Though we’re training to be pharmacists, this rotation will give us an extremely unique opportunity for some real hands-on assessments, and we’ve been training hard to keep up. While in Vietnam, we will be at three different sites to help patients with all types of disease states. Because of the poor nutrition and hours of hard labor common to the people there, a lot of what we will be treating is back pain from bone spurs, sciatic nerve pain, chondromalacia (runner’s knee), and arthritis. Part of our training is to be able to assess the patient and recognize the symptoms so that we can help direct the medical team on how to treat the patient. Here, Dr. R was playing the perfect patient while Kathy and Victor tried to feel what chondromalacia feels like. Poor Dr. R came in with his knees feeling fine and left with his chondromalacia acting up, but at least were able to learn from that!
This week we also learned how to read x-rays to look for bone spurs or compression leading to sciatic nerve pain. If we’re lucky, we’ll be able to relieve some of the pain they have been dealing with for years.