i'm moving to lithuania

Anyone who knows me well understands that I am not a fan of doctors. One of them told my mom that her chronic auto-immune disease was her body's way of aging and she should just buy a hot tub and forget about the pain. I've been exhausted since I was 17; and according to the doctors I've visited, I've just been stressed out—for the last nine years.

But last week, I visited a doc who was startled by my medical history. The report for an MRI done in 2006 read this way: "MRI is normal except for a small cyst on the pituitary." She looked confused and said, "If there is a cyst on your pituitary, the MRI is not normal." No kidding. I wanted to hug her.

She listened, explained tests we'd run, and gave options to help me not feel like sludge every morning. Come to find out, she studied in Lithuania before coming to the US. That's right: the best doctor I've ever had got her degree in the former Soviet bloc. I'm finally a fan.


Mike and Lauren said...

Yay!! I'm happy to hear someone is actually paying attention and not seeing things as "normal with a slight problem"! Hooray for Lithuanians!

santaka13 said...

Hello. I read your blog on this occasion because I get daily Google alerts on the word "Lithuania". I'm happy for your news and happy that the good doctor comes from Lithuania. Not quite so happy that the words "former Soviet bloc" came to your mind. (Not your fault: it's often still one of the few things people abroad know about Lithuania: that, and its good basketballers! :-) To me, it's as if your refered to your doctor as a "former rape victim". Yes, we are all victims of the Soviet rape here (that's why your good doctor is in USA and not at home) but we try not to let that status or thought dominate our daily lives. Lithuania is an EU country just like UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, etc. and also a member of NATO. We are very much Europeans and did not invite the Soviet rapists to invade us and to stay for 50 years. But the nightmare is over, thank God, and for the past 20 years we have been making a big effort to normalise our country and society, and to bring it up to the level of our neighbours, the Scandinavians. (Lithuania is on the Baltic Sea — opposite Sweden). In some fields we have made a lot of progress and most visitors to Lithuania are pleasantly surprised. I hope you can visit one day too and see the pleasant surprises and meeet more people like your good doctor. Linkiu geros sveikatos: Lithuanian for "I wish you good health".

GK, Kaunas, Lithuania

Kathy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kathy said...

Thanks for writing. Since santaka13 doesn't have a blog profile I can view, I'll respond here.

When I wrote, I was responding to my frustration with the American health care system, and basically saying that there is hope if we broaden our horizons. Americans frequently and inaccurately assume that they are the best, the most advanced in everything (including health care), and that other countries are backward and wrong. I've even met doctors who dismiss any medical study conducted outside of the United States. It's ridiculous. They narrow themselves to a limited base of knowledge by thinking that Americans are the only ones who do health care right. Which they don't.

I meant to convey this: of all the doctors I've visited in the United States, the best one earned a degree in a country that Americans typically lump into a stereotype (former soviet bloc). In other words, something is wrong with the generalized United States' prejudice against other countries' medical knowledge; people from countries that Americans are ignorant of can be even more capable in some instances than our so-called first-rate health care. Sorry if that's not what came across.

I actually have a friend who lived in Lithuania for a few years, now speaks Lithuanian, and who loves that country so much. I don't doubt that Lithuania is a wonderful place. In fact, a Lithuanian doctor is one of my favorite people right now.

santaka13 said...

Don't get me wrong, Kathy! :-) I am delighted at your broadmindedness. I was making a comment in a general way (not directed at you personally) about the sad fact that the first thing that comes to mind for most Americans when Lithuania is mentioned is "former Soviet bloc". AT least you didn't call Lithuanian "tiny"! :-) (Another common cliché: Lithuania is about the size of Ireland (Ulster included) and is therefore bigger than quite a few European countries, including Holland, Denmark, Switzerland and Belgium.)

Regards – and drop me a line if you plan to visit

GK, Kaunas

Kathy said...

Will do. I googled "Kaunas" and it looks like a beautiful place. Thanks for reading!