Monday, 25 June 2012

Week 2

I'm much more on time with Week 2's update :)

This past week has been great fun- we've done loads and it was my birthday! (Though I did get a bit homesick this week too). Up at the hospital I have been properly with the Paeds Dr, Dr Dawn who is lovely and is letting me help out as much as I can which is great. Mostly it has been little kids with chest infections/ bronchiolitis but we also look after the neonates and do all the post natal checks so there are plenty of cute little Cook Island babies for me to coo at! We even had a couple of C sections last week.

At the backpackers we've had a few new additions- some Kiwi surfers who have been a number of times before and have taught us how to pick the best coconuts and get into them! We all headed out to town on Thursday for an Island Night at one of the restaurants and it was amazing, drum music and trbal dancing from little kids right up to the adults. They even got Ali and Alex up on stage so I have some pretty good photos of them making a fool of themselves. We then headed out for a drink and a dance and were quickly over run with guys off the Kiwi Navy boat which was stationed here on tour. One of them tried the chat up line "Do you watch League?" meaning rugby league and got very offended when I told him I prefered rugby union. Another asked Ali and one of the other guys if they could please dace with their girlfriends which got them laughed at too.

For my birthday I finally opened the cards I had brought with me from David and Pam and found some great photos of DH and I inside to keep with me for my trip. After an afternoon getting a tan we went to one of the beachside bars and had cocktails at sunset before heading back for some (very) cheap fizz, dinner and crispy cake. All in all a pretty good birthday for being so far from home.

This weekend we have been adventurous and hired snorkels and gone snorkelling over at one of the posh hotels and we saw lots and lots of fish there. Sunday we decided to take a hike up one of the hills here and headed up the one behind the backpackers. Its only 300 odd m high but coming from sea level that is plenty to give you some incredible views. The track was pretty overgrown and steep in places but it comes out on a high plateau with just bracken on it and you can see all around.

We've booked to do our PADI Scuba cert for next weekend (at a big discount on the advertised price) for much less than it would cost in the UK and have the option to go on to do the PADI openwater if we enjoy it by just paying the difference. We're also planning a trip to Aitutaki one of the outer islands as we've been told about so $100 flights and told we can stay at the hospital accomodation for free so hopefully we can arrange that.

Love J xxxx
p.s. my postcard offer still stands!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Week 1

Sunday 10th Ali and I boarded the plane in Heathrow and 26hrs later stumbled out into dawn in Rarotonga. We had a stop in the worlds most confusing and underwhelming airport LAX on the way but had otherwise been looked after by the lovely people of AirNZ. The flights were as good as such long flghts ever could be.

Monday saw us confusedly get our bearings on Rarotonga, hiring bikes, buying food and tackling the incredbly steep hill up to the hospital for the first time. Only to come straight back down again to spend the afternoon on the beach- Dr Voi our contact at the hospital told us we could have the afternoon off.

The hostel- Rarotonga backpackers is nice and clean enough though you can't keep the bugs and geckos out and the place cool so we share it with a lot of mozzies come evening. Luckily none in our room- I have been bitten plenty sat out on the deck in the evenings.One of the doctors told me to put toothpaste on itchy bites and though I look pretty mad it seems to work! We're on the southwestern corner of the island and right on the beach so the sunsets are beautiful and right outside our door. The people staying have been great, we met two med students Alex and Cat who are here on elective. Cat has headed home now but Alex will be here the whole time we are and is great fun. There are plenty of other travellers here too, mostly people in their late 20s taking time to travel the world and our evenings are spent telling tales on the deck.

The hospital itself sits high up the side of a hill on the Northwestern corner, about 20 mins of cycling and walking uphill from the hostel. It consists of a number of long low buildings and the wards have been newly refurbished and are modern despite the old outpatients clinc areas. They have most of the basics, but still rely on sending patients to New Zealand for anything complex. There are very few doctors here, one surgeon, one paedatrician, one O&G specialist, and they are on call 24/7 as they are the only ones on the island. Outpatients is staffed by a number of doctors so there is one there 24/7 and people come up to be seen on a first come first served basis, mostly with complaints we'd go to the GP for. Ali is working with the surgeon and I have split my time between the Outpatients and Paeds departments. I think I'll spend a couple of weeks with Paeds before trying to move on to Medicine. Everything is quiet here though so we have had most afternoons off to sun ourselves!

We've had one taste of the night life here- on our first Weds we went to Coco-putt a mini golf and bar place. The guy came to pick us up from the hostel and gave us a drink for the road. We had a burger and then went on to play mini golf in our random teams, my team came 4th but Ali and Cat came 2nd and they gave us all a drink as a prize. After dancing at the bar we got a lift round to town and spent an hour or two in the club with the locals before being brought back. It was a great night- and really cheap as the host at the mini golf seemed to take a liking to our group and bought us a couple of rounds and got us into the club for free.

If anyone would like a postcard, drop me an email with your address!

Jess xx

Friday, 15 June 2012

Minty Green Medic goes on Elective

Hello Folks!

An awful lot has happened since I unceremoniously stopped blogging 6 weeks before my boat race last year. For one I stroked the Lwts to victory and now count my boat as some of my closest friends- we still enjoy meeting up to eat. A whole year of clinical school has been and gone and I write to you now as a final year medical student!

I'm resurrecting the blog because on the 10th of June I left David, Cambridge and the UK far behind and got on a flight to the Cook Islands for my medical elective. We are given 10 weeks and told we must do 7 weeks of work, and that we can go anywhere in the world to do it. The idea is we experience medicine being practised in its many varied forms across the world, and can bring new experience back to our final year.

It's now coming to the end of Week 1 here on Rarotonga (the largest and main Cook Island) and I am writing in a spare moment before the Paeds clinic really gets going. I hope to write once a week, but sadly I'll have to save my pictures for when I return- the internet is still dial up here and can't really cope with pictures being uploaded!

With sunny thoughts for you all,
Jess x