Week 2

Hello everyone!

Here is the link for the pictures I have taken so far on my trip. https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1ZFaHtHUao5P8qhoFox3a8UXNnJDKxiYk?usp=sharing

This week started with Philippines Independence Day, which was on June 12th, so we did not have any work. Faith and I took that day to go do our laundry and walk around and explore different places in Santo Tomas. On Tuesday and Wednesday at the hospital we were in the chemotherapy unit in the hospital where we first observed how everyone functioned and then eventually helped out and did some work.

In the chemo department they have a different number of expected patients each day depending on when the doctors say it is alright for the patients to have chemo. from what i gathered and was told, before each patient gets their chemo, the doctor is called, and they have to confirm which patients get which medicines. on Wednesday they had over 20 patients expected to come in and receive treatment which is a lot because they only have around 8 chairs and each patient stays there anywhere from 1-4 hours. what typically happens is patients come in and get their vitals checked and then have a seat in a recliner type chair. a nurse then comes around and inserts an IV which is how they get their treatment (I didn’t see any patients that had any ports or picc lines), while the nurses call the doctor to confirm the treatment, there is a pharmacist in the back that has a list of meds to infuse into some IV fluids and she makes them right then and there. when everything gets confirmed then patient then sits in their chair while their IV drip of chemo treatment runs and that’s pretty much it.

I spent most of the time in the back with the pharmacist because they knew I was a BioChem major. while I was in the back, the pharmacist would tell me the medication concentration and fluids needed and I would have to prepare everything. most medication comes in a powder form or a liquid form with a concentration different than what the patient needs so it was my job to calculate the dilutions and amount of liquid needed for each patient, and then eventually mix up what I need and send it out. some types of medication runs for 1 hour and others run for 2 hours, and also some patients get multiple kinds of treatments so those people end up staying in the unit for a while. something i found interesting is that the chemo drugs that contain platinum, needed to be shielded from light so we had to cover the IV bags while they were being administered.

on Thursday there were no patients in chemotherapy so Faith and I decided to go visit the OR and see if we could watch anymore surgeries. we ended up watching an AVF surgery which is a surgery where you connect the side of a vein to the side of an artery in your arm. the reasoning for this is for patients who are in kidney failure and need hemodialysis. the blood from the artery will move over to the vein in that specific area and that in turn makes the vein bigger and a gives more adequate access to the bloodstream. in the middle of this surgery there was an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.5 which is pretty big from what I’ve heard. when the earthquake happened i initially thought the patient who was getting the surgery was seizing or something and then when i looked around i saw everything in the room was shaking and wobbling. everything ended up being okay, but it was crazy to witness. Later that day we also watched a total thyroidectomy which is a surgery where a patient gets their thyroid taken out due to hyperthyroidism or thyroid cancer. this was a pretty long surgery (around 3 hours) and in the middle of the surgery, the power in the hospital went out, and until the hospital switched to their generators, everyone in the OR took out their phone flashlights and pointed it at the patient’s throat so the surgeon could see.

Friday was more of the same chemotherapystuff but since there wasnt many patients we were done by lunchtime. it was a nurse on the chempotherapy units birthday so they threw a suprise party for her and someone brought in a whole pig which they called lechon and we ate it (see the picture), we also had cake with Ube flavored custard inside it which was very good. after lunch faith and i went to the OR again because that’s our favorite place and we watched a lap chole which is the removal of the gallbladder using a laparoscope which is like a less invasive surgery where only a couple incisions are made and the surgeon uses a camera and some tools connected to a tube to remove the gallbladder from inside the patient without seeing what’s going on from the outside. right after that, i was asked if i wanted to assist in a surgery which was an excision of a mass in someone’s back. I was basically the person that hands the surgeon the tools whenever he asked for them.

right after work faith and i went straight to get on a bus and head to manila to visit the Wesleyan students who worked in the Food and Nutrition Research Institute. they were living in a gated off complex of condos which was really nice, with a pool and basketball court. we spent the whole weekend there and on friday night we went to this penthouse/rooftop restaurant which looked really fancy but was actually pretty cheap compared to the US. it was on the 21st floor of a tall skyscraper and the food was crazy good. i had stuffed chicken wings with sirloin in the middle. from there we left and explored the town and visited a bunch of places that played some good music. on Saturday all of us spent the day shopping and swimming and just chilling outside. today faith and I went home and realized that we can Grab (doordash) food to our apartment for like $4 for 2 people so we will be doing that a lot now.

next week faith and i will spend the week in the hemodialysis unit which I am excited for because the nurses seemed really fun, and they said they’d let us do a lot of things, so I am excited.

Until next week!

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