Today I went for an annual physical from my doctor at Kaiser.
The actual physical took three minutes, and we spent twenty minutes talking. My doctor is a chinese woman in her 40s.
When she was my age, she was working at a Berkeley medical lab as a technician. She wasn't satisfied with the work, so she decided to take the medical board exam to be qualified to practice medicine in the US. She quit her job, and lived off savings for a year while studying.
She had the knowledge from medical school in China, but her english was rough. After a year, she took the exam, and failed by one point. But this gave her courage that after another year, she would be able to pass.
She said it was stressful sometimes, studying and not remembering english vocabulary, looking it up and not comprehending the definition, wondering if she should instead spend her time getting a boyfriend.
At the end of the two years, she passed the exams, and embarked on the road to practicing as a doctor. Later she married a chinese friend she'd known from Berkeley.
I was really moved by the story. I was planning to switch from Kaiser HMO to Cigna PPO, but now I'm wavering because I like my doctor so much.