1st day volunteering at medical clinic (Aug 2)

UGH… working at a clinic is hard. And stressful. But definitely exciting, captivating, meaningful, and interesting. For the month of August, I (Justin) will be volunteering at a clinic on Roatan, a small island of the coast of Honduras in central America. Clinica Esperanza (clinic of hope) was founded by Ms. Peggy, and is run off of donations and volunteers. Days will begin at seven AM and end between one and three PM with no lunch break, except for what you can grab when you’re not needed. Yesterday was day 1 at the clinic. “So how was your first day?” a fellow volunteer asked. “Good, I learned a lot” I said. Now I will say a little more.
Our family crawled onto Roatan August 1, two of us with diarrhea, my dad recovering from a recent hernia surgery, my brother’s mouth hurting a little from having his molars taken out, and all of us a little woozy from the up and down boat ride over. I was supposed to start volunteer work that day, but we decided to wait till August 2. Instead I played with our renters kids and taught them the 9’s multiplication trick.
After a good nights sleep, my brother Nathan and I marched down the road and 7 o clock, with no clue what to expect. We waited by the door with the patients, and when they where all called in Carla gave me the grand tour of the clinic, which was actually quite small, as the entire upper floor is not open yet. Carla, who has pretty much worked at the clinic since it was founded, explained the medical program they use for triage and pharmacy rapidly in Spanish. Of course I did not understand everything. Then she called in the first patient for triage. So there I was, a scared little unconfident little boy sitting at the computer, obeying instructions typing a bunch of numbers. Soon my fingers learned where to go and it wasn’t that hard. Carla did not know of my scanty medical experience, so she asked me to check some ones blood pressure. This is actually not a very simple procedure, but I thought it was… or maybe I didn’t think at all. I just blindly obeyed, sat down, wrapped the cuff around the wrong way and couldn’t inflate the darn thing so Carla ended up doing it instead. Nowadays, I’m feeling more confident about taking blood pressures.
Then my brother walked in from the waiting room and asked if he could get his stitches taken out. I watched the doctor prowl around inside his mouth, and emerge with some small black string. I think that was about it for the first day, other then my grand tour of the pharmacy.
Triage includes weighing, measuring height, taking temperature, pulse, PCO2 (which I’m not exactly sure what it is), blood pressure, and taking blood glucose levels, and describing their “chief complaint” in a little white box. About half the patients speak English, and the other Spanish. Once we finish the first bunch of patients that arrived in the morning, usually triage is done for the day other than a few patients who come later in the day. As activity in Triage dwindles, the pharmacy starts to get busy as doctors begin prescribing medicine. In the pharmacy room you must find the right drug, measure the right amount, and place it on the patients folder for Lora (a registered nurse) to check it and hand it to the patient.
To achieve anything in life, it seems like you must dig through things you don’t want in order to attain what you’re after. For example, every time my dad hooks Nathan and I up for another juggling brothers show, we easily say yes, because it’s the date is comfortably spaced into the future. Then on the day before the show, a little glob in my brain keeps poking me, reminding me that “you should be practicing…” then the day of, worry becomes excitement, and then about half way through when I suddenly am reminded that Nathans improv is as good as another man’s practice, and when I hear the laughter and feel the smiles everything is just fun. Afterwards I’m washed over with relief and excited to see the video recording and ready for the next performance. The clinic is the same story, but instead of every month or so, it’s every day.
Now, I’m looking forward to the next adventure, in exactly 10 hours. So goodnight, sleep tight, may your dreams be bright.
Asta lavista babe!
PS I got stung by a jelly fish after my first day at the clinic.

About Justin

I'm the short one, but not for long.
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