Thursday, September 11, 2014

(Belated) Birthday Present

I got a drone from Kristin for my birthday. Well, strictly speaking, I returned the one she gave me, and got this instead (because the other one did not have a video function).
It's been a blast so far, though I'm still learning how to fly this sucker, and I've already lost a prop.
This is the Hubsan X4- an entry-level UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) the size of an open palm. It also takes a microSD card which allows for SD video (no audio). It's RC controlled via a 2.4 Ghz remote, which unlike some of the wifi-controlled ones, in theory gives you a longer range.
In theory. This is so small that if you fly it too far you're not going to be able to see your heading, and would be apt to lose it easily. Also the battery flight time is only about 7 mins.
But, it's a blast, and for only $50, I'd say it's a great bargain and a great toy especially for one's first foray into these things.
Will need to work on my flying before I get to do more. I took out one of the motors today on its 3rd video flight >_<
Luckily these things are modular, and ordering another motor was just $11.
  video
 

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Moon Cake Festival

One thing that I find challenging, being a Malaysian dad with an American wife and daughters is the lack of tradition. Not that there is a paucity of Western cultures and traditions, just that I think it's human nature to want to impart to our kids the things we did growing up. The games we played, foods we ate, the festivities we took part in.
And so, came this Moon Cake festival, I was determined to try share some of my childhood activities with the kids.
I had to resort to Amazon to find the lanterns; my surprise I wasn't able to find them in the Asian stores here. I discovered that while the MidAutumn festival is celebrated in numerous countries, it appears that the part about the lanterns is unique to Malaysia?
I spent some time today telling Alli about what we did; how mom and dad would take us out to pick out our lanterns, and being a Dragon that would usually be my pick. I remember that big-ass lantern I got that one year. How we would light up little colored candles and stick them in, and carried the lanterns on bamboo sticks and walked around the neighborhood at night. Found some pictures on the internet to show her, and reminisced my childhood.
I remember the foods we'd eat. Of course, the infamous moon cake. Something I never really appreciated growing up. But now, now that I'm so far away from my other home, I crave it perhaps in a feeble attempt to relive those experiences (I can't believe I actually paid RM22 for a single mooncake!). I told Alli the stories mom told me, of how the people of the Ming dynasty used to hide messages in the cakes to plan their fight against the Mongolian invaders- don't know if they're historically accurate, but it was still a neat story.
I also remember those things mom used to make- I have no clue what they are, but they were black shells of something that was shaped like a cow's head, with some starchy white filling inside (anyone knows what they are?).
Anyway, the girls had perhaps a few fleeting moments of fun with the lanterns, and that was about it. In a silly sort of way, there is a certain tinge of sadness, knowing your kids will never appreciate the things you did as a child, but then again this is to be expected growing up in a totally different world. And the mooncakes, well, let's just say they didn't fall in love with it! >_<
Maybe next year. Happy Moon cake festival, guys!

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

A Sign

I don't want to suddenly post a very spiritual entry, but I just wanted to share what happened today. Just another sign, methinks, of the Guy upstairs watching over you, and giving you exactly what you need.
It's been a busy call week, with some challenging patients. Perhaps in part some in the hospital happened to be people I have known for years. Some very sick DKAs. Marked hypercalcemia 17.5 mg/dL. And huge pituitary macros. Stuff like that.
With one particularly sick patient, I had been fretting and worrying over her. It's true what they say- doctors do take their work home with them, and I had a very restless night thinking about her, second guessing my treatment plan, and worried she was going to deteriorate.
And so, as I was finishing up rounds in Hospital A, and walked out to the carpark to drive to Hospital B, a random stranger stopped me.
"Are you Dr. Vagus?" she asked.
I nodded, somewhat confused.
She gave me a bearhug and got teary-eyed.
"You saved my husband's life 4 years ago. You saw him and diagnosed him with that pheochromocytoma, and got him stable enough to have surgery. It has been years, but we think about you often, and how grateful we are to have had you...."
I was somewhat flabbergasted- at how she recognized me from 4 years ago, and was humbled by her words. But what I was most shocked with was how, on this day when I felt like I had all the burdens of the world on my shoulder, how breathing literally caused my heart to ache from the worries, how timely it was to have someone come and just with those words, suddenly make those worries and fears evaporate. It was exactly what I needed, and I do believe it was more than coincidence. That this was some divine intervention.
I thanked her for the kind words, and asked about her family. I then walked to my car, shut the door, and for those 10 seconds, just let some tears come down.
And just like that, I felt better.
There is a God. I'm sure of it.