Monday, April 13, 2015

Day 1

Interesting moments/facts from Bolivia I've learned so far:
- it is the 2nd most poor country in the western hemisphere, 50% live in "extreme poverty" and 25% below the poverty line
- the Amboro nature reserve is one of the largest tracts of jungle preserved in South America, has over 900 species of birds, over 100 species of butterflies, more than all of Canada and the US in just 4300 sq. km
- kaka, coca, cocao, and cocoa are all very different things
- tapirs like to drink from the swimming pool
- one set of nasal prongs for oxygen can go a long way
- you can resterile suction tubing when you run out (on day 1)
- if you announce in church that you can have body parts removed, they will come...gall bladders, appendixes, lumps, bumps, lipomas galore ( we only remove when necessary)
-  they have some weird rules about shoes and lab coats in the hallways and in and out of sterile areas.  Had to buy $2 "Crocs" for ease of transferring footwear 100 times/day
- it's really good the AC works in the OR - I drank 3 litres today and only peed one (I know TMI)
- post-op patients in Canada get a lot more pain meds
- La Paz is one of the highest elevation cities in the world.  The airport is on a huge flat plateau that is surrounded by mountains and volcanoes of 22000 ft.
- children are well behaved.. I saw 3 children sit and play in one hallway/ bench for 8 hours without complaining
- planning to ride home for 2 hours on a motor bike with your sister and 3 children(f rom above) post inguinal hernia repair is NOT a good plan.  I made him stay the night :)
- these lovely people are so grateful for any help they can get.
- being told I love you by an ecstatic post op patient made my day  :)
- I'd like to learn more Spanish than the words for pee, poo, blood pressure, pain, nausea, sit up, lay down, bandage, tylenol
- fresh tangerines, pineapple, papayas, watermelon every morning is worth having breakfast at 6:30 am- well not quite but helps
- Working with such a great team who are so committed to serving the poor is very rewarding!  Who wants to come next time!!?

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