Second Day

July 17, 2009 at 9:58 pm Leave a comment

So Rita and I finished our first two days at the hospital!!! Wow it is hard! A big challenge is of course the language barrier. We can communicate in Spanish, but it is not easy or very comprehensive. Our biggest problem I think is not finding people we can talk to, are willing to talk, and are helpful. We met with the director of the hospital, Sor Ligia (a nun because the hospital is run by nuns), on the first day. She gave us an old room in the back hallway that was full of unused beds and nursing supplies. A lady working at the hospital brought us a plastic table and chairs. They people started bringing in broken medical equipment. Left and right! No instructions, no manuals, no explanations, no conversations or discussions! Rita and I kept thinking that we were going to meet some of the technicians or mechanics or anyone, but rather they just brought the equipment and left. One technicians, named Cheyo, brought us a lot, and we tried to talk to him. I guess he didn’t want to talk because he would just keep leaving. Around lunch time, Rita and I decided to walk around. We ran into Cheyo with another man, named Harold, who turns out is the head technician on the hospital. He knew Maura and Pia, the EWH girls who worked there last year and even had a picture of them! He was super nice, but of course he is on vacation right now. Apparently all the other technicians besides Cheyo are on vacation until next Monday at least! Yikes! Rita and I talked with Harold a bit, who then brought us more broken medical equipment. So now, we have a little room with 4 centrifuges, a defibrillator and ECG monitor, a IV fluid pump, ear/nose/throat light set, 2 sets of phototherapy lights, a baby incubator, a Doppler ultrasound, and the bedside monitor that we brought (temperature, Oxygen saturation, pulse rate, blood pressure). Hmmm and we heard some people don’t find the broken equipment until the end of the month. Rita and I were hoping to just meet people and perhaps start an inventory today. I guess they expect us to start repairing today. We started taking apart a centrifuge while we waited to meet people because they brought us that first. Well needless-to-say, since we never met anyone, we took it apart but didn’t find a problem. Hmm, well we should have checked on our own to see if it worked. We then plugged it in and it worked. We asked Cheyo about it, and he didn’t know. We then tested another one and found that it did not work. We took it apart but could only determine that the motor was broken. Discouraged we decided to go should Sor Ligia the bedside monitor that we brought. So she asked us to demonstrate for her how to use it and then asked for the manual. Hmph too bad we don’t have one. Very embarrassed, we then told her that we would find out the answers to her many questions, write a manual, and then bring it back. I felt really bad that we didn’t have everything ready for her. I understand now though why she doesn’t accept anything and everything because literally 7/12 pieces of equipment in our room were donated by EWH. I was at first really discouraged that everything that was broken was donated by us. I didn’t know if it was because the equipment we brought was poor quality or that they brought it to us since we are from EWH. Then as Rita and I were meandering around the hospital, we realized that really all the equipment that we saw in the hospital was in our room. There were some really nice new pieces of equipment in the neonatal unit, but only one was working. The other was missing some lights. We also saw some working centrifuges in the laboratory. That is all we saw! However, there is also some operating rooms, X-ray room, and ER respiratory room that we did not see. I assume there is more equipment (hopefully working) in there. The rest of the hospital contained rooms with just beds and bedside tables with some patients. It has been an interesting past few days- frustrating and challenging absolutely. It seems like they expect us to be able to fix everything. Interesting too that they did not ask us any questions- only if we had a specialty or just general! We would like to talk to some more people and find out more information about the hospital, what it needs, and about the equipment, but we haven’t found many people willing to talk to us- maybe its language or culture. I don’t know. We did have a patient come talk to us today though who knew English and works as a dentist in Arkansas! She was sooo nice. She apparently has a brother-in-law who works at the hospital and another that works in Jinotepe and knows English. She called him on her cell phone right there and gave me the phone to talk. I didn’t really know what to say, but he will be a good contact in case we get really stuck. He works for a non-profit organization installing water filters around Nicaragua- really nice and neat man it sounded like. Good connections! So Rita and I are making progress! We were also super excited today because we think we fixed a couple of pieces of equipment! We put in a new battery in the Doppler ultrasound, and it works better than before. We tried to ask around if it was good enough but didn’t get much feedback. We also investigated the ear/nose/throat light machine thing. Only 3 of the heads worked, but when we took apart the others, we found that the light bulbs worked. We then put them back in the head and they worked! No idea why! We may not be able to rewire the defibrillador but we can definitely take apart and rebuild things! We are just taking things one step at a time and trying to build relationships here. Hopefully Harold will come back and we can talk to him, we can get Cheyo to warm up to us, and maybe meet some nurses or others tomorrow. Besides that, we need to find some info on the machines perhaps online and work on writing a manual for our monitor. A lot of work to be done- good thing we are here for a month!

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Adios y Hola First week

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