Day 3 – “It Gets Easier”
Today felt like a typical day, but it wasn’t until we got back to the hotel from night camp that I realized how smoothly everything had went. I woke up feeling well-rested, despite only getting 4 hours of sleep. I was assigned to the Hemoglobin & Blood Glucose station at the elementary school and had been dreading my shift since I read the assignment schedule on Monday. I, a second year nursing student, dislike being pricked and seeing my own blood, so I dreaded the reaction a six year old may have to the test. I imagined lots of sweat, tears, and of course, blood. I am pleased to say that there was only the latter…for the most part. Most of the kids I tested were a little nervous but put on their big boy and big girl faces when they learned that they could pick out stickers after the test. Most surprisingly was a kindergartener who was excited (yes, you read that correctly) to check his glucose level. Thankfully, there was only one crier today. All the nursing students worked together to calm her down but she refused to be pricked until she saw the procedure demonstrated on my finger. Yes, it hurt a little, but I, too, put on my big girl face and said “see, that was easy.”
Tonight’s camp was my favorite experience so far. As I mentioned in my previous posts, I took a little Spanish in high school but am so out of practice that I can barely make a five word sentence. But through a lot of practice with my roommates and the interpreters, I am remembering a lot of what I had forgotten. I was stationed at the blood pressure table in night camp. I was also a little nervous about this assignment because night camp can be noisy, making it hard to listen to and measure systolic and diastolic pressure. To my surprise, this station was also a breeze. Not only was I able to easily obtain blood pressure values, I was also more confident in my Spanish speaking ability. I could tell that my patients really appreciated the fact that I was trying to make them feel more comfortable by speaking their native language, even if I did mistake “esto es su numero” (this is your number) with “esto es su nombre” (this is your name). Because we had learned that migrant workers do not make much money and therefore buy a lot of cheap and unhealthy food, I was expecting a majority of my patients to have high blood pressure. But in fact, a majority of them had great blood pressure and were in great shape. This makes sense, considering how labor-intensive their work is.
Because we had done it four times already, loading and unloading the van was very easy tonight. All teams have become so used to the routine that we were able to see all our patients and leave night camp at 11:30pm.