Saturday, October 28, 2006

Last Leg

I'm on mine...of this trip, anyway.

I'm convinced that Lecia, my loving and faithful stepmom, is the only person that reads these updates based on response. I think maybe Donna and Leela, and Casey...maybe that's it. It's funny how "out of sight, out of mind" really applies more than you would think. My friend Nat and I always talk/complain/laugh about how we're the friends that keep in touch with our friends and if we stopped calling, we would have no friendships left. This trip has kinda nailed that home. lol. I don't know why it surprised me, but being here is not that far when it comes to the internet. I've checked email, myspace, and blogs almost every day by some means or another. And even texted on my cell. That's all. Just wanted to share observations.


Szeged was gorgeous...a beautiful credit to Hungary. The city has around 160,000 people and many of them are university students from around the world. It seems like many of the universities in Hungary have students from all over...mainly Iran, Germany, and even some from the US. We were greeted at the train station by Leela, a pharmacist who had traveled to Memphis and is currently expecting her second child in February. She was gracious to show us the city center...a cute little courtyard lined with shops, banks, and confectionaries...a favorite of mine and Lan's. She showed us Dom Square, this huge, open courtyard with a catchedral at one end and the other three sides are lined with classrooms. Great pictures to come. She then took us outside the city to her mother's pharmacy, where we were given a tour and a chance to set down with refreshments. Her mother was extremely hospitable and mentioned that she enjoyed our presentation at Siofok. They even asked for a copy of the file! We had another good discussion about the current state of pharmacy and healthcare in the country and the government. Leela's mother seemed interested in the clinical aspect being added in order for private pharmacists in Hungary to secure their niche with the patient. The problem is that the government wants to "liberalize" over-the-counter products and allow them to be offered in places like Walmart or gas stations. They are currently only available from a pharmacist. It's safer this way and allows the pharmacist to play a role in the process. If people just go around guessing without knowing the potential effects (interactions with disease states or current medications), the costs may actually be greater on the later end (such as emergency room bills). It's what the pharmacists in Hungary are working hard against currently.

Our hotel was super-nice, the Novotel in Szeged. It was walking distance from the city center and the university. The following day we toured the university and sat in on a lecture being given in English on Rheumatology. It was a great review for Lan and me, and we were able to talk with the students who were from Iran and Egypt. We had actually seen two of them at the amazing dessert shop we stopped in the day before. They were really interested in the role pharmacists get to play in healthcare here in the US. Many of the students here wish their education was less chemistry-based and more clinically-based. We are very fortunate.

We then toured a pediatric hospital with a clinical pharmacy named George. He took us to the NICU, and I almost lost my breath when I saw a premie that was about the size of my palm hooked up to about a million tubes. I don't know if I could do that job...taking care of such a small, fragile existence. I guess we'll see next month...I'm doing pediatrics at Vandy.

George was super-nice, and he ended up inviting us to this "ball" for the first year med and pharmacy students. lol. Lan and I were all wierded out because all these kids (about 18 or so) were decked the heck out in gowns and suits. And there we were in pants and sweaters...hilarious. I tried to at least dress up my makeup, but you know, there's only so much you can do. But we had fun. George, much like everyone else we meet, was surprised and disappointed when he found out he was hosting the only two girls in pharmacy school that didn't drink. Evidently our predecessors from last year set the bar high. lol. After him having a few, he dragged me out on the dance floor and I pretended to know some swing moves as we twisted and shouted to a couple of songs. I didn't wait too long to rescue Lan standing there alone with my purse (Lan refuses to dance...always).

One of the bouncers was some award-winning cage/street fighter that spent some time in Sacramento or San Francisco, one of those places. I tried to get my pic taken with him, but he refused...I think because he was working. He was nice, though. After talking to George about various things, we realize that we'd seen the kid before! During our karaoke escapade at the Kongress in Siofok, he had been on stage with us, singing over Lan's shoulder during our rendition of Red, Red, Wine! How crazy is that? We always say that the pharmacy world is small, but we had no idea it went worldwide!

The next day was laid-back, and we were able to enjoy a last day of walking around, eating a nice lunch with Leela on the River Tisza, and then heading for the train station.

Yesterday we booked our train tickets and a hostel for Vienna. Lan's best friend Jackie arrives here in about an hour, and we're all going together tomorrow to return to Budapest on Wednesday. I'm excited about Vienna, but I'm more excited to see my fam next weekend! I'm sad that I won't be watching Huntingdon play in the playoffs, but maybe next year we'll have a team.


Michael said...

I've been keeping up with all that you've been doing and been encouraged by the stories and the experiences that you've had over there. So you can count one more person to that list :)

Anonymous said...

Maybe I should have signed my name everytime, but I promise I have been reading your blogs and commenting as well...I just haven't always signed my name. Sorry! I love you and one thing I will do as a friend is keep up with you and keep in touch...I hate having to be the only one to initiate friendship, so thank you for keeping up with and caring about me also!!

Anonymous said...

ummm...i'm no world traveler or molecule lover, but i'm kind of thinking it's "cathedral" and not "catchedral". how's that for spelling, champ?

oh, and i read your blog too. OOS, NOOM.