Beijing, China

My classmate Melanie and I arrived here 9 days ago. June, a fellow student and Dr. Du, our professor and school director from home had arrived a few weeks before us so it was nice to meet a couple familiar faces in a foreign land. Dr. Du grew up here and studied at the Beijing University of TCM and knows a lot of people. Some of his school mates now work in the big hospitals so we were lucky to have an oportunity to see a couple hospitals besides the one we are working in. We met our translator and the head doctors over a fancy lunch, it felt very VIP. We didn’t start at the hospital until Monday so over the weekend we did some adventuring. We saw the Temple of Heaven on Saturday and Sunday we were taken to Nan Luo Gu Xiang, a local area filled with shops.

Our practicum at the China Japan Friendship Hospital will be for 6 weeks, the first 3 weeks will be in the Acupuncture department, then a week in Internal Medicine, then the Gynecology department, then finishing in the Dermatology department… From 8-3 (ish, depending on how busy they are) we follow Doctors who treat patients with Guasha, Cupping and Acupuncture. The room is set up with 4 beds and there is a continuous flow of patients being treated for a variety of conditions. Just in the last 3 days we have seen pateints treated for general back and neck pain, allergic rhinitis, stroke, digestive disorders, eye problems, migraine, weight loss, arthritis, etc. In China, Chinese medicine doctors are equivalent to Western medical doctors but the benefit of a Chinese medical doctor is that they must know both Eastern and Western diagnosis to make sure nothing is missed. Generally, a patient will check in to the hospital and go through the Western diagnosis and treatment first, but when this does not work, the traditional forms of medicine are used. It is incredible to see but overwhelming to say the least, we are exhausted by the end of the day and sleep a lot. The food is pretty good, we already have some favorite restaurants and no one has been sick. Although with the bird flu scare, some places are not offering chicken or duck, which is fine with us as we stick to cooked vegetarian meals! For anyone who worries about us here with this bird flu, please do not, the doctors are all well informed and would let us know if it is an issue.

Learning Mandarin is fun and we are making friends. The weather is cold and windy and today was the second day we have seen the sun, the pollution does get very bad some days. Our hotel is nice but they do not speak English, thankfully June knows Mandarin!

Love, Nicole

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