July 13th, 2017
This week at the Greater Accra Regional Hospital was supposed to be a deal breaker for me. I could decide once and for all, should I pursue medical school? Well, the answer was not as straightforward as I was anticipating and probably will never be, but now I am willing to take that leap thanks to my experiences in Ghana. I am so grateful for the opportunities we’ve had so far, like shadowing physicians and watching (and even assisting with) surgeries. I have never experienced anything like this and honestly didn’t know what to expect in the O.R. On my first day, I scrubbed into the Obstetrics Theater to view some C-sections. I was amazed at the entire process; birth is as messy as it is beautiful. Although something about the uterus being outside the body really got to me and I questioned my ability to handle simple procedures like this. I have been prone to fainting in the past so I left the theater before the surgery was complete to prevent a scene.
My discomfort during the surgery made me question not only my intentions to attend medical school, but also my capability! I enjoyed our work in the community and at the Children’s Hospital, but was that enjoyment enough to warrant a long-term commitment and investment? Could I stomach surgeries even more shocking than this, which I would surely be exposed to as a medical student? I had the opportunity to reflect on these questions a couple of days later in the Trauma Theater. I witnessed three surgeries in a row and thankfully, I was able to handle all of them. I believe my fears were holding me back more than anything. In fact, I had to be strong in that O.R., if not for myself than for the patients. One of the patients, a female my age, was fully aware while her hernia was being removed. She was obviously anxious about the procedure, and though she could not feel pain at the site, she could see, hear, and smell everything around her. Our group was able to speak with her individually and comfort her throughout the process, which in turn myself feel more comfortable. The procedure was quick and painless, and she was so thankful for our presence. That moment reaffirmed my hopes and suppressed my fears. It proved that medical profession isn’t just about personal achievement — it’s about improving the well-being of others, which is what I aim to do in my profession.
I have had the experience of a lifetime here in Ghana. I gained eleven true friends, a topnotch nutrition-expert-personal-mentor, and skills that make me a better applicant and a better person. I continually pushed myself outside of my comfort zone, which allowed me to learn and explore on an entirely new level. While I appreciate all the places we’ve been and the things we’ve been able to do, more than anything I am thankful for the people who supported me and got me here in the first place. My summer in Ghana has been personally impactful and incredibly meaningful. This nation and its people will always have a special place in my heart.
Final Day at Ridge Hospital
10 surgeries, a live birth, and scrubbed into a C-section....what a time
How the last four week transformed me as a person and a student
Climbing mountains and surviving in the hospitals
A summary of my time spent in the Greater Accra Regional Hospital