Wednesday, April 22, 2009

last day at Pennsy (hospital)! finally! the hospital is too small, with a very narrow range of cases- what happened to lupus nephritis, transplant patients, etc? alost all that i ever saw was "ARF (+/- on CKD) 2* to volume depletion (+/- element of CHF)" or hyponatremia 2* SIADH in elderly patients with chronic pain/SDH/malignancies. after the first week, it was "sian ji pua"... the learning curve plateaued, and i suspect, started to dip downwards- maybe it made a full circle. folks at the hospital are friendly enough. turns out most of them thought i was part of the american med school system, doing my time in this small stifling hospital, waiting for my next rotation at HUP. (hospital of pennsylvania- a much bigger and eye-opening hospital, they all tell me. sure wish i went there. what were the Dean's Office plans for me??) so it was a rapid fun exchange of stories when the residents learnt that i was leaving. a pity that came late.

so long, dr Koe.the! (one of three nephrologist$ in pennsy for whom i did consults (blue letters, ughhh) for 3 weeks.) so long, Kristin Bren.nan! (med student, also mother of 2 year old. we became allies only in week 2.5 when we established a common enemy- the supervisor who talks too much and keeps us in the hospital till 8pm every night simply cos we start ward rounds at 3-4pm because he was doing private clinic con$ultations and well, talking more than is work efficient though he does throw out pearls of wisdom) i'd think i didn't enjoy a "vigorous american education" when i was here; the academic component of my trip = Fail.

but! otherwise, life @ Penn is awesome. a lot of it has got to do with the folks i guess. there are a lot of singaporeans here on the NUS NOC program, and they are most welcoming and hospitable. i am staying with Fiona, who was most kind to clear her room out to accommodate me, and she's done more than that to make me feel at home, and is also most motherly, constantly fretting over me it's most touching. Crispy (Crispina is really her name! she is bubbly ++) and Ben are my other accommodating housemates. it's fun also, hanging out outdoors with the rest when the weather is fine, and at dinnertime eg @ Ludlow house where company is really good.

and there is Chris, my Penn peer house, who is always there to answer any questions and who brought me to the naked chocolate cafe, and Fairmount Park for the Philly cherry blossoms fest. and then there is Hian Yi, who on first impression is uncannily like me, with whom the most glorious saturday morning (incidentally that was the weekend of the famous uPenn Spring Fling- a mighty fun weekend it was, with minimal sleep. ...oh! the weather was so good!) was spent with watching, or rather, trying to find, Fiona play rugby at Fairmount and cycling downtown and then having a bunch a fries/milkshake at MickyDees when it's late and cold. and of course there is Yingheng and Sang, folks who know me so well i want to hug them to bits. thanks, guys.

right, back to today- escaped early to try Jim's Philly Cheesesteak along south street- good stuff! unlike the cheesesteak crepe at Houston Hall... and strolled down to the river (little did i know that i'd be back there again two nights later) before grocery shopping at Whole Foods- amazing supermarket- for dinner at Ludlow which i was spozed to prepare 50% of, but Janicia ("KNS!" with swirling hand movements) Choon Han and Peng Fei ended up doing most of my share while Hian Yi stoically worked on a giant fish.

i am falling in like with Philly...
along the schuylkill river

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

NYC -> Philly -> DC -> Philly -> Niagara Falls -> NYC (again, can't seem to get enough of it) -> Philly -> ??

one week in NYC was barely enough to take in all that activity, long walks, good food, good people. i landed, groggy after several hours in a noisy, uncomfortable plane, (China Eastern Airlines- it is in the culture of the Chinese people, it seems, to order the flight attendants around most vigorously) poorly, if at all, dressed for sub-zero temperatures. my great plans to catch the airbus, then the Long Island Rail, then the subway, then walk to Hyan's apartment was quelled by the cold, and the fact that the plane was delayed. i was most glad to share a cab with a NYU law student/asian studies enthusiast.

the cold gusty weather was there to stay pretty much till the day i was leaving the city. many layers of clothes, brisk walking, and a gazillion cuppas saw me through each day till i returned at night to 80th and Amsterdam feeling quite battered, fingers and toes blue, but satisfied. there is no need for a plan in this city, if you are spending more than a couple of days there- you'll get round to most places eventually; everything is within 'walkable distance' (this phrase, dreaded, and condemned as a lie anytime it is spoken in response to a query for directions in India, holds true in NYC.) on the day i left for Philly, the weather was t-shirt-only-and-jeans comfortable, the perfect day for a hamburger at Shake Shack at Madison Square. Huda, pastry chef, queued up for a good... 2h? (i can't remember now- it was an incredibly long time anyway) for our burgers. yummy- it'd better be.

more about the subsequent weeks in the states in a bit...