Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

I can't believe 2012 is ending.
In many ways, it still feels like 2011. Especially since I've caught myself dating my notes '2011' (probably sleep deprivation had something to do with it).
It's been a year of changes. The most significant for us was the arrival of Ava, our bundle of joy. It was extra special as she came 2 days before my 36th birthday (and a Dragon baby, too!). With that our household has been busier.
With the new, also came some losses. Our friend Eugene passsed away suddenly in Singapore. It's given me some pause, thinking about whether we have our priorities right. Since at this stage of life work seems to take a centerstage and we haven't done so much especially with family, and travelling. Gene on the other hand was someone who lived life to the fullest with his wife, travelling and doing so much. Though he left a bit early, I bet he looked back and said "I'm glad we did all that". He was a true inspiration.
Around the world, around the country, 2012 seemed to have more than her fair share of tears. The most recent being Sandy Hook, obviously. Tragic.
And so, though the year had its moments of joys, I have to say I'm glad the year is ending. I am looking forward 2013, and a huge part of me is praying that it will be more uneventful, and will have more ups, more happiness, more stories of man being good to his fellow man, more good news.
Happy New Year, folks, wherever you are.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Gahhh. It's freezing.

At least when it's bloody cold outside and I'm yearning for the warmth of Malaysia, all I have to do is to look to my right and dream at my Christmas present from the wifey. She got one of our favorite photos from Redang framed on a canvas!
It's not cold.
It's not cold.
It's not cold.
It's not cold.
(damn I can't feel my fingers...)
It's not cold.
It's not cold.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

From Vagus' family to yours, Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for the New Year.
May 2013 bring you peace, joy and health.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Santa's Health Profile

Sometimes being an endocrinologist you can't help but wonder what metabolic or health issues a person might have. And so, watching yet another Santa ad on TV got me thinking about what he might be suffering from.
I'd say his BMI is easily 35, probably even north of 40. There would be a good chance too especially with that thick neck of his that he has obstructive sleep apnea as well. Indeed, this might explain his rosy cheeks- the polycythemia some patients with severe OSA experience. Treatment might be a problem though as his full beard would not allow for a proper fitting CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) mask, so I imagine his doc would make him lose weight instead, or suggest surgery.
I'd bet that he would also have some lipid issues- the ones I'd anticipate would be the classic pattern seen in metabolic syndrome- low HDL and high triglycerides. Perhaps even high LDL. So, perhaps a candidate for a niacin-based treatment (except the recent AIMHIGH does confound the picture).

Insulin resistance, or even frank diabetes, might be in the picture. After all, this affects 7% of the population and with his habitus this would not be surprising. If so, aside from the usual diet and exercise, I might recommend metformin- but the frequent bowel movements/diarrhea might make his long flights difficult as I don't think his sleigh has a toilet. And should he get, err, gassy, this might give him away as he sneaks in to drop off presents. Not to mention that flatulence while climbing down a fireplace might set off an explosion.
The high salt diet (from the pretzels some kids leave him) likely will lead to hypertension as well (often also caused by the concurrent sleep apnea). Lastly, we frequently see people with central hypogonadism from OSA, too.
So, I imagine a doctor will get pretty busy treating dear old Santa. But then again, if St. Nick has lived hundreds of years so far, who are we to say?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

My Christmas Wish List (only because my wife hasn't heeded my hints)

Damn. We're all here. So 12/21/12 wasn't all that was hyped up to be. Which means we need to get our Christmas shopping done.
So, what have I been wanting this year?
Besides Olivia Wilde in Tron.
Well, strangely enough, I've been wanting to break out the old Xbox. So, on my list are some video games. Also some clothing items. I've been banking on the world ending, and now that it hasn't, I probably shouldn't plan on being naked for work
  • Halo 4. Preowned please. Never buy new games
  • F1 2011 (yes, 2011. Much cheaper than 2012. I'm stingy, thankyouverymuch)
  • Xbox Wireless Speed Wheel
  • Dress socks. The cheap Hanes ones that are 100% cotton. These stink the least
  • Boxers. So that I don't have to, ahem, recycle
  • Black leather shoes. The pair my parents bought for me in 2003 probably needs replacing. And the 2007 Bata leather shoes aren't holding up, either
  • Admitted, the one single thing I want the most is the cheapest, but hardest to find: Sleep

Thursday, December 20, 2012


So, they say the world ends tomorrow. Winter solstice.
Apparently the Mayans predicted it (if you ask me, it's some paranoid's interpretation of things. Just because their calender stops on that date? Maybe they just ran out of stone) eons ago.
So, though it's a blizzard of snow and wind out there right now, come 12/21/12 the sky will rain down fireballs and molten lava will erupt from the ground. Which is nice since that'll mean I won't have to shovel that 10 inches (and building) of white stuff on my driveway.
Also, that would mean I won't have to go to work tomorrow. Nor will I have to spend time and money on Christmas presents this year.
The question is, when exactly will it happen? Malaysian time? US Central time? If it was the former, it'll mean that you guys over there will self destruct in about 30 mins. Sucks to be you, but I'll see you on the other side when it's my turn fighting smileys.
You'd think that the intelligent man won't take it seriously. But I read an article the other day about how this Nebraskan company was making a killing building personal backyard bunkers this year for those who want to tough it out underground. Even Costco is selling dehydrated 2-year food supplies, "shipped discreetly" probably so that your neighbors won't know you're crazy. Me, if the world's gonna turn into a mush, I don't want to spend a year living in a hole, then to run out of food and to have to decide who amongst you to eat. Give me front row seats. I'd hold my family close, say some prayers, and then vaporize.
It's an interesting exercise though. If they world does end, what would you have done differently about your life?
Me, it's probably to have spent less time at work, and more with family. My family here, but also my family in Malaysia. I wish situations would have allowed me to see them more than I do, for my parents to be able to hold their granddaughters more frequently. For me to have been able to see and hug and laugh with my childhood buddies (yes, that includes you, Al).
Of course, being a doctor, the implication of saying I wish I spent less time at work is that I'm saying I wish I spent less time with my patients. While I (usually) enjoy my work and interactions with them, it's does consume a lot. And a surgeon friend once said (obviously more applicable to them than an endo): A doctor saves lives by sacrificing theirs. And so, yes, I wish I spent less time at work.
Well, Happy Doomsday, guys. See you on the other side. But if the world doesn't in fact end, then I'm in deep shit with my Christmas presents.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Dear Buddy

Hi; it's been awhile since we talked, hasn't it? And yes, it HAS been seven years since we took that picture in our dinky little rental. I had a lot more hair, and less wrinkles then.
You've probably been watching in shock all the horrible things that are going on in this world. I bet that makes you in some part glad that you're above all this now, that you are in a better place though I bet you miss your sweetheart and family terribly too.
I miss our chats. After all, it's been almost two years since we last met, and you left us. Much has changed- our Alli is now a big sister (and a handful). We have a 4 month old- Ava. So, our household has been somewhat of a zoo. Kris and I are constantly exhausted. But blissfully so.
However, being parents to two precious little princesses, I can't held but worry about the world they'll grow up in. You'd think that man's nature is one of good- that we don't take pleasure in intentionally hurting, torturing or killing someone else. But with the recent worldwide events- here, in the Middle East, or elsewhere, it's hard to say now. It's especially tragic when deaths are senselessly caused by another human, while on the other hand people like you actually fought and lost your battles with an illness. It's as though it's not the safe, innocent world we grew up in anymore.
So much suffering.
Anyway, it's been awhile and I missed talking to my buddy. I know we still meet in my dreams, but you know it's different. Well, till the next time, Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 14, 2012


There hasn't been too many times the news have made me cry. Me, a grown man. 9/11 was one.
Today was another.
It's a day of unspeakable evil, of unimaginable tragedy. 26 innocent lives lost in a single act of evil. As if it was not tragic enough, 20 of those were children.
As a doctor, losing 26 lives is perhaps something I might face professionally in a period of years. It's not easy, but we are forced to accept that we won't always win the battle with fate. As a father though, the thought of losing so many lives, so many young children, just fills my heart with so much sadness and anguish. I'm heartbroken.
I look at my girls, and I just don't know what to think. We watched the interview just now, of one of the teachers, of how she thought it was the end and she wanted to let the kids know in case they died, that they were loved. Knowing that before they left.
My wife and I picked our girls up from daycare early today. And all evening, we held them a little tighter. Several times, we teared up and sobbed.
And though I don't want to get into the politics of things, and the subtleties of gun control, I can't help but also feel anger. At how some people actually believe that the right to bear arms will actually make this world safer. "If only I had my gun to protect myself..."
Look at some parts of the world. Look at Malaysia; at least that is one thing we got right; death sentence for illegal possesion of firearms. Or look north at our Canadian neighbors. And tell me they have the same rate of gun crime as we do here in the USA.
There will be crazed nutjobs everywhere; you're not going to be able to stop them. But, if you make it a little less easy for people to get semi-automatic firearms, and don't give them the ability to maim or kill many in a moment of seconds, then perhaps these tragedies will happen less.
But no, today is not a day to argue about gun control. Today is a day of mourning. To be human, and to share the grief and pain and tears some families are undergoing. To come together despite our differences in opinion, and just cry, because some innocent lives were lost.
You can't also help but wonder sometimes; perhaps the Mayans were right. Perhaps man don't deserve living on this planet.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Bad Dad?

I've done some things as a father that I'm ashamed of.
Tell me it's normal, and I'm not going to Father Hell for this.
Or that Santa's not going to visit this year.
  • Taxed some of the stuff my daughter collected on Halloween. And she's wondering why her Halloween candy stash is running low
  • When reading bedtime stories, especially when she picks a thick book, yes I admit I sometimes skip pages
  • Bribed her with candy. "Here, if you smile for the picture, I'll give you some chocolate"
  • Recycle clothes. After all, if it looks clean, smells clean, who cares if she wore it yesterday? After all I do that too!
  • Trained her to be a carnivore like me. After all, she's half Malaysian. Admittedly there was some pride when I asked her the other day what she'd like for breakfast and she replied "Meat, meat, meat!"
  • Taught her the old "Pull my finger" and fart trick. She learnt to fart on command before she was 18 months old
Please tell me they won't revoke my Daddy License. Yes, it's a lot of work, more than the Hubby License or Doctor License. But I enjoy this job immensely.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Quote of the Month

Sometimes it is the prim and proper patients who say the darndest things.
Heard in the diabetes clinic today:
"My blood sugars are up and down more than a prostitute's panties..."
You wouldn't have expected that from a dearly looking 81 year old woman!