The emergency room at Pablo Tobon Uribe has been like a home away from home for me here. Perhaps that's because when you're in a foreign city for an extended period of time with a different culture, you grasp at that which resembles the familiar, that which feels like home. Maybe in these foreign places home beckons even at the same time as it pushes you away and towards this new place you've found yourself in. For me that was the emergency department. Whether it was scurrying for the ultrasound to evaluate for pericardial effusion or doing a late night snack run with co-residents on an overnight to the pastelleria(cafeteria) downstairs there were so many things that felt like my job back home stateside. In those first few days, when the culture shock was most palpable, and I was just learning how to balance in this beautiful, big, scary city, these tiny creature comforts reminded me that not all was different, that some things were the same.
Even here in this home away from home there were still stark differences, particularly in the patient mix. The volume of trauma here was higher than at my home institution and the nature of the trauma varied. One patient I had, a mid thirties male had been arguing with a "friend" and was struck with a machete directly in the middle of the face. I later saw him as he was being wheeled up to the OR, calmly watching a music video of J. Balvin(an international reggaeton artist and Medellin native), tapping his fingers to the beat, as if he were waiting for the metro. I can't count the number of motorcycle vs MVCs we've had. The number of motorcycles on the road here is astounding.