When I was younger, my best friend Stephenie and I would always talk about what kind of animals we wanted to keep in our backyards. Some of them—like elephants, camels and llamas—we knew would get shot down by our parents right away. A few, on the other hand—such as sheep and chickens—we thought we might have a shot at. After years of waiting, at least part of my childhood dream has come true; I now have chickens on my roof. Wednesday morning I talked with my potential host mom and Wednesday afternoon I was packing up all my stuff. Apparently some things do move fast in Peru. I now live with a wonderful family not far from my old house. They have been great including me in everything and I can tell I will learn a lot from them. The food is amazing and the house is always filled with laughter. I think I’ll be just fine here.
If there is only one thing I will take away from my experiences in Peru (I’m sure there will be many), it will be my voice, especially as a nurse. Challenging situations continue to present themselves and I am getting more and more comfortable speaking up. I rejoice at the minor successes I have and try not to dwell on the things that need to be improved. Just this week, a Peruvian nurse and I were doing a dressing change for a 26 year old man who had been paralyzed in a car accident. He has been left in bed so long that he now has infected stage IV pressure ulcers on both his hips that tunnel 8-10cm. Ideally, people would never get pressure ulcers since they are preventable and pressure ulcers like these are even more mind-boggling. Most of the research I have been able to do down here on pressure ulcers has led me to specific types of dressings for different types of ulcers. We do not have those kinds of resources available so we have to do what we can with what we have. The nurse I was working with on this day was great. He is really interested in how we would do things in the States and wants to learn more about nursing. Unfortunately, nurses like him can be hard to come by here. So, we packed the wound, which was the first time I have seen this done. Inside, I was jumping for joy. Maybe we can make a difference down here.
There is a woman who lives at hospice. She is tiny and is missing all her teeth. No matter how we try, she always ends up clumped down in her bed. Her job, as she calls it, is killing the flies. You can see her at any time of day, slumped down in bed with her ‘matamoscas’ in hand swatting away. I don’t think she’s killed one yet, but that doesn’t stop her from trying.
Things to be thankful for this week: pillows, toilet seats and pre-folded gauze. Not necessarily in that order.
I have uploaded some more pictures which can be found by following the link on the left.