Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Trauma: Life in the (Peruvian) ER

      Today, I was happy with the fact that I waste hours watching Discovery Health’s Trauma: Life in the ER. Although, it’s a different experience in the safety of my own home than it is in the actual emergency room. When you throw in the language barrier, it’s a whole different world. I found myself thrown into the procedure room with Meg, neither of us knowing what our purpose was. We soon found out when the doctor started rattling off medical jargon in Spanish. Thank goodness for cognates, because I would’ve been clueless. Soon, after donning gloves, I was given suture scissors to assist in stitching our first patient up.
            Now, it’s slightly overwhelming to see someone’s toe practically falling off, but I had to fight through the temporary lightheadedness in order to maintain my scissor job. I left the ER feeling accomplished, having done something for a change and not just shadowed. The rest of the day was spent with Vaso De Leche, our beloved woman’s group. Marianne and Rachael taught about first aid, something these women desperately wanted to learn about. Taking care of cuts and scrapes is different here in Peru. When asked about what to do to a bleeding gash, one of the women suggested finding a spider web to curtail the bleeding. It’s interesting what people do here with no resources.
            We finished the day with our first interview with the group. They were started in 1993 in response to the bad rains that year. The villages needed help, and these women were there to respond. They began a program that gave the village children a breakfast everyday. Now, the program has grown into something educational for the community. The women get together weekly to learn and to grow. They bring information back to the communities with them, somewhat acting as mentors for the villages. We are thrilled to have three of our teaching projects with them, because they are so excited to learn. Many of them take notes during our presentations. On Monday, I will teach about women’s nutrition and blood pressure. It is so nice to teach people who actually want to learn and are so grateful for your presence. 

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