We are in our last week of medical school! Hooray! On Tuesday night, Gordon, Jens, and I went to the Alzheimer’s association of Heraklion. Although the meeting was conducted in Greek, a few people were willing to translate for us so we got the gist. A social worker ran the group and the participants played structured word games. One lady explained to me that they were here to keep themselves sharp. Later that evening, one of the doctors, Dr. P had Gordon, Hileal from Turkey, Jens from Belgium, and myself over for a traditional Greek dinner. Dr. P is an internal medicine doctors at the University of Crete PAGNI and his wife is a nephrologist in Rethymo. Gordon and I visited Rethymo last weekend with my parents and it is about an hour and a half away from Heraklion, so we were surprised that she worked so far away. Dr. P and his wife explained that when they chose their specialties, they both loved internal medicine, but thought if they both specialized in it that they would be unable to find jobs in the same city. Dr. P’s wife also liked nephrology so she chose that instead in the hopes of working in the same location. Unfortunately, there has not been an opening in Heraklion for a nephrologist in over 10 years so she has to make the long commute to Rethymo. She is one of three doctors in her group and takes 10 days of 24 hour call a month, with no post call days. She says it is very difficult to work basically like a resident indefinitely and to be away from their kids so much. Dr. P also told us that the doctors and residents at The University of Crete have not been paid for their duty hours in five months because of the financial crisis in Greece and the residents are planning to go on strike.
On a happier note, the dinner was absolutely delicious. Even cooler, everything we ate was from somewhere local in Crete and had been hand made. We had salad and local cheeses, Dr. P had made the olive oil and his brother made the wine. Mrs. Dr. P made goat, rabbit, chicken, potatoes, spaghetti, and hard bread. For dessert we had traditional sweet Easter bread and local fruits. While we ate we listened to traditional Greek music. The doctors were so gracious and so kind to have us over for dinner. I think it was the best meal I’ve ever eaten.
We also asked them about the shooting of guns at a track suit full of sawdust that we saw in santorini on Easter. They explained to us that that is a tradition in small villages and the shirt filled with sawdust represents Judas, the apostle of Jesus who betrayed him. They also told us that there are many injuries every year from this tradition – I can definitely see why! That’s all for now!