After two weeks of devoting all of my free time to writing essays and researching medical schools, on Tuesday I happily submitted my AMCAS, the primary application for medical school. Now I am free to spend my evenings and weekends playing tennis in Puerto Plata and updating my blog!
HHI has 18 wonderful community health workers. They are leaders in their communities whom we have trained in first aid and the management of chronic illnesses, and their hard work and dedication keeps our Chronic Care Program running smoothly. Each community health worker is assigned a caseload of 5-10 patients who need treatment for hypertension, diabetes, asthma or epilepsy. Every month our community health workers visit all their patients to measure vitals and answer questions about medications, and every other month they deliver a new two-month supply of medications. So every two months, on Pill Counting Day, our staff has to fill all the prescriptions for the 100-odd patients in our Chronic Care Program. Last Thursday was my first Pill Counting Day. After 8 hours of counting pills and filling baggies, the medication names that used to give me trouble now roll easily off my tongue: hydrochlorothiazide, metoprolol, acetylsalicylic acid and salbutamol. In addition to helping on Pill Counting Day, I spent much of last week on my laptop entering information from our patients’ paper charts into our electronic medical record (EMR) and cross-checking their current medication regimens with the instructions written by our physicians during HHI’s May Operativo.
Staying safe in Montellano is not easy. The town seems to have been cleverly booby-trapped to injure all but the wariest of passers-by. A few examples from my two months of living in Montellano:
Despite these booby traps and against all odds, I am alive and well. Last week community health workers Mercedes and Corina took their kids and me to their favorite swimming hole in Arroyo de Leche. It was absolutely gorgeous. We swung across the river on vines, I taught swim lessons to a couple of the little tots (I used to teach swim lessons as a lifeguard), and we jumped off high rocks into the swimming hole below. Definitely one of the most fun things I’ve done here.