20 Jun

Today I started a new clinical rotation at La Maternidad. Instead of the Sala de Partos, I´m working in the Emergency room. So far, it´s been really interesting–one resident allowed me to tag along all day and answered all of my questions, offered explanations for procedures and diagnoses, showed me how to do what he was doing, and asked me to help him with some physical tests. I got to manipulate a woman´s belly to see which direction the baby was facing, put on a fetal heart monitor, and help with a pap smear (called papanicolau in Spanish!). It was such an exciting day, filled with expectant mothers, their anxious partners in the waiting room, and a lot of medical Spanish. I wish I could say that my Spanish is perfect already, but for some reason I wasn´t really on it today. Thankfully, the residents and the doctors were really patient with me, and wasted some of their precious time waiting for me to spit out some story or joke in broken Spanish. I´m hoping tomorrow will be better, and that I´ll shock them with my fluency. I love learning about all of the services La Maternidad provides, and how many doctors and nurses choose to work at this free clinic because they believe in the cause, when any of them could get a higher paying job at a private hospital. Women come from all over Quito to La Maternidad for its reputation and affordability. For some, it´s their only option for healthcare. Many came in asking for Dr. Gomez, the doctor I was assigned to, because he is well known for his superb medical care and overwhelming kindness. Even though he was swamped with cases, he always made room for one more worried mamita.


On Wednesday I have a meeting with an organization called Copprende, a Public Health initiative of Quito that focuses on sexual health and reproductive health education. I´m supposed to start volunteering with them by the end of this week. I´m really excited to do some more Public Health focused work–I´ve realized through all of this medical work how much I love the Public Health model of education and prevention. I´m not sure exactly what work I´ll be doing, but I´m not too particular; I just want to help somehow! I have so much to look forward to this week, with all that I´m learning at La Maternidad and with this meeting coming up, plus we´re going to the Galapagos on Friday! Pictures to come, and an update soon!


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