Celebrations and Stressful Football Victories

What more could a Notre Dame student want? Before I get to the high blood pressure fest that was the ND v. Stanford game, we had a full day of work at the UPAEP medical laboratory on Saturday the 6th. The morning consisted of two additional lectures and then we were off and changed into one-time use scrubs. What was the first item on the agenda? Learn how to suture. We used pig feet and sutured cuts that we made ourselves. It is actually extremely challenging! I do not know if that was just because of our material but it reaffirmed my knowledge that I am not called to be a surgeon (Sorry, Dad!). Grey’s Anatomy made it look so easy, too. 

After we learned how to suture and had a bit of practice we turned to examining x-rays and finding the bone that matched them. The skulls were perhaps the coolest. I never realized that the reason we know the skull is thinner in different places is because when you hold a skull up to the light, those areas glow as the light diffused through the bone. If I could have taken pictures, I would have. It was fantastic. 

To top the bones, our coordinator had purchased a body that had been donated to science for us to use. I am extremely grateful for the donation and learned a lot through its use. To save my non-science enthused readers (wait, I have readers?) I won’t go into the details. If you would like them, feel free to ask. I’d be happy to tell you all about it.

We went home to shower off the smell of formaldehyde and headed to our next location to watch ND football. We ended up taking over part of the Casino Caliente near the mall right by our neighborhoods for the game. I gorged myself on French fries dipped in some form of nacho cheese and classed it up with some wine. With a Notre Dame victory and a resounding five and oh record, we sang the alma mater in front of a random store. We got some very strange looks – it only made us sing louder.

So now, not only did we have two 21st birthdays to celebrate but we were 5-0! I was convinced to go out to Cholula and had a fantastic night. I ended up getting home super late (early?) but it can be rationalized because I walked up to the front door at the exact same time my host brother drove up in his car. We made a mutual agreement to not tell my host mother how late we had been out as we crept inside. Sunday was a day of recovery and frantic homework and studying for the next week. We had a meeting about our Cozumel trip where we hammered out some final details on our itinerary, which was very exciting.

The week of the 8th was both awesome and sad at the same time. It was the last week that I observed at Hospital General de Cholula before transferring to Hospital General del Norte de Puebla. The hospital rotations have definitely been an asset to my time here in Mexico and I have learned so much like how to draw blood and how to intubate among other things. I also watched the most incredible gallbladder removal surgery. It was incredible because it was a laproscopic surgery meaning it was done without cutting the patient open except for three small holes: one for the camera and two for instruments. The cameras were projected onto a TV next to the operating table and I watched with mouth agape for the entirety of the hour-long surgery. All the births that I observed were also fantastic and filled me with anxiousness and concern for my own future…God bless mothers. There was a lot of blood.

The school week finished off with two meetings: one regarding my Histology class in which we’ve been having difficulties with the professor and the other at the Office of Immigration. Guess what? I’m legal now! I officially have my visa and have permission from the federal government to enter and leave the country. As much as I love our on-site coordinator, I would rather spend Christmas at home so I am rather excited.

Friday night came and went uneventfully. This was good because my blood pressure skyrocketed when we went to one of the girl’s houses to watch the ND v. Stanford game. As the last minutes of the 4th quarter wound to a close, all you could see was each person nervously clutching something, be it themselves, a stuffed dog toy or another person. Thankfully, we dominated in overtime and claimed a 6-0 record.

To celebrate, one of the members of my hospital rotation and I had been invited to go to the birthday party of a doctor from Cholula. We had a blast meeting his friends and family. It was strange going to a party that was primarily Mexicanos. We had fun going to the less popular, more ‘underground’ bars though we did not stay out as late as we did the week before. 

We took a day trip the next morning to Tlaxcala, a small state about an hour away from Puebla by bus. We toured around the market and I ended up buying a fantastic Talavera mug that I used twice within 24 hours of it’s purchase. I found some other cool gifts as well though my search for closed-toed shoes continues. Despite a rough morning due to minor food poisoning, the trip was a great success. We’re headed off to Quetzalan next week to learn about traditional medicine up in the mountains and several past Puebla groups have told us that it is the best trip of the semester. We’ll see if it is!

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