Sunday, September 22, 2013

Jupiter, and the Great Red Spot

Ok, these I'm particular happy with.
I woke up at the unholy hour of 415AM today. Just to take some pictures in the cold.
You know what, it was worth it!
Jupiter's day lasts 9 hours. Kinda; because it's not a solid planet, the different latitudes rotate at slightly different speeds. Anyway, I wanted to catch a picture of the Great Red Spot, which would be visible at 5 AM. Hence the alarm clock.
These were the results. One of the moons showed up in the picture as well (I could see 4 through the scope). Calisto or Ganymede probably- the 2 largest.

Incidentally, the Great Red Spot has a maximum diameter of 40,000 km. It is a storm that has been active for at least 300 years. Imagine that.
Anyway, these were taken with the Nexstar 4SE, with the Neximage camera and images stacked. Someday when I can afford Photoshop, maybe I can make it look better.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Moving Story

I saw Mrs. K in the hospital; she was admitted for unstable angina- coronary angiography showed multivessel disease and so she was scheduled for CABG next week. The catch though is her oldest child was scheduled to get married Saturday.
And she was deemed too unstable to be released from the hospital.
And so, her daughter did something you only read about or watch on TV. She changed the venue from the church to the hospital  chapel. A smallish, humbly room; not the huge cathedral she probably had envisioned.
As I rounded on her this morning, Mrs. K told me of how it was a small affair, only about 30 people, but it was nonetheless the most beautiful affair. They came in their gowns and tuxes. They exchanged their vows and everyone cried (thankfully, this did not cause any angina for the patient!). It was a most touching event.
I didn't want to be presumptious and invited myself to the chapel downstairs, but I couldn't help but feel moved by the story. If mom can't come to the wedding, we'll bring the wedding to mom.
The reception will have to wait, she said; they will wait till she recovers from her bypass so that she can dance the night away.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Tip

Generally, cocaine and pheochromocytoma don't go together.
Just sayin'.
In case your patients didn't know.
Yup, you guessed it. This was probably my 30th case of a pheo. But the first to also try to tempt fate by doing coke.

Saturday, September 07, 2013


We were in Houston last weekend. A good friend was (finally) getting hitched; we were single guys together during residency 11 (gulp) years ago, two Asian men who had trouble fitting in with the ladies scene. We both thought we were going to die single. And then I met Kristin, but poor Dean stayed single for all these years. Through fellowship and a subfellowship. And so, when I got an invitation card to his wedding out of the blue, we jumped.
This also gave me the opportunity to visit Houston, Texas, for the first time. And as a bonus, we were able to make time to visit the Johnson Space Center. It has been a lifelong dream of mine being a space nut to visit someday, and the day finally came.

It was a huge facility, which still actively operates as NASA's mission control center and astronaut training center, with a humongous exhibition of space memorabilia, models and mockups and also actual space craft.
Like Kristin said, I was running around wide-eyed like a kid in Disneyland. Though I wasn't too impressed when neither my wife nor sister-in-law who was with us knew what NASA meant. Neither were spacebuffs. "Err, North and South Agency? National Air and Space Agency?"
Bah. Amateurs.
They had, on-loan from the Smithsonian, an actual Saturn V rocket, the 3-staged rocket that took the Apollo astronauts to the moon.
Until one actually saw it, you didn't realize how large this sucker was. I could fit my car in one of the rocket nozzles. Talk about explosive gases.
It was somewhat of a challenge though to be visiting with two little kids, and to overlap this with naptime. And so, 4 hours was about all we could do. However for those 4 hours we were there, I was in heaven. It was awesome and yet humbling to see and read about the space program, and how far we have come as a species, and yet you wonder about where humanity is next headed.
"Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the staship Enterprise..."

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

88th Birthday

So we did something unorthodox yesterday.
A patient of mine, a dear old woman with diabetes, was turning 88. She mentioned when I saw her last week that she thinks lonely old women should have an expiration date of about 80 years, and there's no reason she should live to beyond.
I told her I'd take none of that. My role as her physician was to keep her until she was 100.
However it saddened me too to hear how her husband died 7 years ago, and with the exception of one son, her other kids didn't care.
And so after work yesterday, on the spur of the moment, Kristin and I packed up the kids, and went to the store to pick up a cake. And made a stop at her home.
She lived in a humble trailer home, surrounded not by material things, but by dozens of pictures of now-gone family. She wasn't expecting anyone to bring her cake, so in we went with the kids. We got the cake out and all, especially Alli, sang her Happy Birthday.
I swore to myself that she shouldn't have to celebrate her birthday without at least a cake.
I was glad we were able to do it for her.