Today was the first day of our service site placements! This is the ‘study abroad’ portion of my study abroad trip and the main reason that I get credit for being here for a month. I was placed in the hospital with pre-med, which means I get to observe and work with doctors, and at the hospital, I am assigned to work in the Paediatric (pediatric) Wing.
While it took a few hours for the administration to cut through the bureaucratic bullshit before we could get started, once we did it was unreal. We were able to listen in on the ward check of the two patients that were in the ward and work with the team of four doctors and two nurses that manage both the Paediatric and the Neonatal Wings. The Paediatric Wing, along with most other wings, was rather small with 12 total beds. One of the patients had two rare genetic diseases along with two of his three brothers, Sickle Cell Anemia and Hemophilia, and he was getting treated for bleeding into a joint cavity in his back. The pairing of his two diseases was so rare that they were using him for a case study because in addition to the rarity the hemaphilia was decreasing the severity of his symptoms. I know, science-y jargon. The other patient had cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and was a triplegic, while he was not receiving any current treatment for these they were looking for a suitable home to place him in where he could be looked after.
The doctors spent the last hour of our time with them catching us up on their treatment plan and talking about common diseases that they treat the most often, one of them being sickle cell anemia due to the high population of people on the islands that are of Sub-Saharan African descent where the disease had protected against Malaria. We also discussed the education to become a doctor in Tobago, which was on the British system due to colonialism, they spent five years in medical school right out of high school. I have since contemplated the ongoing practices that have a history in colonialism due in part to their native population being mostly snuffed out, it dominates their education, government, religion, and other practices. The main area of life that has been taken back by their cultural movement seems to be music and dance.
After our sites we went to the beach and worked on homework before having a dance class leading up to our performance this Friday (mentioned in a previous journal post.) It was exhausting and I took a quick and cold shower before going to bed.