PKBatth's Travel Journals

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What was the saddest moment you have ever seen in your travels?

My group was volunteering at a school, where we set up a clinic to see the locals and do some basic health tests. Some of the children that lived nearby came to show us some fun games and talk to us about a day in the life of a typical Belizean child. At one point I asked a small group of these children, maybe three or four of them were standing before me, what they wanted to do when they got older. Every single one of them looked down at their feet and didn't answer. It took some time for me to figure out why, but I soon realized that most children there are not raised to believe they can do anything they want to do with their lives. 1 out of 3 of them will live in absolute poverty, and given the area we were in, that statistic may be even higher.

  • From Windsor, Canada
  • Currently in San Ignacio, Belize

Belize 2011 - Mission Accepted

Reuniting with Belize, my long lost love! This trip is more than a getaway, as I have some serious goals I hope to achieve during my time in beautiful Belize.

Real Hospital Experience: From 99 To Epilepsy

Belize San Ignacio, Belize  |  Aug 17, 2011
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 Normally I am comfortable dealing with children, but this was the first time I had to deal with very sick children in a hospital setting. They screamed, yelled, kicked and down right hated every second of being in the triage office. 

Dear Journal,       

       Tuesday, August 16th, was my second day at the hospital. I worked in OPD again and did all the vitals for patients coming in to see a doctor.  After a couple hours, I went into the treatment room with a nurse. I saw a lot of the same wounds as the day before. While Nurse Singh and I had a spare moment, I asked about how to properly inject someone. He talked about the different types of injections, where to apply each type and how. Then a young woman walked in needing a penicillin injection. I looked at Nurse Singh and he gave me the nod to do it. I was professional, but on the inside extremely excited. I followed the instructions he had given me moments earlier and injected her into her buttocks. The needle was as long as my pinky. Needless to say, I was VERY glad to be on the administrating side of the injection, instead of the receiving.

     Wednesday, the 17th, I was again in the Out-Patient Department. The nurses basically put me in charge of Triage today! I was taking and recording every single vital sign and taking in all chief complaints. I felt honored that they would put that trust in me and was focused at rising to the occasion. Working with so many people, I gained experiences with how to deal with all sorts of people.

       It was challenging when a person came in that didn’t speak English, but I learned to use their fellow family members to communicate my messages through. Other nurses that spoke Spanish were there to help too. I also learned how hard it can be to deal with small children absolutely terrified of people in medical wear. Normally I am comfortable dealing with children and making them feel happy and safe, but this was the first time I had to deal with very sick children in a hospital setting. They screamed, yelled, kicked and down right hated every second of being in the triage office. You can only imagine how hard it was for me to record these children’s temperature and weight, let alone a small blood sample if they had a fever and diarrhea. Mother’s were my greatest allies. They knew how to calm their children and helped me as much as they could to get their children’s weights and temperatures. Some even stood on the scale holding their child and then we subtracted how much the mother weighted to get an accurate reading. Belizean moms and moms all over the world, you rock.

     I asked the Chief of Staff, Dr. Rosado, if I could shadow her after we had seen all the patients and they were all waiting to see a doctor. She agreed, which I later found out was a rare thing for her. I sat in while she saw a patient, a man named Edivijes V. He was my favorite patient I had seen so far. He was 99 years old and turning 100 in October! He was full of energy, spoke English and Spanish very well, and didn’t look a day older than 60! He had a pain in his shoulder and wanted a refill on his skin cream he was prescribed sometime ago. Dr. Rosado was very gentle with him and did a very through inspection of his body. She found the circulation in his fingers was weak and other signs on his body that led her to order an EKG. She also figured since he is a senior citizen and all his testing would be free, she would order a full blood work report and an chest x-ray to check for any other complications. From what I understood, the x-ray was to get a view on his lungs and see if anything needed further attention in his shoulder.     

       Dr. Rosado then asked me to escort this patient to the different departments to get his tests done. I was glad to. From the Laboratory to the X-Ray, everyone in the hospital was buzzing about him and excited to meet him. Sister-In-Charge, Sister Alvarez got up and gave him a great big hug! While I sat with him waiting for the x-ray, he talked to me about his secrets to good health and how the perspective on healthcare changes as you age. He talked about the importance of drinking water and listening to your body. I really enjoyed getting to know him. The tests found, from as much as I know, that he had a heart arrhythmia, but has had it all his life. I am sure he will be just all right.

     I spent my evening after lunch in the ER. I was the only volunteer in the ER, so I was able to get involved the few cases that came in. A young girl came in seizing. I got to go right into the trauma room with the other professionals. The nurse had me take her temperature while they inserted an IV. The mother looked completely unfazed and was smiling when the nurses or doctor spoke to her. I was so baffled by her lack of emotion. I later found out the young girl was epileptic. The mother must have seen the young girl seize often, but I couldn’t understand how she was able to watch her daughter foam at the mouth and have her eyes roll behind her head. I monitored her in her bed afterwards and noticed her very aggravated and her mother was struggling to keep the unconscious movements from taking the young girl out of the bed. I got the doctor’s attention and he approved a medication to help calm her movements to avoid her hurting herself.

      It was a long two days, but filled with many valuable experiences. I am learning each and everyday why I was meant to be here and as time passes I am finding myself fall more and more in love with a career in medicine. I feel like this type of work is well suited for me, and I hope to do it in needy communities that miss out on adequate healthcare.

Belize, you one again instill in me a desire to help change the world in any small way I can.



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