The Laziest day so far...

Trip Start Jan 29, 2011
Trip End Feb 26, 2011

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Where I stayed
ILAC Center

Flag of Dominican Republic  , Santiago,
Monday, January 31, 2011

Today started off better than yesterday, in terms of me feeling more well-rested. I was able to get to bed by about 11pm and I got up at around 6:30. Still, that is 7pm and 2:30 am respectively in Sacramento... bleh.

After I woke up, I got ready and then went to read Life of Pi for about half an hour before I went to breakfast. As I was reading, I heard singing coming from one of the corridors. I remembered that today was the first day the hernia surgery team (from Washington University in St. Louis, Missourri) performed surgery. This group comes for a week each year and performs surgeries on people identified in the community before they arrived (see below). 

The singing preceeded the prayers lead by Father Bill, dressed in convertible breathable pants and his priest's stole, and the prayers ended in a lot of singing and hugging! The Dominicans are very friendly and they will hug and kiss a stranger as my cheeks found out today! 

After the breakfast bell rang, we had a cornmeal dish similar to the texture of grits and eggs with ham, and bread. Again, it was delicious! 

After breakfast, we met up with Dr. Gray who gave us her orientation to the program. She went over the paperwork we are supposed to fill out per patient and what phrases we should practice before we start working in the campos.

After that, we sat in the central court and I read a little. Soon after it was lunch time and we had this awesome shreded carrot, cilantro and pasta dish. We also had chicken, made adobo style and rice and beans. 

After lunch, we had a few minutes down time and I worked on my phrases. Then, we had another meeting that lasted about 2 hours with the cooperadores (these are people who are out in the communities and who help identify those who need medical help, including the people who are being seen by the hernia team) and the doctors we are going to be working with!

It was a hard meeting because we were trying to translate medical terms in english into lay men spanish that everyone could undestand. Finally, we got our schedule worked out! (the schedule below will be out in the rural areas so there won't be any updates until I get back!)

After the meeting, it was about 4pm and we hung around the Center until 5pm. We then walked with Dr. Gray to a lady's house down the road and across the main street from the ILAC center. The lady who owned the house is named Dina and she and her 9 year old daughter and her 4 and 6 year old neices were there. Dr. Gray told her we would be back after dinner and have a Presidente beer! The country is famous for these!

We walked back and ate dinner - again, delicious! We had salad with cucumbers, tomatoes and homemade dressing, fish battered and deep fried similar to chicken nuggets, mashed Yucca, and birthday cake from a celebration going on for one of the Crieighton students.

After dinner we walked back to Dina's place and we had our Presidente beer! We were sitting in lawn chairs chatting and some boys came by with a bucket and the bottom of a gallon milk container and played the "drums" for us. After hanging out for a bit, we walked back and had some free time. I took a shower so I can give my hair some time to dry so I don't freeze in bed tonight!

Well, that's about it!


Our tentative schedule:

We will be going to the City tomorrow to go to two hospitals: Corominas, the private hospital and Cabral, the public hospital. We will be working there during our third week and tomorrow we will get tours of the hospital and meet the doctors we will be working with. When we work with the hospital staff in two weeks from now, we will be paired with medical students who speak English. These medical students are called "Internos" and they are in their fifth year of medical school. Their medical school is set up such that they go from high school directly into "professional school" of their choice. Their fifth year is the equivalent to our fourth year.

Thursday we will be meeting with another Doctor who is one of the members on the board. We will also be going to Santiago to a museum and to walk around the city.

Friday and Saturday we are going to the Bateys (Bah-Tehs). These are commuities of Haitian refugees and Dominican-born of Haitian descent not yet recognized by the Dominican Government. A side note, there are many goods for sale here at the ILAC Center. Some of these goods come from the Bateys. The money raised from these goods go towards buying paperwork like visas and proof Dominican Citizenship. We will be screening people for gynecologic problems like urinary incontinence, STDs, heavy menstruation, menopause, Pap smears (here called "Papanicolau"), and prolapsed organs amongst others. We will be seeing those who are the most complicated cases Monday in the ILAC clinic.

Sunday is our day off and we will be going to a beach tentatively for the Super Bowl and some beach time!

Monday we start back at work in the clinics and we are each set to see about ten patients individually. Hopefully we will be paired with a translator - at least that is what was promised!

Tuesday morning we leave the ILAC center and don our scrubs to go out to the campos. Here in the Dominican Republic, people dress up to go out and to see the doctor! We were told to wear scrubs and that as a reaction to our scrubs, the people of the campos will laugh because scrubs look like pajamas! We will be doing general women's screenings and Papanicolau smears and will stay at the homes of host families!

Friday is the Dia de la Inferma (Day of the Sick) in the campo we are working in. This is a day that happens every year and starts with a mass to bless the sick. Then, we will be seeing lines of patients who would like to be seen. Our group will only be seeing the women as there are other community doctors who will see the non-ob/gyn patients as well as male adults and children.

Then, we will have a weekend in Santo Domingo!

The third week we will be working in the hospitals Cabral and Corominas. We were told we might spend the days shadowing, but at least it will be a good exposure to the way Dominican Hospitals are run.

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