Today was my forth day at the hospital. This has been an interesting experience so far and kind of a culture shock. I still can’t believe the number of patients that I see here with COPD. Smoking seems to be common place here. All of the restaurants and cafés allow smoking, and every day around 7 pm they are packed full of people who are just smoking and having coffee. The thing I found most interesting is that there is an outdoor smoking section at the hospital that is frequently filled with doctors.
Another interesting thing in Crete is the high number of stray dogs. It seems like they are everywhere, even inside of the medical school. One of the residents told me that because Crete has this high dog population, the rate of leishmaniasis is higher here than in other parts of the world. Today I saw a patient that most likely had leishmaniasis, and we performed a bedside bone marrow aspirate and a blood smear. This was the first time I had ever seen a patient with this disease and this procedure, but it seemed pretty common to the Greek medical students.
The residents here are very nice and are teaching heather and I many tricks on how to exam patients who don’t speak the same language as us. I feel like this will help us in the future for communicating with patients.
Heather and I are having a lot of fun on Crete. In our free time we visited the palace of Knossos and we have planned weekend trips to Athens this weekend and Santorini the next. This really is an amazing experience.