Day 2 [NYC] Too Much For One Day

My first day in New York, is so overwhelming I did not take any pictures of any kind. The city was so city-gavanza, I was too busy feeling the city-ish of it, all the city-ness came out all at once that at the end of the day, all I can do is scream CITY with the capital C.

FYI, the Anti-Jet Lag Program did not seem to work and I was left with bloody shot eyes, waking up at night in one hour intervals and aching all over my body. But all these does not damper even a slight bit the wonderful experience I had in store for me.

EARLY MORNING, Aunt Hui-Ru drove me from her house in New Jersey over to Manhattan, which was fine because I get to see the island from the other side again. I arrived at the Office just in time for my orientation and was pretty shocked to find out that I will start my clerkship the very instant everything’s done in the Office. It’s great to finally meet with the coördinator of the electives, Dianne, who was really helpful along the process.

The whole few blocks on the Upper East Side from 61st to 70 something Streets were all filled with Cornell buildings. The entire area is quite big, but very complicated as well. Every place, every clinic, every hospital (yes, there is more than one) is at a different address, and the best way to get from one spot to another is to walk. After the orientation, I had to get my student ID done, get a lab coat, and finally report to my supervisor. All these are located within walking distance, but not quite near to each other.

THE CLINIC THAT I’LL BE FOR THIS MONTH, is a crowded pediatric clinic which typically serves the financially challenged families and their children. Once inside, you’ll find so many patients at the waiting room, speaking so many languages, it is hard to even guess where in the world you are. Even though the space is small, they have a lot of attending with many subspecialty clinics. And they have so many residents, I only met one tenth of them today.

Everyone is very helpful (and funny, I guess New Yorkers grew up to be very social people). I think the schedule I worked out with my supervisor was great because I get to see so many interesting stuff that I would never get to see in Hualien. However, I feel like I’m a zombie walking around the exam rooms, feeling even more uncomfortable than most of my patients.

THERE ARE SO MANY DIFFERENCES IN THE WHOLE MEDICAL SOCIETY that I don’t know where to start. I bet I’ll be elaborating on all these but for a quick idea about what I’ll be dealing with, here’s some of the big ones. For one thing, the patients are seen by the residents and not the attendings. In a clinic, the patient awaits the doctor in the exam room, and during the consultation, one of the residents will come in and take the histories, do the examinations, chart everything down… And after that, the resident will leave the room and move to another office where all the on duty attendings are. They would then present the case to the attendings, and receive recommendations about their treatment and follow-up plans. Following that, the residents go back to the patients for a final confirmation on what we’ll do.

It is entirely shocking to know that an 8-patient afternoon is regarded as a busy day when the doctors in Taiwan have 80 per session most of the time. The consultations are quite lengthy, they know which patients will come in the next day and so all the doctors will look at the patient’s chart the previous day. When the patients come, they ask a lot of questions, and do a lot of education too…

The patients here are so well-informed (even if they are not highly educated) I look so amateurish in front of them. They know every single drug that they are taking, the dosages and the side effects and stuff. They can recall the symptoms, triggers, associated stuff so well; it makes taking histories a breeze. The kids on the other hand, are very grown up like. They talk a lot, they want your attention a lot, and just like their parents, they shake hands a lot. I was introduced to all patients when I meet them and so I feel like a part of the team.

HOSPITAL STUFF IS A LOT OF INPUT FOR ME, but after work, there are still so many surprises that I can’t even express. Walking in New York is a typical scene. New Yorkers walk so much I bet their shoes are one size larger. 20 minutes walk from hospital to subway station, 5 minutes walk in the station to your designated platform, 30 minutes walk from station in Flushing to the Tzu Chi office where I met my other home stay Aunt Hui-Qi and Uncle Xie. With so much fast paced walks, I do not need aerobic exercises anymore.

Not to overwhelm you with too much for one day, I guess I should leave some things to future entries. For example, how Flushing is so much Korean than American, how the public transport system differs from ours, how I met my new homestays and how my room looks like, how things are at the Upper East Side (the location of the hospital I’m at) and how I plan to write an entry a day. With that much to look forward to, be sure to check back every now and the08n.

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