The finer things: Beethoven’s 5th, Dutch bicycles, and naked saunas

Concergebouw interior emptyBeethoven, bicycles in Holland, and naked saunas.  Now if anything screams “get your in-depth medical information here” . . . well let’s just say you’ve come to the wrong place.

But among other things, my life the past two weeks has involved, yes, numerous encounters with my man Beethoven, dodging bicycles in Amsterdam, and naked saunas in Finland.

I’ve had an interesting two weeks.  I’ve been away from the Mother Ship (aka Hennepin County Medical Center) for a while so haven’t had a chance to write or post anything medically relevant.  Instead I’m going to subject you, dear reader, to some musings from my recent travel experiences when I was fortunate to serve as the tour physician for the Minnesota Orchestra as it played incredible concerts to sold-out European audiences.  I’ll try to weave a bit of medical perspective into this post but mostly get ready for my ramblings about things that make me happy  – which when you think about it is a cornerstone to a healthy life.

And if you want to know what Beethoven has in common with either Dutch bicycles or with naked people in Finnish saunas, well you’ll just have to read on at your own peril. Continue reading “The finer things: Beethoven’s 5th, Dutch bicycles, and naked saunas”

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There’s a virus in my carry-on: Travel Medicine

Earth_Eastern_Hemisphere
Source: NASA

There is almost nothing I’d rather be doing than going places all over the world.  In fact, I am usually planning the next trip while I’m on the way home from the current one.  And if you are fortunate enough to have the means and freedom to travel – this post is for you!  (Important to note, I think, that not all people have the privilege of world travel due to lack of freedoms, economic realities, and so forth).

I think international travel is one way in which we can come together with people who are different than us.  Learning other cultures, visiting other places, perhaps being the one in the minority (racially, culturally) in a strange new land.  These are good for us.  It’s hard to judge other people when you’ve visited their awesome country!  I’ve met some of the most interesting, perplexing, lovely, hospitable people when abroad.  And our Earth has the most breathtaking natural wonders!

Just for kicks – to get you thinking . . .

  • What’s the weirdest place you’ve been to?  I think for me it may be Cappadocia, in Turkey.

    Cappadocia_Chimneys_Wikimedia_Commons (2)
    Photo: Benh LIEU SONG via Wikipedia Commons
  • What’s your most favorite place to visit?  Me:  Paris.  No contest

    Palais_Luxembourg_Sunset_Edit
    Photo: Benh LIEU SONG via Wikipedia Commons
  • What’s the most life-changing place you’ve been to?  Me:  West Bank, Palestine.  I’ll tell you about it sometime.
Sunset in the West Bank.
Sunset in the West Bank.

And I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in all this travel enthusiasm.  In 2014, over 1.1 billion people traveled overseas to somewhere in the world.  Billion with a B.  Something like 8 million people fly every single day, spending $2.6 billion every day, or about $30,000 per second.

No wonder the TSA lines require patience of biblical proportions.

Klondikers_buying_miner's_licenses_at_Custom_House,_Victoria,_B_C,_Feb_21,_1898_(HS85-10-9774)_(cropped)
TSA line?

In this post I’m going to cover Travel Medicine and health.  Read on for:

  • General health tips prior to travel
  • Links to resources for travelers.  Look for the most important link below.
  • A few disease-specific issues.  Yes, I’ll talk about our new friend, Zika.

Here we go . . .

Continue reading “There’s a virus in my carry-on: Travel Medicine”

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