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Week 2 and Cayos Cochinos

rain 70 °F

We're back at LdL after a long weekend doing clinic and hanging out in the beautiful Cayos Cochinos, a group of small islands just off the coast here (a bit closer to mainland than Roatan and Utila). We went with Dr. Renee and a few other girls who acted as nurses/pharmacists.

We set out early Friday morning in a small boat from the beach just across from the hospital and made it to the Cayos about an hour later. We were greeted by sunny, cloudless skies, turquoise water, and white sand beaches. After settling into our digs for the weekend, a beautiful house overlooking the sea (!) owned by friends of the hospital, we set off in another, smaller boat to the other side of the island where there's a makeshift clinic. It was built by a nurse from Texas decades ago, and she still comes a few times a year, but now Renee also works with her to see patients in between times. The clinic is nothing more than a tiny, open air, one-room cement building, but the location is amazing. It's right on the beach with beautiful coral reef a few feet away. Boatloads of tourists hoping to snorkle showed up more than once while we were inside working. And luckily, island time is a little slower than usual so we had plenty of time to snorkle and relax in the water in between patients! We did clinics on Friday and Saturday and saw probably 50 patients between the three of us.

On Sunday we went into the Garifuna village of Chachawate and the other three girls (who happen to be teachers) put on a Sunday school class for the kids in the tiny church there. It was fun to play with the kids some. The village is really interesting too. The island is only about a half mile long and a quarter mile wide but houses 300 people, and even has a couple of hotels and restaurants though there's no fresh water, plumbing, or electricity! It's surrounded by a bunch of private islands of about the same size that house 1 family each or so, so it's kind of a strange juxtaposition. After grabbing lunch there, we went back to our island for more snorkeling and relaxing. We saw lots of beautiful fish including parrotfish, angelfish, squirrelfish, cowfish, etc. and some lobsters and rays too. Unfortunately we also saw (and felt) more than a couple jellyfish so we didn't snorkle quite as much as we'd have liked to.

After the great weekend, we came back to the mainland yesterday morning and are back in action in the clinic and hospital. This weekend an anesthesiologist and plastic surgeon are here so there are lots of cases in the OR. Today Mariel got to scrub in and first assist on an abdominal hysterectomy, which was a lot of fun. We're looking forward to more surgeries and other interesting stuff this week with them.

All of this vacation and fun cases has been a nice break after some tough days last week. On Wednesday, clinic was interrupted in the morning by a code blue (cardiac arrest). We ran over to find the patient was the 7-year-old girl who had been admitted a few days before for fever and abdominal pain. She had been in another hospital in La Ceiba for a week or more before coming to us because she just didn't get better. It was Tuesday that the team figured out she was infected with the worm Strongyloides, an uncommon but not unheard of parasite down here. They had begun treatment with mebendazole and were awaiting the arrival of the drug of choice, ivermectin. Late Tuesday night, though, she had begun to have some breathing problems. By morning she was doing even worse and, we soon found out, going into shock. After several rounds of CPR throughout the morning, her body finally couldn't take any more and she passed away. Ben and I were among those taking turns doing CPR and it was really difficult to lose her, especially after the other sad cases we were part of last week. Therefore, the Cayos trip was much appreciated and helped us to get back in a good place to work with other patients.

Es todo para ahora, esperamos que todo pase bien con todos de ustedes!

Posted by vagabundos 18:43 Archived in Honduras

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