Living On My Feet

Life in Italy can be summed up in a few words: expect heat and lots and lots of walking. The heat I can do without, however having work, food, and stores accessible by walking is a dream of mine for my future. In the US most places are not built for walking from point A to B, or Americans simply don’t take advantage of the chance to walk and instead rely on cars. With that being said, I had to adjust to walking all day everyday on top of standing for hours in the surgery room.

My first day in the OR I watched my first surgery and adrenaline and excitement certainly helped me stay awake for the first few hours, but after hour 3 my back and feet were aching, and my stomach was growling. I started to wonder how surgeons could stay focused and still for so long and if I would one day gain that skill as I aim to become a surgeon one day. Now that it is my third week in Italy, I believe I can finally tell myself that I will be able to stand anywhere from 3-8 hours as a surgeon in the operating room, all the while still enjoying my walk home, to dinner, or to the store—with a few espressos of course.

To explain, here is a map of the spaces I inhabit on a daily basis:

Everyday is started with a cappuccino, croissant, and fruit—a typical Italian breakfast : )

Next I leave my housing for a 2.29 mile walk to the Hospital where I have done rotations in General Surgery, Cardiothoracic surgery, and neurosurgery.

Lab Coats before Scrubs: I meet with the doctors prior to surgery to discuss the surgeries for the day, the patient history and updated patient vitals.

Scrubs for hours—this day I watched a brain surgery for seven hours straight!

Afterwork espresso and stroll through town with friends! You never have to walk too far to find an espresso.

Evening appertivo, dinner, and sunset sitting on Ponte Coperto bridge—maybe with gelato too! One big thing I had to get used to was eating dinner so late: most nights I eat from 8:30-10:00pm. I also like to review and add to my notes from the day prior to going to bed.

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