Whew! Keeping Busy!

Christmas time!

 

Hello Friends and Family!

It has been a very long journey so far and so much has happened!

Firstly, some sad news: Sor Isabel passed away November 23, 2012. She wasn’t as elderly as some of the other sisters of the house, but she was very sick. We all still miss her but I am sure she has found peace in Heaven with our Lord.

Better news: The sisters who had been hospitalized due to accidents are all better now (or as best as they can be). They are walking with the help of walkers and seem to be pretty much back to normal. Everyone in the house seems to be content at the moment, so I am very happy for that. We also had two new additions to our family here at Los Rosales: Sor Aura and Sor Elisa. Sor Elisa is younger, she is here to help in any way she can, (very much like me!) and Sor Aura is from the Provincial House and is here to keep company with the many other lovely sisters at the house!

The Holidays went smoothly here. I, of course, had to work, but I didn’t want to be anywhere but the house during the Holidays, so that worked out fine by me. My mother also came to visit me and I am sure she had a wonderful time learning Quito and spending time with the madrecitas!

During the Holidays, I also made Rosary videos for the sisters here. They had one already, but it lacked graphics for each prayer. They really wanted a changing graphic for each prayer to be able to keep the attention on prayer time for the elderly sisters. I pulled hundreds and hundreds of images from the internet to put together a video for them to use with the audio that Sor Teresa (the director of the house) gave me. I had to cut and edit everything, even the audio! It was quite an experience! I am very happy to say they all loved them! I created four, 30 minute videos for each rosary, as well as four without the opening prayers, in case they wanted to use them all together and didn’t want to listen to the opening prayer four times.  

I have completed many projects here and have a few still on my plate. The first one was organizing the clinic. That was very successful. It took a lot of time going through all of the medications and sorting them, finding out what they were for, checking the expiration dates… I also had to translate many medical terms and conditions because all of my research was, of course, done in English. I was able to organize all the medicine and equipment though, successfully labeling everything in Spanish. I am very pleased to say that our clinic is very much “up and running”!

My second project was to make folders and forms. There were few choices in terms of what I had to work with in the clinic already, but more on that later. I was successful in making forms for vital signs, medicine logs, administration of medications, as well as hourly time logs stating when certain medicines had to be given to certain patients. All of the forms were to make it easier in documenting the sister’s (patient’s) medical history and as a way of communicating between the nurses of various shifts. Sometimes we are all so busy (the nurses) that we don’t run into each other enough to explain what has or hasn’t been done. These forms and logs make it very easy to see what else needs to be done, in terms of medications or treatments. You can see how it could be dangerous when an elderly patient,with impaired memory, may not remember if the morning nurse gave the medication for the day or not. For this reason, I have started the habit among all of the nurses to write anything they wish to communicate with the others in the correct folder. Everything has been running very smoothly! I also wanted to  start the forms and logs for the doctors as well. Many sisters visit doctors, or doctors will visit here, and it is much easier if the sister can bring her folder, with all the medications and logs of problems she’s been having (or even if she missed a dosage) with her to the physician to treat her. It comes in especially handy when the sister may not remember everything to explain to the doctor as well.

As I stated before, my choices were few in terms of organizing the information into acceptable folders. My next project is to update the folders and organizing system we are using. As of right now, things are organized in a disorganized way. Having experience as a clinical assistant for four years, it is very difficult not to make this happen. I would like to get “special folders” that have brads to be able to hold and organize the information even more efficiently. I am working with the director in charge on making that happen.

 

Another future project is making a check up form. Currently, we (the nurses) are focused on the sick, very elderly sisters of the house. There are other sisters here who can still do little chores as well as activities of daily living on their own. Because they are so independent, they rarely see a doctor unless something is wrong. Also, because they are Salesian sisters, they rarely complain and just like to work hard! As a caretaker here, it is hard for me to see them not getting the adequate care they may need. I have compiled research already on check ups for the elderly so that we can do a check up on each sister once a month, or every other month. This way, the director of the house, as well as the other nurses can assess the physical, mental, and emotional status of all of the sisters, from minor problems and concerns, to whether or not medication is working properly for them. It will also make things like high blood pressure easier to detect before it is too late. I will need to form some sort of system for organizing this information in the clinic as well, but that of course will come later.   

Finally, I would like to start an exercise program. One that can incorporate minor stretches and moves for the elderly sisters here. I would like to make an instruction book out of it as well (maybe even a CD for music too!) so that when I am gone, someone else can easily follow and keep it going. I think an exercise program, even a small one like the one I am planning, will really help improve the physical and mental clarity of the sisters involved.

I am very excited for these projects and can’t wait until they come together. I have even talked with a few sisters from the other houses, and they want me to send them copies of everything I create to be used in their houses as well. Maybe not just in Quito, but for most of Ecuador! In all of the houses there are one or two elderly sisters being cared for. So the forms really would come in handy for them too!    

Well that about sums up what you’ve missed! I want to talk about my trip to Macas on it’s own, so be on the look out for that post!

Thank you for all of your support!

~Michelle 

 

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Chanchitos

This week the “Chanchito” had her piglets! Only a few survived, but I peaked in and they were very cute! I am learning more and more every week how to better take care of the sisters and am going to try to organize their “Infermeria”.   I will send pictures once it is all done. Other than that just another busy week! Talk to you all soon!

Happy Mother’s Day

First off I would like to say Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers!

This week has been another busy week of me trying to understand my role and my schedule in Los Rosales. I am beginning to feel like part of a family now and everyone is so nice and helpful. The sisters had a fiesta yesterday for the parish and many people came to celebrate Mother’s Day (pictures soon to come)! On Friday, Sor Rosita brought me to the Centro Historico (or Historical District). It was very interesting and very pretty. We walked around a lot and visited three churches. I forgot my camera, however Sor Rosita said we could go back next week to look around some more! I will definitely not forget my camera next time! I am very excited!

As much fun as I’ve had, I have been working about 100X more! I work a lot and I take care of many of the sisters here in Los Rosales. I focus on taking care of the more bedridden and sisters. It can be difficult at times but ultimately it is very rewarding. I feel very lucky to have this experience. I am learning to stay positive and care for other human beings with love and dignity. Talk to you all soon!

A Cumbaya´ Finalmente (Finally!)

After a week of trying to get my visa registered I finally made it into Cumbaya´! I arrived to ¨Los Rosales¨ (named for the many roses that grow in and around it) yesterday afternoon. I was able to meet most of the sisters last weekend during a fiesta in Quito held in honor of one of the directors. Yesterday I got accustomed to my surroundings and unpacked. Today I was shown how to care for some of the elderly sisters and tomorrow I will begin working. I am very excited to begin my mission work! I will be working many hours during the day, six days a week. My work consists mostly of caring for the elderly and sick by taking vital signs, administering medicine, etc…

I brought a gift for the sisters and showed it to them today. The gift I brought was jumbo checkers with UT insignia on it (GO LONGHORNS!) to represent where I came from. I taught them how to play it and they loved it! They were having so much fun trying to figure out which pieces to move without being “comen”  (eaten) as they said! I am learning so much from all of them!

Also, once a week the doctor visits. He visited yesterday and I was able to learn a lot about elderly care by “shadowing” him. I also asked Sor Teresa (my superior) if it would be possible to volunteer my time at a nearby hospital or clinic in Cumbaya´ on my day off every other week and she said yes! I will keep you all posted on when/ if that should happen. It would be amazing to see how medicine is practiced in another country and learn medical terms in Spanish.

Talk to you all in a week!

-Michelle

Bienvenida!

I arrived in Ecuador on Thursday safely and with all my luggage (thank goodness!). Quito is gorgeous at night and the mountains are very pretty during the day. I love seeing them when we go outside and I have a great view of them from my window. Currently I am staying with the Sisters at their Provincial House in Quito. They have many houses here that all have various functions and jobs. I am staying here until Monday or Tuesday so that I may get my Visa registered (a very complicated process)! After that I will be on my way to Cumbaya´, about 30 minutes away. My spanish is improving quickly every day! The sisters here have me working very hard! I do various chores with some of them throughout the day and they are all very nice. I love how joyful the Salesians are. Their very nature makes you want to be around them all the time. Yesterday we went to a play at the Salesian school across town (also taught by Salesian Sisters). I got to see various traditional dances performed by the students of the school. The sisters enjoyed it very much and I enjoyed it as well. I do like it here and can´t wait to finally go to Cumbaya´ to start my mission work! Talk to you all soon!

-Michelle

Four Days and Counting!

I am so excited about my upcoming mission to Ecuador! I have been physically preparing to leave for about two months now and mentally preparing for about four! As sad as it will be to leave my friends and family behind, I am very excited to start this new chapter of my life. I will try to blog every week if possible to keep everyone updated on my mission! Talk to you all soon!

Michelle