Thursday, April 17, 2008

Village Visits

A few days ago, I spent the day with the mobile clinic associated with the hospital that I'm working at in Vellore, India. They go to several villages in a day, put a table under a big tree, and play doctor. It's actually pretty cool and you get to see the patients in their own village, which is sometimes only 10 kilometers away, but takes about an hour to get there because the roads are so crappy.
Also part of the day, I went on a home visit with an intern. The home was a bare building, made out of brick and mud. The entire building measured maybe 10 feet by 20 feet and was divided into three rooms, one of which was the kitchen. Somehow, and I don't know how, 3 generations of one family lived there. All of this was in the middle of plots of farmland, growing rice and some other crops that I didn't recognize. They didn't seem absurdly poor, but it was still very eye-opening, and no longer will I complain about my room because it doesn't have air conditioning.
The day also opened my eyes to the possibility that I really could do this - real global community medicine. Before this, I was doubting my ability to really rough it and be able to really put myself out there. Then, today, I saw how much it is needed and more so, how much it is appreciated. I mean, I am beyond privileged to be able to help others in a way that really makes an impact. So, I'm thinking, yeah, I can do this. Yeah, I can learn to read and write Vietnamese (and speak it medically) well enough to really help my patients in California as well as in Vietnam. Or maybe I'm just being my delusional idealistic self.

1 comment:

Eric said...

Speaking of hypochondria, don't get Chagas disease while you're visiting those rural villages. :-)