Jul 31 2005
We’ve had the last week essentially off, and it’s been both a blessing and a curse. We spent the first few days in a nice hotel, right in the thick of downtown Bangalore, and it was a wonderful few days. The service was great, and it was a lot of fun to explore downtown. We did a lot of walking, and while the weather was mostly cooperative, I really didn’t realize that we would be putting ourselves at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning by walking everywhere. The exhaust fumes are as thick as the surgery texts on the bookshelves here in the hospital library. Only when the rain beats down the particulate matter do the streets not smell like the inside of an old repair shop with the doors and windows closed.
We have discovered many good restaurants (including one fantastic Chinese restaurant, one great steak place, and a stellar north Indian joint), and several not-so-good restaurants. We’ve found a couple Baskin-Robbins, but no McDonald’s yet (thank goodness). We’ve been harrassed by beggar kids, cheated by auto-rickshaw drivers, learned how to deal with both, bought several more books to read, went to see the palace in Mysore (which is amazing!), saw white tigers in the Mysore zoo, listened to some great trauma lectures, most of which were given my one of our own professors from back in the US, intubated mannequins of several sizes, and performed FASTs on volunteers.
That last bit was very cool, because it helped slide us into our rotation. There was an elementary “trauma” workshop put on by one of our professors here in India, and she taught basic trauma prinicples (ABCDE, basic burn management, etc.), FAST techniques, along with ventilation and intubation practice. It was brand new to many of the residents here in Bangalore, but it was a good review, with opportunities to practice unlike anything we probably could have gotten in the states for $2.50.
Our GI systems have also had a little bit of a rough time adjusting lately, and I’ll spare you the details. However, I mention this because we were doing so well before we got to Bangalore, and then one day, it just went downhill. We were hoping we would be able to prove our Indian friends wrong, since they warned us, but I guess our forays into the local cuisine (nice restaurants, mind you, and not street-side stands or anything truly adventurous like that) have made an impact. Not exactly the best for medical students, and definitely not so great for standing in the OR (or the OT, operating theatre, as it is known here).