03/26/14: field day #3 in rural Seibo
We went to a different clinic today and decided to just keep seeing patients until there was no one left. I shadowed our pediatrician and got a ton more experience in taking histories and performing physical exams in children and babies (as well as some more adults). (I’d never done a physical exam on a child/baby until this trip.) There were a good amount of moments where I just felt completely incompetent, but I think it was good for me, since it forced me to learn and grow.
We had a lot more Haitian patients at the clinic, which was difficult in the sense that most of them spoke mostly Creole, so there was definitely a game of telephone going on with two translators interpreting what was being said.
I think what’s most frustrating about the language barrier is that you have no idea whether your entire message gets across. The differences in enunciations, the nuances in the 2-3 languages, and the terms they have that have no actual English translation make the chances of something getting lost in translation that much higher. I feel like we’re not giving them the best help that we could be, even though we really are doing the best we can with the resources we brought with us. On the other hand, body language is paramount. 80% of communication is nonverbal, so I probably shouldn’t have been so surprised that the patients understood so much off what I was saying to them (I’ve gotten pretty good art pantomining).
We managed to see 196 patients, with at least 20 more that we didn’t have papers for (we gave them multivitamins, toothbrushes and/or condoms, depending on their age).
The mosquitoes (I’m assuming they’re mosquito bites) here have decided that my blood is absolutely delicious, so I’ve been taking it for the team in terms of bug bites. My skin apparently really does not agree with them though, so my legs look horrible. Each bug bite looks like a massive bruise, so I kinda look like I’m being abused again (so what else is new? :[ ). At least we have a whole lot of hydrocortisone & calmodulin cream that I can swipe!