I Got to See a Man with Situs Inversus

Rhea Saldanha, a fourth-year student of general Medicine, spent her summer internship in Aguascalientes, Mexico. She writes an essay and sends pictures.

The title picture: At the hospital, Rhea Saldanha second from the left.

This summer I had the opportunity to spend one month in Aguascalientes, Mexico. I can undoubtedly say it was one of the best experiences I have ever had. Whenever someone questions me as to why I chose Mexico for the internship, my first response is always Mexican food.

I travelled from Prague and it took me roughly 21 hours to get there. On arrival, I was pleasantly greeted by my contact person, who immediately took me to a typical Mexican restaurant, where I got to enjoy the local foods and drinks.

The next day, I went to the house of the person I was supposed to be staying with. I got to spend time getting to know her family and enjoy a lot of the common Mexican traditions such as shoving a person's face in cake on their birthday. Later that day, I tried typical Mexican tacos, which is normally served in a soft tortilla contrary to what we've been eating outside Mexico.

The first Monday, my contact person gave me a tour around the hospital and I got to meet the head of the Department of Internal Medicine as well as all the doctors within the department. During the month I spent at the hospital, I observed the collection of blood for hemocultures, bronchoalveolar lavages, insertion of central venous catheters, abdominal paracentesis, and lumbar punctures.

I myself was allowed to collect venous and arterial blood, insert urinary catheters and nasogastric tubes, and I can definitely say that it was a valuable experience. I also took on night shifts and was able to experience taking care of patients in the middle of the night with other interns.

One of the most interesting cases I got to see was a middle-aged man who had situs inversus (all the visceral organs are mirrored from their normal positions). It was amazing how I could hear his heartbeat on the right side of his body (dextrocardia) and palpate his liver on his left side.

I also got the chance to go to the Emergency Department, where I got to practice sutures and cleaning of wounds.

In the evenings, most of the time I explored the city and got to see the city's centre. Aguascalientes is full of old colourful buildings and rooftop bars.

Some of the typical Mexican foods I got to try were quesadillas, empanadas, elotes, pan dulces, pozoles, ceviche and churros! Mexican food is truly amazing!

I also got the chance to go on a trip to Calvillo which is a city famous for their production of Guavas. I was able to try many guava sweets, chips and also guava flavoured liquor!

I met up with some of the other incomings and we went on a trip with a bible study group to the city of Mazamitla, which is a small town in the state of Guadalajara. We stayed for one night in a small cabin in the middle of the forest. It was really nice to meet people outside of medicine, and be able to spend quality time with them.

On my last day, my contact person took me with some friends to an amazing mountain which had waterfalls everywhere. We hiked to the top and got drenched under the waterfall. It truly was a wonderful end to my stay in Mexico.

Published: 16. 10. 2018 / Responsible person: Mgr. Petr Andreas, Ph.D.