Knit vs. Crochet

The ongoing drama(?) of a girl torn between two obsessions with too little time.

Friday, February 06, 2009

From the far side of the world, in my hometown

Nothing like being in a foreign country to make one pick up blogging again. In this case, I'm in what should best be termed a quasi-foreign country. After all, I was born right here in Shanghai.
Nonetheless, having grown up and received my education from K on up in the States, I'm more American than Chinese. I can't read or write much of anything, and while I'm fluent in basic conversational Mandarin, complex phrases and humorous wordplay usually escape me. This is part of why I wanted to spend this month studying abroad here--improving my language skills and doing a cardiology rotation just because I think my cardiology skills could use a little honing too.
It's the end of my first week on the wards, and so far it's been fairly rewarding--there are two large teams of attendings, residents and interns (medical students) and everyone's been pretty friendly and interested in helping me out--my medical chinese is almost nonexistent, so it's taken all of my effort to follow what's going on with patients on rounds.
Fortunately, through a combination of improving language skills and guesswork (when the attending percusses the heart borders, feels for ankle edema, and asks the patient for their daily weights, it's easy to guess their diagnosis even without knowing the chinese phrase for heart failure--xin li shuai jie, if you're curious) I've been able to understand the general gist, if not the finer points, of the bedside discussions.
The most frustrating part of the trip so far has been how difficult it's been to find good internet access around the city--either I have to suffer through dark, smoky web bars filled with gamers or pay 100 RMB for wireless at Starbucks, essentially. I finally gave in (only took a week) and shelled out the ridiculous amount of money they wanted to get ADSL installed at the apartment. And now I'm enjoying it sooooo much.
It's not that I can't live without internet so much as--well, everyone else in Shanghai has it, and I've got two manuscripts to write and a lot of residency e-mail correspondence/match stuff to do online. Yep. lots of important things to do online. Which is why I'm blogging.


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