Life (and death)...
My life as a Malaysian doctor in the United States.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Many complain of having to pay for unnecessary tests
PETALING JAYA: A retiree seeking treatment at a private hospital was asked to undergo a blood test, X-ray and an ultrasound therapy. He was referred to three specialists an orthopaedic surgeon, a physician and a nephrologist and was admitted for three days. He had gone to the doctor for his gout.
The retiree, who has no medical insurance, claimed he was
eventually discharged with some painkillers and slapped with a RM2,700 bill.
But when you get the sense that the doctor sitting across the table is suggesting certain testing based primarily on financial motives, then it really leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
ONE DECADE AGO!
Geez. I realized that a week ago when I was congratulating my med students. I told them about how my graduation was that spring morning when it hit me. Holybegezeez! It was May 2001! I remember how proud we all were (and perhaps a bit surprised!) that I made it through medical school, in a foreign country (I was a big-time mommy's boy and had a homesickness problem. Who knew, huh?). I remember how it felt when it came time for the Faculty of Medicine graduates to take the Hippocratic Oath:
"....WITH PURITY, HOLINESS AND BENEFICENCE I will pass my life and practice my art..."
Perhaps it was just a matter of coincidence that this trip back to Malaysia, I found my old graduation cap hidden away in a dusty cupboard and decided to bring it back with me to the US.
Geez. 10 years. If that seems like a long time, here's something for you starry-eyed med-students to ponder. I started medical school in 1996. 15 years ago! (that's the picture above, the smallest class in the history of the medschool). Between medical school + residency (specialty training) + subspecialty, it took me 12 years! So, as I've said many times before, I don't think being brainy is all that important to get you through medical school. Sure, having the grades help get you INTO medschool, but once you're in, it's pure stubborn-ness and perseverance that gets you through things.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Stages of Grief
Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.
And though I can't say the extent of grieving we are doing comes anywhere close to what my Buddy's family must be going though, our hearts and minds are in a bit of a disarray now. And it's nothing like that damn Kübler-Ross model of grieving. Instead, we seem to be going randomly between these stages:
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
We Shall Miss You
Despite all the fun and mischief, he was an extremely bright person, scoring 99s in his USMLEs and acing the internal medicine boards. As a physician, he was warm, caring and astute and was a master in clinical medicine. I remember that patient we both shared- he was asked to see him for severe anemia of unknown etiology; he quickly and accurately diagnosed hemolytic anemia from his prosthetic valve. I saw the grateful patient post-op, who had nothing but praise for my friend.
In those 4 years, he made the most out of life. He reminded us, the 'family' there, of the true meaning of friendship. He brought us all together. We were blessed, that when Kristin and I got married he was willing and able to be my Best Man. And then, a year later, we were honored that they wanted us to be their Best Man and Bridesmaid. And despite the shadow hanging over them, that was the most heartfelt wedding I had ever seen. It was as if they had not a single care in the world, as they uttered their vows. There were numerous teary eyes when Tow Shung and his wife started their first (choreographed, too!) dance as a married couple. Despite the chemo, and the radiation. Despite the odds. Living life to the fullest.
We were fortunate that just last month, we were able to visit him and his wife in Penang, and had a good several days. We talked. We reminisced. We laughed. And for that moment, it almost seemed that things were back to normal. To the days before the illness. We had a good time.
You were my friend, my buddy, my room mate, Best Man and my Brother. You fought a good, long battle. Thank you for teaching me about what friendship means. For helping me survive the most harrowing years of my professional career. For seeing me through the thick and thin. For the years of fun and brotherhood.
Though you are no longer physically with us, I know you're still with us, and you're in a better place. I know you are at peace now; know that we will never forget you. And though I don't know when we'll get to meet again, I know the day will someday come. That we'll get to share a few glasses of your wonderful mojitos. Till then, buddy, cheers.
Rest in peace; we will miss you.
Monday, May 16, 2011
Friday, May 13, 2011
Congratulations, Class of 2011
Monday, May 09, 2011
Pills Pills Pills
I had a conversation with my dad the other day after he saw his doctor. Some changes were made to his blood pressure medications. However, he did not recall the names, nor the doses.
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
Medical Treatment of Primary Hyperparathyroidism