received three admissions in a row. One was a 25 weeker; without a ventilator, incubator, and NVN, his chances will be limited. He will be in my thoughts this weekend. I did experience first-hand CPAP here while helping to combine tubing, a bottle of water, and an oxygen tank.

After three days full of eye-opening experiences, I’m very grateful for the tools I have at my disposal in Iowa. I’m also looking forward to a weekend off — sunshine, here I come!

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