Pill Counting Day and booby traps

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.

Pill Counting Day: filled prescriptions bury my laptop

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:

The Rotting Telephone Pole Booby Trap: drops missiles from above (the piece on the ground fell off right as I walked by)

The Camouflaged Barbed Wire Booby Trap: well-hidden with twigs, and effectively located over the sidewalk at eye level

The Open Manhole Booby Trap: particularly effective due to distracting foliage and architecture nearby

The Precariously-Balanced Propane Tank Booby Trap: highway travel at its finest. Photo courtesy Mofongo Mayhem blog.

The Crumbling-Road-Into-The-River Booby Trap: I pass this spot every day during my morning run

The Falling Tree Limb Booby Trap: my personal favorite. You find a massive 25-foot tree limb that, after a big storm, has nearly fallen off, but is still hanging on by a thread, and then you pull it over and tie it to a nearby fence with a piece of string. Who knows when the limb will break off, crushing whatever it falls on.

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.

Corina’s daughter jumps into a swimming hole in Arroyo de Leche


About Brian Daily

Medical volunteer in the Dominican Republic for Health Horizons International
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One Response to Pill Counting Day and booby traps

  1. noel pense says:

    Awesome to hear you are doing well and that you are helping in a great program. Keep up the good work!

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