Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Language Isn't the Only Form of Communication

My day started waking up to a rooster at 5:59. An actual rooster call, like one you would see in a cartoon. As if that wasn't unreal enough already, I emerged from my room surrounded by beautiful volcanos. However, I'm not sure that the amazing landscape can compare to the amazing people I had the privilege of working with today.

At the clinic first day nerves set in right away. When we got there patients were already lined up waiting outside. I started my day setting up our pharmacy, but once we were waiting for the prescriptions to start rolling in Katie, another student on the trip, encouraged me to come with her to blow bubbles with some of the children waiting in line. They looked at us like we were a little crazy at first, but eventually they couldn't help but smile. Les burbujas were definitely a hit. I was nervous to interact with the kids (or anyone for that matter) because I don't speak Spanish, but this experience showed me that language isn't the only form of communication, smiles and laughter count just as much.

This was a wonderful start to my day because it gave me a small amount of confidence, and opened my eyes to a new perspective when working with patients as well. I spent the afternoon shadowing Dr. Richard, and I'm not sure that a pre-med student could even hope for a better shadowing experience. He exemplified what a doctor should be. He spent as much time on a patient as needed without worrying about time. This means he never let anything a patient said to him slip through the cracks. He listened to everything the patient was experiencing and was able to make the connections necessary to treat them. He did all of this while taking teachings moments for me, in order to make sure I understood why he was doing what he was doing. It was also inspiring to see him do this because he, like myself, does not speak Spanish. He had an amazing interpreter with him Mishell, but was still able to connect with his patients and give them the highest quality of care on a personal level. This was incredibly important for me because it reinforced the idea that I can still make an impact on someone's life, despite the barriers we may face. Clinic day one may have come to a close, but I can't wait to see what other surprises the week will bring.

Anna Klunk

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