There is nothing about my location that would give me an idea that it’s Christmas Day. The weather has been hot and humid. I have been working harder than I worked as a resident. I am teaching and learning from my fellow physicians and students in this land. The city is noisy, crowded and oppressive but so welcoming for this old lady from far away.
I wanted nothing but to put on my running gear and run the city but I haven’t run very far because it is dark when I leave for the hospital and dark when I reach home. Fortunately for me, it’s Sunday and Christmas Day. We finished rounds around 8 AM allowing me a bit of time to catch up on my emailing and a chance to get out onto the roof of the hospital to catch some sunlight before my next case. The cases come one after another with scarcely enought time to sip a bit of tea in between.
I have had gastrointestinal upsets since I entered the city. Yesterday, I blamed it on a wonderful curry that I enjoyed in India Town, just a short bus ride away. I was quite comfortable finding where I needed to go but I did have one of my residents accompany me in the early evening as darkness fell. He was a delight to get to know and enjoyed the food and fellowship.
I miss my friends very much. This is a first time that I have spent Christmas away from someone I cared about. It is not unusual for me to spend this holiday in the hospital but it is unusual for me to be far from anyone that I know. I will call my sister tomorrow as she is a day behind me. I also have not had much time to just explore and do the tourist act. I so want to have at least a day to spend taking photos and absorbing culture outside of medicine. The work ethic here is quite strong with everyone working quite hard to deliver good patient care.
Mostly, I miss my long runs. These are my times of meditation and prayer. I will attempt to run early tomorrow morning before I get to the hospital at 6 AM. I have staked out a path down to the harbor and along the freeway which should afford me some distance. I miss my early morning runs with just the street lights and no one around. Here, there are always people scurrying about getting things done and cleaning in the early hours.
I have been having a bit of difficulty sleeping or just getting to sleep. My mind races in a million directions. Today, my schedule is less hectic but day is still long. The attending physician that I am visiting is on call; we operate together. This has been a wonderful experience. I will treasure this evening when we leave the hospital and I will try to get into my head. This will be my Christmas present. I miss everyone back home and will keep learning about myself here.