Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Wow, way overdue for a post. So sorry, had been studying and all. I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving!

This year, we decided to host a Thanksgiving potluck for the family, but since our oven had been broken for a while now (like years), we had the genius idea to just throw the turkey into the barbeque outside rather than dice the bird up for soup. Hours later, Dad went out in his down jacket to check on it, where we found that the grill had run out of gas. Fortunately, most of the meat was cooked and the skin was nice and crispy, but the wings were still raw and had to be stuck in a wok to be cooked some more. Because them giant wings would not fit in our teeny toaster oven.

And that's how we roll for family holidays.

The next chapter of Through Me is still ... in the works. I had intended to finish it once and for all for cousin's birthday, but that didn't happen. She wasn't very happy. She's still not so happy. As I can imagine, you guys might be in a similar state. Sorry! I'll try my best to finish it for the holidays.

Also, remember how I said I'd include more interesting pictures with my posts now that I got my amazing smartphone? Except it's been several months now and I can safely estimate that 99% of my camera photos are of my cousin's children. Baby obsession! As much as I'd love to plaster this blog with pictures of baby sleeping, baby feeding, baby yawning, baby smiling, baby crying, baby skeptical face, baby omg stop freaking me out with that phone already, I'm not sure that you all and baby's mom might appreciate that. So I'd just offer one Kodak moment:

Alright, maybe just one more:
Oh, the agony of being so beautiful.

It's like the kid has this built in defense mechanism against me. Whenever I visit her, two times out of three, she'd be napping. It's like she knows when I'm coming for her. Well, newsflash to her, just because she can face plant whenever I try to snap a picture doesn't mean I can't pick her up and shove my camera into her face eventually. Resistance is futile.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Essence of Sushi Rolls

I not so recently got a smartphone since my old phone was ancient and had been begging for retirement for a while now. Whenever someone used to ask me for my number, I had to follow it up with a warning: "You can call me, but my battery life dies after roughly fifteen minutes of chatting unless I stay plugged in to a wall. I'd prefer emails if you don't mind."

Once, someone responded with a "That's okay. I can always text you.", followed by a ;). 

Me, Very Not Amused: "I do not have a text plan. Please do not text me. Ever."

So my phone was pretty much useless except for emergency calls and setting alarms.

After a week of using my new phone with an unlimited text and data plan ... I do not know how I had ever survived without it.

Now, I can access directions or text friends for help anywhere so I don't have to get lost so easily. I can take photos and videos and just email them to myself instead of tediously plugging a camera into my laptop for uploading. I can waste time on colorful free Android apps. I can google anything right on the spot. I now have modern technology. I am connected to the world.

Except I still refuse to sync phone with facebook and twitter. I don't really go on facebook much because I can so easily lose hours just stalking  perusing people's photos. And after trying out twitter for a bit way back when a friend first convinced me to, I realized that I was a major twitterfail since it was such a reaffirmation of how boring my daily life is hahaha - why am I laughing? :( Also, I didn't like how some acquaintances from real life managed to find me on twitter when I didn't expect them to so I couldn't exactly tweet about writing anymore without getting questions. Writing life's still mostly a secret and I prefer to keep it that way.

Back to the glory of my new phone: the most important part of this new technology update is that I realized that I can snap so many pics on the go now and start inserting some proper images to break up my rambling posts. How exciting.

Except I am such an amateur point and shoot. Not even an adequate amateur actually, I'm the type who goes "Ooh, let's try an artistic angle." then "Ah, crap, angle captured my messy messes in the background." then "Eh, oh well, realistic art, tra la la!"


Brother made sushi rolls from some vinegared rice, seaweed, avocado, crab sticks, etc. the other day.   
Me: "I shall take very nice pictures now!"
Bro: "Why?"
Me: "Because I want to. So stop eating for a moment."
Me: "Damn, the plate is all sticky and dirty."
Bro: "I will eat now."
Me: "Here, clean this up. Get these -"
Bro: *chomp*
Me: "Noo! I told you to clean up the plate, get all those little grains of rice!
Bro: *chewing on a piece* "I thought you wanted the rolls lined up at a slant so I ate that piece for you."
Me: "I didn't say that."
Bro: "There's a slant now."

Me: "I'm hungry. I don't care anymore. Behold, mountain of pink in the background!"
Bro: "You know you can just clear off that plastic bag from the table -"
Me: "Pink mountain, arise!"

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Deathly Hallows Part 2 & Pottermore

Finally watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 the other day. I caught it in 3D, which was cool though I'm not sure how much I got out of the 3Dness asides from ooh, I'm floating past the Dementors and whoa, it's like I can reach out and taste Voldemort's drifting ashes. But all in all, the movie was great and I left the theater feeling pretty numbed after I spent part of the time clutching a wadded tissue. it wasn't even so much about all the deaths; I started tearing up when they started warding Hogwarts for battle. So epic.

General Impressions (Beware of spoilers ahead!):

  • Voldemort's public announcements were creepy. Especially to those two girls in the movie who screamed their heads off. The girls were so shell-shocked, I actually thought something magically horrific was happening to them and he was melting their brains inside out and soon we were going to see blood trickle out of their ears, eyes, and noses during the close up. Oh, oh ... not so. Voldemort's voice amplification just inspired screams of the normal variety.
  • I cringed and wanted to beat off Nagini with a bat when Snape finally met up with Voldemort. I liked how they showed the attack; even offscreen, the death sounded grisly. Poor Snape.
  • They did not do Fred Weasley's death justice. Oh, Fred, we didn't even get to see you fall in combat or mourn properly over your dead face. Folks who haven't read the books probably wouldn't have even known which Weasley died, let alone which twin.
  • Before, Lavender Brown was the annoying girl who got in between WonWon and Hermione and should have just disappeared for good already, gosh. After seeing a werewolf feast on her body ... Lavender Brown, forgive me, I didn't really mean it. No one deserves a werewolf mauling. :(
  • I had not particularly enjoyed Narcissa Malfoy's portrayal in the previous movies because of the skunk on her head and the lack of any memorable scenes, but she was ... wow here. Leading her son away to safety without a backward glance while her husband stumbled after them ... she was so badass. Her main priority had always been to keep Draco safe. Mother's love ftw. Screw the dark side. Work that skunk.
  • Dayum, Neville Longbottom, how to successfully get through puberty, indeed.
  • Dayum, Hermione Weasley, how to successfully get knocked up early enough to look like one good looking 25 year old mother of a 11 year old daughter?
  • I wished everything was longer. 
Good-bye for now, Harry Potter. End another chapter of childhood, take another step into real adulthood.

Speaking of Harry Potter, I recently heard of Pottermore and was discussing it with a friend yesterday. After doing 400 USMLEWorld review questions, my brain felt a bit mushy the whole day and to me, Pottermore sounded like darn good fun ... (keep in mind though that my idea of really fun games have been the Sims and Cranium).
Me: Apparently, it's supposed to be sort of interactive and you can get sorted into Houses and    stuff. I know this is pretty dorky of me but ...
Friend: I WANT A SPOT!
Real adulthood, indeed.

It's supposed to open up in October to the public, but starting July 31st, people can solve these Magical Quill clues based on the books to register for early access. They don't announce what time the clues go up though so around midnight yesterday, I was like yeah, this sounds pretty exciting (some of you might be scoffing at me now, but I have a sad life revolving around studying at the moment and even finding ice cream in the fridge turns into a momentous highlight of the day for me. Plus, come on, it's like freaking interactive Hogwarts world so I judge you more for not loving Hogwarts - alright, just judge me less harshly) ... but this is ridiculous, am I really going to stay up all night refreshing the Pottermore site in hopes the clue would appear? Sure, I guess I can technically use the time to continue studying and check back on the site hourly, but ... I like sleep too much. Dilemma of the night.

I went to bed. Dilemma over.

Around 4:20 am though, I got a text from friend: "Answer's 245!!"

And then a few minutes later: "You awake??"

Yeah, no, I was completely knocked out.

Around 5:30 am, I jerked awake and checked my phone groggily for the time when I saw her messages. Of course, by then, registration was over and I was like, "Nooo! Thwarted by an hour!"

And then I laughed because I couldn't believe friend had been so dedicated to still be up past 4am. Rolled over and went back to sleep.

At the rate these clues are getting posted up, I'm pretty sure I'm just going to wait for October and be one of those non-special early folks to check out the site. I don't quite have the stamina the hardcore Potter fans have, but it's still incredible to see such enthusiasm over something Harry Potter again especially with the last movie over. The fanbase is definitely still as passionate as back in the days of midnight book release parties, if not more.

Happy Birthday, J.K.Rowling and Harry Potter. Thanks for the good times.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Vagina Actresses, Penis Actors

A while ago, we had gynecologic and genitourinary sessions to teach us how to perform a Pap smear, breast exam, and hernia assessment, digital rectal exam etc. on female and male standardized patients respectively.

Our standardized patients were actually instructors who walked us through the various steps and procedures as we practiced on their own bodies. They must get paid really well.

One distinct difference between the female and male sessions: females are a lot more complicated. Haha, generally, those who were doing the Gyn sessions got out later than the those in the GU sessions and the GU instructor said that was because for women, they want to know every detail and reasoning why we're doing such and such. We have to use the proper terminology and be careful of how we word things, i.e. "I'm going to palpate your breast now." versus "I'm going to feel your breast now."

As opposed to men, who are too busy staring up at the ceiling and thinking of other things so they don't have to focus on us examining their genitals to really process what we're saying during the exam anyway. Men are apparently more likely to feel embarrassed and may choose to turn a blind eye to any medical condition they have, especially of the GU type, rather than come in for a doctor's visit.

My group of three students started off with a GYN session where we spent some time staring at the instructor's breasts and describing them, from their shape, color, lesions to the way they hang. These instructors better be paid well.

After the breast exam, the lady got into position with her feet up in stirrups and legs spread apart while we learned how to work with a speculum and Pap smear test as the instructor watched our movements down below with a handheld mirror. I really, really hope these instructors get paid well.

Classmate got reminded several times to kindly keep his thumb on neutral position while wielding the speculum.

After the session, he murmured, "You know why I kept doing that? It's because I got so used to holding my game controller like that. I think she probably hates me."

"Catching you texting in the background while she was still exposed probably didn't win you any extra points," I said.

"I wasn't texting! I was checking the time on my phone."

Other classmate who had been wielding the speculum at that moment laughed and said that things couldn't be too safe, to which he was like "What? What was that? I didn't catch that."

"She means the instructor might have been worried you were texting pictures ..."

"No! I really was only checking the time!"

"Yeah. And then you asked her how many actresses come to do these sessions."

He covered his face with his hands. "It came out wrong. I meant - I meant like - I blanked out on how to refer to them ..."

The instructor had had a half amused, half puzzled expression on her face. She mused, "Actresses? What kind of actresses do you mean exactly? What, like vagina actresses?"

He stammered a lot.

All of the instructors were really nice and patient with us all and they were incredibly relaxed and professional even with a whole bunch of us getting all up in their private bits. My GU instructor, who works as a nurse in his daytime job, had a great sense of humor. He actually gave a little cheer when I asked him if he was circumcised. And ... that sounds completely wrong out of context so long story short, we were all supposed to ask if our patients are circumcised before we lift the blanket off of them to avoid a whole fiasco of staring at a penis and going ...
"You are not circumcised."
"Yes, actually, I am."
"Oh. Sorry, my bad."
So I was the only one who remembered to do so before the unveiling of the bits and the funny man actually pumped his fist in the air. We all cracked up and I thanked him for his support.

That's not to say I had no problems though. Since I was the last one to do the digital rectal exam, I had a bit of a ... lubrication mishap. Basically, I sat on the stool behind him for the longest time, my gloved finger probing for his anus in between his butt cheeks. It was a very surreal experience.
Instructor, elbows propped on the examination table and legs spread: "Ah, I'm sorry, this isn't your fault but since your classmates did such a good job before, I'm afraid there's a lot of lubrication and you just slipped away from the opening."
Me: "Uh ... okay ... right ... I have it now."
Instructor: "... No ... try a little higher."
Me: "Um ... here?"
Instructor: "Not quite."
Me: "Here?"
Instructor: "Eh ..."
Me (a little desperately now): "Here?"
Instructor: "Yep, good. Now you can push in."
I really wish all of our previous physical diagnosis sessions had these great teachers; it was a lot more thorough, hands-on experience of course and the one-on-one practice with the instructor really helped with correcting our mistakes and enforcing what we learned. But I guess the budget for hiring these folks is pretty limited.

But yay for vagina actresses, penis actors! (Really, those are not their official titles.)

Other news: I have not done any real writing except for a few pages for the next TM chapter. Sorry! I've been busy studying for Step 1, rejecting friends' fun summer plans, taking practice exams, then freaking out and postponing the date ... rinse and repeat. Haha, so I'm still studying, holed up in my room in this sweltering heat, but I will be taking a day off next week to finally see the last Harry Potter film with friends. We wanted to go later to avoid the mad rush and the kids. I don't think I've actually seen all of the HP films and I haven't particularly rated the earlier movies as must sees even though I think they were pretty good family fun movies - but I liked Deathly Hallows Part 1 and this is the last HP movie ever and just the idea of this being the last production together before the cast finally leaves these film sets they grew up on ... sadface! Plus, this being the epic conclusion with Hogwarts going down in flames and so. many. deaths. ... sadbawlingface.

Anyway, I thought this blog needed a long overdue update since it's been a while since I posted. I am still alive and once again, thank you all for your patience and support.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Eating Starch

Been on attending rounds and bedsides for a while now which is a nice experience since I'm not responsible for patients yet but I can observe the rest of the team doing their thing, help hold a patient in fetal position for a lumbar procedure, and listen in on patient reports and presentations.

For bedsides, I got to do a write up on a patient who was admitted to the hospital for complaints of fatigue and an extremely low hemoglobin count. She was a lovely, cooperative lady and she readily agreed to letting me perform a basic physical exam on her, but when the attending came in at the end and told her she could be discharged, the patient sighed in relief. "I can't wait to go home and get some real food."

The attending gave her a look. "I know what you're thinking of and the answer is no."

The patient rubbed her hands sheepishly. "I wasn't going to - no - well, just a little for the road?"



The attending shook her head, shaking her pen at the patient for emphasis. "It's going to kill you. No more starch."

"Okay ..." the patient agreed, resigned.

Out in the hallway, the attending asked my partner and I, "Did she tell you about her diet?"

"No ..."

"Yeah, well, she eats ... like, starch."

We nodded slowly. "Okay." What's so weird about starch?

"... As in laundry detergent," she explained.

"What?" We gaped at her.

The attending chuckled. "Yeah, we said her GI seemed irritated and she just goes, 'Oh yeah, that might be the starch'. So she's actually been eating Argo Starch which is something I believe that the cleaners use to starch clothes."

My partner blinked. "When you said no starch to her, I thought you meant ... real food ..."

"Like carbs," I added.

So the patient has pica, which is a disorder in which the patient craves non-food substances. Sometimes you see this more often in pregnant women when some of them start having a hankering for dirt, clay, or starch, etc. In the case of this patient, she had a previous history of eating starch during her pregnancy and recently picked up the habit again, popping these Argo Starch like popcorn while watching TV.

Yep. Other than bedsides, I've been studying for practicals and exams. Been busy and it's probably going to be busy for a while. Writing will be on hold til late summer probably. As always, thanks for your patience!

Oh wait, on a totally random note, it really hit me the other day that the last Harry Potter movie will be coming out this summer and at that moment, it felt like my childhood - tis OVER! Haha, this generation who grew up with Harry Potter and the Hogwarts bunch and lived through the anticipation of waiting for each book to come out ... this is it. The last movie. Just seeing the cast of Harry Potter all grown up and how mature and stylish they are now and going off on their own separate successful ways after completing this series and comparing them to the first movie when they were such cuties with their little chubby cheeks and ... my childhood is finished. TAKE ME BACK.

So when I saw this epic fan video ... I'm a dork. I teared up a little:

The magic will never die! Battle cry of the day.

Oh, and congrats to Prince William and Kate Middleton for getting hitched. It was the day after my formal so my friend woke me up freakishly too early to watch it be broadcast live and I kept passing out on the air mattress next to her TV in the living room where I had crashed for the night only to be wakened up sporadically by her comments on the dress, the hats and stuff. I think every time I opened my eyes, I saw Kate walking down the aisle again. I felt a little like I was in Twilight Zone, but since it got replayed so many times throughout the day, I was happy to be able to catch it later when I was less groggy. It was really a very lovely wedding and everyone looked absolutely spiffy.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Doctors Who Stalk

We had a lecture on lipid disorders.

One of the slides in the Powerpoint presentation featured a woman's eyes with xanthoma (fat deposits under the surface of the skin).

Here, the doctor paused. "Okay, this picture is of this patient - this is a true story - I first saw this woman on the train and she had this xanthoma around her eyes." He glanced at the slide again. "So I kept staring at her."

Some of us chuckled and even he broke off with a laugh when he realized how creepy that sounded.

"It's very typical for some people to not be aware of their condition, but anyway, so I kept staring at her and then this stop comes up and she gets off the train." He nodded. "So I followed her."

Now, we all started laughing.

"True story! So I caught up with her and I gave her my name and number -" He shook his head with another self-deprecating grin. "Good thing she still decided to come to the hospital anyway. She came to our office a few days later and we treated her. She actually wanted the xanthoma removed surgically, but without real treatment for her underlying condition, it would have recurred. But after we helped her, I think she's doing really well now. Nice and healthy life."

Score one for doctors who stalk.

Better than certain doctors who act like they can't be bothered to care.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Red Reflex (Not A Superhero)

We have a practical exam for physical diagnosis coming up.

During a practice session last week:

Doctor: "So during the exam, you should announce your findings and steps for the preceptor."
Me (holding a fundoscope): "Okay."
Doctor (looking at me): "So you should say 'I see the red reflex.'"
Me: "I see the red reflex."
Doctor (eyes still on me): "Yep."
Me (what else now?): "I see the red reflex."
Doctor (still staring): "Uh huh."
Me (dramatically now): "I see the RED REFLEX!"
Doctor (turning away with a laugh): "Good!"

He flourished a hand like the maestro he is.

The red reflex is the reddish-orange reflection from the eye's retina that is observed using an ophthalmoscope in a dark room. Abnormal white spots or an absence of a normal red reflex can be caused by cataracts, glaucoma, retinoblastoma or retinal detachment. Red, good. White, bad. Kinda like Lunar New Year colors. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Captain Planet, He's Our Hero

When I was a kid, my cousins and my brother and I would play "make-believe anything". No, that's not what we called it, but we were really, really into this make-believe business. We acted out anything from our own hot creative mess of a Mighty Mutant Morphin' Club to The Boxcar Children to camping with a blanket over four chairs until we grew so big, one of our cousins was inevitably stuck sleeping "outside under the stars". And we loved to pretend we were Captain Planet's Planeteers. We even made our own paper rings, we were that legit yo.

Except whenever we played make-believe, my brother - the youngest - always got stuck with the less than heroic role. We were always "saving" him and he was always getting "hurt" or "kidnapped" and he could never ever be Fire because my older cousin already got dibs, but we tried to pretend his Earth power was still cool. Usually by going "AHHHHH!" and staggering around the room whenever he brandished his ring and belted out, "EARTH!" Like we were in some epic earthquake.

I remember now that we must have fed him some line such as you can play Earth and Heart. Two powers! What a bargain! But honestly, years later, I couldn't even remember there was a Heart person until a friend recently mentioned it in a late night conversation. Why were we discussing Captain Planet? Can't remember, don't ask haha.
Him: "No one ever wanted to play Heart. He was useless."
Me: "Heart? There's no element like that."
Him: "There is a Heart power. No lie. He was that short little kid with a monkey -"
Me: "OH! Wait ... what exactly did Heart do?"
Him: "Exactly. What does Heart do?"
Well, apparently, Heart can speak to animals ... and care about people a lot ... and I guess, recycle really well.

So naturally, my little brother would gamely pretend to talk to a stuffed monkey for all of five seconds before "EARTH! EARTHQUAKE!"


This comic made me think of him and our cousins and our younger, more carefree years. Do I feel old.

If we had played this Guntron team though ... yeah, bro would probably have been the bullet. Haha.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day!

My friend baked cookies and cupcakes for class:

See the ones with heart shaped icing? They're specially indicated for her closest friends, her "crew". Naturally, I got one of those hearts haha. Since it was a red velvet, she saved me a second funfetti one. This is why we're so close. She feeds me and I get fed. (Yes, technically, this may appear to be more of a parasitic relationship than mutual symbiosis, but let's not tell her that.)

The school also had a candygram thing going on today and I received two from some generous classmates. Ah, this is truly what Valentine's Day is about: baked goods and sweets.

Finished off with some dinner plans after class and ... seriously, this day is all about food for me.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine's Day with your loved ones too! :)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Tap This

We practiced the neurologic exam last week. As part of the deep tendon reflexes overview, we checked for the ankle jerk reflex which is elicited by tapping on the Achilles tendon along the back of the foot.

"I've found what helps is to kinda ..." The doctor climbed up a table, leaning forward and hiking a leg up so that a knee was propped on the surface like so:

"Ah, like a stripper," my brain thought.

"Ah, like a stripper," my mouth said.

Clearly, my brain-to-mouth filter was on strike.

My group laughed and I tried to do a ninja shuffle to the background before the doctor can arch her back for a clear look at who was blurting out such inappropriate comments.

After the session:
Friend: That was one of your - no, your second most funniest line in class.

Me: ... You're remembering the missionary sex thing, aren't you?

When we practiced the visual fields exam on our partners, I just couldn't get her eyes to converge. So I sat there for the longest time bringing my finger close to her nose again and again trying to make the girl cross-eyed.

The doctor cocked her head. "You sure you don't see any convergence? It should be pretty obvious."

Feeling like a failure, I stammered, "Uh, well, her left eye kinda ... but it wasn't really ... I mean, the eyes didn't really move close together and -"

The doctor gave me an amused, indulgent smile as she shifted her seat next to me. I got out of her way, cringing. I will be branded as the dumb medical student who can't even get a patient to follow a freaking finger through the air. They will look at me in the future and think this is the girl who should go home and play with her fingers in some corner.

The doctor moved her finger in a wide H. The girl's eyes followed her finger perfectly. Then the convergence test and ...

"Huh. You're right."

"I am?" I tried not to sound too satisfied. Oh, who am I kidding? I was probably beaming.

"What?" The girl gaped at us. "There's a problem with my eye?"

"Yeah, have you ever been told your left eye's a little weak?" The doctor sat back in her seat.

"Uh, no, I wasn't even aware that ..." The girl looked worried.

"What happened?" The other girls in the session glanced over us.

"My eyes won't converge," my partner explained.

"Really?" One of them brought her finger up. "Look at my finger." Zoomed in toward partner's nose. Her hand dropped back down. "Oh, wow."

We were all fascinated. I was also probably smiling inappropriately again.

My partner touched her eye. "Well ... damn. Thanks for picking up on that."

"Uh, no problem. Don't worry. It'll be okay." And I poked her with a broken tongue depressor to distract her.

Kidding, that came a bit later. Sensory exam for pain, oh yeah.

A note about my masterpiece up there: I know, you're in awe of my artistic prowess. Since my drawings are so eerily lifelike, I purposely left the face blank to protect the identity of my instructor. Please don't be intimidated by my boundless skills. I'm still human.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


I always knew Peanut Butter was too good for Jelly haha.

Will You Look Up My Nose?

In our small group session, we practiced the basic head & neck, thorax & lungs examination on each other.

This basically meant we all got a tad more intimate with some people we've been hanging around with for too long.

We played with penlights and checked the direct and consensual light reaction (constrictions of the pupils). We half-assed the Snellen card exam since I should hope all of us already knew whether or not we needed eyeglasses and we took turns blinding each other with the ophthalmoscope until we figured out the dim setting.

We convinced a girl that we wouldn't judge her for having a dirty ear as she tried to wheedle her way out of getting it checked with the otoscope:
"I think I have earwax."
          "It's okay."
"No, really, it's stuck up there and I can't get rid of it! Q-tips don't work! Please, no!"
"Oh, silly, you're funny. It's okay. We doubt you'd be the last dirty ear we'd be seeing."
"No, really -"
"Just sit down."
The doctor then looked in my ear as a demonstration for the other students because everyone seemed to be having a hard time with it; apparently, we all have narrow ear canals. Nothing like having your classmates hovering around to study the inside of your ear to make a girl feel self-conscious.

Then we looked up a girl's nose. Then we looked up a sick girl's nose and admired her swollen turbinates. Then we made sick girl open up her mouth so we could inspect her swollen tonsils; white patches! We think it's a viral infection and we were so excited over the girl's sickness, it was pretty sad.

We went over the neck's lymph nodes and moved on to inspecting the thorax and lungs. Our small group sessions are separated into groups by sex so we had a bunch of girls pulling off their sweaters and unzipping their hoodies so that we can practice better in our tank tops. Of course, that's when some guys decided to wander over by our room. The doctor gave them a pointed look. "Do you need anything?"

"No, we're just -" They got the door slammed in their faces.

When one of the girls tried respiratory excursion on me (palpation by cupping your hands around the patient's posterior thorax to observe for symmetry), I'm ashamed to say I broke out into uncontrollable giggles. I'm extremely ticklish and just barely restrained myself from elbowing the girl in her face to free myself.

We went through tactile fremitus, percussion (that was fun), and auscultation. I think we're all healthy.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Dr. Chippendale

We had a lecture on head, eye, thorax physical examination procedure.

For the last demonstration, the doctor called up one of the guys to play guinea pig. When he made his way up to the front of the room, she asked, "Would you mind taking off your shirt?"

He froze. "Uh ..."

The class' response:

Half the guys: "We mind!"

Other half: "Do it! Take it off!" *wolf whistles*

Girls: Exactly which side do we take that would be least offensive?

Guy gamely decided to participate, turned his back to the class and tugged up his shirt. I really wanted to describe the scene in more detail, but all the lines I've typed up at this point made me sound like a really bad Harlequin novel. Suffice to say, the shirt made it up over the guy's face. His back: muscles flexed, light gleamed off skin.

Guys in our class snickering: "Whoo, baby!"

With his arms raised and the shirt still covering his face, he paused. Commencement of pelvic gyrations.

Class burst into loud guffaws. Yes, professionals we are.

Doctor, trying not to smile and probably wondering if this was such a good idea now, asked the guy to sit down on the bench, back still facing us. We then went through the techniques of tactile fremitus, percussion, and auscultation with the stethoscope. Percussion, by the way, is exactly what it sounds like; it's pretty much like playing drums on the patient's back with your fingers and listening for resonance. Next up, air guitar.

Guy was instructed to face us and while the doctor continued to explain what she was looking for, guy glanced down at his chest worriedly. As she continued to speak, he tried to subtly blow on his hands and pat his chest (specifically nipple range).

Doctor paused as she turned to him, stethoscope in hand.

He dropped his hand, cleared his throat. "Sorry. It was cold."

The class cracked up again.

Doctor: Must remember why I agreed to teach.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

For Everything Else, There's Mastercard

Course director sent out a page of recommended tools we should purchase for our physical diagnosis course:

Littmann Cardio III Stethoscope: ~$150
Ophthalmoscope/Otoscope: ~$600
Sphygmomanometer: ~$150
Reflex Hammer: ~$10
Tuning Forks (128 and 512 Hz): ~ $14 each
Penlights: $5
Case Studies Workbook: $26
Textbook: $80

The Medical Diagnostic Experience: Priceless ... my ass.

If you are super close with any sad, poor medical students or you just really pity them sad, sad souls and/or want them to love you for life, gift them with a really good stethoscope. Adoration. For life.

Medical Bag: $ eff that, I'm wrapping this up in a plastic garbage bag and calling it a day. (Half joking.)

While waiting for our physical diagnosis preceptor to come for our session on vitals (it got so late, we joked that this really felt like a real medical office), we started chatting about movies.

One girl said she was going to see Black Swan which most of the group said was a really good movie. From there, we talked about Natalie Portman's pregnancy and from there, we talked about how she was going to be in this new movie with Ashton Kutcher.

We agreed it looked like a pretty bad movie.

One person laughed, "Friendship has its benefits. Yah, sure, right."

From there, we started talking about all the random movie trailers we've seen. Apparently, a lot of us enjoy watching trailers and not, you know, the actual movies themselves. Since classes had recently picked up, I'm assuming this is due to a decrease in free time to actually go sit through a two hour movie at the theaters when we can just squat at home with our textbooks and speculate happily over a two minute clip during procrastination breaks. Whatever the reason, yes, this still sounds pretty pathetic.

Anyway, one girl, half choking on a laugh, suddenly brought up: "Oh my gosh ... Gnomeo and Juliet."

The conversation tripped and we all gave her this quizzical look. I was pretty sure I must have misheard and was trying to decide if I should ask her to repeat or if I should just pretend to know what she was talking about and nod.

The girl seemed to realize we had no clue what she was talking about though and enlightened us: "Basically ... Romeo is a gnome."

Never in the world had I imagined I would ever hear that. So ridiculous, it was hilarious.

When we were done laughing:

"What? For real?"

Another girl: "I would think Juliet would rather die than be with a gnome though."

"They're all gnomes!"

"Oh man ... I'm sorry for Shakespeare."

Gnomeo & Juliet? Surely, this is one of those cases when someone (perhaps with the helpful aid of some mind-altering substance) comes up with the title first and then writes out a whole screenplay just for it. Because otherwise, the other scenario would mean that someone one day decided that a gnome story would be cute and since gnomes make people naturally think of Shakespeare and gnomefied witches for Macbeth would just be way too creepy, an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet would be ideal and even better, ooh, they can call it Gnomeo and Juliet ... yeah, I don't know, maybe if there were also some mind-altering substances in play here.

So I had to check out the trailer. And well ... it seems charming enough for kids and there's the Shrek 2 director and James McAvoy! (though sadly, he is gnomefied and I don't dig bearded gnomes even with the James McAvoy! voice), though I'm assuming this won't be a true adaptation of the classic what with the ... gnomes ... and probably no tragedy in the end because how exactly do you kill gnomes?

I'd like to know because garden gnomes kinda freak me out.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 1

I saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows with friends before Christmas after our last day of classes. I had a lot of time to kill before I met up with other friends for a late dinner so I thought a movie would be a good way to productively waste time. Productively waste? Hmm, oxymorons ftw.

Anyway, I like to judge movies into two categories:
           A. Worth the ticket price
           B. Gimme back my money, bitch!
*Spoilers Ahead!*
I deemed HP worth the money halfway through because it was just really good and the locations they went through were gorgeous. Plus, I love that feeling when large stakes finally come into play. The movie as a whole felt more emotional to me than the previous ones and I thought it suited well with seeing how our favorite protagonists mature and cope with hard decisions in a new, dangerous world. The beginning part of the movie when Hermione obliviates herself from her parents' memory already had me tearing up. I'd admit when I read the book, the beginning part dragged a bit for me, but hey, epic quests take time to solve and the "slow scenes" in the movie stayed true to the book and only emphasized how lost these teenagers were as they tried to figure out the Horcruxes without much to go on and how they didn't give up. It also helped that each new camping site they went to looked like some picturesque page out of National Geographic. Dreamy backgrounds ♥

And the part when Harry dances with Hermione to cheer her up after Ron left was easily one of my favorite scenes. Not because I'm one of those Harry/Hermione shippers (I adore Rupert Grint/Ron), but because it was cute and funny and poignant at the same time. In the theater, almost everyone started off with a laugh which then faded into this collective commiserating, nostalgic silence. Finding small comfort in little, silly acts like these should resonate deeply with anyone who's ever went through a tough time, evil dark killer wizard not necessary.

So I was like yep, this is a good movie, I'm so excited!, this is so worth the money and I'm going to recommend this to everyone  - and then the movie ended.

Which, okay, I knew this was part one and duh, it was never going to have a final final conclusion, but still, I wanted moooore. It was building and building up and then it ended. Only after the ending do you realize 'Oh yeah, that fight in the Malfoy home ... that was supposed to be the climax of the movie.'

Sighs. Still, I lurved!

But when I mentioned that I'd seen HP to a friend and how I really liked it, the first thing he asked was, "But did you feel that there were scenes that lingered too long on people's faces? Scenes that dragged?"

"Well ... I guess. But not any more than any other character-driven movie in a drama genre or something. The characters are growing up and they're no longer in school with classes and having fun so I think there's a more mature feel to - oh no, there are bad reviews for HP, aren't there? You've read bad reviews! Who are these people who have given bad reviews and where do they live??"

"I've heard some," he affirmed cautiously.

I guess some people who were expecting more action and magic in their HP films were disappointed, but for me, I think this latest movie will be my most memorable one yet out of the series so far. I don't know specifically why. Maybe it was the lonelier, darker atmosphere and how the little kiddies are all so grown up now and acting their butts off with their more subtle, nuanced expressions ... I just liked it, damn it. End.

Oh, also on movie day, we caught this trailer during the previews:

Man in front: Oh, no.
Man behind me: Oh, god. 
Me to friend: Is it me or does this kinda remind you of -
Screen: From the Director of Twilight ...
Me: Oh. Right.
Friend: I am not watching that.
Screen: Who's Afraid? March 2011.
Me: Is this a horror movie? What are we supposed to be afraid of?
Friend: I'm definitely not watching that.
Me: Will there be sparkling werewolves that will terrorize the village?
Friend: Not watching it.
Me: But Amanda Seyfried doesn't care. She still wants to be with him even though he tells her he's wrong for her. Wait, whoa, why does this seem so familiar?
Friend: Definitely 100% not watching this.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Butt Dance

Friend had a potluck at her place the other day. I decided to bring spring rolls so I wrangled my brother into helping me wrap rolls the night before.

During wrapping, we bonded:
Brother: So, the butt dance.
Me: Oh. That Korean thing?
Brother: Yes. KARA.
Me: Hmm, that's really the only song I know from that group. What's the name of it again? Mister or something?
Brother: No clue. I only know of The Butt Dance.
Me: Oh ... okay.
Brother: ....
Me: La la la la lala laa la la la lala la la -
Brother: Don't.
My brother doesn't like to talk much.

Anyway, this is the butt dance he is referring to. Kinda old news, but I guess no news is too old for guys when it comes to girls doing synchronized booty-shakin':

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Through Me Chapter 29

Through Me Chapter 29 has finally been posted! It's a really, really long chapter (around 25 pages) and Fictionpress went and messed with some of my formatting again so Adel and Tristan look like they have ultra fancy email addresses for the technologically impaired, but oh wells. I hope you like it anyway.

I'm hoping to wrap up the story by the next chapter or so. A nice round 30 chapters. Until then, thank you all so much for sticking with this story for so long. I know it hasn't been easy with my excruciatingly slow updates so you guys really are way awesome. 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Worst Christmas Ever

Christmas Day, my brother drove into a Rite Aid parking lot so that I can pop in to pick up some formula for my cousin's baby and as he started to maneuver the car around into a parking space, the SUV in the next space suddenly started to back up blindly until thud, it dented the rear backseat door of our car. The lady then honked as if we were at fault for being in the way and when we didn't move, she threw her hands up and stuck her head out of the window with a cigarette dangling from her lips and goes, "I didn't do that. That dent was already on your car."

We stared at her in disbelief and from then on, the argument basically went through "Uh, yeah, you hit us." ... "No, I didn't." ... "Yeah, you did." ... "No, you're lying." ... "No, there's a dent. Why the hell would we lie?" ... "I don't know, because you want your car to be fixed." ... "Yeah, because you HIT us."

So we got out of our car to call the cops to file an accident report.

Then crazy lady proceeded to drive forward over the parking lot bumper and turned her car around across the neighboring three empty parking spaces and tried to drive away.

So I called after her, "Hey, lady, I got your license plate number so go ahead, drive off. We'll just wait here for the cops."

Insane lady then made a loop around the parking lot and doubled back still screaming out the window, "I'm going to call the cops. I know the cops. You're lying!" Sped off. Returned. "Don't try to put this on me! You're lying!"

To which I shouted back, "What are you even doing right now? What are you doing? Are you on drugs or something?" She was pasty-faced with dried lips and I still couldn't comprehend what she thought driving in circles would solve.

Of course, she responded intelligently with, "What are you doing? What are you doing?"

"I'm calling the cops, thanks."

"Well, I'm calling the cops too. On my own."

"You go right ahead. Keep driving around in circles, too."

Then she drove off again to hover in the outer perimeters of the lot.

Meanwhile, I'm calling the cops to confirm the address when suddenly, a red car veered up next to us and a man with heavy-lidded eyes jumped out yelling, "What are you doing to my wife? My wife didn't do anything! She didn't do anything!"

Pointed at the dent. "Your wife hit us."

"She didn't do anything! Nothing! What are you trying to pull?"

Okay. Apparently, insane lady called her equally insane husband for back-up. Nice. Oh look, here goes insane lady driving up again to scream the equivalent of "Yeah!" and "That's right!" in accompaniment to her husband's eloquent monologue. Also, "I'm going to the hospital and I'm gonna say that you hurt my neck. That's what you get for making a big deal out of it."

I laughed out loud.

Well, we exchanged a few choice words and then I turned my back on them, ignoring them to talk to the operator and to call my cousin up to come pick up our gifts for her kids because we weren't going anywhere anytime soon. Then I called my other cousin to say that we might not be able to meet up for lunch after all.

So so far, I was pissed off and irritated, but that turned out to be nothing compared to how I felt when the cops actually got there. Because instead of relieving my concerns, the first thing one of the cops said after listening to the lady ramble on about how there wasn't any problem at all was "So why did you call us? Why did we even need to come?"

My brother's brows furrowed. "Uh, she hit our car. We called you. Can you come take a look at our car first?" As in, can you please get out of your car and come take a look, sir?

So blah. blah, blah. The cops announced, "Okay, we're going to file a no-fault report."

And I stared at them. "No fault? We got hit. They're at fault."

The insane husband was still blabbering in the background about how that was exactly what he told us, that there would be a no fault report filed and what would end up happening would be that both our insurances would be raised so it would be equally bad for both of us ... blah blah, basically trying to convince us that not filing an insurance claim would be the best route for both parties. Well, you sure seem familiar with these accident reports - had a lot of experience?

I ignored him and the cop explained, "But right now, she's saying you're the ones who hit the back of her car so it's a he said, she said thing."

"Wait, what if there were witnesses?"

Cop raised an eyebrow. "Well, where's your witness then?"

I pointed at the surveillance camera. "The video probably caught everything."

Cop then practically scoffed and said, "Well, I'm not going in there to get that video. If you want it, you go get it yourself."

It wasn't so much about what he was saying, but how he was saying it that rubbed me the wrong way. He literally could care less. It started to feel like we, the victims, were the ones who were at fault for calling the cops and wasting their precious time.

So my brother ran in, got the help of a really nice Rite Aid security guard, and then came jogging back out. "They have the video. It shows everything clearly."

The cops actually sat there deliberating so I added, "Would you take a look, please?"

They sighed and agreed and I muttered a "Thank you." But at that moment, I was relieved because surely, the video would help clear this whole mess.

What actually happened was that the relatively more professional cop looked at the video while the other cop who told us to get the video ourselves hung around in the store, not even taking a look and chatted with the insane husband, saying, "I don't know why they're so persistent about this when it's just property damage."

I wasn't in the store then, but my brother was and he later told me what happened and my response was pretty much *string of curse words* ... Seriously, what happened to good cops and justice and all that jazz? If someone hit their car, I'd bet my last dime they wouldn't be all zen about it ("Oh, go on, it's just property damage, please, dent my other side too so that I may achieve perfect symmetry. Golden ratio, behold.")

Brother muttered, "This makes me want to not pay taxes." 

In the end, we got a copy of the video which showed the SUV clearly backing up into us (store manager who took a look even blurted out, "She hit you! Junkie monkey?"). Insane lady, however, still maintained that we hit her or that we had moved the car back to lie in wait for her to hit us and continued cursing us out and taking pictures of our dented car. She had a stack of expired licenses or something for some reason and didn't even managed to produce a current license, saying she left it at home and still, the cops didn't fine her? Then she tried saying that we'd been harassing and threatening her until the cops came. To which finally, finally, the slightly more professional cop told her he wanted her to leave and go home. Junkie monkey, indeed.

Then I asked the cop if the report would still be filed no-fault and he said that they can't determine anything; it's the insurance company who does that. So fine, okay, guess the cops were never going to be a major help. As long as they got the information down and we got the video, we'll try to deal with everything else ourselves and hope the insurance claim pans out. It was just frustrating and aggravating. In a normal scenario, we could have just exchanged insurance information and went on with our lives. What are the odds that we'd get hit by a weirdo who can still keep up a delusional string of lies even after seeing the recording? Even insane husband gentled his tone later as he still tried to convince me that not filing an insurance claim would be better for both our insurance rates. Of course, I snubbed him by turning around to talk to my cousin instead of listening to him, but at least, he didn't continue cursing like a maniac.

But hey, Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! And Happy New Year! May we all get off to a much better, happier year than the last.

And here's to hoping our neighborhood precinct get around to upgrading their standards for better cops.

Haha, I'll stop being a downer now. 

I will update Through Me Chapter 29 soon - tomorrow or sometime this week. I also wanted to get Chapter 30 down too and finish the story this winter break, but I have another of those pesky board exams to deal with and the break's already sadly nearing its end. It is an optional one on a subject I took a year ago, but I signed up for it since I think it'd be good to see how badly I do so that I can be properly scared into prepping hard for Step 1 haha. Sighs, I'll see. Happier posts coming soon!