Vietnam Week 2: Monday, Oct 31 – Wednesday, Nov 2, 2011

More hospital work!

There was A LOT of downtime. After their morning rounds, doctors would spend hours writing up charts while we sit around and twiddle our thumbs. Luckily, we had our Oxford handbooks, otherwise we would’ve died of boredom. That almost happened anyways, numerous times. We also had tons of pent up frustration as we were repeatedly left on our own and ignored.

Soon, we realized that being polite and waiting around to be spoken to would get us nowhere. Instead, we began to track down doctors and declare that we would follow them. Surprisingly, they preferred this. They are too busy to ask us to come with them, so they appreciated that we came to them… okay then!

We saw and learned, a lot!

  • What tests do you perform to diagnose meningitis? Dengue fever? Malaria?
  • How can you narrow down which snake bit the patient? What do you treat them with?
  • What blood disorder do you find in snake bite patients?
  • What effects of Dengue fever do you have to watch out for? How do you monitor them?
  • How can you tell from CSF components what kind of meningitis the patient has? Is it fungal, bacterial, viral, or parasitic?
  • When would a patient be more susceptible to fungal meningitis?
  • What are the most common organisms that cause meningitis?
  • What is Stevens Johnson Syndrome (Erythema Multiforme)? Why do you see it so often in VN?
  • And so much more!

During the first 2 weeks, we also had a 6th year medical student, Ha, with us from Hungary. She is originally from Saigon, and took us to a number of really neat and yummy places to eat and hang out.

One of them was street food at it’s best. Sit on these little stools and call out your order. They have amazing dumplings, fresh spring rolls called ‘Bo Bia’, and cold tofu! Yumm! They’re open in the evening, but come early because the food will run out quickly! On the corner of Le Thanh Ton (and a street I don’t remember) close to Ben Thanh Market

Ben Thanh night market and surrounding areas

This is the Bitexco Financial Tower – the tallest building in Saigon with 68 floors.

She also took us to her 3 friends’ cafe called, ‘Da Tung Thay’ which literally translates to ‘Was Once Seen’ or ‘Deja Vu’ This gem is found at the end of an alley off 89 Ham Nghi St, with no identifying signs, not even a store sign.

Inside, it is full of charm and uniqueness. Most furnishings and decorations in this cafe are items from their past. Old catalogues and newspapers have been ripped and used as wallpaper, shelves are adorned with comic books from their childhood, bricks from one of the owners’ old house makes up a portion of the restaurant’s wall, etc.

We stopped by late at night for a drink when it was empty and tranquil. The owners insisted that we come by again for lunch, where they serve neat old fashioned meals. They promised it would be different but delicious and meet our expectations, and we promised to try and come back.

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