Tuesday, April 24, 2012

ABC's in spanish aren't ABC....

So the next two posts are probably going to be a little blurry because as the teaching days passed, well... they got blurry... moved quickly, people learned, we laughed, we bandaged, we assessed and boy did people laugh.

Our day started with vital signs - pulses, blood pressures, breathing, things that are hard enough to teach in english, but easy enough to make sure they're getting them right because they can be monitored and checked.  But gosh do I ever have a hard time not being able to talk, and be understood.  I know I can talk, but I missed the casual interactions.  So the inevitable - I spewed out words in almost every other language I have learned in the last 15 + years! Haha...  A little almost speaking korean, a lot of trying out french vocabulary which really didn't seem to work as similar-ish as the languages are and I think a couple little italian words came out.  I couldn't help it, I guess that's proof you'll do almost anything to be understood - manipulating peoples hands, gestures, etc.  I think there are different gestures in every culture but I assume I would have known if I had offended anyone!

I realized that morning tho, as we were also going through assessments and interviewing, that our mnemonics don't translate well! We use S.A.M.P.L.E and OPQRST when taking history and assessing patient injury and symptoms, for those who have the background this is pretty self explanatory.  For the others - they are the tools to make sure we get a thorough story of the incident, where you hurt or how bad the symptoms are (trauma or medical complaints) and then SAMPLE your medical history.  So we polled the interpreters and came up with a different mnemonic in spanish! CODIT and SAMHUE.  Granted not really words but a pattern which we wanted to be easier to remember than our english terms.
Much to my luck, I have good printing and a desire to create awesome visual learning tools (well even just visual learning tools, awesome or not... ).  So Ellen had Crayola Markers and some chart paper and I let my inner preschool-teacher come out!

And thus the hands on and visual learning aids were brought out.  I am a nerd... and I dunno why I am laughing but I think it was funny...?

The afternoon broke the gang up into their 5 groups for rotations through the rest of the stations.  We had everything from splinting and spinal management, bandaging, causes of changes in consciousness, medical emergencies (chest pain, asthma, etc), poisoning, and labour and delivery.  I had one group that afternoon but I floated around and helped with other groups for the rest of the day.

I hung out through the afternoon with Brad doing heat and cold emergencies (of course focused on fire and heat emergencies, touching only a bit on hypothermia... the climate is pretty hot and the group aren't so much into swimming in cold water in this area).  
I did loss of consciousness reasons for one rotation, and the group was quiet and just learning the basics, so I kinda hoped I could just get out things simply - how to explain seizures, strokes and diabetes (among other things) is really tricky, without full anatomy/physiology lessons.  But I think it was good.

We finished the afternoon and ya know what - it was very pleasant.  It was rushed, we grazed the surface on everything but they were getting it.  Recovering and reviewing important information, and really enjoying the chance to be back teaching again.

So with that day done and under our belt, we gave ourselves a pat on our backs and called it a day.  There were still 2 more full days! :D

Ooh, but exciting.  One of the medics we came down with is a f/t toronto fire and part-ime peterborough medic, and being a fire fighter has a draw to see what the local fire station is like.  So Fifo humoured us and took us into Jinoteppe (<10 min down the road) to the fire station.  The guys were so accommodating - there are 4 guys on for 48 hours at a time - staying at the station for the overnight periods.  They do both the ambulance and fire calls.  And once a fire fighter always a fire fighter... they are passionate about what they do.  Generally making less than the overall minimum monthly wage, but train together, work well together and make do with what they have.

 The crew... 4 guys were great about explaining their jobs, the most common calls, the high number of traumas - Jinoteppe is right on the Pan-America Highway so lots of transports, vehicles, bikes, horses and carriages, etc travel along the distances.
 Fire truck - not toooo old, donated.  Has extrication equipment - tho it is old and stuff that would have been retired long ago up here.
 Ambulance (obviously) - not new, sometimes has not enough fuel to get further than the gas station but not enough money to fill the tank, and has great wood panelling in the back.
 Pretty new, 4wd rescue vehicles.  During the wet season the crews respond to a lot of mud slides and a lot of the country is pretty rugged - allows for some diversity in the vehicles they take out.
 The Ottawa team showing off the vehicle.  We complain about what we have - we don't know really how good we do have it!
 Helping out with some fundraising (Yup Barry and Red Dog get their own personal copies as thanks for helping out so much with the preparation!)
 Three services represent - and Brian shows off his physique - and nicely shaven legs (he was going on a bike adventure when the rest of us left.
Fire gear...

Again - their generosity, seriousness, passion and interest in sharing and advocating for their jobs and for support were so fantastic.  We did the full tour of the station, and they showed us two special features...

View from the top of the Fire tower - yup we walked up and up and up a very narrow concrete winding set of stairs.  Going up was the easy part...

They also have a 1938 fire truck, that they had donated to them in 1940.  It is in pretty good shape considering it isn't really well protected, but it is a fantastic vehicle.

It was in pretty good shape - although dusty, there is an advantage of not having salty winters.  It'd be quite the collectors item. 

Then we went back, had a rum and coke and went to bed... :)

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