Happy New Year to all of you! I spent a good 30 minutes this morning hogging wifi and using the textplus app on my iTouch to wish my friends back home a happy 2011; I would’ve wished them in person – except I’m in India ☺ And that happens to be just a little too far away, haha.
Following two flight cancellations, some in-flight meal confusion, a missed train, a last-minute bus ticket purchase, and some serious luggage-lifting, I made my way last week to a small rural area of India called Anaikatti. Since then, I’ve been here with my mom and grandma; it’s absolutely gorgeous:
The beauty of this place is reason enough to be here – but the actual purpose of my visit to Anaikatti is to work at one of the tribal hospitals in this region, assessing its needs and trying to figure out a way I can help.
It’s been an amazing experience so far. The doctors at the hospital are incredibly nice to me and patiently explain everything, regardless of how many questions I ask. Yesterday, I was given the chance to watch two deliveries! The first was a C-section: SO. COOL. The anesthesiologist in the operation theater walked me through every step of the procedure. Midway through his explanation, I passed out, lol. I have nooo idea why; according to the anesthesiologist, I curled myself up in the fetal position and had no pulse for a good 40-50 seconds. He said the likely cause of my fainting, given my general bravado in the O.T. and clear lack of discomfort around blood, was over-excitement…Who the heck passes out because they’re too excited? Gah, I’m so weird -_-‘
Anywayy. The second delivery was a normal one, and – despite the patient’s shrill screams and blood – completely devoid of any fainting spells. Thank goodness: two in one day would just be embarrassing.
Things I learned yesterday:
(1) Sometimes passing out is not preceded by little black dots dancing around.
(2) Scrubs are ridiculously comfortable.
(3) Anesthesia is godly. Yesterday, we asked the patient if she was okay during the operation, and she just said (in Tamil), “Yeah, I’m good. A little sleepy though” – no mention whatsoever of the gaping fissure across her abdomen. All because of a little shot. I was impressed.
Aside from working at the hospital, I’ve also made a couple trips out of Anaikatti with a mobile medical van. Each time, we visit about five villages, some as far as 100 km away. At these various locales, we distribute medicines to patients; the medical van staff generally consists of one driver, one doctor, and two nurses. Each foray out to the villages is a tiring, full-day endeavor – but it’s truly meaningful work. Without this medical van, many tribal individuals would not receive any medical care. I’ve seen patients with breast cancer, extreme malnutrition, and wounds that haven’t healed in months. It’s a humbling experience, seeing all of this. At every second, I’m reminded of how lucky I am.
And that’s part of the reason I want to give back to this community. I’ve been taking a lot of notes, and the notebook I brought with me to India is already half-full. For a rural-tribal hospital, this Anaikatti facility is fantastic, with a complete array of medical equipment: x-ray, ultrasound, blood testing, dental machinery, and even a telemedicine center. However, one of the biggest problems with both the hospital and medical van is the high doctor and nurse turnover. As such, the nurses are always “in training” and not “trained.” Based on everything I’ve observed, I’ve come up with a mini-training program to help develop some of the nurses’ skills, and I’m hoping it has a visible impact on the quality of care administered at this hospital. I’ve had a lot of feedback and help from the doctors at the hospital to develop this idea – and now, I’ll just have to see how it goes ☺
In any case – I wish you all a wonderful year ahead, and I hope none of you partied too hard last night =P I just recently discovered wifi here in Anaikatti, so I promise more stories (hopefully, no more consisting of me losing consciousness) as time goes on.
Oh – and RA applicants: good luck!