July is in the middle of rainy season. Thunderstorms come and go so always keep a large freezer bag in your pocket for your iPad just in case.
I learned the hard way.
The waterproof cover for the iPad can be bulky so I’d usually bring it when the heavy clouds are already in the sky in the morning. But rather than sprinkling lightly then gradually raining harder to give me enough time to run for cover, the rain will fall suddenly as a downpour for about 30 minutes to an hour and then stops. The day can start out sunny and then out of no where the clouds will creep in and you’ll be caught in the rain.
A large freezer ziplock bag can be folded easily into a small white coat pocket.
We finally made it to VietNam! Our Sunday flight was delayed for two hours but luckily, our connecting flight waited about an hour us before taking off.
When we first stepped out of the airport, the first thing we noticed was the heat and humidity. It is extremely humid.
What’s interesting is that even though it’s so hot, people still eat hot soups for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. So of course, our first Vietnamese meal was Phở.
Besides the humidity and heat, dark grey clouds come and go so each of have been carrying around our waterproof iPad cases and large freezer ziplock bags.
The rooms that David, Cassidy, and Nguyen stayed in last year are under renovation this year so we are living in a hotel across the major street from the hospital. It’s quite an experience and quite an accomplishment to cross the busy street each morning and night.
The staff of 108 Military Hospital are very welcoming. For the next two weeks, Ruth, Eric, and I will be wandering throughout the cardiology, general surgery, ophthalmology, infectious disease, and GI departments. The staff love having us around to practice their English. They actually have an English club that is held once a week to practice. Today we joined the English club and presented a presentation about the American Healthcare system and the timeline to become a physician in America.
As for the iPad, the three of us have been using the iPad to take notes while on rounds. Like in China, it’s been a useful tool to explain certain medical conditions through pictures from DrawMD and Moores Clinical Anatomy. We have yet to find a useful Vietnamese-English dictionary like KT-dict CE Chinese-English dictionary.
Admittedly, I was not a heavy iPad user throughout the school year. Other than using it to read some textbooks or glance at the occasional anatomy flashcard, I hardly ever used it. I found that a laptop accomplished nearly every task more efficiently. Even when starting this trip I expected that it would mostly be used for Facebook, Angry Birds and, when I fell asleep in my hammock doing either of those two things, it could pass for a sun visor.
I have to say I owe iPad an apology.
Yesterday morning we found out somewhat unexpectedly that doctors from the community were coming to learn ultrasound techniques from us. We panicked a little from the news, because, other than Michelle, our Spanish isn’t that great and we questioned whether our knowledge of ultrasound would even be useful for physicians in rural Nicaragua.
This is when iPad stepped in to the rescue. Using screenshots of Dr. Fox’s podcasts and other images of ultrasound pathology, we created an impromptu powerpoint presentation on the iPads. On one of the iPads we even added slides in between with text in Spanish that would serve as a script for the three of us gringos (Jon, Alvin and me). If there was anything we didn’t know how to say, we could simply open the google translate app, speak the word in English, and have it translated to Spanish for us immediately.
We were able to hand the physicians our iPads to follow along and look at the slides as we gave our presentation. When it was their turn to operate the ultrasound we could show them a smaple image that they could try to replicate. This style of presentation worked amazingly well!
For the past week and a half, the three of us have been staying at Baodi Hospital, a county hospital in China, to see how the iPad can be used for patient education and as a reference and resource for physicians and medical students.
Here’s how I’ve used the iPad in the hospital.
In the ICU, every patient’s case is so complex that I find myself constantly referring to Chandy, Cahalan, Baldwin, and Wiki’s notes to read about jaundice, EKGs, and autonomics. My mentor, Chen Lao Su, also enjoys pimping me in order to practice his medical English. As a student who just finished myfirst year, it can be tough when he asks about pathology or pharmacology. Luckily, before we left the States, we were able to download Sanford Guide, which I used to look up bacterial organisms and the appropriate drugs, and Toxbox, which I used to learn more about organophosphate poisoning.
Besides using the iPad as a reference, it has also proven itself to help me overcome language barriers. Eric, Ruth and I have all downloaded Chinese-English dictionaries on our iPads. The international keyboard, Chinese simplified stroke option, makes it easy for our mentors or other physicians to write what they want to say. I’ve been pretty impressed with the KTdictC-E app for its basic medical terminology.
What makes understanding Chinese hard is trying to learn about the different procedures with Chinese medical terms when I barely know the English medical terms. But the physicians and nurses have been able to help us understand what’s going on by pointing to the diagrams in my lecture notes from Chandy, Wiki, and Cahalan in iAnnotate as well as our Clinical Anatomy Textbook in Inkling and Body Modality.
Team REK is safe in Baodi, China. We arrived to Beijing on Monday, June 18 at 3:30pm and were picked up by Weilin Su, a Tianjin Medical University graduate. It took us about 2 hours to get to Baodi where we met each of our mentors.
Dr. Xu is a Warren equivalent. He is from the technology and education department.
Dr. Chen is Kambria’s mentor and he is from the ICU department.
Dr. Men is Eric’s mentor and he is from the general surgery department.
Dr. Zhang is Ruth’s mentor and she is from the cardiology department.
At this very moment in time, we are playing around with our gear provided by Instructional Technologies UCISOM.
– iPad camera connection kit: great device! especially if you do not have a computer to download your pictures to free up some space on your camera’s memory card.
– airport express: works well. All three of us are able to connect to the Internet to download apps. The connection is powerful enough to span 3 hotel rooms!
– universal adapter: haven’t had a need to use it because laptops and apple products have a surge protector.
As you’re packing for your trips, be sure to consider taking the following items in addition to your iPad!
- Apple World Travel Adapter Kit – $39 – if you’re bringing a Macbook, iPad, iPhone, or iPod; this kit makes it super easy to simply plug your charger into the wall outlet. All of the chargers from Apple are rated from 100-240V, so you just need the different plug face.
- Non-Apple World Travel Kits – various prices – if you are also bringing non-Apple gear, make sure you pick plug adapters so you can use your devices. Here is a simple one from Macally for charging your USB devices (http://www.macally.com/EN/?page_id=2352) or just a more general one that you can pick up at Target. Make sure your power adapters can handle the voltage or you’ll need an international converter too!
- External Batteries – your devices are great until they run out of juice. Unfortunately, when traveling abroad, there’s not always an easy place to charge up. Here’s where external batteries come into play. Here are three of them – HyperJuice, Mophie, and Zaggsparq.
- Cases – think about where you’re going. If its going to be wet, consider getting a waterproof case for your devices as well as a waterproof cover for your backpack. If it is going to be very hot, consider an insulating bag to keep it cool. Remember, the rated temperatures for the iPad at rest are: -4° to 113° F
- 3G – getting connected depends on where you’re going and what flavor of iPad you have. AT&T lists their international roaming countries here, and Verizon has their information here. A good informational site is Mobile World Live. The plans aren’t necessarily cheap, but they’ll keep you connected.
- WiFi – as ubiquitous as WiFi is here in the US, it is not always the case abroad. Consider picking up an Airport Express so you can create your own wireless connection by simply plugging in a network cable. Make sure you download the Airport Utility app on your device before you go.
- Connecting with your laptop – for those of you traveling with a MacBook Air, don’t forget to pick up a USB Ethernet Adapter in case wireless is not available.
- iPad Camera Connection Kit – $29 – if you’re taking a camera or video device along, you may want to pick one of these up to back up your photos to your iPad. If you know that you’ll have a good internet connection and want to bring extra photos, videos, movies, etc along or simply want more room to back up your data, consider the CloudFTP device starting at $99
Back up your device before you head out there, turn off data roaming if you don’t want to use your 3G, and have fun. Most importantly, be safe out there. Sure it’s your iPad and all of your hard work from school is there, but it is not worth risking any bodily harm to protect.
Safe travels, blog when you can, but make sure you enjoy the experience, and enjoy being not as connected for once…that is a rarity nowadays, so take advantage of it.