Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Brazil Trip

My birthday where I have a pan of maracuja mousse.

Me in my rede!

C-Section baby!

Our boat!

Me with a scalpel, making my incision for a tubal!

So I've been a super slacker and never updated my blog since getting back from Brazil. Let me just start off by saying it was amazing. We flew in, took a bus to our dock, and spent a lot of time loading all of our luggage on the boat. Our boat was pretty cool and most of us slept on the top deck in our redes (pronounced hedgies...aka hammocks). We started out on the Rio Negro river and made our way to the Amazon river. We traveled all night and made it to the village of Sao Sebastiao in the morning. This is one of the larger villages in the Amazon and the mission I went with is very involved in that community. That afternoon we just sorted medicicines and got the boat ready for patients the next day. We also got a tour of the village.

So the next day we got up and traveled to a very tiny village where patients boarded the boat in families and went through all the stations. We even had our own dentist on the boat! That evening, the boat dropped the surgical team (5 of us) in Uracura where we stayed for almost a week in a hotel. There was myself, Dr. P, two nurses and our translater. The surgery days consisted of tubal ligations, A&P repairs (which is basically making them tighter), and hysterectomies. Many of these women have had 7+ children and their uteruses (uteri?) and bladders start to prolapse out. I also got to take part in a C-section. During the tubal ligations, I assisted on the first one, and then spent the rest of them acting as the surgeon! It was very exciting to do a tubal ligation almost entirely by myself! My first time with the scalpel was daunting though. It took a little while, but I gathered up the courage to do it and now I'm addicted. Don't worry, I won't become a cutter :) I have to say that these Brazilian women are just warriors. All they get are spinals for anesthesia and not once did I hear a peep out of them complaining. I hate how people in the US think pain is such an awful thing.

Moving on. So the food...which is obviously a very important part of my life. We had these awesome cooks on the boat. But I wasn't on the boat so much so we had to eat out a lot. We ate at the same restaurant for lunch every day and they told us what the menu options were each day. The food was ok, but in Brazil there are rice and pasta at every single lunch and dinner. And so within a few days I was a smidge sick of it...but you just suck it up and eat when you can eat. My favorite thing I ate in Brazil was maracuja mousse. This is basically passion fruit mousse. OMG it was the yummiest dessert I have ever had. Even better than creme brulee. They made this for me on my bday :) Also, I found the best soda: Bare. It's like a combination of root beer, creme soda and Coke all in one. It's made from a fruit of the Amazon. On my last day, I finally got my hands on a Caipirinhia - a yummy Brazilian drink. I was able to buy some Cachaca at the grocery store (a Brazilian rum) for a whole $2.50. It is currently in the fridge waiting to be put to use.

The heat: I have never sweated so much in my entire life. It was only in the mid 90's every day, but holy shit was it humid. Like my legs and stomach were even sweating! I didn't even know my stomach could sweat. I would get out of the shower and be sweating. I would be sleeping and sweating. I enjoyed walking more than standing still so at least I couldn't feel myself sweating and the air would be moving across my body! I can't even describe how hot it was, so I'll stop trying.

Overall, amazing trip! It was kind of hard because the group who went was all from the same church and knew each other very well so I was the outsider. Oh yeah, and it was a mission trip so there was a lot of praying and "Praise God." If you know me, I'm not into that so much, so I spent all of my down time reading. I think I got through 7 books in that time. I learned so much and moved very quickly on the learning curve. I would love to go back and do more surgeries.

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