Tag Archives: healthcare

A Fulbright Teacher in Bogota, Colombia, A Special Series – Health Deliveries – by Laura Blasena. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

A Fulbright Teacher in Bogota, Colombia, A Special Series – Health Deliveries – by Laura Blasena. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

In terms of health, my term in Colombia has been horribly unsuccessful.

In the first few months after I arrived, I thought that my awful allergic reactions to the pollution in Bogota (that my body was not accustomed to) was me somehow developing asthma. In the Amazon, I caught a less severe form of dengue fever. After returning to Bogota for the second semester of classes in late January, one of my mosquito bites got horribly infected and my throat was once again infected by polluted air in Bogota.
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(The medical supply stores in Bogota often features manikins wearing surgical clothing or scrubs.)

I´d like to say that this means I´ve become a pro at navigating the health systems in Bogota, but the truth is that I have very little idea how they operate. When I first started suffering from allergies, I went to the emergency room at a massive hospital a few blocks away from my first apartment. I had no idea how to call a doctor or locate a smaller clinic, so I decided a hospital was my best course of action. After waiting six hours in the waiting room, I changed my mind.

We in Bogota are very lucky because the insurance that we are given through the Fulbright program allows us to take advantage of a very nice opportunities: domicilios.

Domicilios are deliveries. In Bogota, you can have almost anything delivered to your house. The amount of restaurants that will make a “house delivery” is overwhelming, and they stretch well beyond the normal pizza and Chinese takeout options to include places that serve stereotypical Colombian lunches, sandwiches, fried chicken, beer, and just about anything you can think of. When you order something online in Bogota, you´re often actually ordering a domicilio of the item and a man on a motorcycle will show up at your front door the next morning with the item in a ridiculously large box.

Domicilios include medical care.
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(I used to leave in a neighborhood full of medical supply stores. I walked past “for sale” dentist chairs every morning.)

After calling, giving your insurance and ID information, describing your symptoms, and providing an address, a doctor or nurse practitioner will show up at your house between fifteen minutes and an hour and a half later. The exam is usually minimal, but will always be followed by the same things:

First, the doctor will offer you an injection of something to help with pain or swelling, but usually pain. Second, the doctor will write out a very, very long list of medications for you to take.

The few times that I´ve gotten a medical domicillio, I´ve received a list of at least four different medication to take. When I had an infected mosquito bite, I was told to ask the pharmacist for a topical antibiotic, an oral antibiotic, some sort of foot-soaking salts, and a pain medication–and all of these medications were supposed to be taken for two whole weeks. When I was suffering from allergies, I was prescribed a pain medication, a medication for my throat, drops for my ears, drops for my eyes, and a secondary pain medication.
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(Another fashionable mannequin modeling the latest in medical wear.)

The medications are a little bit more intense than what I´m accustomed to receiving in the United States.

Regardless of how different medical services may seem to me, those of us that are placed in Bogota are fortunate enough to have easy access to medical care. In some of the other, more rural cities in Colombia, the assistants do not have access to a properly equipped hospital that is less than a three to four hour bus ride away.

About our special correspondent and senior editor Laura Blasena: Ever since I was a little Kindergartner I’ve always wanted to be a teacher.

I graduated from St. Scholastica in the summer of 2015 with a double major in Elementary Education and Spanish Education after student teaching as a 5th grade teacher and also as a Spanish teacher at NorthStar in Duluth, Minnesota.

While my future plans before graduation were initially to become a classroom teacher, I decided to wait a year to begin teaching in the United States and have chosen to work as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Bogota, Colombia. In Colombia, I will be working with a university as an assistant in the language department, attending classes, running conversation clubs, and offering the perspective of a native speaker.

I’ve always loved to travel. In college, I participated in several study abroad trips, visiting England, Guatemala, and Mexico. (I loved visiting Mexico so much that I even went back a second time!). I’m looking forward to the travel opportunities that I will have while working and living in Colombia.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In five semesters we have published 200 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. We are sponsored by St. Scholastica’s Department of History and Politics and by the scholarly Middle Ground Journal: World History and Global Studies (http://theMiddleGroundJournal.org).

For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica.

Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Transcendental Meditation — The North Star Reports – by Ellie Swanson. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

Transcendental Meditation — The North Star Reports – by Ellie Swanson. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

EllieS

December, 2012. Five strangers meet in one of the old brick houses on Superior Street of Duluth, Minnesota. It’s awkward and energizing at once. We make introductions, then, we dive right in to instruction. We’re learning how to meditate in the Transcendental Meditation style, born in India and popularized by the Beatles in the 1960s. Apparently, Transcendental Meditation, or TM, was once a quite popular form of meditation but went out of style—replaced by yoga or other forms of quieting the mind. Anyway, we, the students, have heard about TM from various sources and are willing to dedicate money and five nights of our week to learn how to do it. At first it’s impossible to calm the mind. Too many thoughts encroach on what is supposed to be a deeply peaceful experience. But, after days of guided practice, we begin to understand the role thoughts play in meditation and how to shift them to the side in order to give the mind a much-needed break. At the end of our training, we understand the technique and can manage to reach a meditative state after twenty minutes— though it is hard. Our minds have been running a rat race for the past twenty, thirty, fifty years and we find it difficult to allow quiet to enter. Once reached, however, it is refreshing and calming.

I still practice TM today, although I do not carve out enough time to practice every day. Two of my fellow students are still dedicated to the practice as well. For a while we met once a week to practice together. But, life got in the way and meditation group was replaced with school, work, family…Life. The irony is that we sought out meditation because we all felt that life had taken a toll on our wellbeing. We are over-worked, over-stimulated, over-caffeinated, and our minds feel it—they don’t shut off, not for a minute. Meditation is a sweet release from the barrage of thoughts that plague our minds.

The TM movement was started by Maharishi Manish Yogi, an Indian physicist and spiritual teacher, and has found its way into lives all over the globe. In our globalized world, it is not absurd that five people should meet in Duluth to practice a meditative art began in India. We collectively search for cures to the ailments caused by our too-busy lives, and eastern practices—think yoga and acupuncture—often fit the bill. Cultures around the world are shifting from owning distinct identities to becoming multi-cultures. The United States, especially, is a melting pot of various cultures. One way we experience this—and one way I see it in my own life—is the adoption of eastern healing practices.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, The College of St. Scholastica and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal’s online learning community and outreach program with undergraduate and K-12 classes around the world. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

The North Star Reports publishes edited essays from our students, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. Students have reported from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, Norway, northeastern China, Micronesia, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing reviews of books, documentaries, and films, and analysis of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches, and report on their interactions with the North Star Reports students and teachers. We thank The Department of History and Politics and the School of Arts and Letters of The College of St. Scholastica for their generous financial support for The North Star Reports and The Middle Ground Journal.

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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The North Star Project, 2013-2014 Report Number Forty-Five, My Globalized Medicine Experience, by Nick Power

Most people don’t know what Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome (CECS) is, and frankly, you probably don’t want to know. It is very painful and difficult to treat properly. To sum it up, the muscles in your calf are surrounded by something called fascia, which is basically like the skin surrounding the meat of a chicken. When you exercise, your muscles expand with blood that goes in and out, but with CECS your fascia is really scarred and tight. Blood flow is restricted and the pressure increases immensely. I have had this before and I had surgery in Duluth but my condition was not resolved. In order to test for CECS, you must exercise and then after you start to get symptoms a needle is inserted in your muscles in order to read pressures. I was tested again and my pressures were not high enough to diagnose compartment syndrome. Instead these pressures were borderline, and the surgeon wanted to do another surgery even though it was in the gray area. I decided to embark to the Mayo Clinic to have more tests and explore other possibilities as to what was causing my excruciating pain. Not only did my visit lead me down the path to the proper diagnoses, but it also introduced me to how much globalization can be seen in our own state.

The Mayo Clinic employs approximately 32,000 people, which is roughly one third of the entire population of the city of Rochester, Minnesota where it is located. The Mayo Clinic is one of the best clinics in the world. It is also the top clinic in several areas, including neurology. This is impressive, but more impressive is the amount of money involved and number of people of different cultures who come to the clinic in order to get treatment. The University of Minnesota even opened a branch in Rochester mainly for research purposes at the Mayo Clinic. It spends over 500 million dollars for research every year. The entire downtown consists of buildings having to do with the Mayo Clinic, with several of the buildings towering over twenty stories high. The town is very clean and gets quiet when the clinic closes.

I had to apply to be seen. There are limited spots available, especially for those from out of town, but thankfully an orthopedist agreed to see me. In June of this year we drove five hours down to Rochester. When we arrived I felt more like I was in an airport than a clinic. Downtown there were several stores with different languages in the windows and a parking ramp with cars with license plates from nearly every state except Hawaii.

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The Mayo Building in Rochester is 300ft tall

The next day my process of getting checked out began. Initially the doctor wanted me to get an MRI of my legs. This was something I have done before but when I arrived to the clinic they had just received a new technology from GE which allowed for more in depth viewing in an MRI machine that they wanted to test it on a select few individuals. Luckily, I was one of these few. I had to sign a form of consent, then they took me to a floor with approximately 36 MRI machines. The one I went to was built and shipped in two weeks before I got there and was the size of ? of a typical American school class room, and the room temperature was about 52ºF. The new technology seemed to be giving valuable data.

The Mayo Clinic collects and stores your data, including your DNA if your case is compelling (with your consent). It is one of the biggest research hospitals in the world so when they take your data they use it to better understand underlying causes of your condition. All the people who go there and all the data the hospital has is amazing; it truly is a library of the most unusual medical mysteries from all around the world.

After my MRI and other tests I had one final appointment with a vascular surgeon reputed to be the best in the country. This doctor had worked on professional athletes and Olympians. But the amazing thing was not only the visit to see him, it was also the process of getting there. When I entered the main building, there were a number of signs with different languages and many interpreters wearing suits and ties, as well as guides because the buildings are so large that people often get lost. When I arrived to my floor and entered the waiting room it was amazing to see the variety of people. There were people wearing turbans, burkas, even intriguing masks with large noses over the burkas, as well as a wide array of strange and different designer clothing I have never seen in the States. There were also many foreign languages spoken such as Arabic, Mandarin, and others that I could not distinguish.

The appointments go quickly; there were at least five entryways to call people into because it was so busy. I waited for quite some time, and it was already fifteen minutes past my appointment time when all of a sudden people stopped being called and a man in an elaborate white robe and turban came walking in with several other men and women beside him. He walked right in, and nobody further was called. I went to the front desk and asked what was going on. They told me that a V.I.P. had come in for an appointment, and mine had been rescheduled to one hour later. I was confused- it was just an appointment so why did this man get to cut in front of everyone? I later found out that he was a wealthy businessman who was able to book an appointment sort of last minute and because he paid more money than everyone he was able to get in more quickly. It was at this minute that I learned the true meaning of the phrase, “money talks.”

I eventually had my appointment, and the doctor told me that he could do the surgery required, but there was someone even better than he at a clinic in Madison, Wisconsin. All my data was shipped to the clinic in Madison and I was scheduled for surgery a month later. After a long visit, and after many extensive and quite painful tests, I was ready to go home. But I had learned a lot during my one-week visit to the Mayo Clinic. It is truly a world wonder where people from all different backgrounds and ethnicity gather for their health. It was amazing to be in the presence of such a grand place where so many groundbreaking things are happening. It also drove into my mind a sense of reality. There were many children with missing limbs or serious conditions such as cancer or other potentially fatal diseases. It really showed how fragile life is and there is always someone who has it worse than you out in the world. It made me feel lucky that I had the opportunity to go to such an amazing place, and that I didn’t have a serious life threatening illness. All in all I learned a lot, and it was definitely worth it. I will never forget how important and wonderful a place like the Mayo is, how lucky I am to have it so close, and how I may often take the ability to get such good healthcare for granted.
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For all of the North Star Project 2013-2014 Reports, see https://mgjnorthstarproject.wordpress.com/
For all of the North Star Project 2013 Summer Reports, see http://www2.css.edu/app/depts/HIS/historyjournal/index.cfm?cat=10

The North Star Project 2013-2014 School Year Reports: The Middle Ground Journal’s collaborative outreach program with K-12 classes around the world. We gratefully acknowledge North Star Academy of Duluth, Minnesota as our inaugural partner school, and the flagship of our K-12 outreach program. We also warmly welcome Duluth East High School and Dodge Middle School to the North Star Project.

Under the leadership of our North Star host teachers and student interns, The North Star Project has flourished for two years. For a brief summary, please see a recent article in the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

https://www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/january-2014/embracing-oa-universities-adopt-open-access-policies-for-faculty-journal-publications

Having re-tooled and re-designed the collaborative program, we are drawing on the experience of our veteran student interns, ideas from our host teachers, and new projects provided by our incoming student interns. This school year The Middle Ground Journal will share brief dispatches from our North Star Project student interns, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. As of the time of this report we have confirmed student interns who will be reporting from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing presentations on theatrical representations of historical trauma, historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and different perceptions of current events from around the world. We will post their brief dispatches here, and report on their interactions with the North Star students and teachers throughout the school year.

Hong-Ming Liang, Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA, 2013-2014 School Year

(c) 2014 The Middle Ground Journal, Number 8, Spring, 2014. See Submission Guidelines page for the journal’s not-for-profit educational open-access policy.

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