Halfway! (Almost)

I can’t believe this trip is almost half over! Time flies when you are having fun. Exactly one month from today is graduation 😳😳👍👍 crazy!

Yesterday and today we contined working in pediatric surgery with Dr. Galindo, who is a great teacher- very nice and patient. Yesterday we got to see a long surgery on a 7 year old patient who fell from a tree back in March (a fall of about 7 meters according to his chart). He lost consciousness at the time of the fall but did not come into the hospital until about a week after, when he had shortness of breath. The doctors discovered a collapsed lung due to a HUGE liver abscess (which took up almost his whole liver and caused his lung to collapse). He also had an empyema on the right side that contributed (pus in the space between the lining of the lungs). We saw this patient last week in the infectious disease unit. He had a tube going into his liver that was draining the infection. Yesterday, they opened up the right side of his chest to remove some of the pleura (lining of the lungs). They also removed all of the pus surrounding his lungs. The anesthesiologist as well as the surgeons (Dr. Galindo was assisting who I presume to be a cardiothoracic surgeon) taught us throughout the whole procedure and pointed out all the interesting things. The anesthesiologist helped me understand the settings on the ventilator, which were different than I am used to seeing at home as some words were in Spanish.

The surgery lasted until almost 1 yesterday, so we had to hurry home and eat lunch before rushing off to Spanish class at 2:30. We are now going downtown for Spanish class to our teacher’s office so it is about a 20 minute bus ride. Yesterday in our class, we learned a lot about the country of Bolivia. Jenny really challenges me to always speak in Spanish, even with my questions. She is wonderful!

Last night, Judithe and I got to go to Bible study again! We were even brave enough to read some verses out loud for the group in Spanish 🙂 The study lasted for about 2 hours and I understood the main idea but didn’t catch some of the finer details. Sadly our host mom couldn’t go with us this week so we couldn’t ask her afterward about the parts we didn’t quite understand (she is fluent in English, as well) but I still feel like I learned a lot. And I always enjoy seeing my new friends. I was surprised on Monday night when I heard someone call my name after we hopped on a bus to go home. It was one of the ladies in the Bible study! She was excited to see Judithe and I, and offered to hold our laundry bags since she was sitting and we were standing. So nice!

This morning, we got to see another orchiopexy and then spent some time with Dr. Galindo in his outpatient surgery clinic. It is located on the first floor of the hospital with all of the other consult rooms- there is one for each specialty. In clinic, we saw an infant with Down Syndrome and gallstones. She has hemolysis (an abnormal breakdown of red blood cells), which is causing the stones. This was interesting for me as I have never seen a patient that young with gallstones. We also saw a 12 year old female with gallstones who recently had her gallbladder taken out, and a 3 month old infant who has an imperforate anus (her anus has no opening) and therefore currently has a colostomy (where the end of the large intestine is attached to a surgical opening in her abdomen providing an alternative route for feces to leave her body until they can fix the imperforate anus). They will do the final operation when she is either 6 months of age or 7 kgs. I really enjoyed working with Dr. Galindo this week. He invited us to come back to the OR whenever we want during our time here!

Tomorrow we leave for a trip to Salar de Uyuni, the famous salt flats in southern Bolivia. I have been told by several people, including the doctors we are working with, that this is a must see while we are here. Our Spanish teacher is also has her own tour company, so she has helped us put everything together for the trip (super convenient!). We are traveling all day tomorrow then taking a 3 day tour. We are excited to go! I won’t be posting for several days but plan on taking my phone to take pictures so I can post an update on the trip when we arrive back to La Paz on Tuesday. Next week, we are working in the neonatology unit 🙂

Here are some random pictures that I have forgotten to upload this past week…hope everyone has a wonderful weekend

A musician we saw at Valle de la Luna.

A musician we saw at Valle de la Luna.

Exploring downtown (I wasn't posing for a cheesy picture...it was just sunny haha)

Exploring downtown (I wasn’t posing for a cheesy picture…it was just sunny haha)

A sign I saw in the mall here. Quite possibly the best movie ever!

A sign I saw in the mall here. Quite possibly the best movie ever!

Myself, my host mom, and Amina in front of the national theater.

Myself, my host mom, and Amina in front of the national theater.


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