Even though I officially retired from nursing in December 2015, I still try to keep up-to-date about medicine and science in general, so I was delighted when my friend Magda, a nurse here in Mexico, asked if I would like to go to an international nursing conference in Manzanillo.
The conference was the 2do Congreso Internacional de Salud – the second international conference of health, sponsored by the University of Guanajuato, and the focus was the treatment and care of the older adult with a multidisciplinary perspective. Because of the “international” aspect, I was hoping to meet nurses from different parts of the world, and also hopeful that some of the talks would be in English.
As it turned out, two of the talks were in English, with Magda and Dr. Nicolas Padilla translating into Spanish. The other talks were in Spanish, but thankfully all but one had detailed PowerPoints, which enabled me to follow along by reading and understanding the Spanish written on the Power Point slides.
There were very good presentations about nutrition to maintain muscle mass and functioning of the older adult, Alzheimers care and research, multidisciplinary care at the end of life, spirituality in the older adult and a very interesting talk about sexuality in the older adult. There were also poster sessions about, among other topics, diabetes and violence and the maternity patient, which was very interesting (the violence did not refer to domestic violence, but rather how some healthcare workers treat the pregnant patient throughout the pregnancy and in labor and delivery).
I also met two wonderful nurses from the U.S. who are doing wonderful work, and with whom I had some great discussions, and with whom I plan to stay in touch. Dr. Barbara Mader was a public health nurse and is now the founder and director of a wellness center in New Mexico (and I absolutely could not believe that she is 83 years old!) and Dr. Marjaneh Fooladi is a professor in Texas.
It would have been a fantastic experience all by itself, hearing the talks and meeting such wonderful healthcare providers and sharing stories, but the icing on the cake was the location of the event – the Hotel Barceló Karmina Palace Deluxe, situated right on the beach of the Pacific Ocean in Manzanillo.
Walking through it, I got the feeling of being in a stone temple of the Aztecs or Olmecs. The suite was larger than any hotel room I have been in with a beautiful view of the ocean from my window. There was a balcony facing the beach and the bathroom was a big as some hotel rooms – two sinks, an enormous tub, a separate shower, and sliding wooden doors, onyx soap dishes and tissue box. There were also many swimming pools there, but the water was too cool for my taste, and if I had thought of it, I would have gone swimming in the ocean instead, as it would have been much warmer than the pool.
I had totally forgotten about St. Patrick’s Day, and was reminded about it by the Mexicans – that, and the fact that it is also my saint’s name day. However, I was really in the mood for Japanese food, so Magda and I went to the Japanese restaurant, Kyoto, for dinner, and I had sake instead of beer or tequila.
So, all things considered, if anyone has a chance to go to an international conference of any type, I would highly encourage it, and not let the language barrier stop you – but learning a few phrases in the language of that country would also be a nice thing to do.