Fun Times In Malawi!

15 Aug

Thursday was Juhin’s birthday. We spent the morning in the hospital compounding chemo for cancer patients (and I will say that the cleanliness standards are shocking and leave it at that).

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We decided to go out for dinner to celebrate his birthday. We went to a nearby Italian restaurant called Mamma Mia, and enjoyed some fine dining for the first time since we’ve been here.

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The gated mall the restaurant is located in

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Free bread?!?!

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Juhin begged us to not tell them it was his birthday, but I snuck away to talk to the restaurant owner. They were so nice there! And the entire staff came over to sing the original Happy Birthday song (apparently not copyrighted in Malawi) plus the “How Old are You Now?” verse. Juhin was so ready for the singing to be over.

After dinner, we drove home in the dark for the first time since we’ve been here. They don’t recommend this since there aren’t streetlights and now I see why! But luckily, traffic after dark is minimal, so we got home safely.


Today we woke up early for a day trip to Lake Malawi. We rented a car from a local for 12000 kwacha ($24) because the student car here is probably 20 years old and can barely make it 1 mile to the grocery store. After almost 2.5 hours, we made it to Senga Bay at Lake Malawi. We ended up parking and eating lunch at a place called the Safari Beach Lodge, which was delicious! It was my first time trying Malawian fish.

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While we were waiting for our lunch to be cooked, we sat outside where Miranda got attacked by a baboon! We were watching the baboon eat an onion that it stole from the kitchen, and then it came over to us. We thought it would be afraid of us, but it reached up and grabbed miranda’s hair! She tried to scare it away, but it didn’t work, so the staff came running out, Juhin stood up and the baboon ran away.

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We could see the scenic lake from lunch:

IMG_6691After lunch, we walked down to the lake. We were told that it’s a pretty touristy spot, but we were surprised to find that we were the only foreigners there! We sat down on a swing in the shade and observed the locals on the shore playing soccer and dancing to music.

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Since there is the risk of schistosomiasis in bodies of fresh water in Africa, we decided not to risk swimming in the lake. Miranda and I decided to go dance with the children on the sand:

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The children were immediately drawn to us and formed a giant circle around us. They didn’t speak much English, but asked what our names were and then were touching our skin, stroking our hair, and staring at us. It was a bit overwhelming, but they were adorable, and all really great dancers!

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When we said goodbye to them, we went back to the swing with Juhin to take some more pictures:

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This is the Malawian beer.

IMG_6748We got back on the road around 2pm, so that we could get back and go grocery shopping before it got dark. The drive was exhausting since there were constantly goats running out into the roads, the AC didn’t work, and the pavement quality of the roads here is not great. But we got home safe and sound.

After an exhausting nearly 2 weeks here, we are excited to finally be able to sleep in for the first time tomorrow!

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Homesick

14 Aug

Lately, I’ve been missing home. It’s not so much missing the place, but the people. The people here in Malawi are extremely friendly and welcoming, but I really miss everyone back home. This worsens when we are essentially stuck inside the house from when it gets dark around 5pm until we go to bed. There’s not a ton to do here and we have been unfamiliarly bored. I look forward to when 11pm rolls around and it’s 5pm back and home and I can begin to FaceTime and Google Hangout everyone back at home to help pass the time. Other than that, I’ve been trying to pass the time by reading on my Kindle, watching TV, and chatting with Juhin and Miranda.

Last night as I waited for 11pm, I was reading through my old Singapore blog posts. I found a post about advice to my pre-trip self after I had returned home:

“It’s weird to find that nothing has really changed at home. I noticed this when I went away to college 3 years ago too. It’s almost like living two separate lives; when starting something like school, or living in another country, I can still come home to my old, consistent life. In one of my first posts I said that I was sad that life at home would continue on without me while I was in Singapore. I don’t know why I was so concerned with that. I personally changed more than life at home did. My advice to anyone that is thinking about traveling or studying abroad, but doesn’t want to miss out on life at home: you will experience so much more than what goes on at home. So don’t worry about missing out; everything you love about home will still be there when you get back. I’m so thankful that I got to study abroad!”

It was comforting to read that piece of advice from 4 years ago. It’s always harder on the traveler when missing home. Friends and family back at home may miss the person traveling, but they still are living their same lives. Meanwhile, the traveler has been placed in a new environment they need to acclimate to, and is simultaneously dealing with homesickness. I do know that home will still be there, mostly unchanged (but fingers crossed the heat and humidity have calmed down), when I go back in a couple weeks. And I know that I will appreciate home more than ever after this experience abroad.

Chitenge

12 Aug

Since we arrived in Malawi, we have seen women everywhere wearing bold, african print fabric as long skirts, and to hold their babies on their backs.

Last week when we went to the touristy market, Miranda bought a few of them for 3000 kwacha each. The housekeeper here at the guest housing, Joyce, told us that her husband buys them for her as gifts, about 2 a month. We asked how much they cost, and she said 1200 (about $2.50) at the local market. Sold! We asked her if she would go with us to the market, and luckily she agreed.

Yesterday, Juhin and Miranda went to the grocery store and decided to try to find the market Joyce told us about. They came back in shock. They told me there are so many people there, so many smells, and I probably would not want to go. Miranda had noticed that I was a bit uncomfortable and overwhelmed at the touristy market last week, but I explained to her that it was because I was being hassled to buy things I didn’t want. I actually really enjoy local markets.

So today, during our lunch break from the hospital, we drove to the market with Joyce. After waiting at least 10 minutes to park, we were lead behind a wall into a market, that we never would have found on our own, filled with chitenge! Miranda and I began going crazy buying it. The cost is set at 1200 kwacha per 2 meters of fabric, which makes the experience much more enjoyable. The amount of different prints they have is the overwhelming part!

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The market was maybe only 4 feet wide at parts

Miranda ended up adding 15 chitenge to her already collection of 3, and I bought a total of 9! We definitely went a little crazy, but when else do you have this opportunity? It was great having Joyce there with us to show us around.

IMG_6647When we got home, we laid out our chitenge to admire (note: the patterns are much brighter in person. The lighting in the house is a bit weird):

IMG_6657 IMG_6658We then drove to a local tailor to have some things sewn. Miranda is having a skirt sewn and I’m having some bags made. The cost is insane! He only charges 2000 kwacha ($4) for a skirt and 1000 ($2) for a bag, plus the cost of fabric to line the items, and zippers if needed, which ends up being negligible. I’m so excited to see the items when we pick them up next week!

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My favorite chitenge print that I bought

I’m also going to attempt to sew one into a tablecloth, some into placemats, and some into scarves when I get home.

Today was so much fun! So far, my favorite experiences here, besides the safari, have been at the markets.

Safari!

10 Aug

On Friday morning Miranda and I left from downtown Lilongwe around 8am to begin the 7 hour drive to South Luangwa National Park in Zambia. We booked through Kiboko Safaris, a company based in Lilongwe. It was an expensive experience, and because we only booked with 2 people, we had to pay extra. The total cost ended up being $530, plus the cost of the Zambian Visa – $50. But, YOLO right?

The drive was actually really interesting because we got a tour of different Malawian and Zambian villages along the way. It was also nice to get a couple short naps in. Here’s some shots from our drive:

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Goats were EVERYWHERE! We probably saw over 500 along the road

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Donkeys

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A lot of people transport materials via bike. Pretty impressive!

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What’s more impressive is how women transport water and other goods balanced on their heads!

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A local market

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We got stopped by the Zambian Police! He just wanted to see our driver’s papers, luckily.

Crossing the Malawi/Zambia border was pretty interesting. Seemed to be fairly low security. When we were entering Zambia, they took our temperature using a laser, and we had to write our information down in a composition book before they stamped our passport. Here is one picture of the border, that I secretly took (not sure if it’s ok to take pictures of government buildings here):

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The Zambian side of the border

When we arrived at the campsite, just outside the national park, around 3pm we were greeted by one of the guides. We did not have anything scheduled for the rest of the day, so we just relaxed at the camp. Immediately we saw about 20 elephants crossing the river right next to the camp.

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While we were sitting by the bar drinking a Zambian beer, one of the workers came up to us and asked, “Do you have a camera?” We looked at each other and then back at him and said, “Yeah…” And he replied, “Cause there’s an elephant behind the bar.” We immediately jumped up and ran to the side of the bar and saw a giant African elephant about 20 feet away from us. It was amazing! It was walking around camp eating leaves from the trees, so we followed it. At one point the guard yelled at us for getting too close, “This is not a zoo! That is a wild animal! You need to back away.” It was such a cool start to our weekend!

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The tents we were staying in were really nice and had pretty comfortable beds. It got cold at night and we took what we didn’t know would be our first and only shower in the shared campsite bathroom that first night. They have scheduled power outages at different times of the day each day, so the water was also cold. We really felt like we were roughing it! We kept hearing these really weird grunting/roaring noises that sounded really close. I asked one of the guards what it was and he told us they were hippos! Knowing that hippos are the most dangerous mammal in Africa, I asked him if they ever come to the campsite. He told us that they come to the campsite most nights around midnight to graze on the grass. I then asked how he protected himself from them, since he just sat outside guarding the camp at night. He laughed, “Oh sometimes there’s a hippo there (he pointed) and there, and there.” Clearly not an issue. But knowing how dangerous they can be, and how scary they sounded, I was still scared. We then ate dinner, cooked by the staff there, and went straight to bed as we prepared to be woken up at 5am the next day. However, with all the sound the hippos were making in the camp that night (and apparently there were also elephants stomping around) I could barely sleep.

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Saturday morning we were woken up by the guards before sunrise. And, as scheduled, there was no power. We got ready in our tents quickly using a flashlight, and headed outside for breakfast. There were 9 other campers at this site, all had arrived the day before we did, and all were European–three English, three German, three French. We saw them at meals and at camp for the rest of our time there, but they were in a separate safari vehicle. It was really interesting to talk to them and hear all the different accents.

The schedule of power outages.

The schedule of power shortages.

We left for the safari at 6am. Miranda and I got our own safari vehicle. Our guide was named Matthews, and he was really awesome! We saw the sunrise, and immediately saw two elephants crossing the road right before the entrance to the park:

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There were baboons everywhere. I took this picture of baboons sitting on either side of the bridge at the entrance:

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We were on safari from 6-10am. We saw tons of animals and had a lot of fun! I kept having to pinch myself – I was in Africa, and not at a zoo back at home.

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Warthogs

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Male Impala

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Hippos everywhere!

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Stopped for a morning tea break. Had to take a selfie with our safari guide, Matthews!

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We saw tons of zebras!

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If you look closely you can see a really majestic animal, called a Kudu. It was beautiful!

I was overly excited to see the giraffes:

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At one point (I didn’t get a picture), we saw a warthog and a hyena in the distance. We expected the hyena to attack the warthog, but instead the warthog chased the hyena away. It was hilarious! Reminded us of this scene from The Lion King. The entire trip we were comparing everything to The Lion King. “Hey, that looks like a Rifiki tree!” “Hey it’s Pumba!”

We then had a break from 10am-4pm where we were served lunch and got to relax. We took a nap on hammocks outside, but ended up bored around 2pm, anxious to go on our night safari!

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Baboons were cracking me up!

Finally we set off for part 2 of our safari. The animals were not as visible at this time, unfortunately. We still had lions on our bucket list of animals we needed to see! We stopped at sunset to take pictures, and drink tea that was packed for us. It was so scenic!

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Here’s where I really wish I had a nicer camera! This mom and baby zebra stopped, looked right at us and it was adorable! National Geographic worthy.

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Such a gorgeous sunset.

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A sleeping leopard at night

Finally, right before we turned around at about 7pm, we saw eight lions!!! We were probably about 15 feet away. A very cool end to the safari.

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I really wish I had brought a nicer camera to take pictures with, but I’m glad my iPhone took some decent ones. If I’m ever fortunate enough to go on safari again, I’ll definitely make sure to bring a nicer camera and binoculars.

Sunday we got to sleep in and were woken up at 6am! After eating breakfast, we were all loaded into a bus for our drive back to Lilongwe. Along the way, we dropped a lot of the people off at different places. Some were going to be traveling to other places in Zambia. By the time we got back to Lilongwe around 3pm, there were only 5 of us in the bus.

This was such an unforgettable experience that I’m so fortunate to have had. It’s still so hard to believe I’m in Africa!

Now it’s time for a week at the Kamuzu Central Hospital!

T-minus 270 days til that PharmD!

Haggling in Old Town

6 Aug

This afternoon we went to the market in Old Town (a part of Lilongwe). It was more of a touristy market, where Malawians sell mostly wood carvings, paintings, jewelry, and fabric. It is a great place to get souvenirs and practice haggling skills.

As soon as we stepped out of the car, we were bombarded with vendors trying to get us to look at their items for sale. Most had catchphrases like, “looking is free!” or “let’s do business together!” I was overwhelmed at first, but Juhin and Miranda jumped in immediately and began haggling. While I was standing to the side watching, one of the men approached me and I began looking at the items in his “shop.” I didn’t see anything that I liked, and I was overwhelmed, but he kept putting things in my hands and would ask, “How much will you pay?” It was very clear that they were hungry for money. At one point he handed me a beautifully carved pair of large serving utensils. He asked how much I would pay and I asked how much it would cost. He said it would be 10000 kwacha, or about $20. When I politely told him I couldn’t afford that, and he asked how much I would pay. I told him 4000 kwacha. He acted as if that insulted him (typical) and then I told him, “Actually, I don’t really want this. That’s ok.” And it was true, I really didn’t want it! And as I went to put it down he said, “Ok! 4000!” But, I really did not see a use for it and wanted to keep looking around. So I told him, and he was pretty mad. After that I was scared to keep walking around the market.

After brushing off some vendors next door I crossed over to the other side with Miranda to look at fabric that she had been eyeing. These vendors were a lot less pushy. After she ended up buying some fabric, I saw some carved giraffes that I wanted. I asked how much and he told me they were 5000 kwacha each. I said I would pay 2000. I eventually got two of them for 4500. I then went next door because the guy begged me to come look at his stand. It was hard to say no to these people! This guy was really nice, with a gentler soul and you could tell he really needed the money. He told me to look around, and began showing me carved elephants. I thought they would go really well with my giraffes, and after some easy haggling I got two of them for 3500. He told me he would throw in a free gift, which was a plastic bag (which was actually very thoughtful as it was a lot to carry around). As I was leaving, he asked me to look at keychains. Earlier, Juhin and Miranda bought simple rectangular carved keychains for 2000 kwacha each. I asked how much for one that was bigger and in the shape of Africa with a carved animal in it, and he said 1000 kwacha. He said he would be able to carve a name into the back of the keychain for me. For fun, I asked if he would take 500, and we settled on 750. After getting it personalized, I went back and asked if he had any change since I was only carrying 1000 bills. He said he did not, so instead of worrying about it I just gave him 1000 kwacha. It’s very eye opening to see how much these people need money, and I figure it’s only 50 cents to me, where to him 250 kwacha could mean a meal. Plus, since he was so nice to me earlier, I felt the need to thank him.

Then we decided to do a circle around the market to see the rest of it in case we wanted to come back another day. Well, another vendor approached me with a wood carved bowl in the shape of a fish that had three compartments, perfect for dips. I thought it was actually really cool and something I would want, but when he told me it was 12500 kwacha I immediately said I couldn’t pay that much. I was also exhausted, so I went to give it back and told him it was beautiful and that he would sell it for sure since it was the only one he had out. He then started coming down, when he got to 7000 kwacha he started whispering. I still didn’t plan on buying it, and without saying anything he eventually got down to 4000 kwacha. I finally agreed and it made his day. This one item cost me $8, yet probably took him most of a day to carve. Yet, these men have so many wood carvings out on their stands, and I bet they don’t sell anything at all somedays. And I’m sure even though we thought we were getting good deals, we were still getting ripped off.

All in all, it was fun buying these carvings, and supporting the locals.

Miranda and I are leaving in the morning for Zambia for a safari! I will post about it Sunday or Monday when we get back.

Ndikupita! (“goodbye” in Chichewa)

Made it to Malawi!

5 Aug

My traveling adventure began at 3am on Monday morning when I woke up after only a few hours of restless sleep. After Tyler dropped me off at the airport at 4am, I met the two people I’d be traveling with, Juhin (a classmate) and Miranda (the PharmD global engagement fellow at UNC), at the gate a little after 4:15am. Checking my bag and going through security at RDU at that hour was way faster than I expected! And not bragging, but I may be an expert packer:

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After our 6am flight to D.C., we had a four-hour layover. We spent the time getting coffee, eating breakfast, and chatting. When we were finally able to board our next plane, we were exhausted and ready to sleep. The next two legs of our flight would be on Ethiopian Airlines to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (13 hours) and then to Lilongwe, Malawi (4 hours). On the 13-hour flight, I was seated with a couple traveling to Ethiopia for their second child adoption. They were in their mid 50’s, the husband was a physician, both were originally from North Carolina, living in Atlanta, and had three daughters in their 20’s plus an adopted two-year-old son from Ethiopia. They were great to sit next to, especially since the husband had traveled to Africa many times before for medical mission trips. What was not great was the airline itself. My last long international flight, from London to Singapore, was on Qantas Airlines. The coach seats were very comfortable, reclined enough to allow for fairly good sleep, great food, and was very clean. Ethiopian Airlines did not compare. The flight was packed, and I don’t think the flight attendants attended to the restrooms at all. The seats were basically hard plastic covered in cloth, had no leg room, and barely reclined at all. My first thought was, “How in the world am I going to get any sleep for 13 hours?” Luckily I was so tired I was able to sleep on and off throughout the flight. However, there were screaming children all around me that made restful sleep impossible. I entertained myself by watching movies/TV. I was able to finish watching Insurgent, Cinderella, and many episodes of Modern Family. The airline did provide plenty of food, but it was salty and not that great. I was so glad when we touched down in Ethiopia.

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Their version of airplane pretzels

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The Addis Ababa Airport was a mess. There were hundreds of people in the terminal for our next flight and there was nowhere to buy food/drinks, not enough seats, and the bathrooms were beyond disgusting (says Juhin… I decided to hold it). It just seemed like the perfect environment for disease to spread, with so many foreigners tightly packed in a room. I did take a few pictures during our two-hour layover there:

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This picture doesn’t show the two large gatherings of people on either end of the terminal

I couldn't resist taking a picture of this woman's shirt.

I couldn’t resist taking a picture of this woman’s shirt.

The next flight was much better. The child in front of me was crying a lot at the beginning of the flight, but I was so exhausted that I slept through it. When I woke up for the meal they served, the child was asleep and it was peacefully quiet. I ended up sleeping immediately after I ate and woke up to us landing in Lilongwe, Malawi!

image3After getting through customs, we were all extremely relieved to see that all of our bags made it! We had been scared by previous travelers that told us that we should pack in carryons since luggage has been known to go missing. We then exchanged money:

This stack of 100,000 kwacha is equivalent to $200.

This stack of 100,000 kwacha is equivalent to $200.

We then were greeted outside the airport by our driver, provided by UNC Project Malawi. He was holding a sign that said ‘UNC Project.’ We all felt so instantly welcomed into the country. After driving about 30 minutes through rural Malawi, we arrived at the site. The drive itself was very eye-opening. Tons of rural Malawians on the side of the road selling goods, cooking over fires, or just sitting under trees. From the road we could see a lot of their homes, which were basically straw huts. When we got to our site it felt much more modern, as we are close to downtown.

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The guest houses. Each one has 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and can sleep 8 people. At our house, there are 4 people. One is a physician named Dennis who studied in Kenya, got his MPH in the U.S., and is back in Malawi working for UNC Project for a year.

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The community watchdog named “Mfumu” meaning “Chief.” He’s very friendly!

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My room

Malawi is 6 hours ahead of Eastern Time, so when we arrived it was almost 2pm Malawi time, or 8am back at home. By the time we got settled in the guest house, walked over to meet the main pharmacist, Wilberforce, at Tidziwe center (about 5 minutes away), and got back, it was about 5pm. One of the PhD students staying in the house next door came over and gave us her wifi password and we spent the rest of the night connecting with friends and family back home. During this time, we were able to hear hyenas howling in the distance. Also while sitting out in the living area, I got my first mosquito bite 😦 We knew we were definitely not in America anymore! We were exhausted and didn’t last much longer than 8pm!  I went to sleep, after taking my daily preventative malaria medication, under my mosquito net. I woke up around 2:45 am wide awake. I got on my phone and texted Tyler and we ended up getting to google hangout for a bit. It was nice to reconnect after being disconnected from back home for over 24 hours! I then was able to fall back asleep until my alarm at 8am.

Today, our first full day in Africa, we met Wilberforce at Tidziwe center. Tidziwe is the clinical training and research center for UNC Project located by the main hospital, Kamuzu. We got a tour of the center, the hospital, and got set up on the wifi. It’s pretty cool because they use giant satellites to access the UNC network back in Chapel Hill!

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Tidziwe center

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Inside Tidziwe… all Carolina blue 🙂

Juhin, Wilberforce and Me

Juhin, Wilberforce and Me

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The dispensing pharmacy in Tidziwe

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Wilberforce showing us all the drugs involved in ongoing clinical trials. Most of these are HIV drugs that are very expensive.

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A map of the hospital

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Physicians reading X-rays against natural light

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One of the most shocking and disturbing areas of the hospital. This is the overcrowded burn unit where patients have been placed out in the hallway laying on cardboard boxes. We had to step over them to move around. Very, very sad. Makes me realize how lucky we are to have great healthcare in the U.S.

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The outpatient pharmacy at Kamuzu

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The giant satellite connecting us to the UNC Network

After the tour, we ate lunch at the canteen behind Tidziwe. I wasn’t sure how much to pay the woman, but I saw a man hand her 1000 kwacha, which is $2. I did the same, but Miranda said her lunch was only 650! Very cheap, and it was very good food!

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My lunch: chicken, vegetables, and nsima (a corn-based bread-like staple of the Malawian diet)

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Miranda’s lunch. We shared and it was delicious!

Afterwards, we took the shared car to the downtown market. On the way, the PhD student drove us, and Miranda braved the drive back. It’s scary because they drive on the opposite side of the road, there’s no road signs, and no traffic lights! They navigate from the main road and traffic circles (ex. turn left after the first traffic circle). We went to Airtel, the cell phone carrier, and to one of the markets for groceries.

IMG_6219 IMG_6221We are excited to have dinner tonight as last night we didn’t have time to make it to the market for groceries! Joyce, the housekeeper, made us french fries and we are baking a pizza in the oven (real healthy!). Miranda and I are planning to go on safari this weekend, so I will be sure to post an update early next week about that.

Anyway, so far, so good! I know a lot of you back home were/are worried, but I feel very safe here so far. I’m enjoying myself! And I was shocked to count that we only have 22 more days left!

T-minus 275 days til that PharmD!

Home Infusion

2 Aug

This past month was my 2nd rotation spent at Home Choice Partners, which is a home infusion company. This was not as intense of a rotation as my last one at the VA, but I’ve enjoyed it. I have been working with my preceptor, 3 other pharmacists, 3 nurses, 2 marketers, 2 packing/delivery men, and 4 pharmacy technicians. My preceptor, the branch manager, is a very entertaining woman. She looks like a mix of Sandra Bullock and Tina Fey, with Tina Fey’s personality. We got along really well which made this rotation a lot of fun. Most of the women who work there are army wives, and I’ve learned a lot about the military through this rotation. I’ve also learned about odd disease states, how to run a business, and, of course, what home infusion actually is.

Home infusion is exactly what it sounds like. It is a company that will provide services for patients that need to be infused with different IV drugs, but at home. Thus, they can receive treatment from the comfort of their own homes, and if they are on chronic IV meds, they can live a normal life. It’s a very cool concept. They get referrals from marketers doing presentations at local hospitals, and then they compound the meds in the clean room which is located in the small office building. It then gets packed by the delivery men and either driven to the patient’s home (if local), or shipped for next day delivery to anywhere in North Carolina. The patients usually have a PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter) placed which is used to deliver their medicine. What’s cool is that they do not have a nurse come to their homes to actually infuse their meds. They are initially taught by a nurse how to do it themselves, and then they are on their own for the rest of treatment, and can call the pharmacists and nurses with questions. A nurse just goes to their home about once a week to change the dressings.

One thing that you might not expect, is that the patients do not have to be at home attached to a pole with an IV bag hanging next to them. Most of the medications are dispensed into a homepump which does not rely on gravity to infuse. It basically works like a balloon, where you fill it with the drug and then once you attach it to the PICC, it slowly starts to deflate and infuse the drug into the vessel at a set rate. This way the patient can put the pump in their pocket and infuse during their everyday activities.

Anyway, this month I got to see all the aspects of the business. I did marketing visits at a couple hospitals in the area to promote the services they offer, spent a couple days in the clean room compounding sterile IV medications, went on a nursing visit to a patient’s home, and presented on a new IV medication to the pharmacy staff. While it was a laid-back month, I learned a lot! The first week of my rotation, one of the pharmacists (a Campbell Pharmacy grad) told me that she doesn’t precept UNC students anymore. Apparently, she had a UNC student a few years ago who as arrogant, obnoxious, and mean. She followed that up with, “But you seem great!” Hopefully my month there restored UNC’s reputation and even if she continues to refuse to precept UNC students, will at least have a more positive view of us!

Also this month, for the first time ever I participated in celebrating Cow Appreciation day at Chick-fil-A:

To close out the month, my preceptor and the entire staff there expressed concern about me traveling to Africa for the month of August. I thought it was both sweet, and funny that they ended up gifting me a few medical masks and pairs of sterile gloves to protect me from the dangers of Africa!

In 14 hours I will be on my way to the airport to leave for my next month-long rotation in Malawi! I am both excited and nervous! I will definitely continue to blog while I’m there 🙂

T-minus 278 days til that PharmD!