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Worst Vacation

(First of all Great show - I never miss it)

One of my worst travel experiences occurred in the Spring of 1995. I was a surgery resident at the time and had the opportunity to train for several months in Edinburgh Scotland at the Royal Infirmary. A number of things went wrong. The plane was several hours late so I missed my connecting flight into Edinburgh so that I got in late in the evening. My accommodations that a friend had arranged for me turned out to be a condemned wing of the nursing school of the Royal Infirmary. Needless to say, I left immediately that night but I didn't know anybody (it was also raining and I was loaded down with 4 months of clothing and accessories).

I called a friend of a friend out of the blue and she graciously put me up for the night (I found people in Scotland very generous and trusting). The next day I found that I was not in fact assigned to the Royal Infirmary but to a small community hospital in an adjacent town. I had a fairly old car at my disposal and naturally this broke down on the way over (remember this is only day 2 in Scotland, I'm driving on the wrong side of the road and I don't know my way around at all). I got the car towed back to Edinburgh. It took several days to get it fixed.

I took the train out to my appointed hospital the next day. This hospital was fairly primitive by American standards and in the rough section of town. In addition, there was absolutely nothing to do or see in this town and it was a fair distance from Edinburgh. The department of surgery was fairly dysfunctional and there was quite a bit of infighting. The only place to eat was at the hospital and the food was absolutely horrendous. (I lost 10 pounds and I'm slender to start with) I moved into one of the dormitory type rooms and settled in.

After this rocky start I ultimately had a great experience. I befriended one of the surgeons who had a house outside of Aberdeen and visited that beautiful city. I also toured around the country quite a lot including going to the Orkney Islands which are an incredible place. I also learned a tremendous amount about the public health system in the UK. While there are proponents of a socialized style of medicine in the US, I think very few of them would trade our medical system for the British. In the end, as generally in the case, what started out inauspiciously turned into a great trip and I'd do it again in a minute.

Keep up the good work!




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