Nicole Pach, Costa Rica, May 21, 2012

Today, my roommates and I woke up to a beautiful view of the Orosi valley. One of my roommates, Yukari, said the view made her feel like we were in a Folgers commercial because it was so gorgeous and peaceful. After enjoying the view and snapping many pictures from our window, we headed to the hotel restaurant to have breakfast. Breakfast consisted of scrambled eggs, gallo pinto (a yummy rice and bean mixture), juicy and sweet pineapple, papaya, and the best coffee in the world. After enjoying a delicious and filling breakfast, we headed to the bus to begin our clinic day adventure.
We were all very excited but also sad because we found out the night before that Dr. Bennett (an amazing teacher and surgeon) would not be able to join us on our first clinic day due to illness. We were all looking forward to meeting and working with him, because we had heard so many great things about him. After our 40-minute bus ride we arrived in Paloma, Cartago and began to unload our equipment in a local community center. It was awesome to see all of the people already at the clinic with their pets, and I was eager to see if any of my patients were going to be Chihuahuas :o). After unloading all of the boxes and equipment from the bus, the doctors took a few minutes to decide where each station was going to be set up. We needed four separate stations: intake, pre-op, surgery, and post-op. The doctors asked us to pick a station and begin setting it up. Once the stations were set up everything started to make a little more sense, and they asked us to pair up with someone.
Because Victoria and I had helped set up the post-op station together, we decided to team up for our day of surgeries. We ended up being the first pair chosen to do a surgery, which was exciting… until we realized that we were first and had never done this before. Our first patient was a young female Miniature Pinscher. Victoria and I gave the dog a complete physical exam and then prepared her medications, including her pre-anesthetic. Since Victoria was going to be the surgeon and I was going to be the anesthetist,, I held the dog for her as she gave the pre meds and placed the catheter. Once our patient was sedated, we clipped her surgical area and brought her to the surgery table. I cleaned her surgical area as Victoria and Dr. Woodley put on their sterile surgery gloves. Long story short, surgery was a success. Victoria did a great job, and I felt comfortable monitoring the patient for the duration of the procedure. After surgery, we brought our patient to the post-op station where we began preparing her take home meds and clipping her nails.
I luckily got to be the surgeon on our second patient- an adorable Chihuahua! I worked with Dr. Mario and he walked me through the whole procedure, and allowed me to ligate the ovarian pedicle and uterine stump. Even though my hands were shaking, I didn’t feel nervous at all and realized that if I can do surgery in these conditions, I will be fine for junior surgery come this fall. After our two surgeries, Victoria and I had lunch and then spent the rest of the day seeing consults and becoming proficient at physical exams. At the end of the day, we were all exhausted, but we were so proud that our group saw 30 patients that day.