Monday, October 30, 2006


Happy Halloween, folks! We had our 3rd annual pumpkin carving fest last weekend, and it was a blast. Interesting to see how things have evolved, how new faces from Singapore and Malaysia (and USA!) replace the ones who have left. Anyways, may your goody bag be full of candy (if you are a kid), may those pesky kids leave you alone to your TV (if you are not), and may the ER be hauntingly quiet (if you are oncall).

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Mishap

This is Wild Rice:

And this is Pulut Hitam:This, is a farking huge bowl of pulut hitam cooked in chicken broth and carrots because I thought it was wild rice (Palm TX placed there for size comparison):

Moral of the story: Beware of strange things you might find in my kitchen. They might not be what you think. I had thought this was wild rice that a friend left in my kitchen when she moved to Chicago. Apparently, no, this was pulut hitam my mom left in my kitchen a year ago.

This goof-up ranks up there with the green nasi lemak experience and the expired food incident. (with a lot of sugar, pandan essense and coconut milk, I was however able to salvage this into an acceptable dessert. Now I just have to convince my American girlfriend the carrots are meant to be there. Shhh...)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Why Medical Dramas are Fake

  1. A neurosurgeon looking like McDreamy
  2. A presenting complaint of skin rash elicites a differential diagnosis that includes acute pulmonary embolism (the scriptwriter for House MD really should consult a real doctor)
  3. All the doctors and nurses are hot
  4. The same doctor admits the patient, wheels them to MRI and operates the damn machine AND reads the images, hangs the IV fluids, assists with surgery, and if the patient dies, performs the autopsy.
  5. The docs are humping like jackrabbits on Viagra Extra Strength
  6. The surgeons scrub in BEFORE they put their masks on. Dooh.
  7. The chest never rises during CPR (or maybe the docs weren't ventilating adequately)
  8. Dr. House able to make a diagnosis of pheochromocytoma on the basis of a patient's extreme rage and superhuman strength
  9. Residents still look pretty and have make-up on post-call
  10. The hospital cafeteria food actually looks good
  11. Interns have a social life
  12. Doctors put their stethoscopes on backwards (earpieces pointed backwards instead of forward)

The Author wishes to acknowledge Kristin, R.N., and the 3M™ Littman® Cardiology III patient acoustic instrument for their contributions in the production of this highly educational pictorial

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Ah, the wonders of advertising.
Truly brilliantly evil men and women, who scheme up all sorts of ideas to sell us their products.
When I was in college in KL, the Casio G-shock series (now, still?) was hot. No, it's not a vibrator for women.
It's a watch. And not just any watch, mind you. It was water-resistant. Up to 200 meters underwater. Though I can't imagine what I'd be doing down at that depth. Might be useful if the mafia chained my feet to bricks and dumped me overboard. "Ooo, lookie here... I can tell my exact time of death...".
The G-shock was indestructible. My friends proved it once, when they threw my watch off the 2nd floor balcony. And very very large. And very bright. They came in pink and red and blue and green. I had a yellow one.
And the watch was also popular. In fact, it was supposed to be huge in America. The magazine ads all had Caucasian chicks and hunks in skimpy swimwear wearing it. Kinda like how those cigarette ads fool you into thinking that if you smoke Marlboros, you'll be surrounded by dozens of blonde 36D blonde bombshells with cowboy hats.
I found out what you saw on ads weren't always true. When I was in medschool in north America:
"What is that on your wrist??" It's a watch. A G-shock.
"A what???" Never mind.
"Does it do anything?" It tells me the time.
"I mean, besides that?" Well, you can make phonecalls with it. And pull up recipes. And when you had an itch on a hard-to-reach spot of your butt, this could scratch it for you too. And the blue light repels vampires and zombies and Thai ah-kuas.
After a while, I got tired of the questions. And the stares. I realized that people weren't admiring me and wanting to have my babies. They were looking at me with a sympathetic look. Like I was the short, ugly boy who couldn't afford a proper watch, and wore a sundial to school instead.
I still have my watch. It's sitting in my closet. Having been in north America since 1998, I have yet to see people sporting G-shocks here. I'll probably put it on when I next expec to be run over by a steamroller.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Statistics 101: How to assess study validity

Case Example 1: UM's placement in world university rankings
"No no, the study is not valid. UM is better than UKM, and certainly on par with other world class institutions"

Case Example 2: 18.9% is the new 45%
"Our number is right, ASLI's number is wrong. Although I haven't looked at your study yet, I know your study methodology was flawed."

Lesson of the day- The study is deemed valid if:
1) The results demonstrated is the desirable and expected results, and
2) The deputy PM said so

The methodology used is totally irrelevant. The result becomes statistically significant if p less than 0.05 (p=pride). Best example on Dr. Liew's Blog. Tomorrow, we shall talk about studying the effects of zero gravity on teh tarik, roti canai and the inverse numerical relationship between spending RM 3.5 billion carrying out that study and our politicians' IQ.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Caveat Emptor

First it was fake CDs, VCDs, DVDs and Levi’s jeans. Then fake medications, even things like chemotherapy drugs and Neupogen. And now, fake glucometer strips. We got this memo from the FDA last week.

FDA Issues Nationwide Alert on Counterfeit One Touch Basic/Profile and One Touch Ultra Blood Glucose Test Strips

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is alerting the public to counterfeit blood glucose test strips being sold in the United States for use with various models of LifeScan, Inc., One Touch Brand Blood Glucose Monitors used by people with diabetes to measure their blood glucose. The counterfeit test strips potentially could give incorrect blood glucose values. No injuries have been reported to FDA to date.

The counterfeit test strips are:

• One Touch Basic®/Profile® (lot #272894A, 2619932 or 2606340) test strips; and
• One Touch Ultra® (lot #2691191) test strips.

The counterfeit test strips can be identified by the following characteristics:

Counterfeit One Touch Basic/Profile Test Strips
• Lot Numbers 272894A, 2619932 or 2606340
• Multiple Languages- English, Greek and Portuguese text on the outer carton
• Limited to 50-Count One Touch (Basic/Profile) Test Strip packages

Counterfeit One Touch Ultra Test Strips
• Lot Number 2691191
• Multiple Languages- English and French text on the outer carton
• Limited to 50-Count One Touch Ultra Test Strip packages

Not sure if this has hit the Asian market yet, since the US glucometers are presumably different since we’re still not using S.I units yet (I get a headache converting mmol/L to mg/dL when I talk to people back home). But seeing how cunning resourceful we Asians are, it’s only a matter of time when someone sets up a home factory making Mad-tonic pacemakers and AICDs, fake breast implants or GG MRI scanners.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

This is yet
another tribute to Amy Beh: I love you. Please marry me...
Out of desperation and boredom, I decided to try another of Amy's recipes (gawd I sound like a girl don't I?) from Something I miss, something that's probably especially popular during the fasting month.
The humble curry puff. Something you take for granted when you're home. After all, with things like rojak or char kuey teow or satay, why bother with something like a curry puff? Simpletons, tsk.
Because it's yummy, you doink. And the size is right. Kinda like the egg; easy to hold, not too big, not too small. Not too substantial a meal, yet cheap enough that you could eat 10 if you were hungry (Not kidding. One year I went home, I had 10 in a 24-hour period).
Anyway, if you lust for this the way I did, check out Wasn't too difficult to make, and if you were lazy enough, could easily substitute the pastry with premade puff pastry from the store. Trust me, these silly Americans don't know better. Some friends of mine still think Nasi Lemak is supposed to be green. And roti canai is supposed to be burnt. My girlfriend thought I was a Kitchen God after tasting my curry puffs. Little does she know...
Then again, the one that takes the cake for Greatest Kitchen Adventure goes to this young lady.
Another Malaysian recipe down, 9,978 to go. Very soon I'll be able to start my own restaurant here.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Congratulations, guys!

So I get a text message at 4.50 am on the weekend.

"Shireen's in labour"

My first thought in that dreamy state was 'Who's Shireen, and when did I get her pregnant?'
And then I realized that was my buddy from home, Alvin. So I tried to send a Congratulatory/Good luck/This-is-your-last-chance-to-run-away-from-being-a-daddy message (just kidding, Shireen!).
Have you ever tried sending a text message at five-freakin' a.m.? Took me 5 minutes. But anyways, I digress.

So, being the troopers that they were, they went along with it with gusto. I hear from other buddies from home of how she took her time and got some extra sleep after the water broke. And then had a nice meal, showered and finally waddled into labour & delivery. After BH threatened to drag them over. And, true to the football-crazy friend that I know, once the epidural was up and running, apparently she was glued to a soccer match on TV. I bet she popped the baby out while gleefully shouting "GOOOOAAL!"

Alvin & Shireen, congratulations on your little bundle of joy. It's hard to believe how time flies; I was there when you started dating, and when anxiously went looking for an engagement ring like a highschool kid buying condoms, and I was there when you stood like an idiot on that woobly chair at TGIF in Subang Jaya and proposed. Good luck with this new chapter in your lives!
(I'll be the uncle who introduces your kids to alcohol, smoking and pornography)

Baby Annabelle

Saturday, October 07, 2006

My First Time

Don't ask me why I recall this. Perhaps triggered by my sis' recent medschool clinical skills classes on genitalia exams on volunteer patients (Volunteer? What is wrong with these people??? I wouldn't let any medstudent do a prostate exam on me for less than $10,000).
Everyone remembers their firsts. First hand-holding. First car accident. First girlfriend. First kiss. Popping the proverbial cherry.
My first rectal exam.
Back in the International Moneymaking University days, all we had we plastic, rubber models of body parts. And so, we used a plastic butt. Seriously. Scary looking bastard. It was a pale-colored butt, not unlike that patient who spent 3 months in the darkness of the arctic winter and never saw any sun. Pak-cham kai ('white chopped chicken'). The plastic butt was on its side, with its legs chopped off. It was also hard. And so, regardless of how much KY-jelly or whatever else industrial-strength lubricant you used, the damn asshole (literally, pun intended) would be a tight as Anna Nicole Smith in a 32A top. And all puckered up. You'd have to push pretty darn hard to get your index finger in. And you had to do the 180 degree twist to feel the damn prostate (and yes, it HAD to be the index finger. We were warned never to use the middle finger for rectal and vaginal exams. Never). If you were lucky, your finger would be black and blue after pulling it out. If you were unlucky, you'd spend the night with your finger stuck up a plastic ass. There were ghost stories of medstudents who died of starvation being stuck to it. They say their spirits still roam that old PJ State campus, with their right index fingers pointing up. Waiting in vain, for help that never came.
In Calgary, I experienced my first real one. Middle aged man, another volunteer. It was night and day. Unlike Mr. Pak Cham Kai, once lubed up, your finger glided in. Glided (though I doubt the person on the receiving end would choose that pleasant a word). Being stuck was never a problem again. I imagine it would be a terrible plight, to be stuck to your patient's ass. Of course, being a real body and not plastic, had its disconcerting issues too. It was warm in there. There was hair out there. Sometimes in strange places. It was no longer that familiar smooth ass you came to see almost as a friend. And sometimes you feel hard stool in there. Sometimes you see stool on your fingers. You pray your gloves don't perforate (You DID remember to glove up, didn't you?). You learn very quickly to wash your hands after every exam. It never seems to get clean enough since. It's been 8 years, but I still daren't use my right index finger to handle food. The strangest part was how the patient was explaining things along the way.
"Yes, higher up. Ugh. Hmm. That's it. Feel that? That's the prostate." Almost nonchalantly.
I must say though, we learn a lot from these selfless people. And it was strangely amusing to see the anal 'wink' reflex.
(P/S: If anyone wants an aged doctor-butt for practice, please send your cheques for $10,000 over)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

At the risk of sounding like a rich, spoilt yuppie doctor, I'd like to know what people think. If you were to pick a car from the two, which would it be?
Click here to take survey

They're both 2-seater convertibles although the Benz is a hard-top convertible which is nice. I've never considered myself a fan of Mercedes; always thought of them to be Ah-Pek/Tauke cars that fat Chinese mean with gold bracelets drove (Generalizations, of course. I apologize if you drive a Benz and are not a) Fat, b) Chinese, c) A Tauke or Ah Pek). But the SLK is realll sexy. Then again, driving a Porsche is a class of its own.

And no, I'm not thinking about breaking up my relationship with Veronica. Not yet anyways. She treats me well. For now, this will be a pipe dream (but feel free to send me a cheque for this worthy cause).