Things have been a little calmer this week. I’ve been taking it easy to make sure I am in tip-top shape before the next global health course arrives and have been working more at the hospital. Monday was quite busy as I was back in the clinic in Los Angeles and as I had not been there Friday there were many people waiting for consults. I took it easy on myself and chose not to bike that day, and when I missed my bus home but one of the older ladies on the corner very kindly flagged me down a ride as I was chatting with her, which saved me waiting an hour or so for the next bus. The hospital was also surprisingly quiet this week, which is a change from the usual hustle and bustle, and is especially different than the constant stream of people in Los Angeles. It may have been that they are gearing up for the brigade of medical professionals coming from Managua that are set to arrive for Friday. I found out that this particular brigade usually comes by once a year, bringing specialists and diagnostic equipment such as ultrasound and EKG machines to the island.
As it was slower I was able to spend some time with the other doctors in the hospital, finding out what the local protocols are for certain diseases and referring patients. I find it really nice to work in an environment where as a naturopathic physician I am very accepted and included by the other doctors and hospital staff. Many of the hospital staff check in with me about when I work and ask if I can do acupuncture so that they can refer their friends or family, or come in for a consult themselves. I also get to join the other doctors and nurses for morning rounds and on most Thursday afternoons I join in on the hospital continuing education.
I happened to be wandering over to the in-patient side of the hospital just as the doctor on duty was about to remove a lipoma from someone’s forehead. Just my luck to be there at the right time and place to lend a hand. So I get cleaned up, grab some gloves and slide in between the examining table and the wall. I am not sure why I always seem to be around just in time for stitching up foreheads but it seems to my calling here to assist with this. Maybe the universe is just trying to see how good my minor surgery skills are. It was the first time I have witnessed a lipoma removal first-hand and I must admit that I was surprised at how stubbornly it wanted to stay in its spot in the forehead. I think the doctor was also a bit surprised at how come it wasn’t as easy to ‘pop out’. I felt awful for the poor patient who at certain points during the procedure looked as though he was getting ready to hop off the table and leave the room. And as it is every time I am in the emergency room with a bleeding head wound that just won’t stop, I begin to sweat. It has been getting quite a bit hotter here during the day, and when this very white girl from Canada gets plunked down in the heat Nicaraguan summer wearing full scrubs it may not come as a surprise that I don’t just glow, but truly sweat. It always seems to entertain those I am working with and I am sure that it makes some patients question whether their doctor is coming down with a bad fever. But being a persistent sort I keep going, washing, cutting and adding pressure when needed while trying to not let the heat, or the facial expressions of the patient get to me. When the fifth person, another doctor starting her night shift came in to see me sweating profusely they decided to turn on the fan, which to my surprise and relief actually worked as I had never before seen it on and thought it may only be for decoration. By the end of my shift the lipoma had been removed, the forehead is sutured up (inside and out) and bandaged; I look like someone had turned on a sprinkler and contrary to the title of my post no one had cried. Well maybe from laughter after watching me during this whole procedure.
On my way home I decided to stop in at Raly’s to say hi and share with her my day. If I am going to be laughed at, I would at least like to be able to share in the joke as my Spanish is not quite at the jovial teasing stage yet. I came up just in time as Gary was pulling up with some friends and new acquaintances to kidnap Raly, and take her to the punta. Needless to say I decided to hop along for the ride. So my day ended watching the sun set across the lake and colours of the volcano changing from greys to purples. Not a bad day all in all.
The rest of the week has been calm. The clinic in Los Angeles and the office have been getting ready for the next brigade, Tabby came back from a conference in Washington only to have to go back over to Managua to make sure the final papers are ready and I have been trying not to think about the fact that this is the last month Raly will be here. Perhaps this is where the tears aspect comes in. We are hoping to maybe get away for a day or so to enjoy the plush side of living so close to many beaches and get in some last minute “roomie” time in before she returns back to the Canadian snow. I am working on returning the wonderful hospitality that she showed me when I first moved here by having her spend her last couple of weeks at my cozy little home.