Tag Archive | Medicine

The Next Mr. Right

It was mid-October and I found this message in my OKC inbox:

      Hi, I’m Jimmy,
I’m new to NYC and OKC. I am easy going. I like movies, dinners, traveling, music, shows, and many other things. I would like to get to know you. I am seeking someone to hang out with, go on date nights, and just take it easy. I would love for me to get to know you better and vice versa. If you are interested, hit me back.

One week later, my response:

Hey you,
I’m Choo Choo. Well, I’m not new to NY, and yes, new to OKC… This was more like a curiosity and see what the hype is lol… What are you in NY for, and how do you like it?

From there, we hit it off, virtually.  Like an exothermic reaction.

okcupid-logoAnd yes, I was on a messaging spree with several guys at a time.  No real harm in playful chatting, right?  This multitasking game of finding friendship and love is a thrilling ride.  The key is to strike a balance and be efficient.  It’s a skill that suits me for Emergency Medicine, similarly a continuous and simultaneous game of meeting patients, obtaining histories and records, figuring out what’s wrong and what to do next, talking to more people, and simply getting things done.  I also happen to have a short attention span with tendencies toward ADHD, so I fit snugly into both the OKC and Emergency Medicine world.

Quickly enough, by mid-November, he was like, “Cool, hey wanna meet up sometime?”

We started the back-and-forth fun and flirty texting game.  Right after things fizzled out with Kevo, I picked things up with this new guy.  What was special about this new guy?

To start off, he’s a Brooklynite working on his plastic surgery residency at a major city hospital.  Again, there was that immediate bond by default of our respective paths in medicine.  I could relate to his life as a surgeon, after barely surviving 2 months of rolling into the hospital at 5AM and enduring retractor duties.  And I’m sure he could relate to my current status as a 4th year medical student with interviews, travels and … freedom!  And like every other guy on the Internet trying to win a girl’s heart, he was super enthusiastic for Asian food and coffee, both of which are the bane of my physical existence.

However, here’s an interesting situation. I mentioned this guy to two of my good friends, both of whom had essentially the same response:  “Hmmmmm, noo00OO00oo” and “Ooohhh, that’s dangerous territory” [shakes head side to side].  Historically, surgeons have this tough-guy, ass-hole persona.  Little pleases them and more pisses them in the face.  When they’re happy or mad, their mouths dispense brusque profanities like a child playing with a Pez toy.  When they get moody in the operating room, do take cover.  The last thing you want to do is incur their wrath or become the object of their projected displeasure.

So I was forewarned about potentially dating a surgeon, let alone a plastic surgeon. Unexplainable, yet understandable. I was curious about this guy who so captured me with his charm and enthusiasm, how could I resist? I was atop an emotional high, mixed with anxiety and anticipation, even more so than the last one. And the lure of a plastic surgeon, the doctors often delineated as tall, smart, handsome and charismatic, an all-around lady’s man. I must admit, I’m a victim to such men; easy to like, or even fall in love, but also easy to fall down hard and break into pieces.

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heart latte  It was Wednesday, November 13:

     Me: “I’ll actually be in Manhattan for interview stuff this week!”

     Jim: “I am around =) Let me take you out.”

Man, this guy was fast.  Happy face and all.  A coffee date was set for that Sunday.

In the meantime, he sent me his picture one day out of the blue.  I had no idea it was him, so I freaked out.  The balding man in scrubs smiling and sitting casually at the cafeteria table … was HIM.  At least he had the decency to update me on his current appearance, which only meant his profile picture on OKC was a dramatic blast from the past.  On OKC, he looked like a happy boy at a party, probably high given the cloudiness of the picture; in the new picture, he was still happy and somewhat young, but clearly a resident who has become victim to sleepless nights and endless days.  I say “aged” judging by the receding hairline and premature balding pattern.

Yes, even Prince William is not immune to the biological tick

Yes, even Prince William is not immune to the biological tick

The aftershock of the surprise lasted briefly.  I was not going to let appearance dictate the beginnings with a guy, as his personality was shining through.  During that week, he’d initiate the morning texts, asking what I was up to and how my day was going.

For a surgery resident, man did he have time to text!  Which goes to prove, if a guy is sincerely and seriously interested in a girl, he’d text and talk, in typhoon and turmoil, no matter how busy the workday gets, even in the hospital.  Seriously, doctors text all the time.  I’ve seen it … and done it myself.

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The big Sunday afternoon, November 17:  Before my social gathering out in Manhattan, Jimmy and I grabbed coffee in Park Slope.  The anticipation escalated the entire train ride into Brooklyn and I was practically popping with nerves as I waited at the street corner.  There were 4 possible corners to meet this guy.  The weather was also not helping, gray clouds looming ominously overhead.

Gloomy NYCThen I got his text.  I looked up and there he was, across the street on the other side.  We crossed paths and walked to a nearby coffee shop.  Based on first impressions, he was not bad at all.  He was definitely more put-together than the last weirdo, dressed in a black shirt and pants topped with a dark blazer.  Nice, a guy with simple style.

Sitting together in a cozy little corner by the front window, we talked in ease and breeze.  Here was a cool, hip and chill Asian guy who has trotted the world.  An ethnic Vietnamese, he lived in Hong Kong for part of his childhood, then moved to the middle of nowhere in Ohio, until medical school where he transplanted to San Francisco, California, and eventually to Brooklyn now by default of his career calling.

Fun times for kids ... and budding surgeons!

Fun times for kids … and budding surgeons!

We hit it off, more so in person.  It was a much more smooth and casual meeting.  Of course we had to bring medicine somewhere into our conversation, given it was the initial glue and catalyst to our budding connection.  I was super interested in how he chose to become a surgeon.  It was a laugh hearing about the horror stories of his residency interviews, like playing Operation while sweating balls and getting pimped on tough questions.  Despite living the burdensome life of a surgery resident, he was still enjoying his life, like making the time to meet me.

Unfortunately, duty called.  The afternoon had to be cut short.  He was on-call, requiring him to be nearby in case stuff hits the fan, and he had to tend to some work at the hospital.  And I had to tend to my social business back out in Manhattan.  At the subway station prior to parting ways, he gave me a solid hug and said, “Well it was nice meeting you today.  I guess we’ll text?” [fingers twiddling in texting fashion].

What did I like about him?  Well, someone in medicine is always a plus.  Then there’s the ambient air of comfort, the initial connection and the subsequent conversation flow.

I was most attracted to his bad boy persona. He fit the party boy profile, based on his stories throughout college and medical school of boozing and “baking.” After spending time in California, what more do you expect? Man, did I find him gravitating. He had this charisma and humor, a particular ease in smooth talking and layering the mood and just being real and open.

Bad BoyWhat was not so hot?  I know better than to judge a guy by his looks and height, but sometimes the difference is tangible. This guy was small and short, perhaps skinnier than I am, if not the same height.  As stated in my previous post, I have particular checkpoints in relation to physical features.  However, if the personality clicks, I would be willing to move ahead to the next step.

I followed up with him that evening on my way to Manhattan:

     Me:     “Nice meeting ya today, thanks a bunch for the coffee time!”

     Him:    “It was nice meeting you too, I’m surprised an awesome girl like you is on the market :)“

Awwwwwww … I was flying on clouds that night.  Darn the dark, cumulonimbus clouds.  Still, I was bouncing in bliss.

Floating in Clouds

Be Aggressive

That’s what the doctor said to me today… I finished my Pediatric Gastroenterology sub-specialty rotation this week with Dr. Daum of Winthrop. I enjoyed Gastroenterology out of all my courses in my first two years. Essentially, I am saying I love dealing with poop. Because all this week, almost every patient I saw with Dr. Daum in the office, was a constipated child. Even when I was in the endoscopy center, I thought I was going to see some crazy Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, esophagitis, gastritis, or other gastrointestinal problems. Nope, I only saw a boy with perfectly clean intestines and apparently “very beautiful” villi in the small intestines because his mother wanted him scoped and checked from mouth to anus. And of course, he was just another constipated child with abdominal pain. Completely behavioral and functional in children and adolescents.

So why did Dr. Daum say I was a smart and fun kid who should “be aggressive.” That morning during NICU rounds with the chairman, he was there as well because one of the babies in the NICU was getting worked up for meconium plug. So that morning by the computer, my classmates and I gathered in the discussion about meconium plug and the differential workup to rule out Hirschprung’s disease. The doctors pulled up chest X-rays and asked us, the students, what we saw. Someone said “there’s a boot-shaped heart.” Then, long silence as the doctors asked us for any other observations. I pointed out the collapsed lung from a pneumothorax, where you can see air between the pleural surface and the rib cage. Ah yesss… very important observation.

That evening as the day ended and Dr. Daum had to run to a staff meeting. He said to me, “It was smart that you picked up on that pneumothorax this morning. Don’t be afraid to speak up. You’re a smart kid… Be aggressive… Because at the end of the day, you’ll be remembered.”  With these words coming from a doctor I felt intimidated in the beginning based on hearsay, I was knocked off my saddle.  In the beginning, I was avoiding any interaction with this particular doctor because he gave negative evaluations and was not very nice. Well, I experienced the opposite. He was an old-fashioned fellow, but he was thorough and kind with his patients and me. So I’m glad I made a positive impression.

Though he was running late, he spent a good 10 minutes telling me another important aspect of life as a doctor:  family is priority, medicine comes second.  Always. He was always available to his 5 kids. He said, “My kids will never say I was not there for them. Never.” And this is important for me as a future female doctor. I hope to be married by 30, settle down with my significant other, and have a happy family. From my experiences thus far in Ob/Gyn and Pediatrics, I just cannot wait to have babies, and I’ll want to be there for them from milk to milestones to merry-go-rounds. And with the lasting words of Dr. Daum, I can be assured it’s possible.

Sharing the Joy of a Birthday

2012 – Year of the Dragon… Go Dragon Babies!!!

August 31, the big day of 2012 when I turned the almighty 24.  For the past 23 years, my birthday has not been that spectacular or worthy of shows like My Super Sweet Sixteen.  But his year’s birthday was like none other I’ve experienced yet.

I just started my Ob/Gyn rotation at Winthrop University Hospital this week. Lucky me, I kicked off my first week on Night Float, status post Surgery rotation and grueling shelf exam.  It was a rough transition. This entire week, I was floating on Labor and Delivery and seeing lots of babies come out of vaginas. I was fortunate to have a great intern, Cheryl, take me under her fledgling wings as we floated from triage to the ER to laboring rooms. For a change, I really felt like I was part of a team; she taught me well and I adapted to the field quickly. I took histories from women getting admitted for labor pains and put on my catcher’s mitt for the babies and placentas.  I was given the opportunity to help with the ER consults and observe vaginal exams. It was a productive and fun week because I enjoy performing procedures and just doing something, despite the long, tiring hours.

I showed up for sign-in at 5pm. At first, I had birds and stars spinning around my head from all the abbreviations rapidly tossed about.  I was in a complete whirlwind from how fast the residents were talking about patients and the squiggles on the computer commonly known as fetal heart tracings and how slow I was writing notes I could barely fathom. Thank God for Google for carrying me back from the sea of OB/Gyn lingo. From 6pm-6am, a full 12 hours, I would be attached to the intern’s hip as I traversed the floors and ER whenever she was beeped. Nights were slow and quiet, but when deliveries or emergencies happened, you had your hands full. And I liked it that way.

Early in the week, I was not adjusted to the night hours. I have a tendency require heavy doses of sleep, with bouts of narcoleptic moments by day; otherwise, I crank up the crank-o-meter. It was 5am and the floor was quiet. I was so sleepy and cold that I wrapped myself in a warm blanket like a burrito and plopped on the bed in the resident call room. Before I knew it, I curled up into fetal position and dozed off. Next moment, I shook awake and shuffled out of the room. Who knew that within 30 minutes, I would miss out on two births… TWO BIRTHS!!!  Two births I was waiting for ALL FREAKING NIGHT!! Gone in the minutes I drifted into the clouds… I learned a couple of lessons that morning:

1)    Do not venture into resident territory and sleep on their turf

2)    Do not sleep on your shift, especially as a medical student; I was not aboard a 24-hour shift and it just makes you look like a bum

3)    If you do feel sleepy, sit in a chair, turn your back to your audience, tilt your head down as if you’re concentrating on a paper, and then doze off. Just don’t fall off your chair, because that’ll make you look like a fool.

By 7am, I was a zombie by day.  It was odd, walking through the hospital as people drifted in to start their day and I was off to bed.  By day, I was sleeping in the tiny, boxy, and gray call room in the basement, designated just for the medical students.  You may ask, why the hell would you stay in this box when you could go across the street to your apartment and sleep under your own snuggly blankets? People did not get me, but here’s why.

1)    I’m Asian. I don’t sleep in my own bed unless I’m washed and clean.  I was so tired by 7am, I did not have the energy to shower. That was how sleepy I was. I would rather stay in the call room and sleep in a clean bed there than get my personal bed dirty. After all, I am working in a hospital

2)    Even if I showered back at my apartment across the street, I did not want to wait for my hair to dry.  I did not have the energy to dig out my hair dryer and use it and I did not have the patience to let my hair dry naturally.  It’s an Asian thing:  you simply do not go to bed with your hair wet or else you’ll ‘catch a cold’ and have some negative energy about you. Honestly, I’ve broken that rule many times in the past, and you know what I did? I would sleep on my tummy, face buried in the pillow.  Times I did roll onto my back with my hair wet, I would end up with bad headaches.

In that gray box I slept in for a week, I did not know day from night, rain from sunshine. I would roll out of bed and gather my stuff to head back to my apartment and be blinded by the sun. Around 2-3 pm, I’d head back to take a refreshing shower, watch some TV, grab some food, and start my shift all over again. This schedule was set on repeat six times this week. Good thing it was only a week, because the residents do it for a month at a time.  Poor gals.

Let’s get to the highlight of my week.  How awesome is it to catch babies (and placentas) on your birthday?! How cool is it to say to the parents, “Dude, congratulations… your baby and I share the same special birthday. We’ll be forever connected!”  A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the joy of a new baby and a birthday spent on night float in the hospital.  Unfortunately, I missed the early hours just after midnight on Friday because I had to catch some sleep for my lectures. And of course, I missed most of the daytime because of lectures. Needless to say, I missed some births I was anticipating to happen since my Thursday night shift. It only left me 7 hours on Friday evening to physically catch a baby.

There were two families I made that special connection with.  One family, the Demartinos, were just plain awesome.  I met them on Wednesday night when Carol, a very sweet Filipino lady, was admitted for observation for high blood pressures.  Her 24-hour urine turned up positive for protein, which suggested preeclampsia. The baby was close to term and she was induced for labor.  Too bad I missed her C-section, since I followed her labor from beginning to end and had long chat sessions to occupy my time and their stay.  But I did manage to visit them on the maternity ward and say hello to their baby boy, Stefano. They were a pleasant couple with an adorable bundle of joy!  They were very excited to hear their son shared the same birthday as the medical student who followed them for the past 3 days.

The other family, the Connollys, were just as funny and incredible.  I met them in the beginning of the week for a labor check.  They were scheduled to come in Saturday (today) for an induction of labor. I did think I would be that memorable, but I was surprised they remembered me still today.  I also must add, my positive experience with them was partly due to their awesomely charming obstetrician, Dr. Lazarou.  I must admit, I had a crush on the doc; he had the hunky looks (it’s the Greekiness), the personality (chill, chatty, and charming), and the brains (he attended NYU, my alma mater, for a few years).  Anyway, Mrs. Connolly apparently told him over the phone that she met a very pleasant medical student and her birthday’s coming up on Friday, so he better be nice to me. Come the end of the week, both doctor and patient were still crystal clear who I was =D

Unfortunately, baby and me did not end up sharing a birthday; it was darn close.  It was the night of September 1, just a few hours after midnight, the Connollys welcomed a baby boy to the world, and I experienced the mirth with them and Dr. Lazarou. Baby boy and me were not birthday twins, but close enough!

There you go, the celebratory culmination of my otherwise tiring, tough week on nights! I met some amazing families and their babies, who will happen to be my birthday twins.  They won’t remember, but I certainly will.  When their parents tell them the story of how they came into the world, I will be forever tied in and a part of their family.

First Time Feeling Like a Doctor

Dear Friends,

I felt like a doctor today. My white coat stuffed with a pen, tea bags, tuning fork, otoscope, and all that hefty junk, maximizing my many pockets. My partner Lisa and I finally met our preceptor, an Emergency Medicine resident. Our previous one was this DO doctor in geriatrics who 1) came off as clueless, 2) thought first year medical students had the patients, and 3) would be MIA at Stony Brook because he’d be at the VA Hospital all February. Yes, that was a bust, so we got a new preceptor who is AMAZING. She’s sweet, chill, and very compassionate.

She wandered around finding patients for us. We were in the ER, so most of the patients are itching to get tested, diagnosed, treated, and discharged home. I’m sure they are tired as hell and don’t really want noobs like us probing into their sexual history, palpating their thyroid gland, and blowing a supernova into their eye. But she got a few satisfactory patients for us to practice the history-taking and head/neck exam. Well, I finished the PQQRST on my patient, but barely got through the past medical history, not to say family/social/sexual history… She had a liver biopsy a few days ago, and recently developed this constant pain in the upper right quadrant that radiates to the stomach. She left for a CT scan and came back very tired. She did not have the energy to talk to me, so I just glazed through some basic head/neck exams, like percussing the sinuses, feeling the lymph nodes in the neck, and looking at her eye. Lisa’s patient had serious vertigo, and she got so nauseous and sick that the conversation and exam was not completed either. While the preceptor walked around for more stable patients, I just gossiped with Lisa, just like Grey’s Anatomy.

The last guy was pretty cool. I was awed by the Cardiology fellow who came in to get a history of this patient, who had some emanating chest pains and pain in both upper arms. He let us probe around his ear and mouth and shine a killer nova into his eyes. He was a funny guy; he joked to the three of us, “Is it a requirement to have such good-looking people in here?” What a charmer.

Molecular Happiness

Crunch time

It’s finals season, the same frenzied cycle as undergraduate. The last few days have been hectic:  long and cold nights of cramming wacky cell signaling molecules and disturbing genetic diseases, shutting myself in the library surrounded by fobby undergrads, getting hooked to cappuccinos and Lipton-based milk tea from the physician’s lounge, feeding glucose to my noggin at awkward times of the day, and just stressing out for a simple PASS. I’ve been getting my sleep, until a few days ago when I realized how little time I have left for the avalanche of topics I need to study and review. Two days ago, I slept for 3 hours, and that was miserable. In college, I usually felt fine on study marathons and pulling late nights, maxing out with 3-4 consecutive nights of minimal sleep; I just caught up on my sleep after the big exam. However, this week, I barely lasted a day, because the next day, I felt fatigued. Last night, I had a disjointed sleep session, taking a much-needed nap that lasted 2 hours and struggling to keep my eyes open until 3am when I was felt at little accomplished for understanding ADP-ribosylation in cholera and pertussis toxins. Being sick amidst finals is no walk through a blissful dream; my brain felt like gooey pudding.

Early this morning, I was still cramming last minute before my afternoon exam. I’m realized I never feel ready for exams, using ever minute possible to stuff important facts, just in case they come in handy; it works like a miracle in bygone days. Nucleotide metabolism, check. Autosomal dominant diseases like osteogenesis imperfecta and Marfan’s, double check. Receptor tyrosine kinases and Jak-stat pathways, oy! Cancer, DNA replication, homologue recombinations, holiday junctions and chiasma, ooph! Imprinting and epigenetics, oh lala… Antibiotics that do battle with prokaryotes, rock on!

Nap time

The computer lab was an oven, more than just an easy-bake oven; I felt like baked chicken. Maybe that’s why I got dizzy in the middle and started nodding off. I told myself, “Okay, at least make it halfway through your 100 multiple choice questions, and maybe you can snooze.” I ended up zipping through all 100, marking a bunch that I did not feel like pondering at the moment. I fell asleep a few times during my test. My mouth felt dry and my eyes kept drooping; the levator palpebrae superioris was not doing its job. Seriously, what kind of model medical student am I when I can barely stay awake during a major exam?! I took a ‘bathroom’ break and dashed to the physician’s lounge for a quick cup of hot coffee to wake myself up. I came back, full throttle, and went through the exam 3 times before my time expired =)

Then, a surprise email from my professors; we all passed! During an anatomy review session, someone in the class read the email and shared the happy news. I checked my grade later, and once again, I did about average. Average for the exam was 85; on the midterm, it was an 88. I have a tendency to miss the mark, so nowadays I’m just an average student. I’m content; I’ve accomplished so much through college and now I’m in the final years of schooling. Numbers and A’s are not as important as they were for me in high school, since the pre-med mentality through college and a blooming social life mellowed down my fire. All I want to do is learn and do what I love- work in health care and heal sick people.

Right now, I’m drained. My mind is still swimming with genetic diseases. They are so interesting to learn, and yet, frightening. I appreciate my life, because 1) I’m thankful I’m not a mutant, and 2) so many things can go wrong at the cellular level before birth. Yes, mutations are rare, and that’s why we have complicated, well-regulated mechanisms to combat mistakes. We are typically born healthy, but we are error-prone and anything can seriously happen, at any time.

Boom

Programmed cell death, or apoptosis, is just as essential as cell growth in life. Mutations occur all the time, but with all the cellular checkpoints during replication and repair pathways, we bypass the harmful effects and disease. Many diseases lurk in the depths of human biology, and I only learned a handful (okay, 2 inches of color-coded index cards). Fragile X, Neurofibromatoses, Cri-du-chat, Down’s, Patau, Edwards, Marfan’s, Turner’s, Kleinfelter’s, Lesch-Nyhan syndrome, etc… it’s mind boggling to learn all the inheritance patterns and the molecular intricacies of each disease. What’s scarier is the fact that quite a bit of diseases result from spontaneous, or “de novo,” mutations. Once it happens, it’ll be inherited. And genetics is rather complicated, more than just Mendelian dominant vs. recessive. Let’s take autosomal dominant disorders are characterized by variable expressivity (the degree of symptom manifestation), incomplete penetrance (all or none phenotype when you have the genotype), high recurrent mutation rate, and late-onset. Then there’s imprinting, or gene silencing, mitochondrial inheritance, mosaicism, and trinucleotide repeat expansion with anticipation (the more repeats and subsequent generations, the more severe and the earlier onset of disease). I’ve only wet my feet in a puddle so far, but I also feel more like a doctor.

Eh, I change my mind… I feel more like a zombie right now. I’ve been fortunate enough to be sick the entire week, sneezing and wheezing. My nose has been bipolar, running one moment and clogging up the next. My sinuses have been filled with mucous, which shouldn’t happen in the first place because infections can spread and drainage is blocked; naturally, we are airheads as our head has many holes and passageways for draining and neurovascular bundles. I hate popping drugs, so I let my T-lymphocytes patrol my bloodstream and kill the invaders of my immune system. Throbbing headaches have been tiring me out, particularly the sinus ones that emanates from the occipital region. When air goes up my nose, there’s a fuzzy, sharp pain entering the back of my nasal cavity. Breathing never felt like such an effort, except maybe during yoga.

Now, 1 final down, 3 more to go… FOR ONE FREAKING CLASS. It’s the bane of my existence, a medical school horror show called Gross Anatomy. Three more exams: lab, written, computerized.  I’m taking a breather today (yes, my nose has recovered its function). I’m going to sleep early after this late-night blog. I’ll wake up tomorrow, go to the gym, and kick some final ass at anatomy =)

A Taste of Being a Doctor… on dummies

This week so far, I’ve learned quite a bit about being a doctor. Earlier in the week, I learned how to take vital signs in preparation for volunteering at SB Home, a free clinic in Islip. First, you take the pulse lateral to the radial artery. Then, you take the breathing rate, by ‘pretending’ to take the pulse, but really watching and counting their breaths (if patients know you’re counting their breaths, they might increase their breathing rate). Except, when I did it on my friends, it didn’t really work out right. They just looked like they were not breathing, but obviously, they’re alive and breathing.

Next, the exciting part was taking blood pressure. I’ve never operated the cuffs and bulbous toy; I’ve only been worked on by my doctors. Anyway, you find the brachial artery, immediately lateral and inferior to the biceps tendon. So when the patient flexes their arms, you can easily see the tendon, and you press right next to it, medially.  Then, you put the cuff on, stick in the stethoscope at the site of the arterial pulse, and pump up the pressure to around 140-160 for an average person.

Basically, blood flows smoothly, naturally; that’s why you cannot hear anything with a stethoscope on an artery. However, with added pressure, blood flow becomes turbulent and resistance increases (remember Bernoulli’s fluid dynamics in physics?), and that’s how you hear a pulse. Now, when the pressure increases on the cuff, you will not hear anything initially because the blood supply is cut off. Once the pressure is released, the first beat you hear is at the systolic pressure. Gradually, the turbulent flow and resistance decreases. At the diastolic pressure, no sound is heard anymore because smooth blood flow is restored. Normal blood pressure is 120/80, and I got around ~100/70, so I’m at least normal. And, I have a slow heart rate, so that’s good too.

I kept fumbling around with the stethoscope. I’m a natural klutz, so things end up in the wrong hands and I drop stuff. Plus, the stethoscope hurts so much in the ears and it is so sensitive to sound. One minor touch or move, the sound is magnified into my poor ears. Hmm, I guess I’ll be looking forward to my pink stethoscope soon =/

And today, I learned how to gown up for surgery and… inserting catheters into model dummies- male and female. That was… a new experience, wiping iodine on the openings and inserting a rubber tube that balloons at the end, into the ‘urethra.’ When I got to the female urethra, it got stuck and I could not really open the labia to guide it into the bladder. When I got to the male urethra, the path was rather long, so it just kept going, until I was told that you know you’re in the right area when the ‘urine’ comes out of the tube (really just water). After removing the tube, some remnant water squirted out like the model gonad was peeing… oops.

On a less awkward note, gowning was a pain. Playing with sterile stuff, is a pain in the butt. When you get in the oversized gown, your hands are balled up in the cuffs while you try to put on sterile gloves. You’re wiggling around unsuccessfully most of the time. It’s like using a stump of a hand to put on winter gloves. Anyway, I managed and gowned up successfully and won the mini-battle with the surgical gear.

I’m… so… freaking… tired. I have panda eyes, or should I say ‘panda orbicularis oculi’ >.<

Today I finished the 1st part to my Anatomy midterm. The written exam is the harder of the parts, because it’s pure memorization of facts and complicated relationships. The professor gives us many practice problems that just get recycled. In a way, that’s good because 80% of the test will be old questions. The bad part is, I feel inadequate studying for this test. I’m so used to reading, taking notes, and actively learning the subject. Here, I’m just memorizing what the professor’s looking for and doing endless problems I hope will be on the exam. I feel like a poor puppet. In the end, we’re taught the important clinical applications and relationships, that will hopefully be practical as clinicians.

Anyway, I’m minimal sleep right now as I study pictures and dissections for the lab practical tomorrow. Today felt horrendous, speaking that I had to write my wrists off the bone and I was uncertain of some questions. Plus, I learned I hate radiology. Everything looks like blobs and dots. There’s also not much partial credit, speaking each question is a maximum of 0.5 or 1 point! I took the full 2.5 hours, and even then, I wish I had time to check. Maybe I’m too detailed or particular that it takes me so long to finish a test.

Now, I’m busting my chops through another long night to make up for a possible catastrophe. Good thing I had a brief relaxing afternoon, when I walked with a few friends to the undergraduate campus for some ice cream and fresh air. I’m glad I’m near a campus, with trees and clean air; I never had that pleasure in NYU. I’m enjoyed the breezy walk and mental break from the upcoming ‘horror.’ When we got back at around 5 pm, it was back to anatomy, and I ended up learning and understanding structures for 5 hours in the stinky lab. Hopefully, I can pull through and end this hellish week with a bang.