Archive | September, 2009

Catching Fire

Posted on 30 September 2009 by Gim

It’s here! It’s finally here! After a year of waiting, Suzanne Collins finally realeased the 2nd installment of the Hunger Games trilogy. It’s entitled Catching Fire and based on the reviews, it promises to be as good as, if not better than its prequel.

It was Fli who first inroduced me to Suzanne Collins, bestselling author of the Underland Chronicles. But it wasn’t the Underland series that cemented her status as one of my all time fave authors. It was her novel Hunger Games, the first book of a trilogy which was released last 2008. Riveting is understatment enough to describe the book becuase you literally cannot put it down. Suzanne weaves a highly entertaining and intriguing spell, allowing you to meet characters that fast become people you can relate to. And the action. Migod, just reading the novel makes you feel that you’ve lost more pounds than when reading that diet pills review. It’s lean, it’s mean, and it hits you hard.

Hunger Games mostly revolves around Katniss Everdeen, a very stoic and resourceful 16-year old living in the remains of the North American Continent where an unknown calamity wiped off most of the nations as we know it. In Katniss’s time, North America is now the nation of Panem, which is composed of 13 states ruled by an autocratic Capitol. The tyrannical Capitol forces the other 12 states or districts to send one boy and one girl every year to compete in the hunger games- a live, free for all competition where the contestants try to kill each other off. The winner brings not only fame and glory to their district, but also much needed food (the Capitol regulates the food the other districts get, successfully keeping them in a continually famished state. This is in order to prevent rebellions against the Capitol).

Despite the harsh conditions and her solemn outlook on life (as evidenced by her views on love and happyness), Katniss manages to charm the reader enough that you’ll find yourself holding your breath as she tries and manages to evade certain death. She’s that kind of heroine that screams- human! Although outwardly tough and skillfull, there’s a vulnerability about her that makes you just want to wish that everything will turn out OK in the end. Her misgivings and obvious error in judging the intentions of co-competitor Peeta Mellark just serves to enhance her “real-ness”.

The plot is also something that would make you shake your head in amazement. It’s simple enough to follow but very intriguing that it’ll guarantee to keep you hooked as you turn page after page after page.

I honestly could say that turning the last page made me really sad. It was as if I had to say goodbye to friends with whom I started a journey with and who I now had to leave behind. Needless to say, the release of this new installment just brightened my day. I can’t wait to read it!

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Like hot knife through butter

Posted on 21 September 2009 by Gim

Today, I just performed an appendectomy.

*prolonged pause as the significance of this statement starts sinking in*

Omigod! I did my first appendectomy! I just can’t believe I finally did it! After weeks of excitement and preparation, I am now a surgeon… Well, not exactly a real surgeon yet. I still gots to pass the boards then apply for a residency program in either surgery or orthopedics. But still. steel buildings must start from small bricks and blocks, right?

But goddamn, did it feel good, being able to operate on someone. Even the blade in my hand felt right. It just cut through the appendix like hot knife through butter! Man. I’m gushing, I know. But I just can’t help it. I am just G-I-D-D-Y. Giddy with glee. Yeah. I feel on top of the world right now. Today was really great. I know tomorrow’s gonna be better. :)

PS Strangely, as I was busy taking out my patient’s appendix, the lyrics of King Kobra’s Iron Eagle kept running through my head. Thought I’d share it here.

Iron Eagle

I can do anything when i choose, got everything, but i got nothing to lose
Go anywhere from heaven to hell, i might find the devil, you can never tell

There’s a thousand hills and valleys, a million dams and streams
An ocean of eternity, between my hopes and dreams

[chorus]
Never say die, iron eagle
Nothing’s forever, now or ever
Never say die, iron eagle
Never look back, never say die

Don’t try and bring my soul to the ground, my spirit remembers old mountain magic sounds
Against all odds, i’ll come out on top, ’cause i never learned, the meaning of what meant stop

There are walls and there are bridges
But no problems when you’re free
An adventure past the horizon, always beckons me

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Rockstar!

Posted on 18 September 2009 by Gim

Whooo! I am sooo darn tired. Just made it through another “24 hour” shift. Haven’t slept since yesterday night. But strangely, despite my aching, throbbing back, and my stiff, heavy legs, I can’t help but feel exhilirated. Know why? ‘Cause as Dr. Izzie Stevens famously chortled in one of those cliffhanger episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, “Rockstar!”.

That’s exactly how I felt last night. Like a rockstar. But no, I’m sorry to disappoint you. I didn’t do an emergency craniotomy in the deck of a sinking ferry like Izzie did. But I *did* somehow manage to reattach the nearly severed head of a guy whose brother decided his neck needed a little trimming. Very luckily for this fellow, the machete’s blade only went throught the thick muscles of the neck, stopping just inches away from his cervical spine and mere milimeters away from his carotid arteries. Were the wound just a wee bit deeper, we would have been filtering out bright red arterial blood from guaze we packed in just like this ukf8001axx filters water out of your refrigerator.

So. As it was, all he needed were stitches to put him back together again. He was still bleeding though (from a transected external jugular) so that vessel needed to be ligated as well. And guess whose job was it to sew him back up? Me! My uber-kewl resident decided then and there that I could have this patient all to myself! Yeah, as my fellow interns watched in envy, I worked my way through layer after layer of muscle and fat until his head was attached back onto his neck. What’s more, this procedure was done in the emergency room and under local anesthesia! I felt like a million bucks when I stepped back to inspect my handiwork. I just loove sewing people up. hehe. And as if this wasn’t enough, I still got to perform an emergency disarticulation of a distal phalanx (amputation of the fingertips) courtesy of the above-mentioned uber-kewl resident who again allowed me to fly solo. Surgery just rocks! :)

PS We still had to admit the guy for observation and pain management at the ward, but he should be fine.

PPS In case your wondering what those quotation marks in the phrase “24 hour” are for, it simply highlights the fact that in medicine, what you see is not usually what you get. In our case, a “24 hour” shift means in at 7am and officially off by 4pm the next day- that’s roughly 32 hours.

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Eggs for Age

Posted on 12 September 2009 by Gim

I tried my bestest to block out the screams of the 4 year old as I tried to staunch the bleeding wound in his leg. No sooner had I wiped off the blood when it sprang back out, two perfect holes spouting gobs of dark burgundy life. The boy apparently got too close to a neighboring dog’s territory who promptly chased him down and took a bite out of his chubby leg. I turned to the mother, who looked young enough to be browsing an Apidexin review, and instructed her to have her son injected with an anti-rabies vaccine just to be safe.

Me: Kailangan po natin bigyan ung anak nyo ng anti-rabies (I think we need to give him anti-rabies shots.)

Distraught Mother: Kailangan nya ba talaga yun? (Does he really need that?)

Me (struggling to control the child while putting pressure on the wound): Kailangan na kailangan nya po! Hindi po tau nakakasiguro na walang rabies yung aso. Nakakamatay po ang rabies. (Of course he does! We can’t be too sure that dog hasn’t got rabies. Rabies kills, you know.)

Distraught Mother: Oh, OK. (then as an after thought) Pero…OK lang ba yun kahit sa eggs nya? (But…would that be OK even for his eggs?)

Me (puzzled): Ano po yun? (Come again,please?)

Distraught Mother: Sa eggs nya. Ok lang ba magbigay ng injection sa eggs nya? (His eggs. Would it be alright to give him an injection on his eggs?)

Me (more puzzled): Ha? Missis, hindo po tau nagbibigay ng injection sa itlog nya. Sa braso nya po yun ginagawa. (But ma’am we give the injection in his arm and not on his balls.)

Distraught Mother (puzzled): Umm…hindi po, ibig kong sabihin, ok lang ba bigyan sya ng injection sa edad nya…you know, Ehy-ge (tries to pronounce “AGE” more clearly).

Realization hit me. She meant ‘age’, and NOT eggs! Omg. I blushed as the nurses assisting me broke out in howls of laughter.

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Parental Silly-ness

Posted on 10 September 2009 by Gim

Sometimes parents can be sooo protective of their kids. Even after they’ve had two. Or three. Or make that four. Wondering what I’m talking about? Case in point:

I was at ER duty the other day. I was in the middle of attending to a guy who got shot twice in the butt. He apparently made one of his drinking buddies the butt of his jokes. His buddy got so enraged he put two in our guy’s butt before he could even blink. Now that’s what you call apt. Hehe.

Anyways, as I was saying, aside from this guy, I had around four or five other patients lined up waiting for me to attend to them. Two had stab wounds in their arms and legs (a result of another brawl with Tanduay involved), another had had bruises over her face and a split lip (the result of having a thankless job as wifey to a gambler and drunkard), while another two were covered in grime, scrapes and missing teeth (haven’t they ever heard of the phrase ‘Don’t drink and drive’?). Suddenly a young woman rushed in carrying a child in her arms. She was frantic and wanted me to take a look at her baby- stat. She accidentally dropped a glass of water, she says. And while she was cleaning up the mess, the baby toddled over to where she was and Ccrrrunch! stepped on the pile of broken glass!

She was obviously bothered so I told her I’ll attend to her as soon as possible while I calmly finished up my work and sent the guy with the holes in his butt home. I then told all my other patients to wait while I took a look at the chubby, cute, little one year old, who smiled and gurgled at me with all the playfullness of a sprite. Now that’s odd for a baby who accordingly stepped on broken glass. I bent down and took a look at his right foot which was wrapped in wads of bandages. I carefully, gently unwrapped the bandages. And What do I find? a teeny, tiny scratch no larger than a grain of rice! The consternation must have shown on my face because the mother looked at me and smiled sheepishly, well it was bleeding a bit a while ago. I was just too flabbergasted to talk. So I wordlessly filled out a prescription for more bandages and reassured her that the ‘wound’ was nothing to worry about and went back to my other patients.

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Like a Surgeon

Posted on 07 September 2009 by Gim

My senior resident just told me that I would be performing an appendectomy before the end of my rotation at the surgery department. Needless to say, I’m excited. Nay, I’m ecstatic! I’ll be doing an appendectomy! For reals! Just like a real surgeon. :) But Before that, I gots to hit the books and study up on the procedure. Wouldn’t wanna cut something up by mistake, now would I? ;P

I’ve always enjoyed my time at the surgery department. Last last year, during my clerkship, this was (and still is) the department I like best. The residents are super cool and accommodating. They treat you with the respect due a colleague. As if you were one of them. And, you get to operate on people. I just love being in an OR. The bright lights flashing against the steel of the instruments, the beep-beep of the pulse oximeter, the pattering of rubber shoes on porcelain tile as doctors and nurses hurry to stabilize a patient. But above all, what I love best is the chance, no- the privilege of holding someone’s heart, guts, brain or bone in your hands. It’s an awesome and daunting responsibility, that sometimes, it scares me to think about our patients trusting us so much that they’re willing to put their very lives in our hands. I may bitch about how tiring (not to mention, financially unfulfilling) becoming a doctor is, but ultimately, I know that I will always be grateful to be given that responsibility.

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