Hi happy bloggin followers,
With this update please prepare to receive the overwhelming babble of a super overwhelmed me. Since we’ve last webtronically touched base, I feel like my life has changed dramata/stically. One little pea was the Cocha I am sad to have left behind. Two little pea is the Santa Cruz I arrived in Thurs eve. Three little pea is where I stand now: I know and love Bolivs and now I have been introduced to a totally different Bolivia and totally different me. The Jungle and The Coordinator, both were nooooo joke.
It’s only a been a few days (my new existence=time warp) and ohhh my what a few days!? I’ve met lots of gringos. I’ve spoken lots of English. I’ve spoken lots of Spanish and kissed lots of Bolivians and in the meantime surprised a bunch of disconnected gringos and Bolivians with my previous knowledge and love for Bolivian culture and politics. I half live in a gigantic mansion in the city. I have live in a jungle clinic in the middle of nowhere. I have this title: Non-medical Coordinator. I have this really sweet SUV (akin to a new Pathfinder of sorts) … that I am to care for, learn to drive by Sat (it’s a stick), transport med students and residents and patients in emergency situations to and from City and Clinic (which one way is more than a two hour rainforest/rain affected happy yet rough ride). I have this cell phone and from the sound of Mike’s (the current Coordinator’s) it will soon ring off the hook.
I have these things that I am in charge of 1.People (volunteers from the states; doctors, residents, med students and non-med kin---- these people come (usually knowing no Spanish and of nothing that is or will go on) and go (having helped a lot of people and maybe having had time to pick up a cute Bolivian souvenir). I too guide the lives of the People’s stay here (food, accommodations and logistics for their stay, what their purpose is and how they will execute purposefully). 2. Patients and Treatment: help everyone, bolivian and n.american alike, get from point A to point B. I will do this by translating and micromanaging efficiency and feasibility of operation. The docs treat patients but they usually need the Coordinator’s help (to translate and to learn what the capabilities of the clinic are). If the docs prescribe anything bigger than “take these pink pills and come back if you don’t feel better” I have to get involved. I noticed Mike was used for such simple things as: Where are the scissors? The clinic only has so much money and resources so my job is to communicate with Dr. Douglas (Bolivian founder) to figure out what how and when we can “do”. We have a surgery book. I help plan the two surgeries we do a month and balance that how much money we are spending in taking and tracking patients we have referred to hospitals (I also have to figure out which disease is to be referred to which hospital). 3. Communication. I have to keep everyone in the loop and make sure everyone within the loop (while maintaining the coming and going) is tied tightly. 4. Money. There will be lots of it and lots needed and lots to be asked for… and for some odd reason, that all has something to do with me too. 5. Blood, Biopsies: chart their path from clinic to me to fridge to lab.
So basically I will be really charged. In an ideal world I would not be necessary. But when you have really successfully, really philanthropic NAmerican docs who are in cohorts with a really busy really overextended (equally successful and philanthropic) Bolivian doc (who has his own private practice in addition) you delegate all to really cute Middle me. Oh yeah and then your clinic runs by the hands of 2 boliv nurses (so far I have heard that no boliv docs have a permanent presence) Middle me and rotating nmerican med heads. Phew! Confused? Overwhelmed? Wide eyed with a glimmer of sparkle? Somewhere between that, with a pinch of scared shitless and a sprinkle of crazy excited (and eager to put my insane organization and efficiency to work) is maybe how I think I might be feeling.
I know nothing yet. I will continue to know nothing and swim aimlessly for the next few months. I will be left on my own on Sat.. .too figure (or not figure) this out. Mike the current Middle was overwhelmed by the job and is def. ready to call it quits. He had a great time and I’m sure will remain connected to the clinic, but his personality wasn’t the sort AND the job is F-in hard, for everyone and anyone. And two of the Heads are his parents, which makes it harder.
My mom already told me.. “Rae stop thinking. You’ll be great. See how it goes but don’t kill yourself over it.” Obviously I haven’t stopped thinking. I’m gonna try. Working every minute of my next year of life, doesn’t sound ideal… buuttt I have my hopes up for a happy balance.
Ps. Notes on a jungle, Chapter 1: Ants that lance fire upon human feet burn like no other. The same Bombero Ants have equally amazing powers of carrying parts of mother earth bigger than I (scale not accurate, but fascination of exaggeration, right on). When driving in the jungle in the middle of the night, and an cute little owl befriends your SUV…. Let it guide your path, good things will come. White cows I really like, their sense of style is impeccable. Lizards that are giant, iridescent green and with yellow stripes: do they bite? If not, then I say they make good running partners. Moths the size of bats when in your shower, can be caught with a giant pot and lid and released (man power can be done by a friendly doctor).
Ps. Ps. Your health concerns for me… are more or less over. N American med yougins really like problems. Hearing about them and then giving out lots of medications to solve them.
Ps. Ps. Ps. Political situation. Medicine people don’t care about this. They don’t even know some of their flights are scheduled for the date of the vote of the new Constitution (Dec 14) and the following day of the rumored “Golpe de Estado” =overthrow of the government. Again worry not. I have registered with the US Embassy. I really like to read the papers. And nnoooo one in Boliv, whether times be tough or not, wastes time worrying any more than usual.