In addition to being excited, I'm very nervous; I've only been out of the country (well, off the continent) once; I'm going to be thrown in the deep end of a crazy ER where improvising with equipment is the norm (for example, often the power goes off and people take shifts using ambu bags when the ventilators fail); I don't speak the language (I speak decent Spanish and pretty good French but for some reason Haitian Creole is really confusing to me); and I often get homesick when away from my own bed and my hubby.
I'm a huge fan of doing things that are significantly outside my comfort zone; I'm looking forward to practicing nursing that will actually make a difference to people that really REALLY need my help; I'll be working with a few people I know and trust; and I'll have a great chance to use that thing between my ears--you know, my brain. I love critical thinking and relish the chance to figure things out quickly and efficiently.
I know I'll have a hard time for at least the first few days as I adjust to everything. I'm sure there willl be some crying into my pillow at night. I know there will be a few tearful emails to my husband: "Why did I do this? I miss you and the dogs! Why why why?" But I know by the end of the first week I'll be really in to the swing of things and ready to rock it out for the second week.
So, faithful readers: I'm asking you for advice. WHAT should I bring? WHAT should I pack it in? Have any of you done anything like this? Can you give me advice? Here's some of the advice I've gotten already:
- It's going to be 90 degrees, so wear scrub pants and t-shirts. And a headband.
- And clogs, but be prepared to throw them out when you leave. You'll be wading in rivers of blood and poop.
- Bring a BIG "fanny pack" to fit all your equipment in. (I've been looking at this one).
- Bring a headlamp, mosquito netting and spray, forceps, sphygmomanometer, shears, water purification tablets (I have some of this stuff, but not all of it, and though I will be staying in a hotel, mosquito netting is necessary because they may not have air-conditioning).
- 99-cent-store party favor toys for the kids.