Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I have a feeling we aren't in Kansas anymore...

Went on my second hospital visit last week. Rounded on post-op patients, and learned about ovarian cysts, uterine polyps, spontaneous miscarriage, D&C (which I used to think was only for abortions, but apparently is to remove uterine polyps & just generally scrape off the uterine lining), and leptospirosis. Cool huh?

Unfortunately, I also heard a father ask the doctor whose life comes first, the mother or the baby, after a tragic loss of a child delivered at 33 weeks. It seemed that he wanted to be sure that his baby mattered to the doctors. Yet both parents were amazingly calm. I can't imagine the pain they had gone through, and I also can't help but wonder if that baby might have survived if it had been born in the US. It seems that at 33 weeks it should have had a fighting chance. That's just a fleeting thought though, because the wonder won't change the facts. Never dwell on the "what if"s. It's going to suck to someday face a patient's family and explain to them why I couldn't save their loved one. Yet I'm not God, and everyone can't be saved. Think there's any chance that knowing that will make it any easier? ha

Another amazing thing about this hospital visit is a more complete awareness of the conditions. For my last visit I spent the morning in the nice cool OR, and then went to the internal medicine ward, that, albeit was different from what I've seen before since it was all one big room with probably at least 30 beds. This time the lack of air conditioning, or even window screens, followed me around. The heat almost made me pass out in the morning. When I started to see dark spots I had to interrupt the doctor & sit down. At least, I'm assuming it had to be the heat. It was just so weird because I've only ever passed out once in my life. Then in the afternoon, the internal medicine ward was so packed that day that there were extra beds lining the middle aisle. While we were interviewing our patient, a guy 2 beds down had a mask put over his face (hopefully he wasn't the Tb patient I had heard was in the hospital), and the guy in the next bed was coughing & spitting stuff up into a basin on the floor between his bed & our patient's bed. Awesome.

Alright, back to studying for Monday's mini 2.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hurry up! but wait for me...

I was hoping to find a better video, but since they don't perform this song live, this was all I could come up with. Anyway, this is how I've been feeling lately:

"Slow Down" -Love & Theft

And yet, at the same time as I feel like there's not enough time in the day to get everything done that I need to, I also want time to hurry up so I can go home! I'm ready to reenter my world & pick my life back up. While I have had some amazing experiences here - like canyoning last Saturday:
- I also feel like I'm living from break to break. This place I'm at right now, it's not really real, ya know? This isn't who I am. It's sort of crazy, but sometimes that's what it feels like. I left so much of myself behind that I'm ready to go back and be whole again. 59 days.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Water, water, everywhere...

So this morning started at the unGodly hour of 4am. Well, to be precise I was awakened in a steamy sauna-like sweat to the sound of running water at 3:48. After the initial confusion I realized that something was leaking. So I stepped out of bed into an inch of water and followed the sound the short distance to the kitchen. Not sure if I had put on my glasses or turned on any lights at that point, but I was able to discern that there was a crazy geyser happening under my kitchen sink, and it was semi-hot/warm water. I removed my sparce cleaning supplies from that cabinet & closed it back up. And I picked up my backpack & a small pile of clothes that I had left on the floor. I sat on my bed & thought "crap, now what?" I mean, it's 4am in Dominica. The world shuts down pretty early around here. Should I call my landlady & wake her up? Eventually I deduced that there would be nothing she could do about it until morning, and I probably wouldn't be able to get ahold of her anyway... so, I went back to bed. The rushing water was kind of loud so it woke me up multiple times over the next 2-2.5hrs, but at least the water got cold & the sauna conditions diminished.

Now fast forward to about 6:22am. I hear a muffled knocking and make my way to the door, and there, miraculously, is my landlady. One of the neighbors had called her (not likely in my building because there are only 2 of us living there & my fellow-student neighbor typically sleeps in). She looks under the sink and asks when it started and tells me I could have called her. In retrospect that would have been a better thing to do since she could have at least turned off the water, but apparently my brain is not at full throttle at 4 in the morning. She also apologized like 10 times for reasons that are beyond me. It's not like she could have foreseen my plumbing woes.

After she left my apartment I decided to get ready for class. So what do I do? Get in the shower of course - the cold shower, mind you, since the hot water reserves from our solar powered water heater have long since dissipated throughout my apartment & out over the balcony. I get my hair all shampooed & behold my shock when halfway through rinsing my hair the water turns off. Duh! So I'm standing there half-covered in shampoo pretty much busting a gut because now that I'm awake I realize how ridiculous it was to bother trying to shower. I manage to use the contents of my water bottle to finish rinsing my hair & wash my face & sort of sponge-bath & shave. It was really quite the accomplishment. And thus began my day...

I didn't think to take a picture of the geyser, but here's the trouble:
Note the tiny hole in that hose right above where it comes off that silver oval.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Are you my mother?

Thought of the day: What would you do if you found out your 8-year-old child was switched at birth? Yeah, I know that's not really realistic, but it happened on Desperate Housewives! lol In any case, just think about it. Regardless of what happens after finding that out, your life is drastically changed. Say you keep the child that you've raised as your own. You still have to live your life knowing that the little person you produced is out there somewhere. I feel like at that point I wouldn't want to give up the child I'd been raising. Ultimately that would be my child. We'd have a bond & a life together, and that's sort of stronger than blood. I mean, it's like adoption. However, I wouldn't want to or be able to ignore the existence of my own offspring either. I think I would want to meet him/her (we'll call it a her to simplify & closer relate to the show) to know who she is, what her life is like, but at the same time I think it would be cruel & selfish to demand to take her away from the only life and family that she's ever known. As long as she's not being mistreated I think I'd push to keep the status quo, and begin a bond with that family - get together for vacations or something. It would be difficult, but a parent's duty is to do what is best for their kids, right? Of course, I'm sure nothing could be quite as simple as my scenario, but it would make for a good Lifetime movie. ;)

Anyway, I'm thinking I'd like to start some sort of format for this blog (like different kinds of lists or some specific purpose) since not enough exciting things happen in my life to constitute full journal blogging. Let me know if you have any helpful ideas or suggestions.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Random collection of thoughts & happenings

Well, I didn't feel like going to salsa tonight, but after 9+hrs of sitting in classroom 4 I figured I should get my butt up for a little bit. It was a small group of regulars so we learned some fun more advanced moves, and the hottie instructor complimented me. I can't lie, got a little crush, but don't tell. ;) Anyway, I don't catch on very quick, but I love the comradery.

Other than that, nothing has been happening lately. Except the day of our test (Monday) we had a freakin' downpour. It was raining so hard that an umbrella could only serve to keep your head & shoulders dry. So I looked super cool walking to campus in a poncho and still holding my umbrella, but ya know, only the bottom 2 inches of my shorts got wet, so I win. Now aside from the downside that pretty much every student had to take their exams in soaking wet clothes, any time there's a heavy rain our water turns a lovely shade of "dirt".

yum, are ya thirsty? This is when you bring home filtered water from campus to drink, brush your teeth, wash your face, whatever.

Alright, so I also have this mini tirade inspired by last night's episode of Grey's Anatomy. For anyone who didn't watch, there was a 27-year-old woman who was a virgin saving herself for her wedding night, and this led to all the characters laughing and mocking before learning that one of their fellow residents was also a 28-year-old virgin. At that point they also incessantly made fun of HER as well. Now seriously, what is wrong with our society that having varying morals warrants such harassment. I feel like abstinence is a valid decision, as is choosing not to drink or smoke, but in our society when someone doesn't do one or all of these things there is something wrong with them. They're uptight prudes or goody-two-shoes. If I choose not to drink, why do people feel the need to coerce me? I don't tell them, "no, no, you should get a Pepsi". My actions aren't hurting anyone. Can they say the same? If I've never had a hickey or gotten to 2nd base (which, ok, I don't actually know what the bases are, but you get my point), why is it anyone else's business to say "wow, you need a boyfriend"? Granted, yes, I would like a boyfriend, but seriously people, it's my life, not yours. What is right for your life isn't necessarily right for mine. I have my own thoughts and ideals. That being said, if you're my friend, you are perfectly welcome to introduce me to any eligible bachelors you may know - that's not judging my life, that's just being helpful. ;)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

"Pack my bags and never look back"?

I just had an admired Dominican man ask my advice about his life. His parents have helped him obtain a Green card, and he has to decide in the next 4 months if he wants to leave his home and live in the US permanently. With no family or job options lined up there, the prospect of uprooting one's life and starting new & alone seems terrifying to me. Granted, he wouldn't be completely alone as he would be bringing his 4-yr-old daughter along, but wow, that makes it even more difficult. I couldn't do it, not alone, and not without a strong driving force/goal in mind. It's way too hard to be gone for long. I only left my own life temporarily, but I'm constantly looking back - I make a terrible runaway (pretty sure nobody that reads this will catch the reference, but it still felt good to say ;)). I always wanted to get out of Michigan, move somewhere warm & make a fresh start in some exciting new place, but as time passes I find myself appreciating the familiarity and taking pride in the place I was raised. I still maintain that I don't want to spend the rest of my life in my hometown, but I doubt I'll make it quite so far away as I had intended.

In other news, mini (test) 1 of 4th semester is Monday, and I've been busily trying to cram drugs & bacteria & viruses into my brain, and it sort of makes me (along with everyone else) crazy. [For any non-Ross readers, a mini is a test that contains roughly 4 weeks worth of material from all of our classes packed into ~120 questions & 2.5-3hrs. The week leading up to that is pretty much chaos for all those involved.] On top of the already tense situation, the box that my mom sent is now a week overdue, and I ran out of a medication.. oh, about a week ago. Rock on. Just another reminder that you can NOT rely on island mail/international shipping.

Okay, now for the joy of the week. Are you ready for this? So I have some friends that went to Roseau (the capital) on Thursday to stock up on supplies (because the options are slightly more plentiful there), and they asked if I wanted anything. I'd heard tell that real milk existed at times, but never witnessed this miracle for myself. So I laughingly asked for milk. Mind you, the one time I went to Roseau to visit the new Save-a-Lot I had that one mission in mind, and my hopes & dreams were crushed as they were sold out (a frequent occurrence of island life). BUT... drumroll please....

The shocking thing is that that beautiful stuff costs ~$9.40USD/gallon. The even more shocking thing is that that is CHEAPER than the ~$11.25USD/gallon that I pay for the not-so-awesome shelf milk:
Yes, I know that's an insane price to pay, but I only use it for my cereal in the mornings, and there are some comforts a person just needs. And those 2 half gallons of milk that Gabe brought me back from Save-a-Lot brought me more joy than a normal person could imagine. One is in the freezer to potentially help me survive the week prior to mini 2. ;)