This was my last week at the hospital and at times I thought it would never come, but looking back it seems like the time flew by - I think that is always how it goes. The interns switched this week and I found myself with one of the interns I had worked with on general surgery. I was very happy about this because she had always done a good job of translating for me and after the disappointment of last week, I was hoping for a little more hospital involvement this week. We also had a new senior physician on the service and since he arrive first that morning, I thought I would see if I could work with him for a change. It was a great decision. I spent the week on the stroke patient side of the ward with a new mentor and a new resident who discussed patients with me in English and did most of the rounds in English (with Swedish for clarification if need be). I was included in the discussion of the patients, challenged with questions on what I think the next steps in the patient management would be, and was given the opportunity to pursue some of these steps - I became an expert at getting arterial blood gas samples on our patients. It was great to end my time on internal medicine and in Sweden with this type of positive experience.
In addition to contributing more within the hospital, I also had a more active social life this week. My friend Sara that I went to the Lucia concert with on Sunday and I had lunch together a couple of times this week - I sucked it up and forked out the money for the "cheap" $10-$15 lunch. It was nice to be in the company of a friend. On Wednesday, we went to the hospital canteen (cafeteria) to have the annual Christmas buffet lunch. My resident on the ward also joined us and kindly paid for my lunch. I got to have (albeit hospital cafeteria) a traditional Swedish Christmas meal. It was very heavy on the meats. I was brave and tried the herring which I really didn't like, but when in Sweden... They also had meatballs, sausages, ribs, and potatoes. I also tried Swedish Julmust - the Christmas soda that Coke has been trying for years to out-compete. I personally think coke is better as the Julmust vaguely reminded me of cough syrup. Again, when in Sweden... For dessert, I had the traditional risengrød (rice pudding) and strawberry marshmallow santas. Delicious! It was all very filling and I think after finishing our meal we were quite ready for a nap.
On our last day, I had to turn in a patient case report and got together with the heads of the course and Helen (the other American medical student on the rotation) to discuss the patient cases then we were taken out for lunch for the conclusion of the course. It was really nice to sit down and reflect on our experiences while here in Sweden and in the hospital and get to learn more about each other and each other's countries. At the end of lunch, I came back to Jägargatan and worked a little more on my packing for home and for my final weekend trip to Abisko - I am excited to go home and see my family but a little sad to leave. I have had my frustrations at times and on occasion have been a little lonely and homesick, but it's been an incredible experience and if I needed to make the choice again, I would do the same thing. I am really looking forward to the next stage in my journey around the world practicing medicine in India! I'll write one final blog about my trip this weekend which will be the final hej då to Sweden.