My big project has been planning a medical travel trip for the client. From day one and calling the offices to currently preparing all the medical history documents to send to the doctors’ office (and a hardcopy for the client to bring with him), I have watched this project unfold. I have also researched the doctors, been in contact with their offices, and learned about the client’s medical concerns. A month of planning will be over in a week, and I really want to be a part of its conclusion.
My wish was to travel with them to Hong Kong to observe how the doctors work. I do not expect them to act differently than American doctors, but these are prestigious doctors who will only see patients based on referrals. This is such a rare opportunity since I do not think I will ever be important enough to travel to Hong Kong to have a consultation with a celebrity doctor. The desire has been slowly growing as I continued preparing for the trip.
Today was the day I finally mustered the courage to ask my supervisor. At first, she hesitated. This is when I quickly interjected that it was a huge request and it is fine if she says no because I will completely understand. She then gives me a maybe. She said it was fairly late notice. I agreed with her, but I wanted to prove myself before making such a big request.
We had a trip meeting yesterday and I took on a few extra responsibilities (such as making the medical binder for the physician and the travel binder for the client) just in case I was going to ask the question. As she thought about it more, she said she would have to think about the budget because of airfare and hotel. I told her that I would only be there for less than a day (I did not want to miss that much school since I am technically here for study abroad), and I could just stay at my aunt’s place (she did ask me to come back). She finally told me to look at plane tickets and give her a list of how I could contribute to the trip.
I was overjoyed. I quickly Googled plane tickets. $283 roundtrip was not that bad. I strategically picked the date that she was going to see three of the doctors (including the most prestigious one). I sent the plane ticket details to her and then I started on the list of my potential contributions. I wanted to make sure it highlighted all the services I could provide for her along with what the trip would mean to me. This was my list:
- Have been the one communicating with the doctor’s offices, so can provide familiarity with the point of contact (especially Oasis of Hope and Dr. Li)
- (I know the consultation is for you) could help elaborate on the client’s need if you want to share with the doctor to prepare them
- Offer opinion of doctor’s services (another pair of eyes to observe little details that could otherwise be overlooked)
- Take minutes (I know the butler will be taking notes, but I could also jot a few things down)
- I could also organize/summarize the notes afterward (both yours and client’s, if you like). I would have a better idea of how to do so if I was at the appointment.
- Would be able to observe how a foreign doctor interacts with their patients (note the cultural difference between doctor-patient relationship, which might be useful since I would not be specifically just treating Americans in America)
- Brush up on some medical terminology (useful in any language)
- Learn more about how doctors diagnose (just a consultation so would not be too detailed on the patient)
I was also talking with the study abroad coordinator to make sure the CET side was good. It is rainy season in Shanghai, but this is when Cloud 9 turned into a rain cloud. Turns out I misinterpreted the re-entry rule. It is not that you have 144 hours to go to a foreign country. It is you have 144 hours after returning from wherever to leave China. Meaning, if I were to go on Tuesday, I would not be able to stay, or I would be staying illegally. I was so tempted to ask Nova what would happen, but I figured it was not worth.
The worst part was telling my supervisor about what I found out. She apparently already told the team that I was going, so I think she would have let me go, which makes it that much worse. I felt so bad for inconveniencing her, but I also feel bad for myself. I let my hopes get too high.
Overall, I am not devastated. Disappointed, very. I think I will survive though. I just wish China was not so strict! However, this forced me to step way outside my comfort zone and made to ask if even I knew there was a high chance I would get rejected. It was a roundabout rejection, but technically my supervisor would have let me go. Maybe next time…