Digging. That’s what I did all this last week. Digging up background on the Danish Medical System, digging for new food favorites, and digging for treasure in the form of wooden trolls!
My excavation for new experiences began with our core class trip to the Gorilla Park in Helligkildevej (Central Denmark). This trip included a 45 minute training session on clipping/unclipping our two circuit belay cables, techniques in proper zip lining, and a run down on the 7 different courses! After this, my friends and I made a break for the courses! *Naturally, when you have a small fear of heights, you should start with the highest level offered for “first timers” (3)… because if you’re going to be unconformable, you might as well get fabulous forest views while you’re at it. Kira and I worked our way through spinning wooden hanging blocks, miles of elevated monkey bars, cliffs of climbing walls, and a healthy assortment of zip lines. It was quite enjoyable channeling my inner Jedi, as I raced through the air on my imaginary speeder. The “super 6” of us were able to finish level seven (which included the swinging Tarzan rope leap and the Indiana Jones bike ride across a rickety elevated bridge:)
Our group then set off to meet with a couple of experts at Regionshospitalet in Herning. It didn’t take long before every student in the room discovered the danish medical doctor treasure chest. FREE SCHOOL. WORK LIFE BALANCE. and TIME OFF. In the land of student loans, these young doctors held everyone’s attention when they mentioned that danish citizens don’t pay for school. However ****disclaimer**** they do pay for the government to take up to 70% of their salary in taxes. But for many young listeners, this fact was just another detail. Then came the nugget about work life balance. Apparently, this concept is not simply a figment of everyone’s imagination. The Danish government only allows Doctors to work for 37 hours each week. Yes, you heard me correctly. 3:15 pm rolls around and they’re off for the day. What would anyone do with all this free time? Well, let’s just say, these people have time for hobbies. To top it all off, these folks must partake in 6 weeks off of paid leave each year (what a tragic life they must lead). Our visit concluded with an interesting chat about a patient’s pathway through the healthcare system with an emphasis on care given by the General Practitioner (more on that later).
Buffet Dinner: More cultural Digging! (Crocodile and Zebra pate to be specific:)
Crocodile and Zebra
Danish Apple Cake
The morning rolled around, and it was off to the very famous ARoS Art Museum (in the second largest Danish city–Aarhus)! Abstract art galore! Starting with the Rainbow room (circular donut shaped room with colorful filtered city views), we worked our way through the brilliant madness that is modern art.
All made out of shirts!
Homeless signs from around the world
Alexis (left), Steph, and Kira (right)
HIGHLIGHT OF THE TRIP: Lunch at the Aarhus food markets
Have you ever eaten a meal that made you want to be hungry all over again just so you can consume another one? Well then you can relate on a minute level to what I went through when I had the light changing encounter with UGOOD in the street markets of Aarhus. Sofia and Mia (our resident medical students) lead us to the promise land of foods. The experience was overwhelming…mouth watering avocado, bacon burgers with crispy fries, rich tomato basil dressed pasta with warm garlic bread, stacks of juicy ribs rubbed with seasoned sauce….frozen in place or wondering in circles everyone was at a loss for what to eat. My indecisive nature had me working up a stepping storm, making loops around the market. However, my love for rich, crispy sweet potatoes fries ultimately paved the way. Free samples of this tasty treat had me parked outside of UGOOD (the life changing Ethiopian food truck). My condolences to those who sat next to me at lunch–for all they heard for the remainder of the meal was me singing the praises of this succulent dish. Layers upon layers of flavor: chili lime infused cabbage, crispy sweet potato fries seasoned with hints of fresh garlic, tender grilled chicken marinated with a pineapple glaze, accompanied by thick “California like” avocado slices, and topped fresh parsley. (What more does life have to offer???) This dish had me digging for answers…some day perhaps I will recreate it (or move to Aarhus to learn the secrets behind UGOOD’s greatness).
Our day concluded with a trip to a local General Practitioner in the city of Raders. During our meeting, we learned about the all powerful “gatekeeper” of Danish medicine….the General Practitioner (GP). This one stop shop treats patients of every age for almost every problem (Minor surgeries, gynecological exams, psychological advising, you name it they do it). So lets just say your thinking about heading over to the ER to check something out….think again! Don’t stop at GO or collect $100 dollars. You must head straight to your GP (all citizens have one) for a referral to the ER –also, this only occurs 10% of the time, so odds aren’t exactly in your favor. But what can I say is this system sure knows how to cut down on medical costs.
Class Dinner at De Rada for some danish pork chops and blueberry sauce, followed by the tasty danish dessert, Flødeboller (dark chocolate covered marshmallows with coconut shavings)!
Danish chocolate dipped marshmellows
At breakfast the next morning, I was graced with the opportunity to try two new danish cheeses! A sweet pineapple cheese and a creamed cheese with chives!
Cream Cheese with Chives
Pineapple cheese with nuts
The second part of our day was spent at the Surgical Unit of the Regionshospitalet in Randers. During this visit, we learned about the benefits of working at a regional hospital (more opportunity for young residents to work on surgical skills) vs. a teaching hospital (greater variety of cases, but less surgical autonomy). AND we learned how to complete surgical suturing (single and running stitch) using the real surgical tools! This was one of the best parts of the trip! (All I could think was… It was a great day to save lives:)
Thursday we visited the Anatomical Laboratory at Copenhagen school of medicine! We walked around attempting to identify structures along side current Danish medical students!
Friday, included ER training from our favorite Doctor/teacher Casper! It reminded me of our work with the SIM man at JSerra (shout out to Mrs. Cap!:) When in doubt, we learned to remember ABCDE (Airway, Breathing, Circulation, Disability, and Exposure). After this week, it’s safe to say that we could potentially save some endangered (bananas’) lives!
I finished out the week with some cultural digging around and outside the city of Copenhagen! With my friend Brian (from ND) visiting, we went to The Church of Our Savior (the giant Spiral tower with a bazillion steps) and then to The Greenlandic Bridge Street Kitchen across the Inderhavsbroen (bridge) from Nyhavn. This little hub of tasty food trucks is influenced by the famous Danish restaurant NOMA (four time pick for number one restaurant in the world!) We chose to try the popular “new nordic” food truck “Grød’s porridge.” Denmark is known for its breakfast and dessert porridge, but this food truck has introduced a savory Thai inspired rice porridge (peanuts, chicken, spring onion, ginger, sesame oil, and coriander). Very delicious!
Our Savior’s Church (Spiral Building)
The week concluded with our Saturday morning troll hunt! We (Kira, Alexis, Brian, and I) fueled up at Far’s Dreng (Danish for Dad’s son) a cute local breakfast place in Nørroport, and then we made our way to Ishøj to find “Oscar under the Bridge” (Troll number 3)!
Skyr (Icelandic yogurt)with rhubarb compote garnished with elderberries, blueberries, and almonds
With only the Train station (Ishøj) and a small land mark (Arken beach), our fearless crew set off in search of the troll! The trip included stunning views of the Baltic Sea, the occasional showers of rain, and of course myriad pictures! At last, we laid eyes on Oscar! It was quite the exiting moment!
Looking forward to putting all this good digging to use for Chloe’s visit to Copenhagen in two weeks!!!