This week is a Holy Week in Greece leading up to the Greek Easter, which is typically after Catholic Easter which was last week. Greek Easter is HUGE! All over the city, people are shutting down their businesses, closing down shops, and getting the heck out of dodge. Dr. P explained to us that Easter is the main holiday in Greece, bigger than Christmas. He is on vacation time, but still took us on a tour of auxiliary services in one of the poorer neighborhoods of Heraklion yesterday. As a group, Gordon, Hilleal (a Turkish medical student), myself, and Dr. P all visited a community center, occupational therapy center, physical therapy center, and a nursing home. We talked with each of the professional staff (with the help of Dr. P’s translating) and learned about their roles in patients’ health. Dr. P told us that one of the big differences between medicine in Greece versus the USA is the difference in auxiliary services. Although there are all the same professions as in the United States, the doctors here take on roles that are reserved for others in the USA. For example, doctors do blood draws, start IVs, do their own EKGs, and do a lot of social work and nursing home placement here. USA doctors also do some of this, but to a lesser degree.
All of the medical students are on Easter break this week so it’s just Gordon and I with a couple other international students at the hospital. One student is Turkish, one is from Sweden, and one is from Belgium. They, and the Greek students and residents, are all completely fluent in English, and it is used as a common language to communicate in. We are blatantly aware of how little Greek we can understand, although we did pick up the Greek word for “sorry” (signome!) That’s all for now!
PS As Gordon mentioned, there are a million dogs here. They are adorable and super people friendly. Every day Gordon has to remind me to not pet /play with /bring home these lovable little guys! This dog was just chilling at our bus stop today.