Another brigade has come and gone. The group left the island Sunday, some continued on to do more traveling and most continued on to wherever home was for them. I am always a little nervous before a brigade starts, especially with what had happened the brigade before. This group got together more on their own and most of them were from NUHS, the new school on the block in terms of the ND programs. They brought with them a fantastic energy and skill set as there was a mix between ND students and Chiropractic students, as well as practicing ND’s and practicing DC’s. It was so great to work with everyone and I learned a lot. Talking to everyone and just seeing how each person thought through the different cases from clinic really reinforced for me how our two professions can work so well together. I really enjoyed how everyone just seamlessly came together to discuss different cases and brought forward everyone’s ideas and skills; there was no sense of ego or competition between anyone. Aside from an immense amount of donations that this group brought, thank you all again, they brought with them a great sense of humour and an extremely positive energy. It was so fun working in the clinic and going through the classes on globalization with everyone, as there was always a feeling of lightness and a lot of laughter involved. There also happened to be a birthday during this brigade, which was attended to quite properly in terms of all the fun and interesting birthday traditions here. The day ended with a fiesta at Anaconda, complete with dancing, a piñata and a very sugar filled cake, that had been tempting Max since he first saw it.
I had a feeling before the brigade left that it would feel quiet and a little lonely in the clinic this week but as it was so busy it made it easy to transition back to being on my own. Monday I was working in the clinic in Los Angeles and it was quite steady throughout the day. Sunday was a holiday for workers and because it fell on a weekend most places were closed Monday. This meant that a lot of people were excited that the clinic was open and came in with different sorts of things that normally they may have gone to the other Centro de Salud in town for. Tuesday was back at the hospital after a week away and it was very steady. I did have some time later in the afternoon to help one of my co-workers with her English homework, I keep trying to tell her that I may not be the best English teacher but it seems they will take me as the only option. Typically, and for no particular reason, Wednesdays are very slow in the hospital. This morning one of the other doctors told me that it would be a very quiet day for me. It is possible he was just setting me up for a surprise as I saw more people than I had ever seen at the hospital yet! Every time a patient would leave the room at least one sometimes two more would be peering around the door to see if they could sneak in ahead of the line.
This week in the hospital I have had a few requests for diets, which I am now realizing how challenging it is to come up with a diet plan for people. Most people ask me for a pill that their friend told them about, and most won’t listen to me when I tell them there is no pill just lifestyle changes so I was almost taken aback when one patient literally asked me for exactly what to eat to lost weight. It was while I was writing down the recommendations that I realized how challenging it is here. With the staples of rice, beans, plantains, bread, and cheese it is hard to make suggestions that are within what they have access to and that will be followed. When I was trying to explain servings of vegetables I had to think whether I am even following my own recommendations. Contrary to what I sometimes say I do try to do in my own life what I suggest to patients.
Now I am just finishing up the final preparations of my little home to welcome my first official guests! My mom and a very good friend of mine are coming tomorrow and will arrive on the island Friday. I can hardly explain how excited I am to see them both, especially my mom as she has been such a huge support to me especially while I have been down here and was instrumental in me getting here in every possible way. I may have well have put up signs telling the town about my guests as I have been going on about it since tickets were booked. Time has just flown by as I can’t believe it is already May, a month that looks to be filled with visitors and some time to explore this diverse and beautiful island and country.