Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Genuine Enlightenment

Communication, medical education, and learning about the human person on a physical and metaphysical level are common themes I have noticed since arriving in Guatemala on Saturday morning. These themes have enlightened my mind and have changed my way of thinking and my view of the world. What I am experiencing in Guatemala is surreal. The interactions between the medical team, the locals of Patanatic, and nature, have truly created a unique experience that is extremely genuine.

Communication is a vital part of truly engaging myself in the culture of Guatemala. It is the best way to immerse myself in the culture and understand the lives of the patients we are serving. While sometimes a language barrier does exist, there seems to be unique sense of understanding between the team and the people of this beautiful country. A smile and bout of laughter go long way in forming an emotional bond with an individual. One experience that stands out to me in particular was a short conversation I had with a young boy while his mother was waiting for medication at the pharmacy. I approached and asked him who is favorite soccer player was, and he quickly responded Lionel Messi. The next couple minutes consisted of us talking about why we preferred Lionel Messi to Cristiano Ronaldo and discussing how Messi was truly a magician with a soccer ball at his feet. While the conversation was short and was about two soccer players, it serves as an example that two people from different parts of the world share a unique bond with each other.

The medical aspect of this trip has been nothing short of amazing. I have learned more knowledge about medicine in the past few days than sitting in a science lecture. Through shadowing Dr. Richard my fist day in clinic, I learned the application of medicine and science is much different than learning the science. When speaking with his patients, Dr. Richard chose the medication he thought was best for each patient while considering other medications the patient was taking, possible side effects of the medication, and the overall mental well-being of the patient before filling the prescription. Dr. Richard also stressed the importance of taking your time with the patient so accurate data can be recorded, allowing for proper treatment. One quote that Dr. Richard mentioned, while talking to us about blood pressure, resonated a lot with me, “If you are not going to take blood pressure correctly, you are better off not taking it at all.” This quote is very important to me, and it gives me an idea of the type of doctor I want to become.

The scientific and physical aspect of medicine is very important; however, so is the metaphysical and spiritual aspect of medicine. Both Dr. Lauri and Dr. Richard both exemplify this type of health care. They always make sure that the patient is content with the medication they are on and are willing to be flexible with the patient. These types of actions say a lot about their character. I have been seen by a few doctors who do not have this same mindset, and it is not an enjoyable experience as a patient. The human person is composed of the body and the mind, and should be treated together as a single entity. As a young scientist, this is a way of discourse I hope to acquire when I am a physician.

Jacob Noll
Xavier University 2017
Biology Major
Chemistry and Economics Minor

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