Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Mystery Meat

I have this game I like to play a couple times a week at lunch.  I call it, “Name that Organ Meat”.  So far, I have successfully identified brain, liver, and kidneys.  My quality BCC anatomy classes have, however, failed me a few times.  I am still quite unsure what organ of duck I ate this past weekend…

The arrival of December has presented some new challenges down here in Chimbote.  The one other RN at the clinic went on vacation starting last week which meant that I have been the only licensed nurse on staff for the past week.  While intimidating, it has been nice to know that my skills and knowledge are trusted enough to put me in this position.  My confidence in both my nursing skills and my Spanish have grown just with the independence I have been given in the past week.  One of the highlights from this week was seeing a woman who has elephantiasis which has caused her a lot of pain and a pretty bad infection in one of her feet.  After helping her up on the bed, cleaning her feet and chatting with her for a good half hour she was in much better spirits than when she arrived.  It is patients like her, who are so grateful for everything, that really make you appreciate what you have been given.  Walking her out of the clinic while our security guard ran and hailed a taxi which had to drive through a construction zone to pick her up just brought a smile to my face.  Whenever I get frustrated with anything that goes on around me, I have to remember patients like her and know that this is why I am here.  I saw another patient this week who was in a mototaxi accident about two months ago.  His entire heel is completely torn up and infected.  The day before he came to the clinic, he went to the state run hospital to have his stitches removed.  When he came to see us, he still had pieces of stitches around the wound as well as some that were just forgotten about.  Unfortunately, this is the accepted standard of care in many healthcare institutions.

This past weekend was spent getting our house ready for Christmas.  I learned that Peruvians decorate their trees in the exact opposite order of what I am used to, starting with the star on the top and ending with the string of lights.  I also learned that Santa, a fairy, a fast food chicken, flamingos and a giraffe were all at the birth of Jesus.  Our nativity takes up an entire half of our living room wall and took almost two days to complete.  Pictures are forthcoming.

This week, I am thankful that the hole in my ceiling is over my dresser, rather than my bed as it would have been a very unpleasant surprise to wake up with it raining on my face this past week.  A dresser full of wet clothes and a flooded room make for a much happier Cathleen in the morning and a much cleaner room than the alternative.

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