So…I’m an expert now?

Today was an interesting day at the clinic. Things weren’t too crazy in triage since a large portion of patients are diabetic, and were upstairs getting an info session. The info session was about what to eat/not to eat as a diabetic. The woman was wearing an apron that said “USA Arroz” (arroz = rice) so I assume she’s part of an organization that promotes eating rice. She was going on and on about how rice is good to eat as a diabetic because it doesn’t have gluten, which becomes sugar when you digest it. She was talking about all the nutrients that rice has in it, and claimed that it was a good source of protein? Not totally sure that’s true…I’ll have to look it up. Anyways, at one point she goes “Have you ever seen a fat Chinese person? Have you ever seen a Chinese person with diabetes? NO. That’s because they’re smart and eat 2lbs of rice/day!” I nearly died. Like…wtf. Who says that?! Talk about cultural differences…

Most of the day I was working with a 3rd or 4th year med student who has to do some hours at the clinic as part of her training. I assumed that she had learned a whole bunch of stuff in med school and knew what she was doing….apparently not. We started in triage today, and I suggested that she take weights, then pass them off to me for blood pressure, since I knew she didn’t know how to take blood pressure. She told me she didn’t know how…honestly, I get not knowing how to read a scale if you’ve never done it before, but could you not ASK?! What you have to understand is that that is a crazy busy clinic that is understaffed. The nurses and doctors don’t exactly take you under their wing to teach you what to do – you have to ask, or figure it out for yourself. This girl seems to have no will to do either. So after me doing weights and blood pressures while she wrote the info down, we moved on to injections. There were TONS of people in for injections today, and I was moving through them. Then I realized she probably wanted to have a go, so I asked her about it. She told me no, she didn’t want to. So I kept going and afterwards asked her if she didn’t WANT to do the injections, or she didn’t know how. Again, she didn’t know how. If she had just said that, I would have showed her. But she seemed perfectly content to let me do it…uhm really? YOU’RE GOING TO BE A DOCTOR BUT YOU DON’T WANT TO LEARN THIS?!?! HUH?! It was weird that I felt like the expert who knows how to do all that stuff. I think I’m just gonna show her how to do things next time if I have the chance, I can’t believe she’s not asking!!

I think she’s really shy/insecure though. I told Odilia, my spanish teacher, about all this, and she explained that it’s one of the Guatamalans’ worst “faults” – that they are really shy. They think it’s better to pretend they know what they’re doing or just avoid things instead of asking, because they’re embarassed. I think that’s the case with this girl. She’s too afraid to ask, but also too afraid of making the slightest mistake. For instance, we had to use the nebulizer with 2 kids today. We had no idea how to set it up, so we did ask a nurse, who of course immediately left us to it on our own. For each patient, you have to use the nebulizer twice. It is prepared exactly the same way both times. We did it together once for each kid, but then I had to leave. This girl got all nervous and told me that she needed to get a nurse to come “help her”. Honestly – this just involves putting some liquid in a little container, pressing the “on” switch, and waiting until the liquid runs out. Easy peasy. But she was obviously really nervous about even doing that on her own. She kept double checking things with me etc. Again – I’m no expert, I just asked questions when I didn’t know, and took every opportunity I could to practice and figure things out. I guess it just goes to show how your personality can affect your opportunities. If you have a “go get’er” attitude, like I’m doing my best to have here, you learn a lot, experience a lot, and the staff has trust in you. If you don’t…well…you don’t.

On a totally different note – Casa Shekina is getting plain ridiculous. In the best way. A couple of nights ago, 7 of us just sat around laughing for 3 hours at completely random/stupid shit (no, no alcohol or drugs were involved). I think we were all a little over-tired to be honest, but it was great to just laugh until my face and stomach hurt so much. It’s a wonderful release, and I don’t laugh that hard often. I think it’s a testament to how at home I’m feeling in the house/with my housemates that they made fun of me (Vicky snapped a horribly hilarious picture) and I didn’t die of embarassment – I actually laughed along. I have a severe fear of being embarassed with people I don’t know well. So either I’m getting over it, or I’m just really comfortable here/with these people.

This weekend, Carlos, the owner of the tour company that is partnered with Maximo, is hosting a Halloween party at his house. I went to the Maximo party as an 80s workout girl, but I want to do something different this weekend – any simple ideas?! LEMME KNOW!


3 thoughts on “So…I’m an expert now?

  1. Well, there are a couple interesting claims in that info session. Various sites say how good a gluten-free diet is if you have diabetes. However, none of them actually say why it’s good which leads me to wonder if it’s not the lack of gluten but the lack of carbs that is making the difference. After all, gluten is a *protein* which apparently the body can turn into sugar though I’ve never learned how or when it does that. Foods with gluten are common, high-carb foods. Carbs are sugars. They have a lot of glucose and regulating glucose is the problem with diabetes. When I google rice and diabetes, various sites come up rice might *increase* your chance of diabetes.
    As for protein, apparently it varies between 3g and 8g of protein per 100g. 75g is recommended as a serving on my bag of rice. So if it’s on the higher side, one serving has about as much protein as one egg. If it’s on the lower side, the amount of protein really seems quite low if it’s recommended women have 50g a day.
    I don’t think rice is that great. In fact other lesser known and unfortunately more expensive grains seem to have more nutrients. These include quinoa, amaranth, millet and rye.

  2. Thank you so much for your blog! I’m considering doing the Medical Placement as well and I really appreciated reading someone else’s experience!

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