Thursday, November 14, 2013

July 31, 2013

Wow, the program is almost all over! I can’t believe it. I have learned so much all though at times it seemed repetitive. One thing that I noticed myself saying a lot of the times, is that I wish I could get a lot more exposure than what we have. What I have failed to realized is that this is an experience for me, but we are here to help serve patients and if it means following doctors around learning ways to provide better health care, then that is an experience in itself.


July 24, 2013

So, the last couple of days where quite interesting except, the hospital stuff is getting a little repetitive until just a few days ago. We went to Retreat, which is another hospital (tertiary hospital) that most patients will go to on their first way and that place was loaded. I felt like there was so much more to learn. It was definitely different than from Victory hospital. It was kind of an eye opener. Seeing these different places are beginning to challenge me and encourage me to practice international health care and work as an emergency physician for a country or maybe even through the military because after seeing what I saw, there is a serious need out there.

July 20, 2013

Soo, today was probably one of the worst best days ever! We went shark cave diving and boy was that an experience to remember! I love CapeTown and this whole international health care thing, but Shark Cave Diving is definitely not for me! I enjoyed the sharks and such, but in order to get to them was horrible. We had to drive the boat 30 minutes out in the middle of the Atlantic and boy did my Seasickness kick in! I was sick as a dog, as a matter a fact, I am sick now as I write this damn blog! But overall, it was great! I have done so much stuff since I have been here. Now I can say that I have done so much stuff and will continue to do more.


July 17, 2013

A few days ago, we went hiking on one of the more popular mountains in South Africa called Lions Head, and it was actually pretty fun. My entire body was sore when I woke up to go to the hospitals. It was fun, got to bond with the other girls which is always fun.


Okay, I am getting a little irritated with some of these people we are studying abroad with. They are getting a little comfortable with each other and that doesn’t always go as well. I tend to not get comfortable with people a lot for these particular reasons. Another thing that adds to the problem is that they are all girls and we only have 2 guys that are studying abroad in this program and our choices seem to not matter as much and really it should because we all have funded ourselves to enjoy this trip so we all should have the right to decide what happens.


Anyhow, enough of me complaining blame it on the Cul Cul Cul Culture shock! Lol! But, this weekend should be pretty fun. We are taking another tour full of things to do and we will be hiking Table Mountain on Saturday, which should be fun.


Oh, I totally forgot, I need to go shopping for groceries and for gifts for everyone, so I am going to make my list right on this blog so I don’t forget (what, its me using my resources!!!)


Basic Groceries


Nic Nac Snacks

Mouth Wash


Gift Shopping




Mrs. Nay

Uncle Scrapp







Aunt Connie

Aunt Jeantte





That is a lot of damn people that I am related to!


Oh, one last thing, I bought over 10 items at the largest mall in the southern hemisphere and it only cost me 10 US dollars (that’s just an idea on how much our 1 is worth). These aren’t just any-o 10 items; I mean nice jackets, watches, shirts, hats and more! I am having way too much fun.

July 18, 2013

Okay, it has been several days since I have blogged so I must blog now. Nothing has really changed in the last couple of days. This past weekend was the most interesting in terms of fun stuff like bungie jumping, but in the last couple of days, nothing special. In the last couple of days, we have been working in the hospitals and learning a lot about TB (Tuberculosis) and HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). HIV and TB are the two most common diseases here in t         he South Africa and I wonder why. Smoking and Drinking are two common acts here in South Africa and TB is usually caused by smoking. But my question is, in the US, we have several Americans who smoke and don’t contract TB has fast and rapid as does here in the South Africa. Its interesting.


Now, before I left America, I was informed about something called Culture Shock. At the time, I had no idea what that was or even would feel like. Well, let me tell you, I feel it! I am starting to miss a lot of small things that I have in the US. I am beginning to get irritated with how they treat women and men here in South Africa. I am getting irritated with the driving laws and regulations. Today is Mendella day and I am a little worried with how this country will respond to this day. The inner workings of the hospitals are beginning to get a little irritating. There are a lot of things that I miss and I know its culture shock because here in South Africa, they absolulety believe in in putting Butter and Margin on just about everything and its getting really disgusting. I have asked my homestay mother several times to not put butter on our PEA NUT BUTTER AND JELLY SANDWHICH (right, disgusting!) and she still does it because it is a part of her culture. It is things that I am not use to that is getting to me lol! But I know that this will be so beneficial for me when I return. I was in the shower and I told myself that I cannot wait until classes start, but then I soon realized that I will be taking Organic Chemistry and soon began to appreciate where I am.

July 14, 2013

Wow, this weekend was SOOOO MUCH FUN! I had so much fun that I forgot to contact my family and left my phone in the hotel room. So this weekend was the weekend where the entire group spent together doing activities 5 hours away from our homestay. We did things like: Feeding the elephants, riding astringes, safaris, cruise boats, ate the hottest restaurants and more! Oh I totally forgot, one of the most important things we did BUNGIE JUMPING FROM THE TALLEST BRIDGE IN THE WORLD! OMG, this was insane.  Overall it was a great time and I enjoyed all of it. The photos and videos will explain my experience.


July 11, 2013

Tea and Toast again! Today should be a good day!!


Okay the last couple of days have been really busy in the hospital. We have seen so many different patients who have been diagnosed with many different situations. I think one case in particular stuck out the most when we the doctor decided to make the decision that this patient who had gangrene (which is a disease that patients with who are severe diabetics get that eats away at the tissue and then causes the area to be necrotic).


I am beginning to get a little frustrated. Before I even start, this is one of the best experiences thus far and I am having a great deal of time, but it is looking as if this program will begin to get really repetitive and the doctors at the clinic are not fans of “pre med” students because we are not knowledgeable to be able to answer the level of questions they are asking. It gets a little frustrating when I am standing around watching the doctor fill out paper work and visits the same patients. So because I am paying $2757.00, I decided to seek out other areas of the hospital where I could get more exposure. It was at the moment where I appreciated the idea of making your own experience. I wanted more, I wanted a higher intensity of exposure, I wanted to see more interesting cases so I found this other doctor who was on-call and doctors who are on-call ended up being in the area of the hospital where people come in and are needing immediate assistance. I thought that was an interesting area of the hospital. I definitely could not be a general practitioners because it is so boring. I need a variety in my daily tasks and each student my feel different.


Anyhow, enough about the hospital, and more about the fun stuff! I WENT TO THE BEACH AND WATCHED THE SUNSET!! IT WAS AWESOME!!! I got to let the sand go through my toes and the water run across my skin. It was amazing! I love the beach and I will definitely be getting a beach house some day. Also, we went to this Sushi place and it was awesome!!! Got a little buzzed from the drinks, but it was a really nice place! The sushi was half off which was great!!!


Overall, it was a great time and I loved it. I am trying to make this experience something that I will never forget because after this, is studying for the MCAT can getting ready to use everything that I learned over the past three years (Working in science labs, CNA, Shadowing Docs, working in research labs, clubs and organizations) and apply it in an interview or gather it to think of an awesome way to develop a method to advertise myself as a great doctor. This experience will definitely help deliver that idea; I will have things to talk about in the interview.

July 9, 2013

Took an awesome shower!!! Now having Tea and Toast. I love this tea! I am not sure why it is so different and why it taste so much better here in South Africa, but that’s what I am drinking. Anyways, today is the first day in the Victoria hospital and I am super nervous! We will see how it goes. As soon as I get back, I will tell you my experience.


Wow, today was definitely an eye opener. I got to see so much and how our country is different from the South African culture when it comes to health care. It was sort of over whelming, but the doctor that I got to shadow and follow today was pretty cool. They have rankings of positions in the hospital, sort of like what we have, but the consultant (Medical Director) allowed us to follow her around and she was by far the more informational.


We saw patients with HIV and AIDS, TB, Renal Failure, a bunch of other names that I cannot pronounce. What made the experience a lot more enjoyable was the medical students that were with us from the states. I felt as though the one in particular who was following the doctor I was following was informational and willing to explain all the terminology the doctor had been using. This definitely allowed me to open my eyes in terms of reality. I know for a fact that I want to practice internationally. Although my legs where hurting and there was a lot of information overload, I still felt as though I could continue. With my experience from the states, working as a Certified Nursing Assistant and a Patient Care Technician as well as a Monitor technician, I was able to sustain and deal with many of the things that I had been seeing. Having experience will definitely make things a lot easier to cope with rather than having it be your first time experiencing that particular situation.


I feel as though I have so much to say but with little space. One thing that I wanted to do is film and takes picture, but that would definitely violate the privacy regulations of the hospitals. However I will have memories of the patients from here on out.


There was this one patient that we were caring for and the diagnosis was that she simply had a PGD, which is just swelling, and edema in the face as well as a non-moving cancer in the leg. When the Consultant came in, she immediately said, NO! This is not a proper diagnosis and she did not agree with what the other doctors where saying about her situation. One thing that she noticed was that the patient had been moving her tongue around as well as bleeding from the mouth. Well the other doctors failed to realize that. When the consultant (which is essentially a doctor with higher rankings) asked the other medical student to open his mouth, she pointed out the obvious pink and normal gums with white teeth. She then had the patient open her mouth and she had blue swollen gums with blood oozing from them and yellowish black teeth. She was able to draw a conclusion from that observation that she ended up diagnosing her with Internal Vessel Cancer as well as HIV and TB. I guess those are huge symptoms of a cancer that will grow inside the blood vessels. When I heard this, I was soooo shocked! My next question was, will she survive and if so, how long does this patient have? What treatment options does she have? Does she understand the severity of this particular diagnosis? All of these questions begin to arise and I was more so worried rather than being in the state of understanding the medical education behind this diagnosis.


Overall, I had a great experience and I cannot wait to return tomorrow morning. Health Care is definitely an area that I want to continue to grow in. I must seek other areas of health care and a variety of ways where I can help develop the idea of improved patient care and bedside manner. I can definitely tell that this internship abroad will be something that is worth remembering forever and I won’t forget this because its experiences like these that will not only set you apart from everyone else, but it will help identify the importance behind providing quality health care both in the states and globally. Oh shoot, I feel like I am opening a new topic but I have been able recognized how personable these doctors are and how they were able to make those connections with the patients. They seriously care about their patients and that is what makes a great doctor! Gosh, I could continue on forever, but I will keep that for the entire month I have a head of me.


If you are reading my blog, I want you to under how important and critical it is to expose yourself to the unusual, not matter what field of study you go in. Its moments and experiences like these that will help you to mater your skill in your career. Look how much I have to say and it’s only been 1 day. I still have 29 more days left and I have basically written a novel about my experience thus far. No matter what, always cherish those special moments and always remember that it could be so much worse!

July 8, 2013

Got up, took a shower, made some toast, took a huge dump and then said a short prayer. Can’t wait to see what today will have in storage. We are doing our Orientation for the program and also will be traveling locally to look at some nice views and things of that nature. Oh wait, Nikala, my traveling buddy, my partner in crime, woke up 30minutes late! Unacceptable lol (just kidding)! Okay, now we are waiting for Uncle (the guy that picks us up for the day) to come pick us up. I am kind of excited to see meet him because he has a huge personality which is pretty cool.


Okay, after we left this morning, we had a long day ahead of us. Today was probably one of the most eye opening experiences I have ever had. We had the opportunity to experience a lot of history behind South Africa. I would explain everything in this reflection, but it would take up pages and pages of information. To shorten what I would say, Africa is full of pain and strong backgrounds and most people are here to help better the country and to invest further in the development of South Africa as well as Africa in a whole. I honestly learned a great deal of information about land, poverty, equality and the development of the country and how it is still developing.


We had several tours and the most eye opening part of the tours was when we were able to witness some of the townships and how the people there are living. This part of the tour taught me to appreciate what I have and to always remember that people value what they have and will fight for what is just. All of it is very hard to explain but if you want to hear more, come talk to me after I return to the states. I am pretty sure we will have more opportunities to experience how South Africa and Africa as a whole will develop.


After the day full of information, we are now spending time with our host family and watching TV.

July 7, 2013

Before I start my day, I wanted to say that I was able to take a shower just fine after finding shower shoes (the problem I had to tackle the morning before! Read the July 6th post)! Today was a free day!!! We had absolutely nothing to do, which was interesting. We had a lot of fun, full of adventures and moments that will last forever. It all started on my friend getting pooped on by a wild pigeon, which was absolutely disgusting! So apparently, the pigeons only fly low and not high in the sky. I almost got smacked in the head with a pigeon and was freaking out! After that, we decided to walk around to look at the downtown shops. First we caught a cab and the bill was R170, which is equivalent to 17 US dollars. After that, we then noticed this area where they sell art and things of that nature. So, I think this is the coolest part because this is not the average area where people would go because you can bargain and I LOVE bargaining!!! I was able to get this really cool tiger picture down to a cheap price lol! The guy originally priced the photo at R500 and I was like ABSOLUTELY NOT!! This price of this picture must come down! I worked my magic and was able to get it down to R250, which is equivalent to 25.00 US dollars.


So I have never been to a beach before and I wanted to go and experience it. Well, let me tell you, I love it! Eventually, I want to visit it more often. So we were at this drop off right, and I wanted to get out and look over the Atlantic Ocean. Well this was probably a not so good idea lol! We were looking at it saying, “This is so pretty” and with me never being or visiting a beach, I was just in awe. Suddenly, I noticed a big wave and wasn’t to worried “Oh, this is such a huge wave” didn’t really think too much of it and next thing you know! The wave was so big we ended up getting soaked because of how big it actually was. It was the funniest thing in the world! Overall, it was the best thing that I had ever seen and I love it! I must come back and visit.


By and large, today was a great day. We ended the entire day with a close connection with Cedric and his wife, which are our host families. They told us about some history and how much of a rebel Cedric really is when it comes to the American life. This particular family has been hosting students since 2005 and they love it! They have to many memories from past students. I can’t wait to start creating memories with them and I will be staying in contact with them. They are good families! I can’t wait until this program actually starts.


All right, well we have to be up bright and early for Orientation. 6AM! This will be a struggle especially because I had been waking up that early back in June for the Star Program and for my other job. Oh well, IM IN AFRICA! Good night!!!

July 6th 2013

WE FINALLY ARRIVED TO SOUTH AFRICA!! Let me just say, the traveling was an experience in itself. With 22 hours of traveling, 4 layovers and a potential scare of lost luggage, it was honestly an experience. We almost missed our flights and all the signs where in a different language, so we had to translate what was being communicated. All in all, we made it to our homestay and now I am reflecting on the last few days of just travel. Day 1: The reality of studying abroad in South Africa did not really hit until we unloaded the plane and ended up being outside the airport and then a tumbling of events such as them losing our luggage. For some odd reason, the entire system in the Jo’berg airport decided to crash and therefore the conveyer belts and all the luggage transportation methods were off. 15 minutes before our flight left, we decided to leave our luggage nearest to the front desk. Well, it turns out that they ended up loading our luggage on a completely different plane that landed later that day, which then delayed our program and then delayed the entire day.


You are probably reading this and wondering “Why in the world would I study abroad to put myself through all of this”…and what I saw on the airport wall was “An experience is not an experience unless you have been rained on and then ending with a bright sunny day”. This quote is definitely the truth when it comes to studying abroad because it’s like a roller coaster, you must adjust. All in all, it was an exhausting day and we finally made it to the homestay where we met our awesome homestay family. They are the sweetest and extremely funny. Anyhow, its about 1am so that means I need to be in bed, sleep! Next situation I must tackle is taking a shower with no shower shoes!!! EW!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

June 20th 2013,

Less than two weeks before I leave for my trip to South Africa. I am super nervous! So many thoughts going through my mind! Started to go shopping and getting everything ready for my trip.

Just confirmed my home-stay and my family is awesome! Also just confirmed that I will be going bungee jumping! WHAT AM I DOING!!!