Thursday, June 4, 2009

Headed off to Kanha

We are leaving for Kanha (a.k.a. the jungle) later today so we will be off the grid and unable to blog. However, we will be beginning communication through smoke signals. Stay Tuned...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

a few more pics

mobile creche, jai ho, buddha, gods & generals

The last couple of days have been crazy busy. Sunday we held another health camp with Tara Mobile Creche at a construction site. We saw about 95 kids and about 12 adults. Many of the kids had respiratory infections and lung congestion. Some of the more interesting patients we saw presented with hemiparesis, a ventricular shunt, pneumonia, and appendicitis. Mobile Creche runs a small school at this site & provides breakfast and an afternoon snack for the children. The school is not a formal school, but provides the children with some basic education and nutrition. It was an honor to work with such a dedicated group of people.

After the health camp we spent the evening attending an A. R. Rahman concert. If anyone has seen Slumdog Millionare then they've heard his song "Jai Ho". A. R. Rahman is one of the best known musicians in India, and writes/produces music for many Indian films. Kunal thinks he is better than the Beatles, but John & Nick think he is more like Elton John. There were probably 60,000 people at the concert of all ages. The finale ended with an awesome fireworks display and of course the song Jai Ho.

The next morning we woke up and left for Arungabad at 5 am. At some point we ate at a roadside restaurant & had what I can only describe as Indian onion rings for breakfast. We had a National Lampoon's Family Vacation moment when we checked into the hotel and found out that Ajanta was closed on Mondays. However it all worked out and we went to see the Caves at Ellora & the fort at Daultabad. The sculptures and temples at Ellora were very impressive. Everyone wanted their picture taken with Megan & Nick, they were much more of an attraction than the caves. Some people just wanted to shake Megan's hand & to see her hair. According to Kunal (our translator) they think Nick is a cricket player & after meeting Megan they screamed "that was awesome". So our new CURA fund raiser is charging people to get their picture taken with Megan.

Yesterday we made it to Ajanta (the one place in all of India I wanted to see!!). It was pretty spectacular. The caves at Ajanta still have some of the original paintings & it
is insane to imagine what it would be like if all of the caves were still covered in paintings. Today we are making our last minute preparations for our health camp in Kanha.....

Friday, May 29, 2009

First trip out of the city

Yesterday we left Pune and went up into the mountains where we were able to see a different side of india much different than life in the bigger city. Several India doctors hopped on the bus with us to help with the screening of over a hundred people for diabetes and hypertension at the only building that people from all around the area came to deal with any health related issue. Inside the building there is a room for dental work, for surgery, for eye exams, for delivering babies, and other general examination rooms. Outside of the building is the "medical waste pit" and there is also a well that people would come to for water from all directions.

Many of the women would carry jugs of water on their heads.

The day ran smooth and many people were diagnosed with diabetes, Kunal will probably update everyone with the numbers later. Thanks for reading!

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Good and the Bad

On Sunday, we conducted a healthcamp for the families of construction workers at Infocity (a new software park) through an NGO called Mobile Creches. We were helped by residents from the H. V. Desai Hospital and Dr. Dilip Bidwe. We saw about 120 people, mostly children and infants. Almost all the children we saw had some sort of nutritional issue, like Vitamin A, B and D deficiencies, as well as anemia. We saw about 30 cases of GI infections, 50 respiratory tract infections and 40 vision problems. Skin infections were also common. Some of the more interesting cases we saw included Ventricular Septation defects (Ona caught it during the physical), Cystic Lung disease(John), Leprosy (Kay), Rickets (Megan), Pica and Progeria. Andrew, Nick and John helped with checking the boys for hernias, while I moved around translating and keeping things in order. I was really impressed with the efficiency that the camp was conducted and wish it was on video so everyone could see the work that was done, but pictures will have to suffice. The success of the healthcamp prompted me to organize an additional one next sunday.

Unfortunately, we lost out on our volunteering opportunity at the Ruby Hall Clinic. We went and checked out the facility today but it was too small to accomodate all eight of us. It also catered mostly to gynecological issues which would prevent the boys from doing much work. The cultural and logistical issues conspired against us on this occasion, however, the experience we will gain through the four health camps should more than make up for what we missed out on.

surgery in slippers :)

The past few days have been amazing, I have seen so many patients and learned so much. Amidst all of this excitement, nothing has hit me as much off gaurd as my first experience in the OT (operating theater). While I was working at the Eye Hospital examining patients with Dr. Seema in the cornea room, the last patient of the day presented with a perforated cornea which had become infected and resulted in the iris touching the cornea. She told me that this was an emergency which she would need to tend to in the OT. As she walked me over with her we took our shoes off at the door, which is nothing out of the normal for me. But to my surprise, as we changed into scrubs and walked into the actual OT, she handed me a pair of slippers! This definitely caught me off gaurd, with all of the rules that we have in America for keeping our toes safely inside of shoes I just wasn't expecting it :) Regardless of our footwear the quick patch up surgery was an amazing experience to watch, and Dr. Seema was a great teacher as she went through the procedure.
I have been so fortunate to be working with such great doctors here, and what is really amazing is that all of the things that I have learned about this past year and read about in books has been presenting itself to me. It's quite a feeling to be able to experience things that I have only read about in theory.
So long for now, and I look forward to sharing tomorrow!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Back in the Saddle Again

After several days of not feeling too well, I was happy to be able to get back into things with the health clinic for the kids at the construction site yesterday. I really enjoyed interacting with the kids as well as practicing my physical exam skills. Anemia and vitamin deficiencies were most common, as we expected, and I realized I need to brush up on heart and lung sounds. We also saw some adults, and that's where the communication barrier became evident, as they had specific complaints that needed interpretation. Before we left, we got a few pictures with the kids (they love to both have their picture taken and take pictures of us!). Hope we can get those up soon.
We had a nice dinner out last night, then we were able to see some of the Cricket game on TV. I am kind of getting the gist of the sport, but mostly I enjoy watching how into it the whole country is!