We woke up bright and early and departed for the hospital at 6:45am this morning! Rested and more comfortable with our surroundings, we entered the hospital with excitement showing on our faces! In groups of four, we spent two hours each in the emergency room, labor and delivery, and the operating room.
Brenna, Meghan, Amanda and I began our day in the OR, where Doctor Mariana Jarquin, our medical brigade advisor, and our Puerto Rican nursing instructor, Gladys, acting as an interpreter, showed us through the operating room. We donned shoe covers, hair nets, and face masks and proceeded into the OR, where we were informed five “cesarias” (C-sections) would be taking place later in the day. We were kindly invited by two surgeons to watch them perform ophthalmic surgeries. One surgery was on an older man’s left eye cataract, while the other involved the setting of a maxillofacial bone fracture on a young woman’s face.
We began with the occipital bone surgery, and observed the many scrub nurses and surgery assistants as they prepared the girl for surgery. They put her under general anesthesia, intubated her, and put her on a mechanical ventilator, all the while answering our questions as Gladys interpreted for us. We cringed at some details, which I will spare the reader from, but all in all it was a quick and successful surgery, and it absolutely fascinating to watch!
Next, we traveled to the cataract surgery room, where the surgeon allowed us to view the man’s eye under the microscope before he began his removal of the lens.
After only a short few minutes, we were beckoned by Mariana into the hallway, where she informed us we would be allowed to watch the first C-section of the morning. Excited and nervous, we entered the room, just as the surgeon was making the first cut. In just 15 minutes, the first squeal came from the body of the 8lb. baby boy as they moved him from his mother on the operating table to an incubation bed. The nurses took his thumb print and foot print, and cleaned him off. They let us join them as they moved him to another room to receive his Vitamin K shot and antibiotic eye ointment. We then joyously took turns holding him and welcoming him into the world!
We spent the rest of the day moving between the emergency room and the neonatal-ICU, helping in what small ways we could. Meghan and I assisted the one nurse in the emergency room with some much needed help preparing medications, while Brenna and Amanda helped clean and feed babies in the neonatal department.
During our transitions between departments, we spoke to the other groups and learned about their rotation experiences in the various departments. We all agreed, today had been incredible.
We ended our day with a late lunch shared with the nursing directors, while Kimberly and Katherine gave incredible presentations on their knowledge of baby massage techniques, natural birth, and child birth practices in US hospitals. The Nicaraguan nurses had so many questions and were so intrigued by our perspectives!
Now we are relaxing in the hotel lobby, chatting about our experiences and waiting for the van to arrive to take us to dinner. We are famished after such a busy day!!!