May 10, 2011

Last Summer Holiday

Readers of my blog will note I'm not the type to waste good holidays. For example, I will never spend weekends cleaning the house just for the joy of a sparkling new house. Much as I declare I'm introverted, my character justifies itself an outgoing personality.
The spark for this journey starts in 2008, when I was living joie de vivre, my 3 year senior was doing his summer electives in Weill-Cornell New York. He was the first in our school to win this new scholarship. I knew I would like to go because the US is a new country on a new continent. Nothing more.

Subsequent basic and clinical sciences exposed us to the threads of medicine. As the Taiwanese medical system is modeled after the US, our practice is dictated by guidelines and trials from the home of the brave. Expensive diagnostic testings and aggressive treatment is the thumb of American medicine, and when I reflect on my childhood, conservative watchful waiting seemed to be our rule back in British Commonwealth. We debated on the pros and cons, cost-benefit effects, patients' preference, insurance system, and whether it is ethical, but reached no obvious conclusion.
As I try searching for less costlier answers other than "head and brain CT" when the teacher asks how should head trauma patients be managed, admiration and disgust for the author from Washington University in St. Louis or Massachusetts General Hospital battled each other. It wasn't until President Obama fought with bone and tooth to pass universal health care when I felt acknowledged that my inner conflicts were not personal. But it's never easy to go back to basic physical examination when CTs and MRIs are so easily accessible. The Americans are trying, the Taiwanese, canopied under National Health Insurance, still practices it today.
Next, American medical students are, to me, a species of another kind. It takes twice the time for Americans to complete their training compared to, say, Malaysian or British doctors. The fees is astronomical, the student aging, and there's no turning back. It wouldn't do justice if I simply said I would like to hear what they're thinking doing medical school ("are you crazy? This is medical school!"), but that desire gradually piled up as I got exposed to call nights, scut work, and unreasonable "training" methods.

Enough of grave issues, this is my last summer and I'm spending it in New York!
Growing up with my fair share of Hollywood movies and sitcoms, it's a city where everybody drinks after work and ends up in a foreign bed the next morning; hails a cab when you're avoiding someone; parties on rooftops; fell in love overnight; and rise from rags to riches. It has filled our imagination and defined Americana in our generation, and I couldn't imagine anywhere else to spend my last one-month summer there.
So, thanks to Mum and Dad, my sister, my babysitter (the endless praying and chanting for my smooth success), my aunt, cousin, and so many others providing tips on applying an American visa (only the electric chair seconds the agony), I shall return you guys with my (hopefully) interesting posts this summer, and a better physician in future, with God's blessing. Stay tuned!


yiu said...


Mimi - SleeplessInKL said...

Have fun in New York! Bring me back an I <3 NY shirt ok? Hehehe.