Wednesday, January 30, 2013

How much?

Just to see how creative we can get, and to add to my previous post, I'm going to throw this out to see if I get any responses.
Of course, this is in jest.
When I asked a surgeon friend about how much physiology a surgeon wants to know, his answer was "Me cut, he bleeds".
So, how much anatomy would an endocrinologist want to know? "The thyroid is somewhere in the neck, right?"
Any other takers?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Lecture for surgeons

So I'm going to be presenting a lecture at surgical grand rounds in a few weeks, on 'Endocrine Incidentalomas'.
I catch myself wondering, how much physiology would a surgeon really want to know? A colleague once jokingly told me all the physiology he needs to know is "Me cut, he bleeds"footballer pictures
After all, it's pretty impossible to talk about endocrinology without physiology, is it?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Being Asian

It's interesting being Asian in the USA. More so in the midwest I suppose.
Have I been a victim of malicious racism? Not, sad to say, I've never seen it here firsthand, the way I do in my native land. But I digress.
If anything else, there are other generalizations of Asians. The one I see most frequently: We Asians know electronics/computers.
I get this all the time. But probably more so last month during the holiday season when we spent the holidays with my own in-laws. I was peppered with questions like:
  • Which digital camera should I buy?
  • Which amongst these is the best laptop? HP or Dell or Toshiba?
  • What's wrong with my TV?
  • How do I hook these things up?
  • Grandma is trying to find the best deal: What cellphone company should she use? Which cellphone?
  • Why is my laptop doing that?
Not that I mind. Actually, they probably know that I enjoy going online to do research on electronics when I don't have the answers.
But it's interesting how many think that if you're of an Oriental origin, then somewhere embedded in your DNA is infinite knowledge about electronics.
Maybe I should get a 2nd job at Bestbuy.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

How Doctors Die

I found out the other day that Dr. A passed away recently.
It has been close to 10 years since I was under his tutorage, but he was one of those you never forget. He was a physician in the pulmonary and critical care division, and I spent several months working with him, first as an intern, then as a senior resident in the ICU.
I recall my first few days in the medical intensive care. It was a harrowing place, bright, sterile lights with just 24 rooms. And despite that, you hear alarms of all sorts going off periodically.
I remember seeing my first few codes there. I remember seeing that patient literally die, there in the ICU, when he developed a fatal pneumothorax, and despite the efforts by the surgeons, he slipped away. To this day, on a bad night, I still get flashbacks/nightmares of that night (yes, I realize I probably have some component of PTSD).
Yes, the ICU was a scary place to be. Yet, under the supervision of Dr. A, we never felt alone. It was overwhelming and intimidating initially, but having such a patient and cool teacher, we interns eventually built up confidence and developed our skills. While some of the very Type A consultants had a way of putting us down, that was never Dr. A's style. You knew you messed up when he calmly responded, "Hmm, that's interesting..". It usually meant you should've done something differently, that you needed to brush up on something. Yet he never yelled or shamed you. From a green, scared intern, I remember becoming the (more) confident resident, putting in my central lines unsupervised when we had multiple coding patients and my fellow was with another patient.
I also learnt that Dr. A was a dirty liar when he modestly said he was a 'beginner' squash player when he invited me for a game that one evening. I got trashed.
After a long battle with metastatic lung cancer (he was never a smoker), he finally got to rest. I found out after receiving that email.
It makes me recall that blogpost I read recently. How Doctors Die. It makes me think about Dr. A, who after his diagnosis continued to care for patients and continued his teaching responsibilities. I think about Buddy, who despite having been diagnosed with Stage 4 esophageal cancer- and being an oncologist he knew- this was not going to be a curable disease- he decided to continue seeing patients and complete his subspecialty training and finally graduating after 7 years of postgraduate medical training, thousands of miles from home. Instead of throwing in the towel and saying "the hell with it, I'm going home to spend my remaining days with family".
Is this how doctors die? That, despite the common misconception that we're all in it for the money, that perhaps our job, our patients, our responsibilities, really mean that much to us? That, outside of caring for someone else, our lives carry very little other meaning and that this is pretty much all we know?
That we sacrifice so much for this lifestyle, that sometimes we don't know how to stop and literally work till we're dead?
Or is it because this is truly our calling, our passion?
I'd like to think so. And I know that the hordes of doctors who were Dr. A's students, the hundreds he has trained over the years, the many he has touched, would think that of him as well.
Farewell Dr. A. You will be missed.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Cathay Pacific Magic!

So, we've begun looking at flight options for our next trip to Malaysia, November this year. This is the longest since I've last been back- I try to make a trip every year, but with 2 kids, this quickly becomes impossible.
But with my kid sister (finally) getting married, this is a trip we're all looking forward to. And so, one of the airlines we're looking at is Cathay. I've flown them in the past and I've been satisfied, and this time the route seems to be more straightforward for us.
But I had to gag when I saw the increase in fares since our last trip.
But here's the magic trick. If you search for flights using the website, you get a quote of $6843 for our family of four.
And then, I noticed a link for 'Offers and Promotions' on their website, and put in the same parameters.
And voila! With special offers, the same itinerary magically goes from $6843 to $21,502! You gotta love the discount!
Sigh. Whatever airline we end up taking, this isn't going to be cheap now that we're a family of 4. And the thought of flying 20+ hours with two (probably screaming) kids is filling me with dread. Now I know why mom and dad hardly flew with us anywhere. They just put us in Fedex boxes with a flashlight and sandwich, and shipped us where we had to go.
And so, if any of you Cathay reps/PR people out there are wanting to reward me for finding this fault on your website, I'd gladly accept discounted business class tickets.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Hidden Treasures

So I was ecstatic when I 'found' this amongst all the stuff in my pantry:

Bingo! It's akin to finding 20 bucks in your car.
And then, I noticed this:
'Baik Sebelum 28 July 2008' (Best before).
Which begs the question. Do I risk it?
After all, the expiration dates are only a 'suggestion', right? And seeing how Malaysian food is more valuable than gold, you can't be throwing these away.
Can you?
And 4 years isn't that long.
Is it?

My wife keeps telling me to trash expired food. Often, I ignore her and still use the spices that are years old. I imagine one of these days I'm going to die of food poisoning, and she's going to have on my tombstone: "I told you so"

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Someday I'm gonna patent this:
My answer to the problem of kids not looking or smiling at the camera for pictures. Alli loves Fruit by the Foot (I know, it's ironic as I'm an endocrinologist). And so for the group pictures, I mounted a snack on the lens and promised bribes if she smiled and looked at it hard enough.
It worked!

Wednesday, January 02, 2013


It's entertaining sometimes looking at my spam mail.
Yes, I think we all acknowledge spammers as idiots with too much time on their hands so no one has any respect for them. That being said, how on earth do they come up with your profile?
If someone took at look at my spambox, they'd think I'm a senior citizen (which also explains the Viagra and personal scooter ads) from the FUTURE (note some emails are coming from 2038?) who is into swinging and is looking for a f*ckbuddy. I'm also wanting to earn his degree. And for some stupid reason I've been injured by a Mirena IUD; probably because I was so dumb I stuffed it up my penile urethra.
Sigh. Good thing the spambox gets rid of these automatically.
Curse the spammers. Sangchaimouseefat!