The Joys of Modern Medicine

Visiting Oruro and witnessing all kinds of traditional medicinal practices was an eye-opening experience for me.  I really enjoyed being able to talk personally with a young mother at the Centro De Salud because it definitely made the place more real (and her baby was absolutely adorable).  The birthing rooms weren’t really my thing, but I can definitely appreciate all the hard work that these doctors put in so that the pregnant women can have the medical care they need while also being able to use traditional birthing methods.  I thought the way they use color in the room to make it brighter and happier was interesting and something that could be done in all hospitals in the US, as well, because white walls give off a sick feeling in my opinion.  They’re drab and dull and don’t really encourage anyone to get out of bed and actively make themselves work to feel better, but the bright orange walls in the Centro De Salud were very cheery.

Meeting with the local “doctors” was something that I thought I would only ever read about.  It is shocking to me (not in a bad way at all, in fact I think it is cool that people are using natural resources) that there are still people who rely solely on plant based creams for all of their medical needs.  The craziest one of all was the cancer cure made out of animal fats.  If that actually works, why isn’t it more well known?  I bought three creams today; one for scars, one for sunburns, and one for blemishes.  I have already started using the scar one and cannot wait to see if they actually work.

Witnessing all of these traditional medical practices made me realize that I truly am grateful for the scientific advances of today’s world.  I couldn’t help but reflect on my personal medical troubles that I’ve dealt with this month and I can’t imagine what I would’ve done if the only thing available to me for pain was a cream that I rubbed in my mouth or something…my pain tolerance is extremely low so I don’t think that would go well.  Additionally, this visit provided a huge contrast in relation to the numerous ‘farmacias’ I pass while walking literally anywhere in Bolivia.  I wish I had been able to communicate better with the traditional doctors today because I would have loved to have heard their opinions on the medicine used by most city people.  I am curious as to why there is such a huge gap in medicine used; the creams versus the numerous pills that are much stronger than what I can get over-the-counter in the US.



One thought on “The Joys of Modern Medicine

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  1. Was the apothecary you visited all that different from the pharmacies you see around here? In some ways, the social functions are the same (dispense medicine). You may also have noticed that pharmacies sell more than medicines, they sell toothpaste and shaving cream. So they sell all sorts of products for “health” (very broadly) defined. And pharmacies here are much more likely to offer a consult: Just walk in, describe a symptom, and they’ll give you medicine; you don’t have to see a doctor first.


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