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Hospital Loma de Luz


Hello faithful readers!

We've made it to Hospital Loma de Luz. Actually, we made it yesterday - 1 day behind schedule due to some very inconvenient gastroenteritis that kept us stuck in Guatemala City for two nights after a very unpleasant ride from Xela. We're recovered 100% now, but sadly missed out on seeing the Copan ruins. Some other time...

Yesterday we spent the day checking out the nearby city of La Ceiba and getting groceries there to take out here, as we aren't really in any town (and all the surrounding towns are pretty small). After that, we made the 45 minute trip, from highway to paved road and finally to dirt road, and arrived at the hospital. It's on a dirt road that runs parallel to the ocean, about 1/4 mile away. There are small villages dotting the road every 5-10 minutes of driving, and lots of people going between them on foot, horseback, bikes, motorcycles, and sometimes cars. There are also a few buses everyday that help to bring patients in from the many surrounding small towns. All in all, it's very rural. Patients come from these small farming and fishing communities from the coast to way up in the mountains.

The hospital sits on a hill overlooking the road and the beach, along with staff housing and a few other buildings here and there. The hospital itself is fairly small, though it still boasts a high volume general clinic, OB and gynecology clinics (with ultrasound capability), 2 delivery rooms, 2 operating rooms, 15 or so inpatient beds divided into communal rooms for men, women, and children, and an ER which is much more a room than a department. All of these areas are arranged in a big square with a courtyard in the middle, which is covered and acts as a sort of open-air chapel.

Up another hill near the hospital is the staff housing. We live in an apartment that is part of a larger building with common spaces and more apartments for other visitors. Our little two-room apartment has everything we need and is private, which is nice after living with a family for a few weeks. We cook all of our meals ourselves, which is great after not cooking for ourselves for several months! A few other visitors are living here now too, and the permanent staff live in a nearby communal building, up the hill further in their own houses, or in villages.

As for our daily life, we come to the hospital at 8am or so to begin seeing patients in clinic. Some people have appointments ahead of time, but many just show up and hope to be seen, so it's very hard to know what a day will be like. After a full day of clinic, caring for hospitalized patients, and maybe some babies and emergencies, the day winds down around 3pm, since the buses stop running at that time and many people have very long trips back to their homes. After that time, the on-call physician takes over. We'll be starting to take call a few times a week along with one of the docs, too. While on call, you handle after-hours clinic visits, emergencies, and deliveries, so it should be fun! We have some weekend call, but other weekends we are completely free so we should be able to do a little traveling and relaxing.

Today after clinic we threw on our swimsuits and walked 5 minutes down the dirt road to find the path between cow pastures that leads to the beach. It's a wild, natural beach - very different from the manicured ones on Roatan, etc - but really beautiful. The waves were surprisingly good for the Caribbean, and we still have to figure out if there's any snorkeling here. Apparently there is a reef nearby, but it is out a little ways and we need some flippers before we try to go out. The weather is great, 70s at night and 80s during the day, with lots of humidity - so much so that most fabrics feel moist all the time! I still think it's a good tradeoff, given the low tonight in Iowa City is 4 degrees (!).

We'll be sure to keep you posted with any interesting stories and photos, and we'll definitely snap some of the hospital and grounds at some point.

Mariel y Ben

Posted by vagabundos 18:39 Archived in Honduras

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