Friday, July 17, 2015

Week 34: I'm going to start riding a camel to work.

This week has proven that certain transportation modes and I just don't work together very well.

Monday after work, at a time that I was already tired anyways, I crashed with my bike. 

Over the last few years, I've really had mixed feelings about my bikes. On the one hand, they got me where I needed to go and that was their greatest asset. I never spent a lot of money on any kind of nice bike. If it had been made out of wood with wood wheels but got me to where I needed to go, I would've taken it! For some reason, my tires on average are more flat than the tires of my friends. I even invested in what was supposed to be un-flatable tires. It only took a few weeks before that statement proved to be false. If it is the front tire, I'll change it myself before paying 20€ to have a repair shop do it. If its the back tire, I'm at a loss due to lack of tools. 

So one of he two bikes I currently have is out of business due to the very well flat "un-flatable" tire. The other issue that I often have is the dang chain popping off. I live in Europe. Europe has a LOT of cobble stone streets. My main campus grounds is covered in small, irregular blocks of stone. Riding over them gives you a whole body massage. Since I now always ride my bike to and from the train station, I have found a route with the least amount of bumps to prevent the chain from jumping off. 

Monday however, I had to stop by the financial bureau to drop off a letter and took an alternative route (still rather bumpless). While turning around the corner, my chain came off, I lost balance and fell half onto the road and half onto the side walk. While I was going down, I had flash backs of times when I was a kid and would fall on gravel and completely damage my hands. Luckily, that wasn't the case. I did hit my elbow pretty hard and now also have 3 lovely big bruises on my legs. The next day at work, I just strapped an ice bag around my elbow and continued on as always. 
This picture doesn't capture all the shades of blue actually going on here

The German train system has also been getting on my nerves. Besides all their strikes that they've done in the time Ive needed to take the train on a daily basis, this week they annoyed me in particular. Tuesdays and Fridays are the two days in the week that I could potentially be home earlier than 6pm. On both days this week, the trains were delayed by 1 hour for different reasons. So in the end, I still got home late and sat around the train station for an hour.

In conclusion, I've decided a camel might be the better transportation method for me. 

On a more medical note, this past week I spent some time evaluating EKGs. I can at least recognize the more common disorders. My doctor even let me analyze a 24 hour EKG on my own. The rest of the time was spent doing rounds and helping the elective student draw blood. He has improved a lot in the last week. Thursday, he didn't even come to get me for help with the 13 or so patients he had to draw blood from. Friday, he came and got me on special request from one of the male patients. I'm happy for the student that he has gotten so good so quickly. It also gives me a great feeling when I am able to help him with patients he is having trouble with and I draw blood fairly easy. Not because it makes me feel superior to him, but because it shows that the experiences I've gathered over the years I've studied more than him have obviously been beneficial. 

Other than that, the week flew by rather quickly again. My after work hours were filled with visiting family, helping family and packing. 

Yesterday after work was no joke. I received a message from my mom that my dog (13 year old golden retriever) wasn't doing well. Toby is a family member who has been a part of half of my life. He was extremely weak. While my mom was telling me this, I was stuck waiting at the train station on the dang late running train, my phone was almost empty and I had no good Internet connection to FaceTime my mom. It was all very frustrating and as soon as I was back in my town, I sped home with my bike (the chain popped off when I arrived on my parking lot but I didn't care to put it back on). My mom took him to the vet to get some fluids in him. He stayed a few hours before my mom picked him up and brought him home. 

Living on the other side of the world from your immediate family can be tough. I chose it so in the end, you could say its my fault. Although, had I stayed in the states, I could still easily be 10 hours travel time away. The point is, that its hard sometimes. Due to FaceTime, skype, whatsapp and all the other things, I am in frequent contact with my parents and siblings. The one family member I have missed most over the years has been my dog Toby. He doesn't understand Skype. It confuses him to hear my voice but not smell me. Every time I come home, its a ritual for my mom or sister to pull out their cameras and record what ensues when he realizes that I'm home. He makes a really excited whiney noise and it melts my heart every time. So sitting in Germany and not being able to hold him when he is feeling so bad or taking him to the vet myself is hard. He couldn't be in better care than with my mom though. I'm so happy that I have great people around him. 

My sister wasn't feeling so great this week either. Again, a case were I would have liked to be there in person but managed via various channels of communication. 

Its hard, but I make it work as best as I can. On the bright side, having lived in Germany the past 6 years has given me the opportunity to see a whole lot more of my relatives and experience great memories with them. I will miss them all very much when I move back to the states at the end of the year.

I'm aware this post wasn't very medical. But this week, my main focus wasn't on my job, it was on my family. Most of my brain power (when not being used to do my job) was spent on my family and how I can help them. 

I fly to the states for a week today (not to my family sadly but to a place to see friends and work) . I'll report on that next week!

Stay healthy (Because health is one of the most important things in life)


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