Fat and squishy stuff...

Tibet trip

Filed under: Uncategorized — platfoss at 6:54 pm on Saturday, July 15, 2006

To read about my recent trip to Tibet, click here.


Filed under: Uncategorized — platfoss at 5:23 pm on Wednesday, May 3, 2006

This past 4 day weekend was pretty great. Usually, I’m complaining to Robin about boredom on Sunday of a 2 day weekend, but somehow, I was able to amuse myself this time for a whole 4 days!

Thurs: Ran 3 miles outside. Hey, 3 miles is a lot for me.

Fri: Ran 2 miles and went on a Critical Mass bike ride. Before the bike, I fell off my bike and landed on an outstretched wrist. First sports injury I’ve ever had! It was kinda exciting at first, but then I started overreacting… called over a friend (future sports medicine doc) for an examination and contemplated going to the ER to get x-rays. In the end, I kept my wrist immobilized with my carpal tunnel brace, waited a few days, and then went to a clinic, where the doc said my wrist was fine. It was interesting being a patient again after working as a health care provider all year.
Sat: Nursed my wounds and played Final Fantasy. Went to a Wicked musical drawing for tickets…lost.

Sun: Went to another Wicked drawing. Won a pair of front row tickets! A few seconds later, Robin’s name was called also. We had both won tickets! Must have been our lucky day. Robin decided to give up his winning tickets to some other hopefuls. Wicked (what went on in Oz between the Evil Witch of the West and the Good Witch of the North before Dorothy arrived) was really entertaining; the music was….ok, nothing extraordinary. I’d say I enjoyed listening to the singers’ voices more so than to the music. I’ve never sat so close in any performance before…we were so close to the singers that we could see their spit flying out of their mouths.
This is probably going to be the last entry for awhile as I will start my Pediatrics rotation on Monday. Tata!

Final Fantasy

Filed under: Uncategorized — platfoss at 9:25 am on Friday, April 28, 2006

I’ve been on a pretty light rotation recently which means more free time. I’ve been playing Final Fantasy X, which IMO, is the best FF game since FFVI (I haven’t played FFIX though). The Final Fantasy series are the only games I’ll play nowadays, since most other games have too high of a learning curve for me. Not like I can’t learn how to play them; I’m just too lazy to do so. I’ve been playing FF’s since FFI, and it’s nice to have a continuity in game play. For instance, I know what Phoenix Downs and Echo Screens are without having to look them up… stuff like that.

What a nice sunny day today…Robin and I are going on a Critical Mass Bike Ride. Should be interesting since the weather’s a lot nicer than the last time we went. Will be a heck of a crowd.

MP3 player

Filed under: Uncategorized — platfoss at 4:20 pm on Thursday, April 27, 2006

Recently, I decided to get a new MP3 player. Make that two. I decided that I needed to get more in shape and thought that a music player would get me more motivated while working out. After doing research and talking to some people about MP3 players, I decided to get a Creative MuVo TX FM 256 MB MP3 Player, a flash based player which is good for vigorous workouts (music doesn’t skip) and has a nice LCD screen. Then I decided that an MP3 player with more storage capacity would be useful since I’ll be travelling a lot next year (i.e. vacationing, interviewing). Naturally, I first thought of getting an iPod, but after talking to some people, I decided against it and bought an iAudio X5L 30 GB MP3 Player. The primary reason I got an iAudio is because of the loooooong battery life. I got this player a week ago, have been listening to it 2-3 hours a day, and still haven’t needed to charge it. It’s advertised to give 35 hours of playback time. I’ll be travelling to some remote places next year where electricity is scarce, so the long battery life will come in handy. Another plus with my iAudio is the incredible sound. I hooked it up to my car’s audio system and my Plat Prius started rumbling like crazy from the bass, which it’s never done before. However, there are some things I like about the iPod better i.e. the interface, the easy browsing with the touch pad. My iAudio has a small joystick, and my fear is that one day it will break off.


Filed under: Uncategorized — platfoss at 8:02 am on Thursday, April 27, 2006

I just wrote a post about Mother’s Day but then deleted it. So I’ll write about something else. Er, let’s see. So lately, I’m been having trouble sleeping b/c I’ve been thinking of applying for 4th year electives and residency, which has been a long aggravating process. Also, this 3rd year of medical school has been getting to me lately. It seems that no matter how hard I try, I’ll always end up with the same grade. There are some classmates who work hard, do well, and deserve it. There are others who do the bare minimum (or less) when no one’s looking, but know exactly what to say and when to say it at the right time, and they shine like superstars in front of those who evaluate them. Then there are those like me who are more quiet and reserved, do all the assigned work, but tend fade into the background because we don’t know how put ourselves out there or BS.

On a positive note, I have a 4 day weekend whoohoo!

Books 2005-2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — platfoss at 8:49 pm on Monday, January 30, 2006

One thing I’ve really appreciated about rotations is having more free time to read (when I’m not pro-occupied with ebay or Korean soaps). So here are the books I’ve read so far for this academic year

1) Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling (It was ok. My goal is just to finish the series)

2) Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer (An account of the 1996 Everest climbing disaster. Mountaineering is crazy stuff!)

3) Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Kraukaer (Intro on Mormonism (may be somewhat biased) and talks about how extreme religious views can lead to murderous consequences)

4) Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (Can’t believe I got through this one, a whopping 800+ pages. It was a fun read.)

5) A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson (Bill Bryson and his pal, both overweight, exercise-deprived men, and their misadventures while hiking the 2100 mile Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine).

6) Kilimanjaro: A Trekking Guide to Africa’s Highest Mountain (Ok. Can you sense a trend here for this year’s books? Mountaining climbing and hiking, hehehe)

I think this is a decent sized list, considering that I read a grand total of ZERO books during the 2004-2005 academic year. (Unless you count BRS Pathology, Microbiology Made Ridiculously simple, Lange’s Pharmacology. etc…..nah, those don’t count.)


Filed under: Uncategorized — platfoss at 3:00 pm on Friday, January 20, 2006

I’m currently doing an OB/GYN rotation at Cook County Hospital and I’m really enjoying myself. I always thought I’d hate OB/GYN; my surgery rotation scared me way from the OR and hours are terrible. Surprisingly, I don’t mind the gyne surgeries (hysterectomies, tubal ligations) and seeing babies getting born is really awesome. I like the fact that you know what cases you’ll be dealing with day to day (women’s health) as opposed to say, Fam med, a field so broad that you treat just about everything. (As Alice would say, my brain is not big enough!) However, the topic of malpractice and lawsuits is brought up daily by the residents and attendings. Also, on the first day of my clerkship, the rotation director told everyone not to go into OB/GYN cuz he said our lives would be miserable if we did so. So I dunno, I’m totally confused as to what specialty to choose. Fortunately, there’s still time and half a year of rotations left to go.

Internal Medicine

Filed under: Uncategorized — platfoss at 10:07 pm on Sunday, January 15, 2006

Since I’m already blogging, I might as well continue the sphiel on my rotations.

My 2nd rotation (Aug-Sep 2005) was Internal Medicine. It was at a very nice, private hospital, and everyone was so cheery and helpful that it took me a week to realize that they didn’t have any ulterior motives (mind you, I just came from surgery). Like Surgery, I was assigned to a team with attendings, residents, and other students. Unlike surgery, the pace is about 10x slower and patient interivews are conducted more thoroughly. After patient interviews, the team discusses the patient’s case, sometimes ad nauseum, and then orders a whole battery of tests to rule out a bunch of probable diagnoses.

Basically, my job was to see the patient and write a note in the patient’s chart in the morning. Then the intern would come by later, see the patient, and write a note almost identical to mine. Even later, the senior resident would examine the patient, and write yet another copycat note. Yup, that’s the way the system worked. We’d continue following the patients daily in this manner until the patient was discharged. The team was on-call every 4th night, which was when we admitted new patients onto our service. So basically, ER would call our service and say that there was a patient (chest pain, fainting episode, urinary tract infection, etc…) who needed to be consulted by medicine. Ideally, I’d have gone to see the patient first before the residents and written an awesome H&P (history and physical) which would have helped speed up the admitting process (esp. if there were multiple patients). However, my team kinda forgot about me most of the time. So I spent many a day and night sitting on my butt feeling completely useless, despite constantly reminding the residents that I was happy to be of service. Oh well, at least I got to know the students on my team really well, since we shared similar sentiments of feeling orphaned.

On a more positive note, the attending whom we rounded with was awesome. Very humanistic and sensitive to patients. A real jewel to the medical profession. He also happened to be gay and set up an HIV clinic by himself because he saw an increased need for HIV treatment in the city. Very cool indeed.

Obligatory blogging

Filed under: Uncategorized — platfoss at 9:36 pm on Sunday, January 15, 2006

Ok, so I got an e-mail today from a friend who demanded that I blog more. I have to admit that I’m terrible at updating this thing, but I think it’s only fair that he start up his own blog if he wants me to write more frequently. Sounds reasonable? : ) Please e-mail Robin for blogging details.

Anyway, is a bottle of Smirnoff a lot of vodka? I wouldn’t know. What happened is that one day I came home after a long day at the hospital and suddenly felt like drinking alcohol. So we headed down to the bar downstairs, and I forgot to bring my ID, so we ended up at the grocery market. I don’t know anything about alcohol, but I do remember drinking a bottle or two of Smirnoff at Rosa’s after our wedding, which I tolerated pretty well, so Smirnoff’s it was. Back at the apartment, I proceeded to drink, but decided that a whole bottle was too much for me, so Robin had the other half. Yup yup.


Filed under: Uncategorized — platfoss at 7:44 pm on Sunday, January 1, 2006

The first rotation of my 3rd year was surgery. Let me tell you, it really was a rude awakening to working in the hospital. Combine long hours (80 hours a week), call every 5th or 3rd night (depending on the service you’re on), and cranky, overworked residents and nurses and you’re bound to have a bad day…well, almost everyday. The upside to all this was that I saw some really awesome surgeries, got to do some small procedures myself (suturing), and bonded with fellow classmates over this experience. Lemme define some terms for you first:

Team - We students were assigned to a team which consists of attendings (MD’s who are practicing), residents (MD’s who have graduated from med school and are in training), and students (at the bottom of the totem pole). Each team is assigned to take care of a group of patients. I was on the vascular/thoracic surgery team so I saw mostly vascular/thoracic surgeries and followed these patients after their procedures.

Rounding - The team gets together, sees the patients at the bedside, and discusses treatment/discharge plans.

On-call - Staying overnight at the hospital to run miscellaneous errands, admit new patients, take care of existing patients, etc… The longest shift I had was 30 hours.

Scrubbing in - Going through the necessary procedures (putting on a sterile gown, mask, hat, gloves) to be sterile for a surgery

So what was I doing all day?
My typical day started at 6:00 AM where I’d see a couple patients (pre-rounding), asked them if they had any problems overnight (did you poop? pee? pass gas?) and then wrote notes in their charts. At 6:30AM, I rounded with the residents on the team. 7:00AM Lecture. 7:30AM surgeries started. 1-4PM - clinic (where we first see the patients before deciding whether or not to schedule them for a procedure). I typically went home at 6PM, although there were times when I left at 9PM, if a surgery ran overtime. On top of all this, I was on-call every 5th night for general surgery and every 3rd night for trauma.

Life as a student
Even though I was at the hospital a lot, half the time I was sitting around doing…nothing. Waiting for surgeries to get started. Waiting for the residents to tell me what to do… Sometimes, surgeries would get cancelled. Sometimes clinic was cancelled. Blah blah. I got to scrub in for a couple procedures, but since I’m neither licensed nor trained to do anything, I just stood and watched most of the time. If I was lucky, I got to hold back skin using a retractor. Whoohoo!

Ok, that’s enough background info. Basically, I was stuck on a team with really nasty residents who scolded us for things that were beyond our control. Ex. - One resident would tell us students to read in the library. 1 hr later, another resident would page us and and then yell at us for not rounding with the team. Um, excuse me, but we were doing what we were told to do! During the times we did round with them, the residents treated us as if we were invisible, never making eye contact or engaging us in patient care. Not all teams were as bad as mine, and I did realize that not all surgeons were as malicious as the ones on my team. I just had bad dumb luck to be stuck with the ones I had!

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