Monday, July 18th
Today was our first day of going out to local villages of San Juan. Today’s trip was to a barrio named Comedero Ballo. We were split into two different rooms with a few different groups in each room. In the first room, we had two students who took down the name, age and the reason why the patient had come into our clinic, while one student measured the height and weight of each patient and three more people who took blood pressure, pulses and blood glucose (if needed) for everyone who came in. The next room had our two doctors (one was from the US, the other was from the Dominican Republic) who saw the patients and then directed the patients to the pharmacy on the other side of the room where the patients could receive medicine.
I started out the day working as the person who measured the height and weight of each patient. At first I thought it would not be too difficult a job, but that perception quickly changed. It was easy enough to get anyone six years old or more up onto the scale or against the wall where we had fastened a tape measure. The more difficult part came when the patient was a toddler who had no intention of standing in place against a wall or on a scale. While I did not know much Spanish, our translators were fantastic and always were able to help out me and the rest of our team. The job also required a bit of creativity. For example, if a mother brought in her two year old son, the best way to get the weight of the son was to weight the mother separately, then the mother holding the son and take the difference.
In the afternoon, I transferred over to the pharmacy where I worked with a few other students and a translator to take the doctor’s orders and fill them as best as possible. While I have spent a deal of time in a retail pharmacy such as CVS or Walgreens, working in this kind of pharmacy was quite different. Instead of aisles of shelves lined with medication, we operated out of a solitary suitcase. Again, the translators were really incredible and helped us pharmacy workers tell the patient exactly what their medication was for and how to take it.
While the rest of the team and I felt quite tired by the end of the day, I felt great knowing that we, as a team, had seen over one hundred and sixty different patients over the course of the day. While we are only going to be here for a few more days, I remain optimistic that in those few days we will be able to continue to work hard and build relationship between us workers and the people we serve.