Thursday, November 29, 2012

Suturing and Infectious Diseases

Last night I played softball with the rest of my team, the Endorphinatics.  I was talking to the Physician Assistant in between innings about his time volunteering in Costa Rica.  His advice was to learn to suture, and know my infectious diseases and the antibiotics that treat them.  

Great advice.  My dad is going to teach me how to suture in a couple weeks when I am back in California working at his clinic.  After working at a psychiatric research clinic, I realize things can get ugly if you live in a group home or partially on the streets.  On occasion, we have patients who need stitches removed or who have cuts that need attention.  Might as well knock one skill that I will be learning in PA school down!

The second piece of advice will be a little more difficult to follow through with.  First of all, even if I knew exactly which infection or disease merited which antibiotic, who's to say that drug will even be available?  Thinking about how I would bring extensive amounts of medications into Ukraine reminded me of this smuggling story from My Trans-Siberian Journey - As I was going to St. Ives.  Something tells me that flashing a big American smile and being waved right past customs won't work this time.

My arsenal of medical skills:

  • Vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, temperature) 
  • Ear examination using an otoscope (compliments of my dad)
  • Blood glucose test 
  • Blood test (if a suitable lab is found)
  • General health education

Does anyone else have any advice on medical skills I should start working on?  I am excited to get to work!

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