My 2017 Year of Travel

This year, I must admit, I travelled more than I ever have before. Most probably because it’s also my final year in medical school ever = final year of freedom from real responsibilities. I even reached my 50th country! Without further ado, here’s my 2017 Year of Travel.

Previous Year of Travel posts: My 2015 year of travel and My 2016 year of travel

All photos are from my Instagram.

1.  Began the New Year in the Big Apple

https://www.instagram.com/p/BPfCB83gnT1/?taken-by=samvsworld

2. Attended my very first Indian wedding in Leicester, UK

https://www.instagram.com/p/BPxCyl0gLdH/?taken-by=samvsworld

3. Seeing good old friends in London a month later

https://www.instagram.com/p/BRLseNdFkTL/?taken-by=samvsworld

4. Watching beautiful sunsets in Boracay, Philippines

https://www.instagram.com/p/BRzm33wl1PE/?taken-by=samvsworld

5. Interned as Dr. Sam in Philippine General Hospital, realising how grateful I am to live in a country like Sweden

https://www.instagram.com/p/BST8jMylOj2/?taken-by=samvsworld

6. Represented my choir and sang with hundreds of other choir singers around the Nordic region in Oulu, Finland

https://www.instagram.com/p/BTwhdTpF3Yp/?taken-by=samvsworld

7. Passed by Tallinn, Estonia for a weekend

https://www.instagram.com/p/BVRvk0FBKl9/?taken-by=samvsworld

8. Learnt how to scuba dive in Subic, Philippines

https://www.instagram.com/p/BV2AfINhbs7/?taken-by=samvsworld

9. Rode a kalesa in Vigan, Philippines

https://www.instagram.com/p/BWkW8tABKJL/?taken-by=samvsworld

10. Discovered beautiful natural springs in Bicol, Philippines

https://www.instagram.com/p/BWzIG_2BI6N/?taken-by=samvsworld

11. Made a quick trip to Hong Kong Disneyland

https://www.instagram.com/p/BXII6O1BSh3/?taken-by=samvsworld

12. Visited paradise in Pangasinan, Philippines

https://www.instagram.com/p/BXrHtKghWuU/?taken-by=samvsworld

13. A quick stop over in my paradise home in Subic for a few days

https://www.instagram.com/p/BafrhmVBf9I/?taken-by=samvsworld

14. After a quick stop over in Subic, I got to sit in the cockpit of an airplane for the first time ever!

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bag9B2iBMKk/?taken-by=samvsworld

15. Escaped winter and interned at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia for four weeks

https://www.instagram.com/p/BbpJcLoB5_Y/?taken-by=samvsworld

16. Got to finally dive the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns, Australia

https://www.instagram.com/p/BbMF_NpB3Kn/?taken-by=samvsworld

17. Made a quick stop over and explored Singapore for a few hours

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bby__TmhyfD/?taken-by=samvsworld

18. Returned to Philippine General Hospital for my final rotation and delivered my first baby!

https://www.instagram.com/p/BccCX8Shm4r/?taken-by=samvsworld

19. Finally got to see the beautiful Hundred Islands in Pangasinan Philippines with Jonas straight from the airport

https://www.instagram.com/p/BdPd8UTB-Ob/?taken-by=samvsworld

20. Happily ending this year and starting the next, with this guy by my side in the country of my birth ❤

https://www.instagram.com/p/BdRNoJOhgR1/?taken-by=samvsworld

PHEW! That was a long list. Definitely the longest ever. It was a good year of travel, and we’ll see where 2018 will bring us! However as now that I will start working, probably not to very far away places. But my wandering soul will forever remain.

Happy new year everyone! 😀 ❤

The concept of health insurance in the US

I’m now back in Sweden after an amazing three weeks in Guam and currently am suffering from a severe Guam hangover. From sunny tropical weather to darkness and snow on my face for the next couple of months, yes there is a difference. Ah well, at least winter is kinda pretty and Christmas is just around the corner.

During my time working as “Dr. Sam” at the clinics and hospitals in Guam, I got to experience what is really alien to most of us here in Europe, which is the novelty of health insurance.

It’s true. All treatments are based on the insurance of the individual.

Let me explain it a bit more. Before going to a doctor, to be sure that the insurance will cover it, you need to apply for what you will be going to the doctor for. Because of this, some people are forced to wait, which sometimes leads to the worsening of their condition. Sometimes, it gets too late. This is mainly the case of patients who cannot pay for it first, or those who don’t want to risk the ability of not getting reimbursed by their insurance.

Secondly, there are different types of insurances. Depending on the type of insurance you have, doctors will treat you differently. Most health insurances are costly and privately owned, but some patients get free health insurance from the government as they are earning below a certain amount. Because of this, some greedy doctors (I’ve heard) do not prioritise these patients, as they barely will get money from them from their health insurance. In contrast to the patients with expensive health insurances, they will profit a lot from them.

To those who do not receive free health insurance and cannot afford the privately owned one, they’re in trouble. Going to a doctor then becomes very expensive, and a trip to the emergency room alone would cost several thousands of dollars. I wish I was exaggerating. Even the medicines are expensive.

For example, during my time in the US I managed to get an external otitis, aka swimmer’s ear. For this I needed anti-bacterial ear drops for. I got a prescription from my uncle, went to a pharmacy, and got my ear drops for $57.60. This is about 550kr. In comparison, I had a surgery in my arm in Stockholm in May, and that cost 350kr. Crazy isn’t it. I guess in this way, in one way or another, it is good to be home.

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5 uniquely British medical practices

I’ll be blunt and admit that I don’t really have a lot of exciting things to tell from the hospital after my placements. I think my placement in medical emergency is a tough one to beat. However recently, I’ve been remembering all these medical practices that was everyday for me in the UK, which now actually seems completely alien to me. I’m converting. There’s a lot that comes to mind, but for starters, here’s a list of five uniquely British medical practices.

1. Clinical wear is basically formal wear

For doctors, clinical wear entails shirt/trousers (NOT JEANS) for men and shirt/blouse/skirt/trousers (again NOT JEANS) for women. Nice flat dress shoes for both genders. Yes, this practice is extremely questionable hygiene-wise, as you come to work with the same clothes you will be wearing the whole day at the hospital, but there is some reasoning behind this.

The medical practice in the UK wanted to take a step away from the hierarchical system by abolishing the white coat and scrubs for doctors. There shouldn’t be anything to distinguish a doctor from a patient appearance-wise, as in the end they’re both people. This is so that there will be no “us and them” mentality between the doctors and the patients, and hopefully, doctors become more approachable during patient contact. It’s a nice thought I guess, and perhaps the prevalence of “white coat syndrome” has diminished over the years. However hygiene-wise once again, questionable.

homer gif giphy saying why so formal lenny you're my go to guy

2. Only black or white shoes are allowed to be worn in the hospital

The professional clinical look in British standards is to be somewhat uniform. Black or white shoes are to be worn as they are more professional. No bright colourful sneakers were allowed. However, I was always jealous of my sister and the bright colourful sneakers she wore around the hospitals in Sweden. So I never listened and decided to rebel and wear my bright orange sneakers. Did I get looks? Yes. Did I get scolded? Sometimes. But boy did I get compliments from patients – “I like your bright orange sneakers, you’re hard to miss in this hospital!” At least I was remembered for my fashion sense.

3. Some doctors wear bow ties or tucked-in ties

As an attempt to improve hospital hygiene, it was implemented that anything hanging around one’s neck is not allowed to be worn in the hospital. Including neck ties. This angered many doctors, as they viewed it to be a crucial part of their professional clinical wear. Therefore they came up with a compromise. Some switched to wearing bow ties, whereas others decided to keep wearing neck ties but started tucking the end of their neck ties inside their shirt. Works I guess.

bow tie from sing movie

4. British hospitals only use black pens

If you look around a British hospital, you will only find black pens and no other colour. I recall being scolded when in the hospital once for taking notes with a blue pen. They told me – how would colour blind people be able to read what I’m writing? I assured them that the notes were only for me to see, and afterwards I had to promise to never use my blue pen again. Since that day, I only brought black pens to the hospital. Yes, it is a rule in British hospitals that you are only allowed to use black pens so that everyone can read what you write, including those who are colour blind.

blue colour blind pen screaming gif giphy

5. You address surgeons as Mr/Mrs/Ms and DEFINITELY not Dr.

“Dr. McCloy… Oh sorry, I mean Mr. McCloy!”

I bet it’s probably only in the UK where some doctors would take offense if you call them Dr. Why you might wonder, which is a pretty good question. As told perfectly in this article, during the origins of surgery around the 18th century, surgeons back then did not possess any formal qualifications let alone a medical degree to be able to hold the title Dr. They were sometimes compared to butchers, and doctors were definitely more superior. However as times have changed, the status of surgeons have risen and thus have become so proud to distinguish themselves from doctors. Today in British hospitals, being called Mr or Mrs/Ms is a badge of honour and could only mean one thing – and that is that you’re a surgeon.
they call me mr tibbs gif giphy

Firestone by Kygo (cover)

This weekend I had to quickly go home to Stockholm to pick up a few things. Not very eventful really, but I did manage to get some time with the piano! I haven’t been doing a lot of music lately, and I still have to upload the song I recently wrote but as you guys might understand, moving to a new medical school takes up a lot of time and energy!

In terms of that, everything seems to be going quite well so far. First week done! But I think I need to wait another few days or weeks to really settle in and really get the feel of the place. I’ll write all about it soon, I promise!

But for now, here’s a piano cover of Firestone by Kygo, and I really apologise for the mistakes in the middle hehe. Hope you all had an amazing weekend!