SVOSH 2015 – Merida Part 5

A student got sick, I was exhausted, the group lost reliable WiFi once we left Merida, and I worried my family half to death because I didn’t get a chance to send them a message before we left… so needless to say, the posts on the trip stopped after that quick update of part 4.

So let me summarize:

The Sickness

Poor Nicole held out as long as she could, but she became our only victim of a weak stomach on this trip. I was so proud of her for sticking it out as long as she could, and I was so proud of her for still smiling and laughing through the obviously terrible situation she found herself in… she gets major bonus points for continuing to be happy despite her circumstances.

The Group

Wow! I am so honored that I got to be a staff doctor for such an incredible group of students. They all wanted to learn, become better, and see as many patients as possible. Nobody complained about being stuck at retinoscopy or optical for a couple of hours. Nobody complained about how everyone spoke Spanish instead of English. They practiced BIO, learned how to communicate a bit, and got significantly more competent in ret than they started.

I have left Mexico with some not so fun memories, but Merida and that group of students were enough to keep me on an optometry high for at least another 5 months. 😉

The Not-So-Fun Memories

Well that “resort” in Cancun was a bust. I have never been treated so poorly by management staff in my entire life. Air conditioning, plumbing problems, telephone didn’t work, no complimentary WiFi, an open-holed peep-hole, the poor layout, the obnoxious beer drinking contest… it would have been okay if all the rooms were like mine or if I were 24 again, but my friends had perfect rooms and I’m 31. Moving on!

My Broken Wrist

Doing retinoscopy and direct ophthalmoscopy are not in my regular bag of tricks, and I certainly hadn’t done either since I broke my wrist. It was laughable trying to re-learn how to do both with no range of motion in my left hand or wrist. So the removable cast/brace came off for much of the day while I had to jump in for those stations. And I took it off in Cancun because I wasn’t about to get that wicked tan line.

My Favorite Patient

Optical was getting incredibly backed up so I jumped in. Grabbed some +1.50 glasses for reading and showed her some small print. Claro! Perfecto! Claro! She hugged me before I knew it and then kissed my cheek. I asked if she wanted another model and she refused because she was so happy. And this example is why students should not avoid the optical on these type of trips: you get immediate patient feedback regarding their satisfaction.

My Favorite Moment

I had two. Sorry I’m cheating. The first was at Rodrigo’s house (I can’t put accent marks on my MacBook with ease yet, but I know he has one). Salsa! Cumbia! Samba! I have not had that much fun in a long long long time. Picture the happiest you have been in your life. For me this moment in time was a culmination of dancing in the open air in this beautiful courtyard after having eaten the best tacos I have had in my life. Dancing with essential strangers yet people who speak to your heart. Sweating in the Mexico heat even as the sun had fallen. Feeling 4-5 rain drops, praying it would rain because that would have been the only thing that could have made the experience better.

The second was in Cancun. I can’t stand that place. But I did find a happy moment, a moment of total contentment amid the disaster zone of that resort: a breezeway, my book, a comfy chair, and peacocks. I can’t explain it really, but I found peace sitting there.

My Favorite Food

Tacos al pastor. Hands down. No doubt.

My Thanks

Special thanks to Beth Sparrow and SCO’s SVOSH. I know you all worked incredibly hard getting all these trips put together! I am grateful for your time and your enthusiasm. Please put me on the list for next year. :)