Monday, April 23, 2007

So What Do You Do?

I have just returned from nearly three weeks of travel, touring several countries in South America. It was a great trip and I regret not being able to travel longer.

While I still have no medical anecdotes to report, some interesting moments did occur during my trip as a result of me being in medical school. Because I am essentially done with medical school -- graduation is next month, but my classes/clerkships ended last month -- when people asked me what I did, I simply told people I was a doctor. My responses weren't far from the truth at all ... I said I had just finished with medical school and I would be starting internship very soon.

(Interestingly, Americans were intrigued by newly-minted doctors, while foreigners were not.)

Inevitably they would start asking follow-up questions such as what specialty I had chosen, why I went into medicine, and other related topics. These conversations were amusing and enjoyable at first, however, I quickly grew tired of them. After the first few of these conversations I knew exactly what question(s) people would ask next, and all my answers were canned.

I therefore came up with an alternative response to the question "What do you do?" I just told people I was in "healthcare". That usually elicited a response similar to "Oh that's a good field" ... and then the conversation usually ended.

It was great. With this wise choice of words, I evaded that repetitive conversation. It worked great the rest of the trip ... although one woman pried a little by asking "What do you do in healthcare?" to which I responded "I work in a hospital."

It is funny how certain things in medicine are so exciting initially, but whose novelty wears off quickly. Other examples include wearing my white coat (I was so excited the first time I wore it but now I can't stand wearing that short white coat) and having a pager (my first page was exciting, while every single one thereafter was annoying). I can only assume more of these situations will arise in the future, and so I should just accept them now.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Hello from Argentina

Hola again!
I am writing you all from near the bottom of the earth. While I entered Argentina through Buenos Aires -- which is a great and lively city -- we then flew further down south, to the Patagonia region of this country ... which, if you refer to a map, approaches the bottom of the globe. I am probably upside down compared to most of you (at least those in the US)!
Patagonia offers LOTS of amazing scenery and some of the planet´s greatest outdoor sites. Mountains, glaciers, towers of granite, fjords, it has it all. It is also quite cold here, which is unfortunate since I wasn´t expecting to take this excursion and thus only packed beach clothing. Not wise, but a little 0.4 degree Celsius never killed anyone, right? (OK, it probably does.)
Until next time, chau!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Greetings from South America

Buenos dias!
I am writing from the nice beaches of Uruguay. This particular city is where many people in South America -- as well as some Americans -- flock to when it gets hot. It is actually fall here (we are in the southern hemisphere) so the masses of people are no longer here, but with Easter weekend approaching there should be a ton of people visiting for the next few days.
Uruguay is an impressively modern country, with great internet connections, fancy stores, and drinkable water. If it weren´t so far from America, I might consider buying a second home here ... and with prices starting in the $80s for a small apartment, you gotta consider it!
Anyway, we´ll be here for a few more days and then move on to another country. Till then, adios!
P.S. I wish I had taken Spanish in high school. French, unfortunately, is a totally useless language for journeys such as this (as well as practicing medicine in California!)