Monday, March 25, 2013


Traveling opens your eyes. It removes prejudices; even prejudices that you didn't know you had. All we hear about Mexico is how very unsafe it they are cutting people's heads off 'down there' drug cartels are running the poor it is, etc etc. I'm not saying that NONE of this is true. Mexico is certainly a country not without problems...but which country doesn't have problems?

I had only been to Acapulco back when I was a sophomore in college on spring break. Oh my gosh...that was 13 years ago. I'm old!! But, I digress...I had only been to Mexico the once. I remember it being a beautiful and welcoming country and I was pleased to find that this was once again what I took away from my trip.

Erin, Rafael (my boss) and I took an Interjet flight out of Orange County to Guadalajara. It was a quick 3 hour flight (funny how this becomes relative when you move across the country).  The most amusing thing from our flight was the fact that people were just up and moving around during both the take off and the landing. It was all very blase. I never even had to turn off my kindle. Awesome. AND...the plane didn't crash ;)

Mostly Guadalajara looks like the dirtier parts of LA. Haha. Well, not all of it...but it really did resemble LA. Apparently there is a lot of finance in this city and it shows in the beautiful and modern architecture. Restaurants were overflowing with patrons late into the nights...and in the middle of the week. Mexicans have such a welcoming and festive culture. Whenever I travel, I just think to myself, "We Americans are really doing it wrong".  

We arrived at our beautiful hotel to a GIANT steak dinner with our Mexican counterparts. Vegan Fail!! I can't kid anyone...I've managed to stay vegetarian, but have failed miserably at my Lent vow to be vegan :-/ 

Estoy cansada

I think as a sustainable lifestyle...I'm more of a sometimes vegan/most of the time vegetarian/occasionally flexitarian (just read this word and love it).  So, I said, "when in Mexico..." and tried some steak. It was quite tasty, but I did feel kind of gross after eating it. I was kind of glad that I didn't LOVE it. We had salad and homemade tortillas and it was ah-mazing. 

The first day we spent 13 hours working at the hospital. We observed one surgery and in the second surgery...I got to assist the surgeon by handing off syringes to him, which I then emptied into the collection bag. I was SO nervous. It's a well known fact that I have shaky hands. It's sort of funny that I can even do my job at all, let alone do it well. I was extra nervous having so many people watching me!! At one point I was supposed to aim the needle at a bottle of heparin the nurse was holding and draw out some of the fluid. There was NO way I was going to hit that bulls eye with my trembling hands. The nurse had a look of pure fear on her face...and rightfully so, I probably would have stabbed her!! Thankfully, the Dr. did it for me. The whole thing was really cool and I was grateful for the chance to learn something new. 

Dr. Kelly for a day

The Dr. uses a T shaped device to drill (corkscrew style) into the bone of the patient's lower back (in the iliac crest). From there, the Dr will draw out bone marrow with a syringe. We usually collect around 150mls per side. It only takes around 20 minutes and is supposed to be pretty pain free. Patients have some soreness afterwards, but they are sedated for the procedure. 

I handed off syringes with the Dr. and injected the bone marrow into the collection bag. When the surgery was finished...I took the bone marrow to the lab and isolated the mononuclear cells, which were then injected back into each of the patients. We did a woman's hip and a man's pancreas (he is diabetic). 

After a long day of setting up the lab, processing cells, watching more surgeries and lots of no habloing spanish...we finally went out to dinner around 9pm.  

We went to Santo Coyote, which was like an authentic sort of rainforest cafe. :) The food was delicious and the ambiance was amazing. There were tons of candles and mariachi players and a waterfall. Very cool.



ALL day Thursday was spent writing protocols in a small room. We had street burritos for lunch (and I didn't get sick!! wahoo!!) and another delicious dinner at a place called "Tequila", which featured 500 varieties of tequila. There was only one type that still had the worm!!

Writing, writing, writing


Every table gets a purse tree. Brilliant!!

Salsa made with cactus!! Yum!!

Buenos Noches Mexico

I'm excited about our new company in Mexico and the good work we are doing. 

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