Pathology

July 22, 2014 - Leave a Response

I chose to be a pathologist.

That’s what I’m going to do with my life.

That’ll be the way I win my bread, keep myself intellectually stimulated, and help out mankind.

Pathologists study disease.

Pathologists diagnose medical conditions.

What else would you like to know about my nascent career?

Inverted T-Waves in Lead V1

December 31, 2012 - Leave a Response

I needed to get my tb screening done, so I went to the doctor.

Then I thought, hey, why not get a full check up while I’m at it?

So that’s what I did. I asked for and consented to a full physical, blood draw, urinalysis, vitals check, and an ECG.

The ECG bit turned out to be the interesting part.

The medical assistant performed the ECG and gave the print-out to the doctor. The doctor then came over with a xerox of the results, pointed to lead V1 and said something like: “you got inverted T-waves…but that’s okay because they were inverted last time, too.”

I told him okey-dokes, but at the same time I sort of started to remember maybe reading that lead V1 is supposed to have inverted waves of some sort.

Anyway, I decided I’d better double check on Wikipedia (I would have referenced my main ECG book, but, of course, it was at home). Lo and behold, Wiki said it’s totally cool to have inverted T-waves in lead V1. Apparently, about 95% of children under 10 years of age have inverted T-waves in lead V1. About 1/3 to 1/2 of folks under 30 seem to have them as well.

Excited that Wikipedia backed me up but wary of how the doctor would respond, I went to him with the news. “Hey doctor, I checked online, and, apparently, it’s okay to have inverted T-waves in lead V1, especially in younger people.” I couldn’t really understand what the doctor said in response. It was sort of a mumble and a head shake. I left thinking he was unconvinced. I dunno.

I guess the moral is that you have to question everything.

My ECG

Mucinex…Doesn’t Always Help (Old Post 4)

November 20, 2011 - Leave a Response

My mom recently had an infection of her respiratory tract. She’d cough till she tasted blood. There’d constantly be mucus lodged deep down in her distal trachea.

Naturally, having successfully used Mucinex in the past, I offered my mom a pill to clear her throat of that pesky phlegm. Unfortunately, what happened was that it cleared her mucus, but (since I didn’t buy the Mucinex with the added cough-suppressing power) she continued to cough violently. This time, without the soft, buffering effect of the mucus, she was tearing her throat out. The moral of the story is that chronic conditions outmatch what Mucinex usually has to offer to someone simply getting over a cold.

So, still hot for the medication, I bought a new bottle of Mucinex and brought it with me to Grenada. Forty-four new pills is a lot, and I began to wonder if anyone on campus would ever need a pill or two.

On my second day back on the island, I was walking to my dorm from a little printing session at Taylor Hall, and I ran into my friend Joe. After a few minutes of pleasantries, he inquired about my possible possession of Mucinex. Apparently, he had some backed-up mucus that he wanted to get rid of and forget. I gladly hooked him up with a generous number of snot-busting pills.

Long story short, Joe’s little throat problem turned out to be a prelude to the flu or some similar illness. I know this because I later saw him for a minute at a mandatory small group session, which he attended for a short while before realizing his fever and chills were more suited for a bed. Suffice it to say, the Mucinex probably didn’t help him much. Poor fellar.

So…what’s the lesson? Mucinex: it’s good stuff…just not for everything.

I Hate Mosquitoes (Old Post 3)

November 12, 2011 - Leave a Response

Ever since I was in my early teens, I’ve had trouble sleeping. I’d be able to fall asleep, but I wouldn’t be able to stay asleep. Around a decade has passed, and I still wake up every hour or so.

This Friday, I woke up several times in the middle of the night and successfully went back to sleep–to my usual nightmares, of course. However, I awoke at around 7 AM with an itching sensation on my wrist. I immediately understood what had happened. An unscrupulous mosquito had sucked the life juice out of my wrist flesh. I thought about going back to sleep, but the burning was enough of a nuisance to warrant a little bit of extra strength Benadryl cream.

The bathroom was my first stop. That’s where I realized–looking in the mirror–that the mosquito had a little fun before flying off into some nook to use my blood for egg-laying. Namely, the mosquito had sucked on my wrist three times, and once on the back of my sunburned neck, forehead, under my eye, and on my now swollen lip. Seven…seven luscious, pulsating mosquito bites, which for a humorous second, made me think about that hitchhiker from Something About Mary, who in defense of his 7 Minute Ab workout video idea quoted the rhyme: “7 little chipmunks sitting on a branch, eating lots of sunflowers on my uncle’s ranch.” Then the bites kept on itching…

So…did I go back to sleep?

No.

I found that mosquito and slapped the blood out of her exoskeleton (it’s funny how the bloodsucking creatures are female). There was only a pinch of blood, not quite enough to account for all the bites. I’ll just wait for the other mosquitoes to show up. Maybe I’ll make their demise a bit more cinematic. Perhaps their end will come at the mighty power of my roommate Chris’s electric-zapper racket. Why not get a little more Hollywood with the killing process, you know? Anyway, it’s all yet to come.

Right now, I’ll just try not to taste the diphenhydramine hydrochloride and the handful of inactive ingredients in Benadryl that are on my lip.

Oh yeah, and let’s hope that I didn’t acquire dengue…

A Twist on Calories (Old Post 2)

November 12, 2011 - Leave a Response

Okay guys, this is the land of no mommies and daddies. Thus, I must sustain myself, by…myself. That means doing the laundry, washing dishes, and making sure food makes it into my stomach at a steady rate. Eating out isn’t all that common for me, and the same goes for plenty of other students on campus, for that matter. What do I do? I shop at the local supermarket.

One of the things I like to buy is juice with a tropical twist. I buy the name brand Ceres. It offers a great selection of fun jungle flavors and mixes of all of my favorite fruits. However, it’s the way the Calorie content is portrayed on the box that makes it really exciting. That is what this post is about.

This is the passion fruit flavor of Ceres brand fruit juice. Passion fruit, by the way, is a very tasty and popular drink here on campus. Many folks have enjoyed its splendor. It’s rather sweet with a nice tangy zing to it.

What’s this whole thing about Calories? Get to the point, you say? Well, what is it that porcine individuals, including girls of all shapes and sizes, count on a daily basis? That’s right, that dreaded C-word on every can, carton, or box of food product out there (in the US).

Well, guess what, ladies and gentlemen, that’s exactly what you will not find on Ceres brand fruit juices (at least not on those sold in Grenada). Does that mean that Ceres is trying to sell more juice by shirking its duty to put certain nutrition facts on the carton? No, actually, it’s quite the opposite. Ceres shows the Calorie content of its juices, and, at the same time, illuminates the reality that “the calorie is a…unit of energy” (Calorie Wikipedia page). How does Ceres do so? It provides consumers with the energy content expressed in kiloJoules.

Here’s how it all comes together…We need ATP to perform life’s functions. The energy we need to do so lies in chemical bonds. All we really do is take compounds with energy in them and convert them to another compound that also holds energy. Then we use that energy to stay warm, to power gross movement as well as motion on the cellular scale, to facilitate enzyme action, and much more. Thank you Ceres for reminding us that calories keep us alive and don’t just contribute to the obesity epidemic in the United States.

Note: Notice how Ceres reports energy in “kilo”-Joules. Likewise, the Calories you count when you’re eating a chocolate chip cookie are actually kilocalories. 1,000 small calories make up a Calorie.

Uh-oh, eating food just got scarier…

Take care of yourselves, folks.

Parasitology (Old Post 1)

November 12, 2011 - Leave a Response

Okay, ladies and gentlemen. This is term 2 at SGU.

At this point, I have already finished two classes (both of which spanned only two weeks). That’s right, Genetics and Parasitology are in the bag. Which class was cooler? Answer: Parasitology. What did I learn? Lots. And if you want to survive your next trip to Africa, South America, or Asia, you’d be wise to take a peek at my 10 rules of staying parasite-free.

1. Always wash your hands.

Even though some parasites aren’t transmitted via ingestion, washing your hands makes sure you’re safe from the many things that can get you that way. Besides, isn’t that what your mother taught you to do?

2. Drink filtered water.

3. Wear shoes and trousers.

4. Sleep under a bed net if you’re going to rough it in the wild.

5. Don’t eat carnivores.

6. Wear bug spray, or to be even safer, add some DDT, Agent Orange, and Lysol into the mix.

7. Always wear protection.

8. Don’t feed dead rats and birds to your dogs and cats.

9. Eschew sushi…or any other type of raw meat.

10. Don’t eat any kind of feces.

If you follow these rules, you will significantly lower your chances of getting infected.

If you don’t, this may happen to you:

Hiatus Over!

August 1, 2010 - Leave a Response

Alright, so 1.5 years have passed since I began my studies at SGU.

I let the blog go stale, I know, but that doesn’t mean I can’t make a comeback. I think I’ll write about some things that transpired during the past 4 terms (3 proper semesters and 1 mini), and then I’ll end with a few thoughts on what I expect of 5th term.

When I think back to how I spent my time at SGU in the semesters past, one thing comes to mind: I could have done more around the island. True, I snorkeled once, beached here and there, ate at a few interesting restaurants, but there is still much I haven’t done. I have never went to the Fish Friday thing, never checked out the monkeys, and, shamefully, have not visited the waterfalls–not to mention that I didn’t participate in even one Hash Run. Now that I think about it, I haven’t tried surfing or scuba diving either. Fortunately, most, if not all of these things can be done anytime, and I have one whole term to make things right. Although, I think I may have also missed the turtle watching season for good. You have to be a total wanker to allow yourself to miss the turtle egg laying phenomenon. Maybe it’s good that I didn’t become a footsteps buddy. I could see the exchange now:

New Student: So, Daniel, got any tips on what to do on the island for fun? What’s Fish Friday like? Is the Hash Run difficult? How often do you go to Bananas?

Me: Umm…don’t miss the turtles.

New Student: (confused look)…Okay.

So what then? What did I accomplish in the past 1.5 years? Truthfully, I spent the first four terms crammin’ the old noggin full of knowledge and racking up some fine marks. My number one regret during high school and college was my sporadic slacking–slacking that cost me the grades I needed to gain acceptance into a medical school in my home state. Don’t get me wrong, my grades weren’t piss poor. I got an interview and all, but it just wasn’t enough to make it off the waitlist. Okay, so it took me 8 years to realize it, but the truth is that if you want to make it, you have to strive for excellence. The competition is fierce, and even if some don’t want to admit it, we SGU-ers are at a disadvantage when it comes to getting a good residency. Dishing out $30,000 per semester just didn’t seem right without trying my best to ace every class. I studied hard, and with my crazy first and second term roommate as a role model, I was able to tackle all of my courses. That’s my legacy thus far.

On second thought, I think I’ll clip this post here…

Midpoint

March 16, 2009 - One Response

dscn0736

Okay, so I guess some of you are wondering what’s been going on with me here on this island. Well, I just finished 3 midterms (one of which was more like getting roundhouse-kicked in the jaw by Chuck Norris…A.K.A. the Biochemistry midterm).

I’ve had my share of BBQ-ing and semi-snorkeling-while-battling-seasickness this past weekend, and now I’m ready to tackle the second half of my semester. With a little more effort and finesse, I hope to come out a bit more victorious and relaxed this time around. Although, I can’t really say much in terms of grades at the moment, since I’m still waiting on the Anatomy and Biochemistry marks to come in.

The picture above is a healthy chunk of my campus. It’s the True Blue campus, and it houses around 40% of the student body (so I hear). The rest of the poor (or maybe lucky) schmucks have to live off campus and suffer what can sometimes be inconsistent commute.

The building smack-dab in the middle of the photo is my dorm. It’s SD6, the newest dorm on campus. It’s not too bad. The triple-singles are small, but better than the doubles, since they have a dining room. Hot water isn’t lacking, and the washing machines are nice and powerful. I already shrunk some of my clothing and look like I shop at the kids section of JCPenny.

The place in the photo where I’m standing to take the pic is right next to the Anatomy labs. Rotating approximately 90 degrees to the right would bring the shore into view (and the clear blue water with it). Another interesting thing to note in the photo is the collection of clouds over the mountains. Clouds have a tendency to stack up over hilly areas; it’s an interesting phenomonen.

Anyway…until next time.

Three Bald Mice

January 30, 2009 - 2 Responses

So, I’m at my first Surgery Club meeting, and I get a call. It’s my roommate. He’s calling to ask me to borrow my hair clipper. I gladly lend it to him, grab some pizza from the meet, and make my way back to the dorm. I come in and find him sitting in the kitchen in his underwear getting a crew cut from my other roommate.

What comes next? It’s apparent. Peer pressure to join Shorn City. The question is who goes first? Will it be me or will it be my other roommate (on right)(let’s call him Ceecee). Ceecee’s ambivalent, for he has the most hair and thus the most to lose. So we make a pact. If i go, he goes next.

And that’s how it went. Three crew cuts, a gym session, and slight morning regret.

What can I say? Med school…it’s one hell of a drug.

First Day on the Island

January 17, 2009 - 2 Responses

First day on the island was January 14th. I woke up at 1:45 AM, so I could get ready and come to the airport 3.5 hours before the flight. Why? So my precious cargo wouldn’t get “lost”…A.K.A. detained if there would be no room for it on the plane. Coming a bit early to the airport is better than having to wait for your luggage to arrive…it can be several days before it gets to the island. Indeed, I ended up being something like the tenth person to check my luggage.

I ran into an SGU friend, said goodbye to Valerie (girlfriend) and my mom, both of whom accompanied me to the airport at the expense of their own sleep. I did the whole security check thing, met some new people, and made my way to the plane.

I was quite nervous as I thought about what I would soon be undertaking. It would be my first time away from home for such a long period of time. Unlike many, I have never studied away, nor have I worked outside of New York.

I stepped onto the plane, found my seat, and felt a glimmer of happiness at its close proximity to the plane entrance. The condition of the plane didn’t get me that excited, however. The engines made the cabin rattle, and as I looked out the window at the wing, it almost looked like it was attached to the airplane by Elmer’s glue. It wouldn’t stop shaking during the flight.

I sat in the aisle seat and made friends with a girl and a guy, both first-term medical students like me. The flight wasn’t too bad. Air Jamaica actually served breakfast. The choice was between French toast and a cheese omelet. I ordered the French toast, which ended up coming with a mysterious sausage, one which I duly eschewed. Landing was a bit frightening, as it always is for me. I have a vivid imagination and I often imagine how things would go if they went awry. But then we exited and the warm air hit me. There was no gate like in JFK airport. We had to make our way down a ramp like you see in some of those movies.

Punch rum and seltzer…that’s what greeted us when we arrived at the airport. That was a taste of Caribbean hospitality, I guess. Then there was the long snaky line to get processed. Then came the baggage hunt. Luckily, all of my luggage made it…most likely because I was one of the first to come to the airport. I guess the early bird gets to keep its suitcase. After that hassle came customs check. Grenada charges customs tax on all electronics, food, and other random, seemingly untaxable items…surely, to make money. The line was long and looked like it was moving at a rate of one person per 15 minutes…with tens of people on the line. Customs charges 5% on electronics and for those with cheap laptops, it’s always practical to bring a receipt of the laptop purchase to prove that it’s a cheap computer. Otherwise, customs chooses how much to charge, and trust me, it’s not pretty, so I’ve heard. They ended up charging me for my laptop, my wireless mouse, and my laptop bag…that’s right…laptop bag…I don’t know why either. I mean, it happened to be on the same receipt as my laptop…but my bag? C’mon. The total bill was $37 US dollars.

After customs, students would have to come out of the airport and take a taxi to campus. First, they’d have to get their assigned dorm room from volunteer SGU student staff. My luck being what it is, I had to wait another 20 minutes because they couldn’t figure out which room I was supposed to be in. After a couple of labored phone calls, it was discovered that I belonged to a room on the second floor of the newest dorm: Super Dorm 6.

Another first termer and I took a taxi back to campus. The taxi guy drove like a maniac. The hilly terrain only made it stand out more. There were a couple of times that I wanted to yell at the driver for being on the wrong side of the road, but then I remembered where I was…the fact that the steering wheel was on the right of the vehicle made things even more clear.

What can I say? The Island looks great. Grenada to New York City is like Stacey Dash on the cover of King magazine to Stacey Dash in Clueless.

Okay, so let’s bullet point. Got to the dorm…tipped the taxi driver… that first termer helped me find the RA (he’d been on the island before)…got my room keys…dragged 4 bags to my room (super annoying since I was tired)…keys wouldn’t work (you have to finesse them in just the right way)…I knocked…both my roommates were there…I went straight for the water…I felt so thirsty and famished that i had a headache….I drank the Brita water and took an Advil…I felt slow and weak…called Val and mom…ate a turkey sandwich…most importantly: thought to myself: WTH am I doing here?

Ready for more short phrases? Doesn’t matter, here they come. I got some stuff out of my bags…met Rasty (the guy who wrote the ultimate guide for first term)…went to two bars…saw stars for the first time in years…saw a loose and scary-ass Rottweiler…got followed by another smaller dog…and then went home. Some things are out of order, but that’s pretty much how the day went. There’s not much reflection, but that’s okay because this post was strictly detail duty.