Aug 18, 2013

Two months in less than 400 words

So about two months ago I wrote the last post before what was supposed to be a six months long hiatus from blogging, but as it turns out things change. These last two months have been the hardest most exhausting months of my life – and yes, I remember starting medical school in Denmark not knowing a word of Danish or flunking my first big exam or studying like a dog for my final exams – and no, it doesn’t compare.

The first three weeks I worked, slept and ate. When anybody asked how I was the only answer I could give was “tired” – not good, not bad, just tired. On the fourth week I didn’t feel quite as tired and I actually had some good days. Na├»ve as I am, I thought that was it, I had gotten used to the hard life as an ex-pat. Then came the fifth week and brought the worst day of my life. I even cried in public, which I hate (HATE!) to do, because everything was just too much, too sad, too hopeless. I honestly don’t remember ever being so sad before; the expression “heartbreakingly sad” has a whole new meaning in my mind now. When my long-weekend arrived it couldn’t have come at a better time. I really didn’t do anything exciting or extraordinary – I slept, watched series on my computer, bought chips and soda and had a different view from my window – but I came back feeling like I’d gotten just a sliver of myself back. I was happy, I smiled and I felt up for the challenge, excited actually about all the plans I’d gotten the chance to form in my head for the next six weeks. The week that followed was pretty great and this is something I’m insanely grateful for, as it turned out to be our last.

When working with MSF you know that you have to be able to roll with the punches, and being pulled out of the country was nothing less than a fist in the stomach. So many thoughts run through your head, all from concern for your patients to unwillingness to be separated from your ex-pat colleagues and of course the selfish (but normal) practical concerns of “what am I supposed to do now?” When they say you need to be flexible to do this job they are most certainly not kidding.

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