Thursday, May 16, 2013

Un día en la escuela de fisioterapia

The majority of the day was spent with Ryan, the pre-PT student. He was scheduled to give a presentation for some students and staff and I went along just in case he needed help with some interpretation. At 7:45am, Montse came and picked me up at the house and drove me to the UAQ physical therapy school campus, Corregidora. Since she lives near the area, she insisted last night on driving me there instead of having me take a taxi, which was so sweet of her. She and I talked during the whole 15 minute drive about how much she loves working as a nurse, how she and I are both interested in working in the NICU, how she wants to come to the U.S. to work as a nurse, and just the differences between nursing in Mexico compared to the U.S. It was eye-opening to get her perspective on working in two different hospitals in Querétaro and I loved getting to know her a little better. She invited Mary and me for lunch at her home tomorrow and then she and some of her friends are taking us salsa dancing! I'm really looking forward to learning about one of the private hospitals in the city and then hanging out with Montse some more. 

When I arrived at 8am, Ryan first gave me a tour of the school and the campus. He introduced me to some of the physical therapy students and the main instructor, Gustavo. We weren't sure what time Ryan was supposed to present, but Gustavo said it would need to later in the day, around 11am. So we waited. With the supervision of Juan, one of the university's senior students, Ryan practiced some Russian electrotherapy on me. He put two electrode pad things on my bicep and with electrical energy, caused my muscles to contract. Juan and Ryan explained that this treatment can be used with muscles that haven't been used to re-introduce movement and strengthen them. It felt so weird to have something else flexing my arm for me. It was a strange mix of tingling, pressure, and pulling almost. It didn't hurt at all, but it definitely didn't feel natural. He had me just sit and have the muscle contract for a few minutes, then gave me a 3-lb hand weight and had me do a bicep curl when I felt the contraction start and release when it stopped. I could see how this would be very helpful in rehabilitating patients who have lost strength due to injury. We joked how it's like getting a workout without having to really exercise and how you should put the pads all over the body to get really toned. When the "treatment" was over, my arm didn't feel sore but just kind of off. Ryan said it might feel a little unbalanced tomorrow, too. I keep feeling the need to stretch it and I'm thinking I should have put the pads on my other arm to even things out! 

10am came around and Gustavo moved Ryan's presentation to 11:30am but said he would review the PowerPoint beforehand at 11am. However, 11am came and went and we couldn't find Gustavo. Around 11:45am, we finally flagged down Juan, who was heading into a patient evaluation. He said that Gustavo was very busy with patients since the doctor hadn't been able to come in so we could wait until 12pm to find out if Gustavo had time to do the presentation. Around 12:15pm we found Gustavo, who apologized for the delays. He explained that there had been patients that didn't show up for appointments and also mentioned the doctor's absence. He and Ryan rescheduled the presentation for next Tuesday afternoon, during which time I will accompany him again. 

It was about 12:30pm when we left and I received a text from Mary saying that she and the nurses would be at the Médica Tec 100 hospital until at least 2pm. Ryan and I decided to go back to his host home to have lunch and so he could show me this park nearby his house his host siblings had taken him to yesterday. We took two buses, one from the physical therapy school campus and then from there to his house. He lives in such a nice and quiet residential neighborhood with little markets and stores on the corners. I met his host mom and sister, who immediately asked if we were hungry and began preparing food. I found out from them that Ryan eats A LOT at their house and it has just become automatic for him to eat whenever he returns home from somewhere. I had a great time practicing my Spanish since neither of them speaks English. I found out a lot of information that they hadn't been able to get across to Ryan for the past two weeks that we've been in Mexico since he hasn't had very much experience speaking Spanish (only three years in high school and one year in college). For example, apparently they had initially asked him what he liked to eat, but he didn't understand, so he couldn't communicate back a response. They eventually learned that he really liked crema y queso (Mexican cream and cheese) so these are incorporated into every meal. Based on this and the fact that he eats so often at the house they joked with him that he'll return to the U.S. a little fatter than when he arrived :)

His mom made this amazing meal of green bell peppers cooked with onions, cubed panela cheese, and corn in the crema accompanied by white rice cooked with carrots and peas. Ryan and I went along with his host sister down the street to the corner tortillería to pick up some fresh tortillas to go with the meal. It was really cool to just walk out the door, down the street, and pick up some homemade, still-warm tortillas and just bring them back to the house. And the food SO delicious! At first I was nervous because I couldn't tell what it all consisted of, but Ryan's host sister, Aureli, explained that it wasn't spicy and it was made with bell peppers. I ate my whole plate along with three tortillas and Ryan even had a second helping. Again, it was funny because apparently when his host mom asks if he wants more and he replies with just a little, she ends up bringing him another whole plateful! He emphasized this time around that he really just wanted a little and she replied with, "Okay, I'll try." Luckily Ryan said that what she brought back (which still filled the whole plate) was more spread out and overall less than usual. 

With full stomachs and nearly ready to pass out into a food coma, Ryan, Aureli, and I walked over to the park, called Alfafares. Ryan insisted on leading because he wanted to remember the way to get there and then paid the 50 pesos for each of us to get in. It was so beautiful! There were all these pretty trees and bushes with colorful flowers. The park is on a hill and overlooks the city and also has a gorgeous view of the surrounding mountains. We walked around the majority of the park, taking in the view and tranquility of the park and snapping photos along the way. When we came upon the outdoor pool area, Ryan said that his host brother, Alex, said that it would open this coming Sunday. We're hoping to get the whole group to go spend the day there swimming and eating since there's a huge space designated for grilling and taking a picnic. 

We took a taxi back to my house because I needed to go home after the long day and Ryan wanted to study and do homework in a coffee shop downtown. We ended up going with Mary to the UAQ nursing computer lab since our house still hasn't regained internet signal since the power went out last night. Ryan just decided to come with us since his bus stop was closer than the coffee shops and we all  worked for a solid two hours straight. I'm finishing up this blog post in the lab as we speak and am planning on heading back home soon to relax and unwind before heading to bed. I'm so excited for tomorrow's full day of being in the hospital, going to Montse's for late lunch, and then heading out for salsa dancing! I need to get all the sleep I can so I can enjoy the whole day!

Hasta luego!

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