Wednesday, January 16, 2008


I spent today in triage. Let me say that today so far has been the hottest day here and spending it outside only sounds fun if you are out at the Cayes otherwise its just plain miserable. But we sat out there triaging patients for most of the day.

At 2pm all the docs had enough patients lined up to see to keep them busy until the end of the day (which for some was 5pm but for the dentist is was closer to 8pm), so we continued triaging patients instructing those that need to be seen to come back tomorrow first thing.

Those with problems that we don't have a speciality for or really don't need to be seen were told just to go home. This may sound a little harsh but I actually had one lady who had come to see "de Amerikan doktor" for her high blood pressure. Upon further questioning, she had actually seen the local "doktor" who had given her a prescription for blood pressure medication but she doesn't remember to take it. I explained to her that there was nothing else we were going to do but give her medication and she just needed to take her meds!

At times the triage nurses were not the most popular people but when an 68yr-old lady who weighs close to 300lbs tells you that she has been having knee or back pain for 40yrs it is most likely not a condition that we are going to be able to help.

On the flip side there was a time when we got a call over the radio that said "Dr. Wes is getting bored". That's all we needed to hear, before long he had several patients waiting outside his door. Dr. Wes is our vascular surgeon. I sent one patient, an employee of the hospital, to see him for some painful varicose veins. Dr. Wes offered to operate but Sugar turned him down. I asked her why and she said that she was scared. I told her I would let her hold my hand. She replied that she wanted someone to lay on the table. I said I could lay on the table with her I had no worries about the doctor mixing up my leg with hers. (For those of you who do not know me I am extremely pale.) She just laughed.

Dr Wes has also repaired some hernias while he has been here. While I was roaming around town I found another patient for him. This gentleman saw me on the streets in my scrubs and asked me if we had any surgeons cause he has had a hernia that was causing him pain. I told him to show up at the hospital at 8. We will see if he comes in.

Meanwhile I reported in at dinner that I had found a patient in town that I told to come in to the hospital to which I was told a couple of things: 1. We don't need to solicit patients we already have plenty waiting. 2. a priest wife really shouldn't solicit.

Other than being the big, bad, mean triage nurse and finding out that one of the patients from the ER who was flown to Belize City Tuesday night died, the day went really well. For lunch we got Baracuda, which was delicious. We found out that the red cross store at the Hospital sells chocolate milk that is safe to drink. We found the jewlery store in Dangriga that sells the bracelets that Cece keeps seeing the locals wear and they sell them in sets for like 1/2 the price that we found them at, at the airport. For dinner, Albert followed through on my request for shrimp. (So far I have had shrimp or fish every night except for the first night--mmm mmm good!!!)

Every day has 24hrs. Not all 24 will be positive. It is what we do with the moments and how we choose to remember them that is important. For me I am choosing to focus on the positive. Even though there is some negative moments there is still positive things that can be found that out weigh those other events and that is were I have choose to place my focus. Compline every night has helped a great deal.

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