IloiloApril 1 on the Philippines
First week in Iloilo. Enjoying the weather. Enjoying the placement and meeting very nice people.
First week in Iloilo. Enjoying the weather. Enjoying the placement and meeting very nice people.
Woke up at 6.30am to have some breakfast, nice selection of tasty snacks!
Then met Joy and Richard who showed us to a Jeepney, the main method of public transport in the Philippines (basically a stretched out version of a tuk tuk sort of van with a completely unfathomable route network and payment system).
We made it to the hospital where we were shown into the student’s room. We were then informed that we had to attend the morning ceremony, where songs are sung, mission statements read and awards/intros done outside the front of the hospital. This also included us being announced and introduced to the team, having to stand at the front!
We then did a tour of the hospital where we were shown all of the departments. It’s all very different to the uk (obviously) with lots of cramped beds, relatives helping with care and unbelievable heat!
We then headed out to town for a city tour. First we went to Molo square which has a historical mansion where we tried Blue Ternate (flower) ice cream which tasted like vanilla and flowers. We then went to look at St Anne’s church before getting a jeepney into the city proper.
From here we went to the city hall where we were made to watch some strange videos about various festivals and world record cycling events(?) that happen in Iloilo. After this we were able to try on some local performance costumes full of feathers and beads which was great fun!
Next we went up on to the rooftop to get a view of the city. Not that attractive but there was a nice view of the ocean and the river that joins it.
Then we headed for some lunch at an idilic little restaurant called Buto’t Balat. It was a little haven in amongst the city chaos with a pond and beach hut style straw huts. Had some delicious mango smoothies and a variety of Philippine food.
We then went to a supermarket to get local SIM cards, adapters and crocs ready for placement tomorrow.
Back to the house for my intro meeting and a local language lesson. Trying to learn Hiligaynon is very difficult as it turns out! Another one tomorrow to try and practice what we learnt. Then we had some dinner and a bit of chill time. I was also not so patiently waiting for my email to find out which hospital I was placed at. Off to bed for an early night ready for the first proper day tomorrow. Exciting stuff.Read more
Up early again, back off to placement. Went to the female medical ward this time. Attached myself to the postgrad intern (kinda like an F1) and helped her do a few procedures which was cool. Even learned some tips from her for different things. Went with a patient who had a stroke to have an X-ray, which involved pushing her all the way to a separate building, still being ventilated by her relative, no portable X-rays here!
Went back to the house and had a video call with Roger :) nice to have a catch up!
We then had bbq and karaoke night. Gorgeous bbq food and mango pudding. Had a few drinks and then the karaoke began!
Seemingly it’s tradition for newbies to sing. I was determined that I wasn’t going to do any, but eventually gave up and did a rap - numb/encore with Emma as my singer. It was actually kind of fun!
Had a few more drinks and played some card games on the roof. Really fun evening and good chance to get to know people. Then to bed for an early startRead more
Up at 6.45 for breakfast of hash browns and fried eggs. Headed in, same old stuff. Nothing much was happening at MICU as it was all the same patients as yesterday and they were all now stable. There was a case report presentation on decompensated liver cirrhosis so I went to that which was actually a really useful revision session. I asked a question at the end and so the gastro consultant dragged me over and had a discussion with me which was great. We were also talking about nice places to visit in England.
After this I headed to the gym with Emma and Claudio. It’s right near the hospital which is super handy and only costs 80 pesos for a walk in slot. Taught them how to do clean and press and snatch which was great fun. Also managed to do the WOD from CFL in 31 degree heat with my swollen feet which was pretty painful! Also came out in loads of sweat blisters where I am sunburnt, ouch!
On the way back, we jumped in the wrong jeepney and so ended up the wrong side of the bridge that we’re told not to go past (oops). So then we had to walk back for half an hour in the searing heat. The route took us along the esplanade river which is actually really pretty so it worked out ok in the end. We also called at 7/11 to get mixers for bbq night.
Decided I had to give in and have a nap when I got back as I was so tired! Slept for about 2 hours, hope I can sleep tonight.
Got myself a bit glammed up for bbq night, eyelashes and all which was nice. Everyone was quite tired but still managed a few songs. I did the rap part to Usher’s Yeah which was super fun.
Then headed to bed, absolutely knackered. Have now recruited my flight socks to try and get rid of some of this fluid!Read more
Up at the usual time, omelette today. Had to wait ages for a jeepney this morning as they were all either super full or going to the wrong places. Got to the internal medicine handover and the ICU doctor was nowhere to be seen. Went to ICU after and waited for a while, still no sign. Decided to pop to the loo in the work the world office where I found Joy and Emma. Emma suggested that I come with her to NICU (neonatal intensive care) if nothing much was happening on MICU. Went along with her and it was actually a really great idea. Got to see loads of tiny babies, quite a lot of them really premature and some that had only just been born. Got to cuddle quite a few of them which was lovely! Some of them are really sick which was sad to see, one had an omphalocoele surgically repaired and another had a diaphragmatic hernia. After that we decided to head home. Did a bit of washing and had some lunch.
Emma and I then decided we wanted to go to a pool for the afternoon. Joy told us about the one at the Richmonde hotel which was near SM city so we thought we would give it a go.
It cost 500 pesos to get in which is about £6.80. It’s a very fancy hotel so I didn’t mind at all!
We got up to the 7th floor and were given towels and a drinks menu. Decided to treat ourselves and get some cocktails. Had Mai Thai first and then a Long Island iced tea. The pool was lovely and had jacuzzis in it. The only problem was they wouldn’t let me wear my tshirt (which I wanted to wear to cover my sunburn) in the pool as the cotton is apparently bad for the pool?!
Chilled there til about 5pm and then headed over to SM to get a few bits. Had to walk round to it which was actually about a 20 min walk but we found a few really nice looking cafes and the immigration office on the way which is useful for next week when we need to go. Needed to get some Zovirax from the pharmacy which turned into a bit of a faff as nowhere seemed to have it but I got there in the end.
Came home and had dinner then packed ready for Borocay in the morning. So knackered!Read more
Decided not to go in today and had a lie in until about 10am. I then needed to go get my visa extension from the immigration office. Emma came with me as she needed hers too. We had been told to wear smart covered clothes and so we dressed appropriately. We got there to find that they wouldn’t let Emma in the room as she didn’t have covered shoes on! This caused a bit of a fuss as we needed to get them today. Eventually a woman came out and said that if she was paid 500 pesos she could do it for Emma and she wouldn’t even have to go in the room. We weren’t entirely sure if this was legitimate but she came out of the office so we kind of had to go with it. Had to also pay 1000 extra to get it done same day, otherwise they were going to keep our passports until next week! We had to wait an hour for it to be done so we went to a cute coffee shop to get a frappe and some brunch. I had banana Nutella waffles that were delicious. We eventually collected our passports and headed over to SM city shopping mall to get a few bits ready for the weekend. We headed back to the house and I sat and did a bit of planning for my Palawan trip next weekend. We then had dinner and went out for desserts as it was some of the girls last nights. Had so much cake that we could hardly move! Then headed home to pack and go to bed as we had an early start the next day.Read more
Up at 7am to have breakfast. French toast, bacon and syrup, my favourite! Excited to see some babies being delivered. Was on shift with Prachi who has been on O&G for ages so she was going to show me the ropes. Had to get changed into fresh scrubs and then made our way onto the ward.
Here there is a private room for paying patients and a delivery room with 2 beds in it for those that can’t afford to pay. Next to the delivery room is basically a holding room for women to labour in. There are 3 “beds” but usually at least 5 women in there, some of which have to stand up. They are shouted at and told to be quiet if they make too much noise!
They are assessed intermittently for cervical dilation and only when they get to 10cm are they moved into the delivery room. There are no partners allowed and so these poor women have to go through it all by themselves. Saw 2 deliveries both of which had episiotomies, both seemingly unnecessarily. Once baby is delivered it is taken into a room next door and assessed then put in a little crib away from Mum. There are posters everywhere about the importance of early skin to skin contact and breastfeeding but this just doesn’t happen. Some of the babies are in this room for hours before they get given back to their Mum and so don’t get fed. We spend our time in between deliveries cuddling the babies and trying to comfort them.
One delivery happened in the holding room as the baby basically just fell out! There was no sense of urgency to help the poor woman.
Stayed in the delivery room until midday and then headed back to the house. Had some lunch and then went to my room to relax for a bit. After this I sat and made plans with Hannah, Emma and Lisa to go to Cebu weekend after next. We booked our flights and hostel so now all of my weekend plans are sorted until I come home. I also did a bit of laundry from the weekend.
We had dinner and then decided we wanted to go out for a glass of wine. Went to a place 10 mins walk from our house in a hotel. It was a rooftop bar but unfortunately there was a thunderstorm and so it was raining heavily. We sat inside and had wine and cocktails which was really nice. Headed back at around 10pm and video called Roger which was really nice. Had a good catch up for over an hour and then headed to bed.Read more
Had an afternoon shift today so was able to have a lie in until 10.30am! Got up and had some breakfast then chilled out for a while until I had to go in. Was on delivery room again but with Cristina today who is a midwife. Saw 3 deliveries today, 1 of which was actually completely normal and quite nice, no episiotomy! One of them Cristina spotted in the holding area and could see the head so tried to tell the doctors to come in. They eventually tried to get the woman into the delivery room by which time the baby was half way out! Bit of a shambles really. Cuddled a few babies and finished at around 5.30pm. Then headed back to the house for dinner. We then went out as a group to get massages. It was at a place called Spa Riviera which was a jeepney ride away. There was an overwhelming smell of lemon as I went in which actually made me feel quite sick! We were given robes and slippers and got changed ready to go. We decided to have hot stone massages which actually felt really nice. The main issue I had was that my masseuse kept burping and coughing throughout and so it wasn’t really very relaxing. It did last an hour though and only cost about £7, not bad really. Got given some peppermint tea after but mine was far too hot to drink. We then got in a taxi back to the house and I went to bed.Read more
Last day in hospital today! Woke up feeling much better than last night and so decided I would brace it in. Went in for the usual time and headed to delivery. Here I met Catherine who is a midwife. Spent most of the morning just chatting as nothing much was going on. There was also lots of local nursing students milling around wearing weird yellow and green scrubs. They were doing loads of obs and things on the women so we didn’t want to be even more in the way! Eventually we saw an emergency c section for a foetal bradycardia which was interesting. I waited around until about 12.30 to try and see one more delivery but nothing looked imminent and I felt quite light headed again so I decided to head back to the house.
I felt hungry enough to eat and so tried to have a bit of lunch which went down ok. We then headed to SM city to pick up a few bits ready for the weekend/next week. Got a few bits and bobs for the children at the village like notebooks and pencils and crayons. 3 of the girls had been asked to sing in a music shop so we went to see them for a little bit. Then headed back to the house, packed my bag ready for Cebu and then got ready for bbq night.
Had some food and did a song at bbq night but was still feeling a bit ropey so I went to bed quite early. Said my goodbyes to some of the Australian girls as it was the last time we would see them. Then headed for bed.Read more
Up at the usual time. French toast, bacon and syrup for breakfast today, yaaass!
Went to internal medicine handover as usual but this time was introduced by one of the residents who is in charge of work the world things. She showed me where MICU was and introduced me to the staff which was nice.
MICU is air conditioned which is AMAZING! And there are only about 8 beds in there so it isn’t too busy. Most of the patients seem to be stroke patients (still can’t figure out why it’s so common here) who are intubated and have full monitoring. Saw an “emergency” re-intubation in a patient that desaturated to 50% as a blood clot was blocking her ET tube. The resident seemed very relaxed about this and didn’t particularly do it with much urgency! Read through some notes and saw a few patients then headed home.
Once we were all back we headed to SM city mall again to grab a few bits ready for our upcoming weekend away. Got a new bikini, denim shorts and some products. Also treated myself to a frappe! We then headed back to the house to chill.
As this week coming is Easter weekend (Holy Week here), it’s basically a massive national holiday from Thursday to Monday and so me, Emma and Hannah are planning to go to Borocay then. We spent a bit of time looking at hotels and eventually got one booked which has a pool and looks quite nice (decided to treat ourselves). Once we had done that, I chilled in my room for a bit and then video called Momma. Was really nice to catch up with her, even if the video did keep cutting out! After that I went to bed.Read more
You might also know this place by the following names:
Iloilo City, Lungsod ng Iloilo