Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How to Ruin a Celebrity Sighting

Warning: This post contains some general spoilers for last season's Grey's Anatomy

I was on the train with a friend a while back when all of a sudden, she pulled out her cellphone and mumbled, "Here, I want to show you something."

Since this usually meant she had something to say that she couldn't voice out loud, I went silent and waited.

Her thumbs flew over her qwerty pad for a bit before she showed me the message: Doesn't that girl sitting across from us look a lot like Reed from Grey's Anatomy? 

First thing that popped into my head: Sure, celebrities on a train. Yeah, right. 

So ...

"Who's Reed?" I blurted out loudly. 

My friend gawked at me, her eyes flickering over to the girl in question, and she covered her face in mortification. "You know ... Grey's Anatomy!" she hissed.

"I don't know. I don't watch much Grey's. I only caught part of the season finale when most of them were dead or shot already. So ... she died, right? Like ... on the floor?" I asked, not bothering to whisper since there was no way the girl across from us could possibly connect the fact that we were talking about Grey's Anatomy in reference to her so-called resemblance to one of the characters. So what if she looked like this Reed character? It's not like she's actually Reed. "She must have been one of the first ones dead, right?"

Friend stares at me, speechless.

"So who is she exactly? Did you like her character?"

"Well, yeah ... she was ..." My friend gave up. "Google when you get home."

So I finally turned my full attention to the girl across from us and since her eyes were cast down, I helped myself to an unhealthy amount of ogling. Memorizing her face so I'd remember her features for googling purposes later. Admiring the knit hat she wore over her short pixie cut. Eyeing the black Chanel bag resting on her lap. Sighing over her knee high brown boots. Ogle ogle ogle.

But while she was very chic and pretty with this slight smile playing on her lips, she seemed like a regular rider blissfully unaware of the silent scrutiny from the strange girls across from her.

Later, when I got home, the first message I received from my friend was: GOOGLE REED! NOW!

Then she immediately followed that up with a link to the Google images she'd already pulled up. Reed a.k.a. Nora Zehetner.

Oh. Wow.

Reed from Grey's Anatomy was sitting on the train across from us.

Reed from Grey's Anatomy was sitting on the train across from us!
, I typed to my friend.

Friend: yeah, it was totally her because when you said who's reed so loudly, she laughed a little when I looked over at her. thts why i covered my face!

Me: what? really? dude, i kept staring at her! i thought i was being so stealthy.

Friend: omg rofl.

Me: no wonder she kept smiling.

Friend: haha

Me: and there I was ... just leering at her.

Friend: lol it was totally her. i just can't believe you said who's reed so loudly.

Me: well ... i didn't believe you. 

Friend: i'm good with faces!

Me: i just thought you were one of those sad people who think they see celebrities everywhere. like elvis.

Friend: What??
More recently, a summary: School. Got dragged to one of those haunted attractions thingies by friends for Halloween; don't ask me to describe what happened in there because I came out in a bleary daze. School. Had Thanksgiving dinner at cousins' place where we roasted a whole turkey for the first time in our lives (we were more of a chicken family before). School. Had rounds shadowing doctor for chest pain and renal failure patients. Wrote a paper on pros and cons of TOLAC (trial of labor after c-sections) and had a workshop presentation debate on it yesterday. Exams on path and pathophys still coming up.

Question in a previous post comment from Anonymous: Can you please blog about your pre-med and med school experience in general? Like how hard it is? :O 

Sure! I'll try? Haha, I'll attempt to write some slightly interesting posts soon but sometimes, it's hard thinking of a good topic since not everything is cool and all shocking medical cases like you see on House or roller coaster drama like Grey's Anatomy or something like that. The life is more like ... a whole lotta studying. And running on little sleep. And trying not to give wrong answers to the doctors who point you out in your small group. Boring and a little sad. If I really write what goes on usually each day, you'll probably pass out asleep by the first paragraph.

But if you want to know a little about what I did yesterday, it went something like this:

9am: Trying to print paper in computer lab before workshop starts. Classmate runs up begging me to print two copies of his paper too. REJECTION! New cheap-ass environmentally friendly limitations on printing page quota means hell no, classmate should must log into his own account to print his own mess. He continues to beg, unwilling to deal with the hassle of logging in and out due to the time, and then offers an I.O.U. for double the pages on his account. Alright, fine. I will collect.

10am-noon: Workshop debate on VBAC versus C-sections. Doctor's wisdom: EBM ≠ CYAM. (Evidenced Based Medicine ≠ Cover Your Ass Medicine.)

12pm-1pm: Lunch from the nearby deli. I'm all sandwiched out. :(

1pm-4pm: Lectures ... oh my god ... must ... stay ... awake ... Oh, hey, crossword in the newspaper.

4pm-6pm: Small group on chest X-rays. Gets called up to the front of the room to point out what's abnormal. "Err ... look at the lines ... the EKG leads ... is this AP*? No? Okay ... well ... the heart is, um, pushed toward the right." "Yeah, good, sort of ... the patient has dextrocardia." "Right, exactly. ... I'll just go sit back down now."

And this has mostly been the general routine of my pathetic life, rinse and repeat. Now I just need to get through a chest x ray assignment, two more exams, and then it should be winter break! Where I'd then have board exams to prep for. Yippee. But I'll try to fit in some writing time too hopefully. Until then, please bear with me for my slow responses and updates.

TM Chapter 29 Status: 11 pages in

*By the way:
AP = anteroposterior (X-ray beams pass from front-to-back)
dextrocardia =  heart is located in the right side of the chest instead of the left

Monday, October 11, 2010

Where Are The Sheep?

Catching the view from the Top of the Rock with a friend a couple of weeks ago:
Me: "Hey, the map points that out as the Sheep Meadow."
Him: "Yeah? Oh, so those blobs must be sheep!"
Me: "Hmm ... no, I think those are people ..."
Him: "But they're not moving."
Me: "Sunbathers?"
Him: "They seem like they're all the same color though. They're all ... brown."
Me: "Brown sheep?"
Him: "Maybe."
Me: "More like tanned people, I think."
Him: "Alright, hold on, let me look this up on my phone and we'll settle this once and for all."
Him: *fiddles with phone*
Me: *fiddles with map*
Me: "Oh, hey, look here, the map also says sheep grazed there until 1934. Hmm, what year are we in again?"
Him: "Yeah, well, wiki says ... okay, fine. You can wipe that smirk off your face now."
Other recent happenings: My cousin's first born was born - it's a girl! I had to bring my notes and hunch over to cram for my neuropsych final at her one month banquet, but she's absolutely adorablicious. And the food was great. I also went out to celebrate a friend's birthday and we had Venezuelan food. Guacamole and arepas with pork brisket, yum. My other cousin coincidentally had his birthday around the same time and we feasted on pasta and tiramisu for dinner. (My life revolves around food.) His sister later surprised him with an iPad! Dude, she should be my sister haha.

Yet another friend's birthday is coming up so we just went out last night and tried Ukrainian food for dinner, where friends claimed I took my time pondering over the menu just to have an excuse to repeat borscht a gazillion times. Well, borscht turned out to be pretty yummy. So were the pierogies. The stuffed cabbage ... not so much. We also demolished a whole cheesecake topped with berries. Restaurant rejected our surprise cake from outside so we made do with just forks from a nearby cafe and sat in the outside seating. There is something strangely satisfying though about just forking into a cake, civilized pieces be damned. (Indeed, my life revolves around food.)

Otherwise, life has been pretty boring ever since I got back to school. The workload has been seriously picking up its pace. I just had a subject board exam last week and more weekly exams lined up for this month (clinical epi, systemic path, pathophys, and so forth). Sighs.

I am about 9 pages in for TM Chapter 29 so please bear with me. Hopefully, I can squeeze in some writing time one of these days and finish this once and for all. Thanks for understanding, everyone.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Mockingjay & Sailing Away

School recently started and work's been picking up. There's a midterm and a group powerpoint presentation on the neuroscience of sleep creeping up next week.

I did manage to fit in some last bit of summer fun.

Finally read Mockingjay! I enjoyed it for bringing closure to this epic series. While it didn't quite match the way I adored book one, The Hunger Games, it was a bittersweet ending that at least made me go "Ah ... hmm ..." rather than "Ah! Blargh!"

Suzanne Collins sometimes tend to brush over certain death scenes of her characters or Katniss is too busy escaping or passing out to really allow us to linger on what just happened - which I can understand as a stylistic choice: high paced action punctuated by casualties, no time to breathe, fear, think. Death? It happened. So it goes.

Still. I just wish we could have dwelt on certain moments, certain characters just a tad longer. Some parts left me in such a dazed funk, I was still trying to get my mind to wrap around it three pages later and barely processing where Katniss was running to.

But all in all, I loved the characters and the world Collins set up and it was an utterly awesome trilogy.

A few weeks ago, a friend invited me out sailing on his uncle's boat. I'd never been on boats and yachts before, not even a cruise; the closest thing I had going for me was a ferry ride. So yup, it was fun. Nice sunny day, gentle waves, and then ... beers and wines were brought out.

Each person got a beer bottle to him/herself and as I slowly worked mine down, my face reddened its way to tomato status. I am truly the cheapest of all cheap drunks.

He joked, "Hey, after some alcohol, the waves start feeling pretty steady, huh?"

"Yeah!" I agreed a tad too enthusiastically.

He eyed me. "You're starting already, aren't you?"

I clapped my hands to my cheeks. "Yeah ..." I mumbled. "It's a sunburn?"

He ended up finishing both of our cups of wine so I wouldn't over-enthuse myself off the side of the boat.

Friday, August 20, 2010


I thought I'd be able to get through this summer without a single mosquito bite. Failed. My neck has a lump that's fast entering goiter size and my left foot is swollen from a bite so badly, it hurts. Today, the bite mark turned black like a bruise. Not good. I'm so allergic to bug bites, I should roll around in a bubble outside.

On Wednesday, my friend had her barbeque (where I picked up the bites); we burnt a lot of food to a crisp because we didn't want to pick up salmonella and then of course, we assessed the crispiness because we didn't want carcinogenic properties. Basically, we ate a whole lot, hung out with her golden retriever, and played Taboo. Except when you have a bunch of really competitive med students together, the clues we start giving get ... interesting. 

"This is what you give albuterol for!"


"What are we studying to be? But not primary care! Okay, what does this specialized person use?"


"This is where we purchase attires ... oh forget it, blank junction!"


Yes, by interesting, I did mean way nerdy.

Of course, I'm a tad more eloquent and cool so I threw out a few gems of my own:

"Yo, this has a red ass."


Went out to lunch yesterday with a friend (she's also doing med - entering this year) and then we checked out Bed Bath & Beyond so that she can pick up some supplies for her dorm. It was nice to catch up since we hadn't sat down face to face in over a year now; especially lovely to do so while perusing cedar balls (only wish this were an interesting euphemism) and cushions. She got this giant under-bed storage box that's about her size which the saleslady wrapped up with two pieces of saran wrap before handing it back to friend; so she lugged it onto the train back to her place like a bulky surfboard ... or mini coffin. 

Folks were also passing out free samples of Science Diet dog treats on the streets so I swooped in to grab two bags for my friend's golden retriever. Now they just need to pass out free treats for humans, like chocolates and ice cream bars. Yes, please.

Studying for my exam next week has not been going well. Barely made a dent in neurology and I still have behavioral sci to review. I barely remember behavioral sci, but I have convinced myself I could go at it in one day since it should mostly be psych and child development stages. Yeah, this will probably come back to kick me in the butt in the upcoming weekend. Who else hates that summer is coming to an end?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Offensive Touching

Fav cousin - a recent law school graduate - was sprawled on the couch, exhausted from taking different bar exams three days in a row. A paper wristband - a lot like the kind they sometimes slip on you when you go clubbing - was still looped around her wrist, announcing that she was a proud bar exam survivor.

I sat on the edge of the sofa next to her, watching our older cousin's babies wreak havoc.

So engrossed was I by the utter chaos two little beings could sustain, I jumped when she poked me in the side. I turned and the expression on her face was of this tired dismay. "Sorry!" she blurted out. "Offensive touching!"

Haha, someone's been studying too much.

Speaking of babies, the older cousin recently announced that a third one is on his/her way. When she asked her eldest, her four year old son, if she wanted another baby sister or a baby brother, he said, "Why are you having so many? One is enough."

Ah, kids.

Recently watched Inception. Went into lab to help out with sensors drawings for my old mentor. Hung out with people, ate a whole lot. A friend's friend made the trek in from another state, but still missed dinner, catching us just as we were about to say good-bye so some of us accompanied him for late dinner part two because he bribed us with two bottles of yogurt soju and popsicles. We are easy folks.

Celebrated a friend's birthday. Caught up with some old news and envied some friends for the trips they have planned (Hawaii! Prague! Argh!) Studied only a little even though the first day of school - and hence, my exam - is coming up next week. How does summer pass by so fast? How?

Tomorrow, there's a bbq at a friend's place which is at the ends of the world so I'm aiming to squeeze in more studying on the long train ride (Which means I will probably end up passing out and taking a long nap instead).

So ... summer's been fun. Too bad it feels so short. I managed to read quite a bit - and by that, I mean I just wandered into the library and grabbed a bunch of random books off the shelves, ranging from Dan Brown's Deception Point to Jennifer Cruise's Getting Rid Of Bradley to Sarah Rees Brennan's The Demon's Lexicon to Meg Cabot's Insatiable. And various others. Totally arbitrary haha. Loved some, liked some, deemed some forgettable. All in all, I enjoyed just being able to read for leisure without some immediate exam or deadline breathing down my neck, yay.

Writing Status: 8 pages into TM Chapter 29.

Monday, July 26, 2010

There's a Body in the Bushes

I went out to bowling and lunch with friends the other day. We took a walk by the piers first and it was a drizzling, but pleasant day. As we passed by some benches where there were shrubbery set directly behind and above the seating, there were birds chirping incessantly and we're like, "Aw, birdies on crack." We turned around and the first thing I saw was a pair of grimy sneakers attached to a pair of legs in cutoff shorts attached to ...

There was a man sleeping in the bushes right behind the benches.

His body was horizontal, reclining on the dirt, half covered by the green underbrush. I presumed he was probably sleeping on the bench and then decided to crawl into the bushes for cover from the rain.

We spun right back around and walked away as quickly as possible.

Two feet away, we paused and threw each other hesitant looks. "Wait ... is he okay?"

"What if he's dead?"

Oh, snap, Hippocratic Oath.

Yeah, we remembered. Suddenly, we were a hovering group of dumb medical students, wondering if the homeless person was injured and if we needed to call the ambulance. And how offended would he be if we grabbed a stick and stuck it under the leaves, maybe give him a little poke, poke to check if he's breathing? Or wait, what if he wasn't a homeless person? What if he was some guy who just wanted to connect with nature and meditate in the bushes? Oh, dear.

We stood there, clutching our umbrellas, and studied the guy. Just as we started to take a step back to him, a park employee rumbled by with his garbage bin and paused next to the man.

Okay, bush man appeared to be fine. Fine enough that he shifted over and continued sleeping there at least. Off we went.

Writing Status: 3 pages into TM Chapter 29.

Monday, July 19, 2010

TM Chapter 28 Posted

Through Me Chapter 28 has finally been posted! Finally. Finally.

This chapter was especially hard to get out because I wanted something major to happen, but like always, Adel and Tristan's discussion got out of my hands and I realized that it wasn't going to happen until Adel gets back to China. But if I kept writing, I wasn't sure if I'd have a reasonable cut-off point and I doubt you'd want to read Chapter Twenty-Eight: The Encyclopedia.

Plus, I had a major case of writer's block. My Google Docs account now officially have about eight beginnings of various other stories because I was trying to write anything to get me out of the funk. However, it is now summer for me and I do hope to finish Through Me once and for all sooner than later. I start school late next month with a Neuropsych and Behavioral Sci exam the first day, but I am hoping to get out at least another chapter (maybe even finish the story?) before I start studying.

But yay, tis summer!

Cousin just graduated from law school and she's raking in the big bucks now! Even though an exam (curse those stupid things!) prevented me from attending her graduation, I'm so proud! My bro went, but the only thing he mentioned was that the cheese at the reception was good.

It was also recently my birthday so I celebrated with family, med school friends, and high school friends on separate occasions. Ate a lot of food, had a lot of cake, drank a wee bit (still gave me quite a buzz, but that's not saying much when half a glass of coke and rum can already send me reeling).

Okay, some people said it wasn't merely a buzz. Probably when I started jabbing at a friend's biceps and declaring, "You have such big guns!" And when they had to loop my arms through theirs while I insisted on walking my buzz off. And when I stated that I wanted to paint my nails orange and brown, which was something I really don't remember saying.

I also watched Toy Story 3 in 3D! It really wasn't necessary to catch it in 3D, but the movie was so good anyway. I have to admit that Toy Story 1 and 2 weren't my favorite Disney films - 1 was good, 2 was alright, but they didn't hold a place in my heart like Finding Nemo or Aladdin or The Little Mermaid or Mulan or yeah, most of the classic Disney flicks. However, Toy Story 3 ... it just really blew my mind.

I rewatched it later with my brother and at the end, he admitted that he maybe, might have, sorta teared up a little. When I laughed at him and said I didn't (I totally already did the whole tearing thing the first time), he said that's because I was a "soulless, heartless being".

Then brother's birthday rolled around and cousins took us to Olive Garden where we kept those breadsticks coming and coming.

Friend also made a two hour journey to my house twice, the first time to bring me pastries for my birthday and the second time to have a movie night. We gorged on sushi, popcorn, and ice cream while watching Did You Hear About the Morgans? on dvd. It was ... eh. I remember more chewing than laughing.

Relatives from Hong Kong also came to visit so there was a whole truckload of dinners to attend. 

Then my internet died. It revived, but it still dies sporadically sometimes now. I think it's because of the heat here. I'm praying - knock on wood - that my laptop doesn't just keel over. So far, I know three people whose laptops suddenly upped and died on them recently. I'd cry if my laptop crashes. Friend bought me a cooling pad, but so far, I've broken it twice. Good news though is that I had snapped off one of the fan's blades the first time and the second time I managed to snap off another blade the opposite side so now my fan is actually balanced again. It's a good thing. Really.

And yup, that's the basic gist of what's been going on lately.

Oh, and btw, for those who don't know already, if you're a student and have an .edu email address, you can sign up for a free year of Amazon Prime. Comes in handy for all those textbook purchases.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Recent Debacles

In Which Brother Is Broken By Brethren, Volume II

Cousins, brother, and friend came back from their basketball game in the park the other day. Nothing like a bunch of funky, sweaty guys desperately gulping bottles of water in the kitchen to brighten the day. Except bro's glasses were shattered and he groped blindly around the kitchen, looking for the mini tool set in the drawers.

"What happened now? Did J (friend) break his glasses this time?" I joked from the doorway.

All their faces swiveled toward me except for J who sat stoically. "How'd you know?" cousin asked in surprise.

He's playing around, I thought. "I'm kidding because J was the one who caused bro's ankle sprain last time ..." J didn't meet my eyes. "Oh my god, you broke his glasses. What are you made of!"

Once again, like the ankle sprain case, bro was on the same team. J had passed the ball to bro, but the ball had caught bro in the face --> bye bye, glasses.

In Which Narrator Narrates Sad Life & Equally Sad, Not-Quite-Dangerous Incident

We just started a section of pathophysiology which we'd continue in the fall. Exam this coming Monday. In two weeks, we have our board exam for micro and immuno. Then it'd be summertime! And an exam in August before class starts that would require us to review all of the neurology and behavioral science we had learned before in preparation for our neuropsychiatry course. Which pretty much says "Screw your summer vacation, suckers." But I should be to able to finally update Through Me some time soon before things pick up again in August.

Today, we started hospital rounds, shadowing a nephrologist as he checked in on a patient with pleuritis (inflammation of the lining of the lungs and chest that leads to chest pain when you take a breath or cough), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and HIV.

It's cool how some of the terms that would have just flown over my head before are starting to come together. He also quizzed us in the hallway on what we know about pneumonia (S. pneumoniae is the top cause of community acquired pneumonia. Pseudomonas major concern for health care workers. For Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) sensitivity tests, they actually use oxacillin as opposed to methicillin.) Interesting. And somewhat uplifting that we knew more than we expected - or at the very least, had heard of so and so bacteria and drug before. However, at the same time, it sadly reminded us we still need to desperately polish up on more of the micro and pharm (oh god) - especially with our board exam coming up.

Otherwise, I've been having a week of bad luck and I've been in an especially foul mood lately. To finish me off, I stepped my heel into a pothole after leaving the hospital, nearly spraining my ankle and sending me toppling. I managed to grab hold of a friend who was thankfully right next to me so I didn't wind up sprawled on the ground in front of incoming cars, saving some face in front of this nice huge Asian family who was doing group pictures. I have the bad feeling some of their images might show this lopsided girl with her arms flying in the air and one foot in a hole in the background while they're busy grinning, pulling victory signs. Then they'd curse this mysterious loser for ruining a perfectly fine family photo. Story of my life.

Good thing I also clipped my nails recently so I didn't leave scratch marks on poor arm of friend. He was adamant that he would have saved me even if I hadn't grabbed onto him because he has quick reflexes like that. Yeah. Right. I'd probably have died.

Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic
Cyanide & Happiness @

When I saw this, it made me think of a friend who had picked herself up a rape whistle, a siren, and licensed mace when she moved into an apartment by herself.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Monsters Inside Me

A guest lecturer showed us a clip from Animal Planet's documentary series Monsters Inside Me about malaria in class a few weeks ago. (Same professor who is friends with Edward Cullen.)

Anyway, we thought the featured doctor looked kinda familiar, but we were a bit preoccupied with laughing at the dramatic scrolling scene of the doctor posing in the hallway with arms crossed, superhero style.

Then his name was credited. Hey! Familiar looking superhero is our guest professor! Only he looked more, ah, studious in the clip with his eyeglasses and white coat and so ...

We laughed some more.

Professor's insight into the behind-the-scenes making of these documentaries: "We filmed it in one of those offices at Mount Sinai and for some reason, they had the heat on extremely high and they had all these lights so, uh, we would stop every two minutes because I was sweating and it looked like I had malaria."


Just had an exam on Monday, a presentation yesterday, and now I'm working on small group preparations and studying viruses.

Some Ebates Love

I was shopping for a friend's birthday present the other day (trying to decide between some blu-rays) and I remembered that I recently got this email from Ebates about their referral promotion. This is my referral link if you'd like to help me get some extra $$ and if 50 friends are referred, an Apple Ipad! Ooh la la:

If you'd never heard of Ebates, it's a really good site that has various percentages of Cash Back for a bunch of familiar online shopping sites. No membership charges or sponsorship deals you need to do, no fees at all, no hassle. Honestly. Totally legit and their longtime referral program includes giving the referring person $5 as well as the new referred member $5. Win, win. I typically make sure most of my shopping (including Barnes & Noble (11% cashback off your purchase) Sephora (11%), Ebay, (4%), CompUSA, etc. - even though Amazon is not part of it! Darn.) are linked through this site first because hey, I'm already buying stuff anyway - might as well try to get some discount off, no matter how minimal it is. It adds up in the long run, especially with large purchases. So far, I've received $51.30 in checks so far and I've hooked in my brother and some friends. Ah, gratifying.

Anyway, just a recommendation and a plug for my own referral link, but I expect most of you are savvy enough about internet deals and are already members of this site. I feel kinda uncomfortable about throwing up some advertising here especially since it sounds kinda too good to be true, but Ebates gets a commission from the stores when members make a purchase and they just share part of that commission back. All in all, the program works well and actually gives you money back for purchases you'd just make normally. Everyone should know about it.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Edward Cullen of Parasites

Had third exam yesterday. We did our lab presentations today regarding unknown diagnoses with our plate cultures. Our case was based on a blood and urine sample from a 9 month old baby girl and we identified E. coli and some S. epidermidis (the latter probably due to skin contamination during the sampling process though) through Gram stains, API test strip, and all that jazz.

After that, we had an introduction lecture about parasitology. Cool class and we learned about all sorts of icky parasites that are quite clever at stowing away into their hosts' bodies, including this little fellow:

Behold. The Hookworm!

And then I died some more as the professor oh so casually described it: "I'd imagine this to be the Edward Cullen of parasites."

Class: "Say what?"

"It sucks blood and ... yeah."

I choked on my half-bewildered, half-horrified laughter.

Confused folks in the back row: "What? What is this Cullen he speaks of?"

I was lost for words. Three extra lessons I learned today:

1) So actually, not everybody is aware of this Twilight business. I thought it had about taken over the world already.

2) But of all those people out there who does know of Twilight, one of them is my professor. Who is so familiar with the Twilight world, he can state the full name of our favorite sparkling vampire. (Extra odd because I'm glancing back and forth between one girl who's all blissfully confused, "What's he talking about?", and then back to our middle-aged male professor, who's eyeing the picture of the hookworm, "Sup, Cullen.")

3) And I will never look at Mr. Hookworm the same way again. There is a part of Mr. Hookworm that thirsts for my blood and I am unconditionally and irrevocably in love with - yeah, no. Just no.

Random facts about Hookworm (Necatur americanus, Ancylostoma duodenale):
  • a parasitic nematode worm that lives in the small intestine of its host
  • feeds on host's small bowel mucosa, sucking blood directly from site of attachment
  • one of the most important causes of childhood anemia in developing nations 
  • infective larvae develop and survive in an environment of damp dirt
  • diagnosis depends on finding worm eggs through microscopic examination of the stools
  • basic prevention: don't walk barefoot in suspicious areas, avoid using human excrement as fertilizers, and try to deworm pets

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Recently, I've received some emails from some pretty angry readers and I'd like to apologize here for the long wait since my last update. Status update: regarding the next chapter for Through Me, I have 15 pages. I'm not lying and I'm not making something up to pacify you guys.

Your next question might probably run something along the lines of: "Well, why don't you just post the goddamn thing then?"

Because I don't want to. Not because I adore making you all wait and I love receiving hate mail, but because I don't love the chapter in its current condition and it's already in its third rewrite. Something isn't jiving. However, in response to some readers' concerns, I can promise you that the story will be finished and I haven't abandoned it yet. I just need to work on it longer.

Why is it taking me so long? Because of school. And also, because of friends and the other distractions that come along with life. Yes, I'm aware some of you have said school can't be that busy, but I do like to spend the few breaks I have with friends and family sometimes. Or yes, to laze around and watch a little bit of TV. Call me weak, but I can't stop myself from slacking off with some mindless breathing moments too at times.

And why haven't I updated my blog in a while? Microbiology, Immunology, and General Pathology. I just finished a 15 page path essay, prepped for tomorrow's small group discussion on abscesses and septic shock, and I have to start cramming for Monday's exam. I would also possibly like to curl up in a ball and sleep too.

I can certainly update the blog with posts of daily blabbering about work, but the response I received since my last post didn't exactly go over too well ... and I began to feel guilty instead. Perhaps these readers think I should be working on the next chapter instead of blogging? Perhaps they'd rather wait for a post about an actual chapter update? Yep, I got intimidated. And just uncertain. I definitely understand the frustrations of readers when they have to wait and wait and wait ... only to find nothing, nope, no update yet. And I was just upset because I didn't have anything substantial to appease these readers. Not yet. So I kinda walled myself off, dropped everything else, and focused on school, thinking that "Okay, soon, I will post when I get the next chapter out. Soon."

Yeah, okay. Too bad getting the next chapter out hasn't been working out so far. Writing's definitely been on the backburner these past months and I'm sorry to say that it'd probably continue until summertime, at the very least. This course has exams and presentations mixed in with essays, lab reports, and so much other tedious work that I could scream. Plus, it starts 8am daily. Which means I wake up 5:30am daily. I average about five hours of sleep a night. I haven't been the kindest soul in the mornings this past year. 

The semi-good news though? Thanks to all your patience and understanding the previous months, I was able to really do nothing but focus on my Pharmacology class and I'm happy to report I got an A? Yay?

And for those who are interested in some random details about my recent non-life, I practiced giving PPD shots (The PPD shot is injected under the top layer of skin, causing a blister to form and it's a common test given to diagnose tuberculosis. I'm sure most of you have received this test before for school or work forms and what not) the other day. This means me giving my very first injection to a fellow classmate and her returning the favor. Only her needle slipped out the first time before she could administer the saline solution and she had to do it twice. I am self-sacrificing. Kidding, I didn't mind because she did it very well and it was relatively painless. We all ended the day at the clinic with our very own teeny bubbles on our arms. Gold stars and stickers? Pfft, those are for babies. 

Otherwise, I know, I suck. And I'm sorry for everything. I will try to fit in more writing, but I honestly am getting buried by the workload at this moment. Parents are also away on vacation for three weeks and us spoiled spawn of theirs are still figuring out how to survive on a day-to-day basis. My brother claims he's not hungry every time I ask him what he wants for dinner. Either he's going on a diet or he isn't quite willing to entrust his stomach and I suppose, his quality of life in my clumsy chef hands. What? Food poisoning's treatable.

If you wish to kick me off your reading lists, I completely understand. All I can offer right now are my meek apologies. And if you can find it in your hearts to lay off on the hate mail for now, I'd appreciate it too. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all your time and patience.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Fanart - orangedjuice

I not so recently ago received a gorgeous piece of fanart. orangedjuice created this picture of Adel from Through Me and I absolutely adore it. Thank you, orangedjuice, for spending time on this and I love all the details and the vibrant colors of it. It's incredible and you're awesome.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Traditional Sex

Pharmacology is going okay so far. The power of drugs, ooh. (Btw, never take Tylenol with alcohol or after drinking. Acetaminophen, the primary active ingredient in Tylenol, causes irreversible liver damage in combination with alcohol. Thus, my professor - who likes a glass of wine everyday - avoids Tylenol completely.)

Medical interviewing is moving along too. Preventing cultural bias, patient education, all that jazz.

My group discussed proper interviewing techniques on how to gather a complete medical history with our preceptor at our field site the other day. Naturally, some of the questions must pertain to somewhat more sensitive topics - i.e. depression, substance abuse, sexual history, etc.

So when we get that point, our preceptor sat back, folding her hands over her pregnant belly, and asked, "So what are some ways we can ask for a person's sexual history?"

Guy in group: "Are you sexually active?"

Preceptor: "Uh huh ... and?"

Guy: "Um, have you ever had oral sex? Anal sex?" (Sounds funny, but these are actually valid questions that should be asked by any good practitioner since it's best that we narrow down to the very specifics. There are many more people out there than there should be who believes that they're not "sexually active" per se when they're having other forms of sex. Ditto for drug abuse.)

Preceptor: "Okay ... and how would you refer to regular sex?"

Guy: "Regular sex ...?"

Preceptor: "You've listed oral and anal, so how would you ask about just sex? Feel free to jump in, the rest of you."

Guy: "Um ..."

Girl: "Well ... are you ... hmm ..."

Preceptor: "How would you ask the patient? How would you say - describe - how would you ask about just traditional sex -"

Me: "Missionary."

Group busted up laughing.

The sad part was I hadn't even meant it as a joke. I was just sitting there quietly and the next thing I knew, my mouth went on automatic pilot mode. As soon as I heard traditional ... "MISSIONARY!" Like those old SATs analogies. Brain fart.

The preceptor was totally unfazed though and she nodded. "Uh huh, that's a position. How else can we ask about sex?"

Me trying to redeem myself: "Gah ... oh! Vaginal ... penetration ..." Just give up, brain.

The whole group was still hiding their laughter and the preceptor gave up on us. "Sexual intercourse! Have you ever had sexual intercourse? Right?"

Group: "Ahhh."

We sound like a bunch of slow dimwits, but it's harder than you think to find the proper wording sometimes for a patient. We all get the general gist of what we're supposed to ask, but when you're put on the spot and you're caught up with balancing patient and doctor agendas ... the wording tends to escape the mind at some moments. It tends to be easier with a real patient though - you go with the flow and there's no preceptor to pick at your wording problems.

Many doctors should work on interview skills though. Doctors who barely ask questions or who keep their eyes focused solely on the computer records usually overlook things or just leave the patient more confused or dissatisfied.

Group-mate after session: "Missionary, huh? Guess we know what you were doing during the weekend."

Ha ha.

If you haven't happened upon this clip yet, Kseniya Simonova - the winner of Ukraine's Got Talent 2009 - is a sand animator and this Youtube video of her skills is absolutely stunning. She used a giant light box, dramatic music, imagination and sand painting to interpret Germany's invasion and occupation of Ukraine during WWII. It pretty much brought the audience to tears.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

What Winter Break? Exams. Rectal Exam.

Hope everyone had wonderful holidays and Happy New Year! Here's to 2010!

Thanks for the recent messages, guys. I've gotten back to some of you today and like always, I'm still working through my inbox. I'm so sorry my lack of recent updates has left you hanging for so long. I'm still currently halfway through the next chapter for Through Me, but I'm really not in love with it at the moment and I have a serious case of writer's block.

Plus, I had an extremely short winter break (Those blissful month long breaks typical college kids enjoy no longer exist in our schedules these last few years. Think two weeks. Think a week. Think - ugh ...) And unfortunately, happy joy joy, classes start again tomorrow. Pharmacology, ahoy hoy.

I wish that I could just pound out the final chapters and I hope to do so soon sometimes in the near future, but at the moment, my classes are a bit distracting and even when I do sit down the document, I'm in the state where I hate everything I'm typing. I'll try to hopefully finish the story some time in the near future though and I hope to continue to update my blog in a more timely fashion to inform keep you all up to date. Thanks again for your message and I'm sorry I have no real concrete news about the next update at this time. I really appreciate your reviews and support though and I'm always glad to hear from you.

Interesting bits from the Behavioral Med class we just finished:

Anorexia (an eating disorder characterized by extremely low body weight, distorted body image and an obsessive fear of gaining weight) affects not only women. We watched two clips in class, including one about "manorexia". Both cases were shocking, especially when you compare the before and after, and it's important that anorexia's not treated lightly, like some switch the patient can just switch on and off.

We also learned about Tourette syndrome, autism, ADHD, and so forth. Behavioral Medicine was definitely one of the most interesting classes we've had so far.

At my ongoing training at the community health center I've been assigned to, I also got to perform my first rectal exam.

Friend: "So how'd it feel sticking your finger up someone's ass?"

Me: "Warm."

Also, slightly awkward, yes, but the male patient was game and he took it in stride. I wish all patients were this nice and understanding with two medical students hovering in the background. I don't think even I as a patient would have been so comfortable with the idea of a bunch of strangers grouped in the corner, listening in while the doctor's conducting his interview. But the patients we observed were all friendly and no one had a real problem with us being there after our roles were explained to them. Great experiences so far and here's hoping that they'd continue that way.