Sunday, August 31, 2008


GEORGE TOWN: Don’t let him off the hook lightly.
This was the call by Gerakan vice-president Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in urging action against Bukit Bendera Umno division chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail. This was following reports that Ahmad had allegedly called the Chinese pendatang (immigrants) at a ceramah during the Permatang Pauh by-election.

And thus it is revealed.
After 51 years of independence, many Bumiputras still think like that. As an anonymous reader had commented on my blog some time ago, their 'nenek-moyang' got here first.

We may have gone far as a a country, but as a nation of many cultures, this reeks of racism and backward thinking. After 3 or more generations of people born and bred in Malaysia, some still refer to the Indians and Chinese as 'immigrants'. Never mind that we hold Malaysian passports, pay taxes (and probably support their cause too, since we pay more for property and for their 'elitist' colleges).

If you ask me, I think he should be fired. And the Prime Minister should not be making pathetic excuses for him, ie. "he did not mean it." These are irresponsible and grave comments to be made by a political leader. He is an adult; if he has balls and is half a man he should be, he should not be hiding behind stupid excuses.

It's a crying shame; we celebrate 'independence' but what do we have to show for it? Generations of entitled people who see us as less than citizens. Thankfully, not all Bumiputras share those sentiments; some people I know have better sense than that. Here's to hoping that someday, we get to really become one nation, of One People. I just hope I get to see that in my lifetime.

Happy Independence Day, indeed.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Bad week.
On call. Busy. Grumpy. Hating life.
And then something hilarious like this comes along that makes you laugh.

JOHOR BARU: A welder who tried to elongate his penis with a nut found himself in a pickle when the nut got stuck after he had an erection.
The victim, from Taman Sri Skudai, had apparently been trying to increase the length of his penis ahead of his engagement next week when disaster struck.It is learnt that the incident occurred on Thursday and the 20-something-year-old victim went to the Sultanah Aminah Hospital here to seek treatment when he was unable to get the nut off himself.
Unfortunately, hospital authorities were at a loss and had to call the Fire and Rescue Department for assistance. A department spokesman confirmed that they received a call from the hospital yesterday, and sent seven firemen to help out.
They, too, were unable to remove the nut. At press time, the nut was still firmly attached to the base of the man’s genitals

Suddenly life doesn't seem that bad anymore.
(and really, how dumb can some people be?)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

My Birthday Present

Be forewarned: This is a TMI posting (Too Much Information).

I turned 32 a few days ago.
So now that I'm a big-time consultant (I'm being sarcastic, obviously), what did I buy myself, you may wonder?
Perhaps that Mercedes-Benz SLK 300 I have been lusting after for 3 years? Or, as some of you has suggested, a Porsche Boxster S?
Or, perhaps befitting my new title, I splurged on a Rolex?
Erm, no.
I got this. As some you of may recall, I've lamented in a previous post about how you don't feel comfortable if you don't wash your butt after taking a dump, even if you've wiped. Call me a simpleton, but really, it's one of those things that make like so much more pleasant.
And so, last week I bit the bullet, and spent $14 (well, I had a $30 Amazon voucher) on this little nifty device.10 mins of tinkering around, and vióla!
I now have a bidet! Best 14 bucks I ever spent.
After you're done with your business, wiped, with a simple twist of the lever, you get a clean squirt into your nether regions.
Yes, life is so much better now that I'm 32.
(And some of you in Malaysia actually think that I lead an exciting life, huh? forum smileys )

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Modern Medicine

Phew. What a week. I had thought that now, being a consultant, life would be cushy. I have to say though, I have been pulling 12-hour days all week. And 2 weeks from now, I will be oncall for the first time. And I have to admit, it's getting me pretty anxious. No, it's not the medicine that worries me. It's learning my way around 4 hospitals, and learning 2 different hospital systems. Yes, we cover 4 hospitals for call, that belong to 2 distinctly different medical systems. Each with their own paperwork, ordering system. And the hospitals are built like mazes. I'm going to need a GPS.Anyways, work has been interesting this week. It's gotten me thinking. I saw several patients this week. And perhaps to give a lousy excuse for my fumbling with the ordering system on the computer, I tell them: Please bear with me; I'm new to this clinic.
I've had more than a few patients smile knowingly, and say,
"Yes, I know. I read up about you on Google, and know where you're coming from..."
I've already done 4 thyroid biopsies this week, and all 4 patients have told me they're 'letting the new guy do it' only because of where I trained.
It's interesting how many patients here (compared to Malaysia, say) look up their doctors online before their appointments.
Now, I'm all for that. I love for a patient to be informed, to know her doctor's background and credentials. But I have to say, being on the other side of the fence, instead of the 'looking-upper' and being the 'looking-uppee' (mark my words, these phrases will be in the Webster's dictionary in a few years!) I find it terribly unnerving. I mean, to have someone Google you up, and find your stories, articles, medical or not medical, almost feels like you're being violated.
I've had a couple of patients ask me about stuff I've published. One complimenting me on that non-fictional story I submitted to an essay-writing contest years ago. And one ask me about New Orleans.
It does kinda feel weird. But I suppose it's a necessary evil; it keeps the patients informed, and feeling empowered.
I'm just glad I use a nickname for the blog.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The days have just been a blur to me. Learning a brand new system is always tough, and the learning curve is always steeper in the beginning.
I had a busy day today (and you realize how much time you have with each patient as a fellow, compared to practice), at times I was getting irritable with myself for not working fast. It was one of those days I could have used a pick-me-up (and Kristin is still out of town).
I see a note on the chart of the next patient I was to see. Something about her not wanting to see the previous endocrinologist who saw her 4 years ago, but wanting to see me instead.
Bad sign. Perhaps a hard-to-please patient?
And then I flip open her outside records and was pleasantly surprised to find some clinical notes from my alma mater (WFMC). I'm biased, and I've been brainwashed to death having trained there for 6 years, but I do think they have a great, clean medical record system. However, as I go through her complicated notes, I see a familiar author.
"... Signed by: Dr. Vagus...."
Turns out I had seen her last year for her diabetes up in MN. She had remembered my saying that I would be moving down here, and since this was a bit closer to home for her, hunted me down to this clinic and insisted to see me.
She is the first of several patients of mine from WFMC who wanted to follow my move to Iowa. I never really took anyone of them seriously, thinking they were only being nice.
Though her diabetes is not in great shape, I was delighted to see someone I had previously seen, and even more delighted that she had taken the trouble to track me down here. It's a trust I hope I don't let down.
Though, she did say she'll have to rethink whether she wants to come back to see me next time, because I was unmarried when I saw her last year, while I'm now a married man.
This, coming from a 61 year old woman, with a wink as she went out the door today.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Weekend knick-knacks

We had a relaxing weekend. Made a trip to the Adel Sweet Corn festival, just to check it out. It was a short 20 min drive from here. Boy, we were impressed. Basically, you had truckloads and truckloads of super sweet corn, cooked and given away free.
Yes, free!
There were hordes of people, all enjoying the nice weekend weather, the numerous fair-type foodstalls and games were set up.
And corn being one of Kristin's favourites, she happily chomped away.
Though I had planned to not eat any (it's a real bitch to clean corn from braces) I finally relented after seeing how the people were just enjoying their 4,5 even 6 ears of corn.
I swear, I've never had corn that sweet before. The 5 mins of flossing was well worth it.
But I was happiest finding some corndogs there. It's ironic, an endocrinologist (who among other things treats cholesterol problems) wolfing down two corndogs. On another note, Chloe's growing quick into a cheeky little rascal. For whatever reason, she seems get get hyper several times a day. And no, as you can tell, she doesn't like baths.

Kristin's just gone home to WI for a few days to hang out with her family. So, for the next few days I'll be all on my own. Sniff sniff. So, feel free to send me some entertainment.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

First Week

Started work this week. Well, for the most part, I was just shadowing colleagues to learn the ropes. But I started seeing my own patients yesterday.
Despite the 6 years of postgraduate training, I was anxious. Kinda like the first day of school. The medicine is the same, well, kinda.
But the challenge is to unlearn 6 years of systems habits, and to relearn a new hospital, charting, ordering and billing system. I had a few hours of teaching on how the electronic medical record system, the computers work. But I was seeing stars after the first hour. And naturally, I was apprehensive seeing my first patients yesterday.
They knew I was new and so for the most part was very understanding when I was slow to take notes (I'm used to dictating all my clinical notes; here they use self-entry templates).
I came back with a pretty bad migraine yesterday. Though thankfully I didn't keep my patients waiting too long; I was 20 mins behind after the first 2 patients, but caught up by the time I started on my last. I did, however, stay another 2 hours to update and complete my notes.
For a first week, it was tough, but not a nightmare. I have to say it went relatively okay. The learning curve is going to be pretty steep the first month or two, but eventually I'll get there.
Now though the medicine's supposed to be the same, I've learnt that outside of an academic institution, people pretty much do what they want, sometimes in totally different styles. I've picked up a few habits at my alma mater MC, but I'll have to adapt to the preferred styles at this new place.
As Dr. W, my mentor at MC had said, you learn the real art of medicine when you're finally out in practice.
For now, I'm just thankful the weekend's here...

Sunday, August 03, 2008

A Home Improvement Project

It's hot today. 34° C (but feels like 42° C, according to the weather channel).
So hot that Kristin and I decided to try to tint our bedroom windows, since the curtains have to be specially ordered and will take a couple of weeks. Something that would block out some of the searing dry heat from the sun. And, basking in the glow of home ownership, and feeling pretty damn good about successfully installing our bathroom fixtures, we decided to do it ourselves.
Off we went to the nearby Home Depot to pick up some DIY tint. How difficult can putting up a thin layer of plastic be? (you know where this is going).
After all, we happen to think that being medical professionals, we're pretty damn smart. We've published papers, saved a few lives, thank you very much. We can handle this. And after all, the tint had 'EZmount' pasted all over it. The brochure had Grandpops and Grandma sitting at the coffee table, smiling while sipping their tea.
If some elderly people can mount this, cheh, certainly an endocrinologist and a cardiac-surgical ICU nurse can!
Now, months ago, Mr. H, a dear old patient of mine with diabetes, told me that if our relationship can make it through 2 weddings, moving, a new job and a new home all in a period of 2 months, then we'll know this will last forever.
Today I understood the wisdom of his words.
Kristin and I have never been so frustrated, agitated, angry, and 'verbally expressive' before. I'm known to outswear a drunken pirate, but even dainty, gentle Kristin was using the F*CK words several times.
Luckily for us, our anger was mainly directed not at each other, but at the f*cking window tint film.
2 hours, a lot of cussing and crying and trying not to bite off each others' heads, and $46 later, we finally have beautiful window tints in our bedroom to keep out the hot sun:

The f*cking thing looks like a flock of birds flew into our beautiful windows and cracked them. Our neighbours were probably sniggering to themselves as they saw us attempt to put this up.
"Dumb city slickers", they must have said.
Thankfully, this is only temporary until we get our curtains.
In the meantime, I'm going to shoot off a nasty letter to the makers of the tint to complaint about their misleading advertising. They really should relabel their packaging.