So I've been blogging mainly about my touristy adventures around Palermo-but I am indeed working here this summer doing research in the cardiology department. Xiao and I arrive at the hospital, IsMeTT (I like this acronym, for some reason I always think of the word "kismet" :)) everyday at 8am to listen to the grand rounds- basically when 2-3 doctors/nurses review EVERY SINGLE case in the hospital (60-70 patients total, it's a small hospital) briefly. They speak in heavily accented English, which I appreciate but also have to concentrate to understand. I'm not sure how much I get out of this, but alas it's only 30 minutes out of the day and I get to see all the doctors that work in the hospital (around 20-30). Dr. Scotti, the head of medical education and the guy who started a big branch in the hospital introduced us to all the staff on Wednesday. I think the two of us stand out well, we're probably known as the 2 asian girls that are working in cardiology. haha.
After grand rounds we'll often putter around the tiny cardiology office (adjacent to the huge informal cardiology OR-type room). Xiao and I change into these forrest green scrubs and red crocs that get cleaned everyday, in short we look like Christmas elves.
We dont' have our own desks or even our own chairs, so this is a bit different from my research experiences before. We've been very frustrated at the slow pace of our introduction here... we're still not sure what research and work we'll be doing day to day but have been able to observe a multitude of internventional cardiac procedures. Our mentor, Dr. Baglini is wonderful, caring, and truly wants this experience to be awesome for us- but his pace of work and thought (i'm not sure if he's had research students before) is slow, or rather Sicilian paced. He speaks wonderful English which I'm grateful for. Most of the cardiology staff are super nice and speak very little Italian. Between gestures and our limited vocabularies we get our points across and learn a bit of cardiology along the way! We've srubbed in and seen many cardioangiographies and stent implantations (all of which go through the femoral artery) and reviewed a lot of anatomy in our downtime. It's interesting that interventional cardiology uses a lot of xray to visualize what's going on, and we have to wear very heavy aprons to protect ourselves.
We hope to be able to shadow a heart/lung/liver transplant (what IsMeTT is known for) during out time here!
We often eat in at lunch. The staff will order paninins or pasta and sometimes we bring our own food. We have scheduled Italian lessons with the Interpreters office at IsMeTT and begin our weekly classes on Tuesday, excellente! We've been assured that our research will pick up pass this upcoming week and that we'll soon delve into our projects and many additional projects. I hope this is the case, as of now, Xiao and I are dying of boredom. Well rather it's a good test of our patience, because I think we're used to being busy/stressed 24/7.