Thursday, June 7, 2012

Week 1 has gone by!  I feel like I’ve been here for ages already until I realize it’s only early June.   6 weeks ahead.  I think it'll go by faster when we can get started on our projects, but the IRB unfortunately is giving all of us a hard time.  I wouldn't be surprised if we had to wait another week until out projects get approved.

We got an email saying that everyone passed Red Block (what we call the Scientific Foundations of Social and Behavioral Medicine, Evidence Based Medicine, and Ethics) which means 1 thing: OFFICIALLY A RISING 2ND-YEAR MEDICAL STUDENT!  WOOOOHOOOOO.

I’ve attempted to start getting back in shape by doing 2 miles of running at 6:30 AM and an hour of yoga every other day.  I would normally run more but I have 3 obstacles: I’m still monstrously sore from the hike.  Also, there’s nowhere really to run… I run about a mile to the Palace, and back.  Then it becomes too uphill and torturous.  People don’t really exercise here so I just look stupid running and get many stares.  Sometimes people clap… which is also really weird.  Most of the day after I’m out of the hospital, I sit on my lazy bum under the porch since already things are winding down around 3 or 4 PM.  It’s much too hot to do anything anyway.  I’d prefer not to have another fainting experience!

Right now I’m covered in 20+ mosquito bites.  My left leg/ankle is suffering the worst:
That was from 3 days ago.  They're a lot less itchy and regressing, but they're just being replaced by new ones:

On Tuesday, I worked with Dr. Sisse who is from Africa and doing his residency in Hopital Sacre-Coeur.   I scrubbed in a resection of a fibroadenoma, which is a benign tumor of the breast common in young women.  I got to scrub in, actually hold instruments, and feel the tumor.  It was a lot bigger than I expected and rubbery.   That was one of the coolest things I ever got to do!  Then we followed up on 3 post-op patients, 2 children with ileocolic resections and a woman with really bad osteomyelitis (bone infection) in her mandible.  We had to drain the pus around her mandible, and the infection had also spread to her temple too.  My heart just went out to her as we drained it, because it just looked so painful, and she was obviously in so much pain.

Wednesday I was in the pediatrics unit and NICU.  I learn about so much pathology here it’s unreal, things I definitely don’t see in the US as often: just yesterday, I saw pneumonia (A LOT), all kinds of anemias, heart murmurs, systolic clicks, cleft palate, Hirschsprung’s, Kwashikor, acute glomerular nephritis, etc. just in the pediatrics unit!  The doctor I worked with spoke little English but thankfully enough medical terminology overlaps.  He asked me to teach him Korean, so I taught him to say hello, and also wrote it out in Korean.  He looked at it, beyond confused, and said "okay that's good enough for me" haha.  The doctors here for the most part are great, and they take the time to explain things even though they have a hard time with English.  I've started making a list of things I see in the clinic so I can look them up after I get back for the day.   I'm really loving the clinical experience here.

Today is a Haitian holiday, so everything was closed.  We decided to go to the most touristy beach in Haiti, which isn't very touristy (it is Haiti after all), called Cormier Plage.  It's absolutely beautiful:

 Food unfortunately wasn't as good.  $15 for tiny shrimp (I was expecting big, grilled shrimps) and okay vegetables on the side.  I'm starting to get sick of the very starchy meals here already.  Uh-oh.

I am a pasty Pasty hah.  The beach was pretty empty when we first got there around 10, but later in the afternoon it got crowded with other Americans in Haiti volunteering, and Chilean UN workers (there's a UN office near Milot, in Cap-Haitien).

Untapped paradise!  The ride there and back was interesting.  We rode in a tap-tap, which is this open back van.  Normally, you tap on the side when you want to get out, but we reserved this one for the day.  The terrain was not paved for the most part so it was interesting.  Also lanes, kind of exist but not really.  Cars and motorcycles just weave in and out, no helmets for people on motorcycles.  Ay carumba.  I'm never riding one of those motorcycles.

 I can't believe I'm missing basketball right now.  Every day I wake up, I check the score immediately, reading the play-by-play and wishing I could watch the games.  GAME 6 TONIGHT!  I'll continue to mope in Haiti from sadness, not being able to watch KG, Pierce, Rondo, Allen, Bass... sighhhh.

Continue to send emails please!  I love reading about everyone's updates back home.   Love and miss you all <3

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