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Kristina X. Duan
It was a Monday morning in Chengdu, the capital city of China’s Sichuan province. I was a premedical student who had traveled here from the U.S. to do a six-week summer term abroad at People’s Hospital, one of Chengdu’s largest cancer centers.
As the child of Chinese-born parents, I’d always felt a special fascination for my parents’ strange, captivating homeland. In college, I seized the first opportunity to pursue medical studies in
“Aren’t those decorations looking nice?” asks a soft voice beside me.
Startled, I turn to find a young woman wearing a red-and-white sari. Her head and face are swathed in the folds of the sari, leaving only the large red bindi on her forehead clearly visible.
We’re sitting on a grassy tuft amid a large campus green. All about us stand buildings with signs in both Hindi and English. Atop the
At the outset, I confess that I have no experience in the medical field. I’m not a doctor or a nurse; I’m a recent college graduate, a writer and someone who’s interested in the world. And, all last summer, I was a volunteer in Uganda.
I’d met a Ugandan priest who was visiting the States on a
“It’s cooler this morning,” I said to Seema, as we left the hospital grounds en route to our home visits.
It was a bright and bustling morning in Trivandrum, the capital of India’s southwesternmost state, Kerala. A third-year resident in family medicine, I had come here to work with the staff of an Indian nonprofit devoted to advancing palliative care services across India. Seema was a young, newly qualified junior doctor who had
I don’t speak Japanese, but I can say “Shujinwa byoki des” (my husband is sick).
After spending a month in Bali studying art, sweating profusely and slapping mosquitoes, we were heading home to New Mexico, with a stop in Hiroshima on the way. Our first morning there, my husband, Roberto, woke with a fever of 103 and a full body rash.
The hotel had a thermometer, but no doctor. As Roberto’s fever neared
“Did he die of swine flu?” demanded a scrawny man wearing a blue shirt and green surgical mask. He was one of a throng of news reporters packing the lobby of a private hospital in the heart of Bangalore, my city.
It was early August 2009, and India had just recorded its first casualty from the novel
The farmer wanted to know why his three-year-old son couldn’t walk or talk.
I sat opposite him in a dark, cold classroom converted into an examination room for a four-day medical clinic last spring in the village of Lapa, high in the Himalayas.
Wind whistled through the stone walls; rain pounded on the tin roof. The room’s single ceiling bulb kept flickering and dying; I had to use a camping headlamp to see
It was a quiet knock on my door that morning. So quiet, in fact, that I wondered if I was dreaming. Maybe if I went back to sleep it would go away.
Nope. There it was again: soft but persistent. This time I knew that it really was a knock, and it really was on the front door of my one-room cabin. What I didn’t know was that I’d be hearing that knock for the