Saturday, August 30, 2014

Happy Merdeka, Malaysia

As they say, you can take the man out of Malaysia, but you can't take the Malaysian out of the man.
Though I left Malaysia for North America for medical school in 1998 (and again in 2002), and have had a US greencard for several years, I do identify myself as Malaysian still. Many have asked if I'd give up my citizenship someday, and my answer still remains "probably not".
And so, from half a world away, I wish Malaysia Happy 57th Merdeka Day.
Though the country has come far since the days of our founding fathers, many like myself can't help but to sadly reflect too on how things are evolving. Though it's been over 5 decades, it's heartbreaking to see how in the last 10 years, things seem to be going backwards.
You'd think that a people of a country that is 57 years old would have matured enough to not see only the colour of others' skins. Or that they would not refer to one another as 'immigrants', never mind that many of us are 3rd to 5th generation Malaysians.
But no, unfortunately, because of a selfish few who choose to divide her people for their own political gains, the diversity that was once her strength seems to be turning into mother Malaysia's Archilles' heel.
However, it is also heartening to see that despite that hot air and garbage that some of our politicians and leaders spew, many Malaysians are still of sound mind and are sensible enough to not fall for that trick.
So Malaysia, here's wishing you a happy 57th birthday, all the way from the United States.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Happy Birthday Ava!

Friday, August 15, 2014

New toy

Yes, I got a new toy. Didn't think I'd get a pair of binoculars, but there was an Amazon lightning deal and it was going for only $49.
The Celestron Skymaster 15x70 bino.
The beer glass is there for comparison- this sucker is taller than a bottle of beer, with high index multicoated optics. It's nowhere near the power of my Matkusov-Cassegrain telescope, but I was looking for an ultraportable, lower-power device for casual on-your-back stargazing, and the books recommend that all astronomers should have a pair of binoculars.
Someday though I hope to go beyond solar system photography, and catch a nice shot of a nebula, or the Andromeda galaxy.
Hopefully this will help me get my bearings better.
But eventually, if the wife allows, I'm going to need an equitorial mount and a faster scope.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sick Day

I took my first sick day in a year on Friday; came down with a bad cold and a fever of 39°C. And I felt guilty doing it, because I knew my patients had waited a while for the appointment. And I knew some would be unhappy doing it.
Which gets me thinking about that phrase I've read before.
Doctors save lives by giving up theirs.
Maybe a bit presumptious one might say, but there are certainly days when it feels to be true.
One expects so much from their doctors; that they are never sick, that they are never wrong, and that they have all the answers and cures to their ails. And should they ever fall sick, there should be a backup doctor who can see them, right? Right.
Seems that there are more and more days when I really feel that every single day at work shortens my life a little bit. Rushing between patients, trying to 'work in' the 200 consultation requests we are getting every week. Trying to see the 'very urgent' ones referring physicians are asking for (urgent is a relative term. I'd consider severe hyperthyroidism, uncontrolled diabetes to qualify. Certainly not hypogonadism or weight gain or fatigue. But, we try to please our docs). Seeing patients over my lunch hour most days of my week, resulting in my having H20 for lunch- what I shall soon patent as a new diet program (haven't seen any weight loss yet though). Having to battle insurors for approvals for medications, glucose test strips, diagnostic imaging or blood tests.
While feeling like we've sacrificed so much- family members we don't get to see much anymore. Lost friends. Missing out on kids' activities. Sleep. Student loans. For me, there are days when I feel like the worst son in the world because I can't physically be there for my parents.
And having read the survey results of US doctors, also nicely put in this kevinmd article, I'm certainly not the only one feeling the stress.
Its safe to assume that this job really is going to kill me someday.
And yet, we persist. Despite the knowledge that our job shouldn't be everything. After all, ALL doctors have cared for dying patients, and we've all heard it: "my biggest regret is working too much and not spending enough time with my family".
We all find our reasons. For some, monetary- after all most new graduates have over $100,000 in loans, or the never ending bills for running a family. For others, the smile or handshake of a grateful patient, or the knowledge that this patient will get better. Or the naive and idealistic thinking that our goal in life is to help others.
Whatever our reasons, for me, my cures for a stressful day are the giggles and hugs of my daughters and wife, and a cold beer. And thankfully, that treatment works everytime and I haven't yet built up a tolerance.