For the last two weeks I have been busy working in a few of the different rural health clinics here in India so I wanted to do a couple posts about my experience at each one. The first health clinic I visited was in Kolhar. This was the first time our team was split up, so while four people headed for the bus Stephen and I were taken to a van that was provided by PMT to take us to Kolhar. We got on, sitting in the back with three medical interns. At the first stop all three girls got off and we were left with one guy. As soon as it was just the three of us he began talking to Stephen about what we were doing in India. After arriving at our clinic Sagar (the medical intern) introduced us to the medical officer and showed us around.
After introductions a woman came in for an ante neonatal care visit (these are ANC patients) and we were taken into the ANC room to watch her checkup. After being introduced to the gynecologist we watched her find the position of the fetus, measure the uterus, and then listen for the fetal heart sounds on the monitor. Listening to the fetal heart sounds was really cool and we were both impressed by how clear they were on the little machine that they were using. After this the woman had to get a vaginal exam because she was experiencing some pain and they found that she had some cysts on her labia majora. This was the only vaginal exam that we saw in the entire two weeks, so I am guessing that they don't do these very often during the ANC visits. For the rest of the morning we stayed in this room watching patients come in and out at their leisure (it never mattered if there was another patient in the room or not) and between visits I asked Sagar tons of questions about reproductive health. He was excellent at answering my questions and through asking and answering questions it made it easier for me to talk to him about other cultural things in India that are different from what I am used to.
I would have loved to direct a lot of my questions to the gynecologist, afterall she you would expect her to be excited to talk to me about this since it is her speciality, but she was too tired to talk to me. It was actually pretty crazy to me just how tired she actually was. Between patients she would put her head down on the desk and actually fall asleep, forcing Sagar to shake her awake each time a patient came. I also watched her dose off while taking a woman's blood pressure and while charting for another patient. During lunch I asked Sagar why she was so tired and he told me that she was posted in the Labor room at PMT all night and then she had to come to work in the rural clinic first thing in the morning. She didn't come back after lunch so I am guessing that she stayed home and finally got some sleep.
In the afternoon there weren't many patients coming in aside from a few elderly people complaining of joint pains. This is very common here since the people spend their days out in the farms doing a lot of bending and other work that is hard on the body. I took the first couple people's blood pressures and Stephen took the last guys blood pressure. As soon as he finished taking the older man's blood pressure the old man started saying something to Stephen and trying to get him to touch his knee, it was as if he thought that Stephen's touch would fix his problem. This kind of thing has happened a lot while we are here along with people coming up to us to talk to us as if we are the doctors, we have learned how to gesture toward the doctors because they do not speak English so neither of us can understand what the other person is saying.
During our downtime here the medical officer taught us about Budha and told us about her family. We also got to enjoy playing with the little kids that came in with their parents.