Sunday, April 19, 2009, 10:09 PM

My duty in Tala Leprosarium[1] just ended last night. It was a great experience and I had the best kiss of the Emergency Room. I had the chance to do license-risky procedures but my clinical instructor didn't care anyway. She trusted our group so much. I observed a lot of suturing and assisted in some. While assisting, one of the staff jokingly told the other staff who's doing the suture, "Ipagawa mo kay Christine!", and my heart was suddenly beating fast. That was an initial reaction but at the back of my head I was thinking, "Yes, I want to do it! Let me do it!"

The action in the ER was what I've been wanting whenever I have my hospital duty. I hate being assigned on wards giving medications, taking vital signs, and working on patients' charts. I know those are nurses' responsibilities but I don't want to stick only to those. I want challenge like minding lacerated wounds and gunshot wound of a drunk victim. Last night there was this boy who had a long cut, about 2 inches long, that he got from falling off a building. My guy group mate couldn't stare at the cut for a long time for he felt nauseous by just looking at it but behind the 2 masks over my nose and mouth I was all smiles! I remember him asking me if I could bear seeing large wounds like that. I told him I want to see worse than that. Now I sound weird and freaky. Sorry. :p

Enough about my ER experience. What I want to talk about are those lepers (patients with Leprosy) we met during our tour at the hospital. When I found out that the hospital specializes in treating such disease, I was scared that I might get infected when I get near them. Media and local movies gave me this perception that leprosy is a highly infectious disease that just by having a close contact to an infected person you'll catch it. But during the orientation, hospital staffs assured us that it's the least contagious among the list of infectious diseases, you might catch it through a long exposure from an infected person, and most of the patients were under treatment the wounds were just awaiting to be healed completely. During the tour we entered a particular ward and met this group of old women. They have 3 things in common: 1) all with Leprosy 2) all left behind by their family 3) all cheerful despite their situation. They were all smiling as we entered their room. One of them admitted that the only thing she's excited about is when visitors come in to see them and say hi. Her family lives afar so they couldn't visit her. She reminded us to always stay happy, study hard, and graduate.

You can instantly recognize lepers by just looking at their physique. They have lesions, dark skin areas, and deformities. Throughout our duty I've become used to have lepers around me. Some of them would just ignore you and some were friendly and would greet you. Make hem see that you don't loathe them and they'd treat you nicely. Having the disease isn't a joke. Having any disease is not a joke. They actually can be cured. They just have to be aware that they have this chance to live a longer life. Laughing at them or avoiding them won't help. Having the disease is saddening enough for these people, at least let's help them not to feel the worst of themselves.

[1] A hospital for the treatment of Leprosy

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Tin San Diego is a registered nurse who appreciates serene places, good melodies, and kind people.


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