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A lesson learned from the death of an expat
Old 05-06-2014, 10:16 PM   #1
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A lesson learned from the death of an expat

In hindsight, it seemed obvious to everyone but Al (not his real name). He continued to blame the doctor. Al was a native English speaker. The doc spoke English well. Al's mistake was he listened to the doc though the conventions and filters of his culture, not the doctor's.

After a comprehensive annual physical, the doc used a common English noun to describe a finding. Al later said he didn't know what the doc meant, didn't ask anyone else, and didn't google it. The doc scheduled an invasive procedure. Afterwords he told Al it neither confirmed or ruled out his initial concern. What he didn't tell him was the next move was up to Al. In Al's home country, the next move would have been the doc advising a second opinion and or suggesting additional tests because of the potential nature of the problem.

Al did nothing. About a year later he was diagnosed with 4th stage cancer and given a zero probability of survival. Al carried on with courage and purpose. He passed a few days ago.

ER Oct 2008 at age 54. An expat mostly settled in Thailand.
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Old 05-07-2014, 06:09 AM   #2
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Sorry to hear of Al's passing. There but for the grace of luck, go I. Regardless of how long you live in a culture different from the one you grew up in, it is very difficult to hear the words and read the body language of the new culture right all the time. Especially in extreme stressful situations like that. Rest in peace, Al. I hope it was a good ride for you.

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Old 05-07-2014, 06:26 AM   #3
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I think the survival skill most important in living way from your home culture is persistence. I could tell you so many times I have had to push through to get to the real answer. After a while, you can hear the expectant silences, but at first, they pass you by.

I had a friend who got bit by a dog, and those around him were suggesting that he really should do something about it - he ignored them and they weren't forceful like he was used to, he ended up dying from an infection.
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