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lost keys, resourceful nurses and an umbrella

June 4, 2011

i’m supposed to wait for the director of nursing every morning to tell me where to go, or who to go with. so yesterday morning, friday, i was waiting for him outside his office when he got there, and he started digging for his keys in his bag. and kept digging for his keys. he’s like, i lost them i think! so he goes off, i assume to get another set from the main office. but i was wrong. he went to see if they were in there, but he has the only set of keys for the whole nursing department. uh-oh!
but, he very adeptly pries open the window to his office and reaches his arm very awkwardly all the way around to open his office door. hooray! unfortunately, his keys aren’t in the office either, and he’s still locked out of the single refrigerated room where they keep all the vaccines, and the lobby is already full of people, at least half of whom are probably waiting for vaccinations. how many nurses does it take to break into a frosty vaccine room? in this case, two. they got some tweezers, pried the metal that holds the small window panes in place to that room, and again, the director successfully got his arm in the window well enough to reach the door knob from the inside.
problems seemed to be more or less solved after that, except that once we were in there and i was helping him arrange the vaccines for the day, he whispered to me that it’s not that he forgot the keys at home or something, he has no idea where they are. uh, good thing it’s friday? the drama wasn’t quite over yet, though. about two hours later i was with two of the nurses as they were doing a prenatal exam on a woman about 37 weeks pregnant, i.e. about ready to pop! they’re doing their thing, i’m watching and helping with little things, it’s all very interesting. one nurse (veronica) discerns the fetal position, reaches for the little hand-held doppler ultrasound that should be in the drawer, so she can check the baby’s heartbeat. it’s not there, so she asks the other nurse (darlin) to run and get the doppler from the closet where it should be stored, and she hurries off. do you see where this is going?
darlin comes back in a huff, and announces very sarcastically that “el senorito” forgot his keys, “que felicidades!” were they pissed! but she had this little wooden instrument with her, it looked almost like a short flute with a really wide lip, and she handed it to veronica, who placed it where she had estimated the fetal heart should be, and put her ear up to the other end, moved it around a little, and smiled. darlin took her turn, nodded, and then they let me listen. loud and clear, the baby’s heart was beating right into that little wooden thing. beautiful! then darlin took over and started counting the beats per minute with her cell phone timer, and that was a wrap.
but it’s not quite over: a few minutes into the next appointment, the director aka “el senorito” (no accents on this, but you know what i mean) comes in smiling with the doppler. the nurses are like, you found the keys?! and the director’s like, no, i got an umbrella, reached it around and pried the closet door open! we all laughed, and that, ladies and gentlemen, is the story of a day with lost keys at the centro de salud in la concha.

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  1. maggie orth permalink

    that’s a fantastic story. Never in America, sadly, too many rules and formalities for such spontaneous interchange. More stories from nicaragua, please.

  2. Katrina Croft permalink

    You should publish that story. You are such a good story teller! I can’t believe the photo of the patio at the school. That is so beautiful!

    • thanks twina, that was really a very nice think to say. now i’m blushing. 🙂 yeah it’s beautiful, you should come here someday if you can!

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