Annnnd we’re off. I now initiate my first entry of my first blog! I’m not much of a writer, not much of a post-er (you may have noticed this if you’re my facebook friend, or hence, not noticed), and I haven’t written a non-scientific paper probably since sophomore year of undergrad (6 years ago). Hang in there!
Preparation. The first “P” of a wilderness rescue. I’m just coming off a Wilderness Medicine rotation, so excuse the reference! In preparation for my trip, it was part mental preparation, part packing properly, and part convincing everyone why I am actually WANTING to go to Angola, a developing country across the globe.
On the mental side of things, I absolutely, positively, 110%-ly, knew I wanted to go on this rotation. Influencing me strongly in favor of going was knowing there was a cool family, the Kubacki’s, that already made the plunge to go to Angola, and even more, to live for years, in Angola. I could most definitely swing one month. The tough part was handling the doubting voices of my dear family and friends, of course out of concern, that made my decision a little tougher.
Concern #1. Malaria. A former medical student got malaria during the month-long rotation. #2. Snakes and bugs. They can crawl on you while you’re sleeping. Need I say more? #3 Strangers living in poverty. Stranger danger!! #4. Weird food. I’m probably going to get the diarrhea. So in preparation, I permetherin’d major articles of clothing and 2 mosquito nets, bought 3 bottles of bug spray, exchanged money: USD to South African Rand, packed snacks (gallon Ziploc of cliff, protein, and chewy granola bars, and…chocolate), and learned as much Portuguese as possible. Nao falo Portuguese! (I don’t speak Portuguese) has been a life saving sentence thus far. I packed up my wilderness medicine safety kit, and I went to my doctor and got some prophylactic medicine. (“You need what?”)I also met with Diane, the medical student who went on this rotation last year, and she answered my many, many questions, and even went to dinner with my family to talk with them about their concerns. Shout-out to Diane for being the awesome person she is.
There was, inevitably, things I could not prepare for, and this is the nature of risk. It has been said that without risk, there is no reward. After much thought, the benefits definitely outweigh the risk, a vantage point we often use in medicine. Another viewpoint- how completely boring life would be without taking any risks! The Bubble Boy comes to mind.
So far I have told you the proposed risks. My proposed benefits? Connecting with our brothers and sisters across the world, understanding how they are effected by illnesses, learning from a really cool doctor: Dr. Kubacki, hanging out with a missionary family, growing spiritually, and learning more about myself and about life in general. As I write, Iam enjoying the quiet company of a spider on the wall in my room. I’m dealing well with the last part of risk #2 pretty well!