Friday, January 15, 2016

Hasta pronto, Córdoba

I am officially 24 hours away from the first flight of my journey home and just thinking about it makes me tear up a little bit. If I could go back in time, I would definitely have planned to stay here longer. Yesterday, la guardia was more quiet than usual so I spent more time hanging out with the doctors and residents in the break room. The way that the hospital staff interact with each other here is much more relaxed than what I've seen back home. They are constantly joking around with each other and always take their meal breaks together - everyday around lunch time, if there are only a few patients, la guardia empties out and you can find almost everyone downstairs in the cafeteria hanging out together. A couple of doctors asked me if the atmosphere was similar in the States and I said that it wasn't, that people were still friendly with each other but it was very toned down compared to here. They told me that they need to be able to make jokes and laugh so that they get through the day. Especially in the emergency hospital, the work load can be very demanding both physically and emotionally so they take every chance they get to kick back and relax for a bit. Also, here in Argentina, the medical profession isn't as prestigious as it is back home (bus drivers can make the same salary as doctors) so they are only in this line of work because they really like what they do. 

Last night, all of us CFHI students got together with Carlos and Charly for a wine tasting class. We tried 7 different kinds of wine all produced in Argentina along with a classic assortment of bread, cheese, and salame. We got to taste Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Torrontes, Syrah, and a couple others. What was supposed to only last about an hour and a half ended up lasting almost five hours because we started listening to Argentinian music and that quickly evolved into a karaoke-like party. It was a lot of fun and a great way to wrap up the trip for me and the other two girls who were also only here for 2 weeks. 

This morning, I tried not to cry as I put on my scrubs and headed for the hospital one last time. La guardia was quiet again but we finally got to go to el quirófano - the operating room. We watched a gall bladder removal which was done laparoscopically and only lasted about 30 minutes. I was very tempted to hold the gall bladder in my hand when they took it out of the patient but I wasn't wearing sterile gloves so I thought it'd be best to just admire it sitting on the table. Before we got to enter the surgical ward we had to put on these ridiculous looking surgical scrubs and put on booties, a mask, and head cover. I've never gotten to dress up for an OR so this was a fun experience and it was the perfect ending to my time in the hospital. 

Everyday in the hospital was a new and fun experience for me and I am so happy that I decided to come to Córdoba and participate in the Hospital Medicine program through CFHI. I have had the opportunity to see and learn things now that back home I might not have seen until the end of medical school or even until residency. All the people I got to meet and talk to have been so great and helpful. Overall, my time in the hospital surpassed all my expectations and I hope that I can come back soon. 

I want to say thank you to everyone at CFHI in California and everyone at ICC and the Hospital de Urgencies here in Córdoba. This experience was so amazing and I will cherish the time that I have had here for the rest of my life. Leaving Argentina is really bittersweet but this is definitely not the last time that I will travel to this amazing place. Again, thank you to everyone involved in this program - words cannot fully express how much I have enjoyed my time here and how truly sad I am to go. 

Muchas gracias,

Maddy and I with Dr. Feuillet

Inside the operating room

The surgical attire

My attempt at taking a nice picture in front of the hospital while its 100 degrees outside.

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