I wondered if this would happen. In a place as magical as Dunedin, could the honeymoon ever be over?
Yes, and no.
When I last left you, it was a magical Sunday evening (sans fish) with calm seas and temperatures hovering near balmy. And then it was Monday, and rain.
This a a photo taken from the covered bridge from the hospital (where I’m frequently found) over the highway to the gym (where I’m also frequently found). Whereas the previous day had been a warm 20C, last Monday the thermometer struggled to reach 10C. And the sun that day was only a memory, never to be seen the whole day. And last week was my busy call week; I was on call Monday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
It was indeed a busy week, but it was broken up on Thursday night when I had my ‘team’ over the house for dinner. My team includes my regigstar, house officer and the two medical students (in year four, of six) assigned to our team . It was a very fun evening of good food (I have to say that, because I cooked it), good wine and great company. And, I think I finally understand the medical education system here now. It goes like this. After you finish high school, you can apply to medical school. Indeed, most of the medical students here entered directly after high school. But, you can go to University, and spend three or four years there, and then enter medical school…if you want. Medical school is traditionally six years long. The first five years you are truly in school (paying to be there), but in your sixth year you are a trainee intern, and working in the hospital and getting paid (though not very much). When you finish medical school, you become a surgical house officer, sometimes called a house officer. Either way, your job is the same. You do ‘runs’ while a house officer. A ‘run’ is a several (usually three) month period on a particular service; it might be surgery, or pediatrics, or internal medicine or in the Emergency Department (and many other places, too). You can voice your preferences, but you don’t really get to choose which runs you get, or when. You can be house officer for one (hardly anyone), two (many people choose this) or three (still, a fair amount choose this) years. Then you can become a registrar (a more advanced level of a training doctor). You can be a registrar for two, three, four or even five years. You, basically, get to say when you want to be done being a registrar. Then, if you want to specialize (for instance, say, in cardiology) you can choose to do ‘advanced training” for two, three, four, five or six or more years. See, isn’t that simple? I don’t understand what took me so long to figure this out.
Well, that was Thursday. Then from Friday through Sunday I was on call at the hospital. It was a busy weekend, but particularly noteworthy because I got my first New Zealand illness this weekend. Nothing very exciting, I’m afraid- just a sore throat, cough and fatigue. It’s going around (my registrar has the same thing). If you ever wanted to feel as if you live in place (as opposed to just visiting), get sick and still go to work. That will cure the honeymoon feeling. I did not feel like doing anything fun this weekend (it’s daylight now until almost 9pm, so there is still plenty of time for fun things even after I leave the hospital…as long as I feel OK).
It was a glorious sunset and I reveled in it for almost half an hour.
And then it was Monday (today). I worked through the day, knowing I wasn’t on call again until Thursday, and came home and cooked a dinner of poached (in a new Zealand Sav Blanc) salmon and sauteed asparagus and mushroom. I popped open the Doctor’s Flat Pinot from Central Otago.
And, feeling a bit less viremic than the weekend, I enjoyed a respite from the busy preceding several days. You appreciate you health when you get it back, that’s for sure.
It’s been an eight day hiatus from my blog. I’m closer to a normal energy level, and should be back in shape this week. There is a lot to catch up on. I want to share my experience with the myriad of patients and and families I’ve met here. I want to share my new find: a real wine store! (bad news for the budget). And I want to talk more about this transition from tourist to resident (though, as I’m reminded daily, “He’s American, you know”).
Stay tuned for more this week.
and good health to you.