Saturday, July 31, 2010

Almost time for school...

Well, my 2nd year is coming swiftly upon me - apologizes for the lack of updates, these last few weeks have been crazy. After Bolivia I went to the Galapagos Islands for a week with my family, then I came home and my boyfriend and I sorted stuff out and plan to move in together this fall. It'll be nice having him there, after a year of long distance. We had to look for apartments and budget my financial aid money, since I took out a bit less than I probably should have and so we don't have much breathing room.

Our first unit will be Neurology - so we get to learn brain functions, nerve stuff, etc. It is supposed to be really hard, so I'm glad I've had a sequence of Cognitive Science courses at UCSD. I have at least two textbooks I can refer to if things get too complicated. I am also reviewing old material from Semester 1 - I want to review old material and make flashcards for it at least once a week, since it'll be good practice for the USMLE/COMLEX when that comes around in the Summer (shudder).

I may continue my research on bacteriophages, I would like to, but we shall see. Also, since I took Medical Spanish last year and went to Bolivia, I now have a spot for an elective for fun, so I am curious what will be offered. Anyhow, tonight I drive back up to Northern California after spending the rest of the summer in San Diego - Kit will be following me up in a few days, but I have some meetings at school on Monday and that was our assigned moving day, so I have to get up there. I got a new phone too, a Droid Incredible, which is, indeed, quite incredible - I love some of the medical apps - particularly the drug interactions app. Really cool. It'll even tell you the details and why.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Third Week in Bolivia

Rather late update, I know, but I figure I shall update for the third week when I went in the mobile medical units. The first day I went up to a school where we did general health exams on the classes of kids - most were under 10 years old. They all had horrible teeth, some were malnourished and had herpes skin outbreaks, a few had upper respiratory problems, and we were checking their fingernails since parasites in fingernails is a big way they enter food. We dispensed two de-worming pills per student, and returned the next day to extract broken teeth beyond hope of repair. I even have pictures this time! Since I had been watching the examinations closely the previous day, I volunteered to help conduct the exams the next day, so I got to do essentially half of the kids. I hope they understood my accent well enough.

Another point about their teeth - a lot of them had teeth so bad that they also had abscesses...poor kids. A few less typical cases include...tonsillitis and bronchitis. All in all, it was a very interesting experience and gave me a chance to get some hands on experience. I listened to the kids with stethoscopes and was able to discern bronchitis (and we were just listening through clothing definitely let a lot of things slide when you're on the go in a third world country).

The next day in the ambulances was our last day doing hospital stuff and I went in the mobile unit that parks at various street locations and takes walk-ins for treatment. Most of them were all alcoholics or pregnant ladies, and the guys would stay and talk for 10-30 minutes at a time about their really boring, and I could understand what they were saying too. The stories just all sound the same after a while, and so we did very little actual medicine that day. The only good thing that came out of it was a female patient came by who had a mitral valve defect - mitral regurgitation - and we were able to hear the valve defect in the flesh so to speak. It was definitely more pronounced than the audio clips we had been given to listen to during our last examination.

That's about it for medical stuff in Bolivia - the next day we went to Lake Titicaca until Saturday, then I just hung around until Wednesday, when I got to leave for the Galapagos Islands with my family! I was so happy to return to the US when I finally got back - after being in Bolivia for 3 weeks, seeing familiar food, familiar settings, stores, etc. felt great. Anyhow, I shall soon begin posting on the various medical conditions I saw or heard about in Bolivia. Until then, off I go.