Thursday, January 25, 2007

Operation Blessing

We had our predeparture briefing yesterday. Because work was busy enough, it's easy to forget we leave tomorrow. But when we went over the details of our expedition, it's becoming clearer now.
Over half the doctors who evacuated New Orleans because of the hurricane have yet to return. This leaves a major healthcare vacuum for the residents who are returning and trying to rebuild their lives. Hopefully, this operation will make a difference.

Our team this time will comprise of 5 doctors, 20 plus nurses and other allied health providers. The last time my hospital sent a team there, they saw 6000 patients. This time, they expect 10,000. 7 days. The numbers are staggering.

Contrary to what we were told earlier, we'll be sleeping with a proper roof over our heads. A makeshift old furniture warehouse, it seems, with 40 bunkbeds and portable toilets. Because of the high crime rate in the city, we'll have armed guards round the clock. I'm expecting to work 12-hour days, so I'm not sure if we get to visit the city proper, but I am at least hoping to meet up with Ben, my buddy from IMU who's doing nephrology there.

Doubt we'll have internet access, so I'll update my blog probably when I get back.

Till then, wish us luck, and keep us in your prayers, that we may provide some comfort and help to the sick and suffering of New Orleans.

Link to the official website here. Donations accepted at the Operation Blessing website.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Anyone can guess what this is?
Yup, it's a huge kukuciau cake. Our dear friends Yvonne and Vincent, surgeons from Singapore, will soon be leaving us to return home to resume their careers there, and to get married. This cake was made to order for the ladies' bachelorette party. You can guess what that black stuff is supposed to be.
One thing I've learnt: Don't mess with a bunch of crazy, alcohol-laden chicks at a bachelorette party. They might be doctors, surgeons, mothers, wives, but given some booze and a night of freedom, they can even make Madonna blush.Have a safe journey, guys. We'll miss you...
P/s: If you have to know, the men was tasked with babysitting duties. So our 'bachelor party' was at home, with beer and pizza.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Nü Orleans

Will be going to Nü Orleans next week. Except this time, it's not going to be for a conference. The last time I was there, it was apparently a different place. Nü Orleans, BK. And Nü Orleans, AK. Before and After Katrina.
I've wondered about that place for while, having met some
patients who were translocated by the disaster.
This time, my hospital's going to be sending a medical relief team down. 50-strong. And they specifically asked for some volunteer physicians from my specialty. Hence the upcoming week-long trip.
They say we'll be seeing patients in makeshift tents. And no Sheraton hotel this time... we'll apparently be sleeping in tents too. Hopefully, we'll be able to make a difference there. It'll be a different experience, that's for sure. Coming from our air-conditioned, sterile, extremely efficient system to a disaster zone. Though I've had ample experience with makeshift medicine from the Free Diabetes Clinic that I volunteer at, this will be an eye-opener.

Updates to come...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Going Home

Alrighty ladeez and gents.
Dr. Vagus is coming hoooomme. Yup, will be flying back on April 25th, with my lovely other half.
Was looking at flight options with Kristin. I figured, hey, it's a long flight, it's her first trip to Malaysia so I should make it as comfortable as possible. And since I'm a bigshot doctor now making bigbucks, I thought we'd get first class seats.
The tickets cost only US$ 15,020. Each. Cheap cheap.

Guess I wasn't as big a bigshot as I thought. And my bucks weren't that big either.
But anyways, we'll be home for 12 days. Hoping to meet up with buddies in Singapore too, so plan to visit there. So, will be taking orders online. Starting with Suanie's chocolates. And Jimbo's Playboy® magazines. So, start getting the welcoming party together. I want a limo, the red carpet treatment, cheerleaders... the works. My flight arrives at ΔΏΓΛ (what, you didn't really think I'll tell you, would I? Have blogged enough that the ISA probably wants to give me a warm welcome)
As usual, I intend to present my annual talk on applying for postgraduate medical training in the USA. So, med students (or doctors who may be keen) take note. Will present at the Bkt Jalil and Seremban campuses, dates/times to be determined.
And no, I'll be flying economy class instead.

Monday, January 15, 2007

5 Things You Didn't Know About Me

I got tagged by George. I don't usually do memes (digression: why is a meme called a meme? Can someone PLEASE enlighten me? This has been bothering me for months. And Suanie, what on earth is a noob? Issit like a boob, only smaller? Can't keep up with the internet lingo these days. Way back then, all we had was LOL). But this sounded fun, so I thought I'd do it.

So, 5 things you didn't know about me:
  • Before the glory days of me becoming a physician the likes of Dr. McDreamy, I worked as a a bellboy/doorman at a hotel. Yes, doorman. Except that in keeping with Negeri Sembilan's (my home state) heritage that hotel made me wear a f*cking Hang Tuah (err... how does one describe him to foreigners? Historical Malaysian ninja-hero?) costume (no disrespect to our historical figures). Complete with headgear. No, not with a songkok, but with a blardi tengkolok the size of my head! My friends would visit the hotel just to see and laugh at me.
  • I was (still am?) a real mommy's boy. Would cry whenever we went out, was homesick when I went to school. Heck I almost cried during my first camping trip (when I was 13!). I was the last person on earth my family would have expected to have gone abroad for medical school, and subspecialty medical training. Gawd, 9 years so far....
  • My car's name is Veronica. I'm a clown (Guess you ALL know that)
  • I'm a 30 year old virgin. Bwahahaha. Okay, okay, something more believable
  • I had a close encounter with the Grim Reaper when I was 7 or 8. At a Hari Raya visit, I loved the beef rendang so much that the makcik gave me some to eat in the car. Except one chunk was a wee bit too big even for a tubby kid's big fat mouth/throat. I started choking in the car. I still remember the feeling, being unable to talk, to breath, my diaphragm going into spasms making an almost squeeking-like noise. Thankfully Uncle Jimmy who was in the car, made my dad pull over, doubled me over and started slapping on my back. After several hits, I coughed up the goomba. Now, if only he had done it a few seconds earlier, I might have spared some brain cells and actually be smart today. But yea, I swore off beef rendang after that (for a week).
  • So you think you're all macho and brave just because you have a tattoo and a nose-ring? Big farking deal. I had my schlong skewered. Twice! In one side, out the other. Kinda like a weiner on a satay stick. Thank God I was too young to remember. Just remember to not stand beside me at the urinals... (and FYI I am fully 'functional', if you have to know).
  • I have a massive crush on Sharon 'Boomer' Valerii. Even my girlfriend's given up on this. Yes, THAT Sharon. I have a thing for 1) Chicks in flightsuits 2) Chicks with spaceguns 3) Chicks in flightsuits with spaceguns, especially if they're half human, half Cylon. And that the Cylons have infinite clones of her is just the cherry on the icing (does anyone know where I can buy a BSG flightsuit for my girlfriend?)
There. 5 things you didn't know about me. And who says doctors are stable, smart people? I don't usually like memes, so I'll be nice and won't tag anyoneohwhattheheck, I tag:

Teej (just coz her blog's brand new!)
George Bush (who says the President can't have a blog?)(maybe he reads mine...)

Friday, January 12, 2007

As I sit at my office desk now, my shoulders are shrugged, my eyes strained, my head and heart a bit heavy.
As a physician, some things bother me more than others. One, obviously, is when you screw up, something everyone does once in a while, but is less than acceptable amongst doctors (perhaps, because some see us as superhuman?).
Another, as is today's case, is when you can't help your patient. Despite your best intent, despite the technological, scientific advances in the last decade. This brings to mind the conversation I had with my sis Caryn 2 days ago when she was upset by a patient being forced to a nursing home.
It's hard to describe how this feels, unless you already understand. It's a deep-rooted, heavy, gnawing, twisted feeling deep within your chest. You feel guilt. Like you've let the patient down, especially if they flew all the way from Texas to for treatment. You feel disappointed and humbled, that although medicine can work near-miracles, we're clearly not quite there yet. You feel stupid, for you clearly don't know the answer to their problem (no one does). Perhaps a small part of you (God forgive me for saying this) feels thankful that it's the patient with the disease and not your family. But really, something like this just messes up your day. I had big plans for today; complete a big part of a paper I'm working on, review some charts, study. But now, all I feel like doing is to go home, crawl into some hole with a stiff drink, and go to sleep.
Thankfully, it's the weekend. And one piece of advice a senior gave me during internship that's sustained me through the most horrible of calls: Even the worst day will eventually end.
Someone once said that the physician's role is not to cure, but to heal. For we can't cure everything, but if we do our jobs right we can heal anyone.
I did all I could just now. I shook his hand. Held on a bit longer. And wished him good luck.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


As I open my mailbox, my hands tremble in anticipation. I find a large, nonchalantly unmarked envelope. Could such an innocent cover hide such sin? Such temptation? Slowly, I slit the envelope open.
Yes!!! The magazine is finally here. My precious...
I dreamily, lustily look at the glossy cover.
Heart a-pounding, I slowly flip the pages, and begin to admire the models. Such spectacular, sensual beauties. In various states of reveal. My pupils dilate. Heart rate increases. Breathing deepens, exhaling in slow sighs of pleasure.
I brush my fingers on the images. Imagining how it would feel to really caress the beauties. To feel her skin. Her body. Picturing the pleasure, the adrenaline, the warmth. The power.
I can only imagine how it would feel, to ride her. Oh, will that day ever come?
Is this what they call lust? And can I ever replace my love?

(And no, this isn't my video. The hardtop convertible roof mechanism is amazing. *drool drool*)

Yes, I think I've decided on the Mercedes, despite the overwhelming popularity of the Porsche in that reader survey I posted months ago. Something about the hardtop convertible just does it for me. And somehow, unlike Veronica's, I just didn't like the look of the Boxster's ass. Porsche had sent me the wrong car brochure, mailing the Porsche Cayman catalogue instead of the Boxster as I had requested (point deduction for that). Plan to testdrive the car sometime next month. Here's another really cool TV ad.