Cultural Exchange

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January 17th 2019
Published: January 22nd 2019
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Jan 17th,

This morning, I spent an hour on the trauma unit and did a quick dressing change before heading off to shadow on the cardiac critical care unit. On this unit, we got to tour the facility and watch a cardiac catheterization, echocardiogram, and stress test (except I was the patient for the stress test). Everything that we observed in this unit was done very similarly to America except for one thing: Thai people are EXTREMELY blunt when it comes to body image and fitness. They have no problem telling you if you are fat or out of shape, which I now know from first-hand experience. During my stress test, my heartrate went up pretty quickly, and the nurse said, “It’s only been 49 seconds and your heart rate is 170. You not fit.” I thought she was joking at first, but after she repeated, “you not fit” about 7 times, I realized she was being completely serious. Also, my friends on a different unit experienced one nurse calling another nurse fat to her face. When in Thailand, they tell it how it is when it comes to weight.

After quickly spending some time on the cardiac unit, we went to lunch. Unfortunately, my meal was not prepared gluten free so I wasn’t able to eat it, but I filled the void with a milkshake from the coffee shop next-door. I slurped down my milkshake and headed off to a street market next to the hospital with some of my friends and our nurse preceptors. Someone had the great idea of opening up a shopping market 2 days a week for doctors/nurses and especially family members who are waiting around for their family members in the hospital.

Next up was our cultural exchange! From 1pm-4pm, we spent time showing our Thai buddies American dances, music, and games, and they did the same. It was so much fun to look around at all the smiling faces while we were playing the game “Chicken in a Coup.” Our Thai buddies did the most amazing job sharing their culture with us as well. They did a fashion show, incorporated some singing, had plenty of games for us, and even had us do some tie-dying at the end.

On a different note, I’ve been able to take some time in the evenings here in Thailand to do some reading. Reading has always been something that I’ve wanted to get into but have struggled to make time and focus long enough to be productive. On this trip, though, I’ve fallen in love with reading and the quiet alone time that comes with it. The past few weeks have been so full of adventure and people, so taking time out of my day to spend by myself and also with God has been so nice. I’m also trying to read through the Bible in a year this year, so I’ve been taking time to read that most nights as well!

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