Friday, February 26, 2010

Well, That Was a Good Run

Yes, it's one of those rare times that I begin with the tangent first because 1.) I don't want to forget, and 2.) it's that important.

First of all, I'd like to welcome Tim from life is my college (formerly A Story About a Boy and the Universe) back to the blogosphere. So please go to his (new-ish) blog and welcome him!!

Secondly, Edward and Landyn both lost their grandmas quite recently, on top of all the other crap they're dealing with. Please go over to their blogs and give them a hug, some condolences, and good thoughts.

This post is a bunch of disconnected thoughts . . . so bear with me. You've been warned. :-P
I've been doing quite a bit of running since Sunday. I upped my distance from 1mi to 2mi on Sunday, and then to 2.25mi on Wednesday (none of this including the walking distance flanking the run on either side for warm up/cool down). I've been pretty impressed with myself and my progress thus far, hehe. I was never really able to run more than 2mi at a stretch, max. Actually, at 2.25mi, my feet got kind of numb . . . so I took that as a sign to stop, even though my lungs were fine and (somehow) I didn't cramp up. Ah well, that was a good run. So yeah, I have to progress just a bit more steadily I think to prevent injury, lol. My legs haven't been AS sore as I feared they'd be.

Too bad I ate more slices of pizza than I should've in these last 2 days (and I was trying to control myself too). :-/ It'll balance out over the next week though, I'm pretty sure . . .
I talked to Jay online earlier this week. He's really hard to get a hold of!! I'm not sure if we're going to be able to get anywhere relationship-wise, and here's why:

Jay: I don't think our lifestyles are compatible, but I do think we would make great friends.
. . .
Jay: I think I would be too much of a party animal for you, and you would be too straight laced for me.

So yeah, that sounds pretty clear to me that we probably won't get much further than "just friends," at least not now. Ah well, that was a good run.
I am finally kind of sort of at/ever so slightly above average in some of my courses after the first block of exams this semester!

The average on neurosci was 93.18% and I got a 92.45% (close enough!). The average on cell & tissue bio (overall) was 88.91% and I got an 89.61%! Alas, my physiology exam wasn't so fortunate - average was 81.66% and I only got 76.25%. It was such a tough exam!! I tried harder for that class than the other two combined, lol. Ah well, that was a good run. (Seeing a pattern yet?)

It took so much studying effort. I'm hoping I can maintain this and/or do better on the next round of exams . . . in 2 weeks. o_O Fortunately, I have slightly more time to study for this upcoming round of exams, and I'm more caught up in classwork than last block. So hopefully I'll do better. :-)
Lastly, I just spoke with the MPH (Master's in Public Health) people here. Basically, the conclusion we came to was that it's probably best if I completed my MPH (in Hospital & Molecular Epidemiology) back at my original institution. The MPH program here is a very basic and broad program, whereas my original MPH is a very focused and "high powered" specialization, if you will. We pretty agreed upon that it's ideal if I could somehow finish my MPH in my original program.

If I were to finish my original MPH program, then I would be poised to really have a niche field within medicine - one that's growing in importance daily. I would have such great knowledge in genetics, epidemiology, infectious disease, and medicine. The impression they gave me was that there's no way that I can not finish my MPH, because they think it's so valuable for me to have. I'm inclined to believe them . . .

That said, we talked for a good 40-45 minutes on how I could achieve that. It's inevitable that I'd need to take a year off somewhere, either between M2 and M3 year, or between M4 year and internship (which I've been advised against from every physician I've talked to about this). One of them brought up an option that I didn't know existed: take a year off between my M3 and M4 year.

After mulling that option over, I've come to the conclusion that it'd probably be the best time for me to finish my MPH then. The reason why I don't want to do it between M2 and M3 year is because I'd be totally disconnect from my cohort of classmates for my clinical years. And I think I'll really need to rely on someone I at least recognize for emotional support if nothing else, lol. Someone to bond and commiserate with. :-P

So why between M3 and M4 year? Because I can do away rotations during my M4 year, and I'd be spending a month interviewing for residency slots anyway. So it's possible that I'd be away from my med school for months at a time; and if I'm doing an away rotation, I wouldn't know anyone at that other location anyway. Plus, it allows me to travel across the US a bit, and visit cities and places I otherwise might not. Also, I would be doing away rotations at institutions I'd consider applying to for residency programs, so this also lets me "scout" them out a bit before I decide.

I have friends scattered throughout the US. I'm sure I can find someone living near an away rotation whose place I can crash at for 1-2 months, lol. The ID specialist I shadowed did that his M4 year - he didn't have an apartment, he just did away rotations and bummed at his friends' places for 1-2 months at a time. And he really enjoyed that experience. So why not at least try?

Well, that could be a good run. A part of me wants to go back and finish my MPH program so badly, for multiple reasons.
Yeah, I know this post was all over the place and perhaps a bit off the wall, and certainly long. So to reward you for making it this far, I'd like to leave you with . . .

Sunday, February 21, 2010

What Med Students Say

My friend, who I'm going to call Harry, and I have the most random convos on gchat - especially about med school and the way in which we complain about it. Here are some long-ish excerpts for your amusement (edited and punctuated to make it easier to read):

Harry: He [mutual friend] is able to focus, unlike me
Me: Hahaha, unlike us you mean
Harry: Ya, I'm just hoping I can bankai for it or something
Me: LOL, dude I haven't bankai'd in studying for so long
Harry: And sustain it
Me: I'm like, shikai-ing at best but then I'm hit with damn refractory periods that last up to 2 days
Harry: I felt like I bankai'd, went into hollow form, took off my eye patch, and went into 9-tails, and use amaretsu when studying for exams, at some point. Evidently, I've exhausted all of my Bleach and Naruto moves. Good thing I still have hyper beam up my sleeve.
Me: It's ok, I intend to get Aizen on the finals this semester
Harry: Also, remember in Bleach, whoever releases first loses. So, you better save that last release for the USMLE.
Me: Omg, you're right. Damn.
Harry: Or it's gonna pwn your ass.
Me: Ok, this is true, I'll save Aizen-mode for the USMLE.
Harry: Man, Aizen ain't even the strongest. The strongest is Ichigo screaming at the top of his lungs, at glass-shattering frequencies.

Harry: I don't particularly care so much, I'm a terrible doctor cuz if I don't know someone, it's hard for me to care about them.
Me: Awww.
Harry: So like, my doctor-patient relationship is strictly business.
Me: But you WILL get to know people . . .
Harry: So ya, hopefully whatever I do it won't be patient-interaction heavy.
Me: [My mentor] knew all his patients pretty damn well, and how things were like at home and such, and I'm like "wow . . . how do you keep all those people straight?"
Harry: Ya, I don't want to get that passionate about my job. As a doctor, you're supposed to be calm, cool and collected, and show passion.
Me: Kinda hard to be calm, cool, and collected, AND show passion, lol.
Harry: Ya
Me: Passion kinda negates those first 3 sometimes. Caring, sure. But caring =/= passion.
Harry: Basically asking to be a superhuman.
Harry: Which I'm not good at.
Me: I'm not either. I can be one or the other, but not both simultaneously.
Harry: I'd have to take like, acting classes for 2 more years if I wanted to get good at that.
Me: LOL. Alas, such is our life.

Me: God I don't wanna study.
Harry: I never want to study, lol.
Me: I spent all day trying to pump myself up to do so too.
Harry: All day yesterday, haha, building up that activation energy only not to reach past the threshold.
Me: Haha, yeah.
. . .
Harry: Neuroscience is the beast, lol, beast of all beasts.
Me: How so?
Harry: So many lectures, where 1 = 1.5 lectures.
Me: Hahaha, yeah . . . and then there's phys, the mother of beasts.
Harry: That's ok for now, it hasn't released itself on us yet. But it's coming.
Me: It hasn't given birth yet is all. You can watch it getting bigger though, something's cookin in there.
Harry: Man, wtf. Why is my lack of motivation so enormous?! I can't believe my most productive studying days are the ones I played 3 hours of ping pong on.
Me: Hahahaha. Just do it.
Harry: Well, I'm gonna sign off AIM @ 3, see what happens, lol. Cuts the activation energy in half.
Me: Hahaha, are you hoping it'd act like a co-enzyme?
Harry: No, AIM is a competitive inhibitor that binds with higher affinity than studying molecules to my attention receptors.
Me: Hahaha, is it sad that we're talking like this?
Harry: What's even sadder is when I start studying and will be able to talk in phys terms instead of biochem terms. All downhill.

So as you can see, we're humongous dorks. :-P Oh, on a completely different note, I'd like to thank the people who sent me questions on my You can either go to this link here to see my answers, or follow my Twitter on the left sidebar. Keep sending me questions and I'll answer them when I can!

Also, I was talking to a few people earlier tonight. It seems my ambitions to lose weight have failed yet again. :-/ I'm kind of at a loss on what to do . . . I talked to PYB of pickingyourbrains and he suggested 1.) eliminate all junk food from my diet and 2.) run 3 miles/day, 4-5x/week. Now, I'm a horrible runner. I simply suck at running. It'll take me a good 3-4 weeks to work my way up to 3 miles, if I'm diligent.

What I've settled on for the moment is to eat a bit healthier (though I eat fairly healthy, but it could be healthier still) and divide my meals into 5-6 smaller meals/day, increase the distance I run (by about 0.5 miles/week until 3 miles), and maintain what little weights I currently do. And do all this hopefully at least 3x a week. So to all readers out there, any advice for me? IM/email/leave a comment please! I'd love to lose 20-30 lbs by the end of May.

So despite the gchat convo above with Harry, I did manage to get some studying done. However, I spent the majority of my day catching up on blogs. So to the following bloggers, if you haven't already, you'll see a huge wave of comments from me on your blogs.

Earl Grey of Part of the Q
Joe of Being Bi in college
Manu of Rendre Bleu

I still have many blogs on my "to read" list bookmarked in my internet browser. So hang on tight and know I'll get to you (some day . . .). Now go over and welcome those bloggers to the blogosphere! :-D

Friday, February 19, 2010


First of all, it seems like I've jumped on the bandwagon with It's kind of nifty, so ask me any question you want! You can do so anonymously. Go ahead, amuse me. :-P

Anyway, Janus is the Roman god of gates, doorways, beginnings and endings. Janus is depicted as a person with 2 heads facing in opposite directions. The month of January carries his namesake. Sometimes I feel like my interests are kind of like that, facing in opposite directions.

A couple days ago I was talking with some fellow classmates about . . . something, I forget what. But at some point I mentioned the 1000 Genomes Project and how my former lab was super-excited about it. The thought of this project is pretty mind-blowing as well as its ramifications. To sequence the genomes of at least 1000 individuals in 3 years, and then to have all that data to analyze, is super-exciting indeed!

My former lab was a cancer genetics epidemiology (particularly colorectal cancer), and they were hoping to participate in a multi-center, multi-national consortium in analyzing the results of the 1000 Genomes Project for cancer genetics. Each center has its own role - Seattle, other parts of the US, London, Toronto, etc. The PI joked that we would "outsource" the genotyping to a 3rd-world lab, such as Toronto, lol. Anyway, just discussing genetics again, and epidemiology, and the implications for the future of medicine and clinical practice really got me going.

Today I shadowed my mentor again (still required to shadow 2 more times before the end of the semester). For the last 2 patients I saw, he told me to go take the medical history and physical exam. What a way to throw me into it all, as I've no training in dealing with peds patients other than watching him work.

The first of the 2 patients came in with earache. Simple enough, right? Well, apparently I forgot to ask all sorts of questions, lol . . . as well as do the physical exam, because I didn't know I was supposed to nor have I been formally shown how. When I "finished" and went to go get him, he told me a nice pearl of wisdom:
"You should have a good idea of what the diagnosis is by the end of the history and exam. If you have no idea, go do it again."
I was much better with the 2nd patient, who I saw immediately afterwards. It was a kid who had a cough for the last week or so. Simple enough, right? I did the history (pretty bland and straight-forward there) and the physical exam which included: looking in the ears and throat, and listening to lung and heart sounds. Apparently I forgot to palpate (feel) the submandibular glands for swelling, the spleen for mono (you should never be able to feel the spleen in a healthy person), and the liver. Ah well, I got most of it. Next time I'll remember. :-)

So primary care isn't particularly simple (and anyone who thinks it is should be slapped). There are always so many things to remember! At least I'm just an M1 and get a TON of slack in all this, lol. I'm rather annoyed that the vast majority of my M1 education has ignored children's health and women's health (except for gynecological issues). I mean, I don't even know how to properly listen to heart sounds in kids and women (have to work around the breasts somehow)!

Anyway, where was I getting with all this? Oh yeah, that I still like my MPH stuff as well as clinical MD stuff. I suppose I'm kinda bi in this respect, lol. Hence Janus. I'll be talking with my med school's MPH director next Thursday about maybe finishing my MPH here. There's no MD/MPH program here, annoyingly. :-/

I'd like to welcome a new person to the blogosphere, Edward of Pardon my Schadenfreude. Please go over and give him a warm welcome!!

Also, I'd like to plug Biki's collab blog, You Could Have It So Much Better. I know I gave a plug for this blog a while back; there have been collab blogs before but none of them really took off, so I hope this one does! If you have a general question about . . . anything(?), send her an email and someone will hopefully write a post about it. Chances are, if you have some general question, a lot of other bloggers out there probably do as well. It's "general" for a reason, lol.

Lastly (I swear I've edited this post several times already, grrr), you may have noticed that I reorganized the blogs I follow on the sidebar. I've sorted blogs by world region/continent (the US is broken down into several regions, due to the fact that the majority of the blogs I read are from the US).

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Year of the Tiger

Happy Chinese New Year! It's the year of the tiger, a second 12-year cycle is completing itself for me; meaning I'll be 24 this year. -_-

I'm determined to (and hopeful that) this year will be my year. And I made the most of Valentine's Day/Single's Awareness Day considering I was all by my lonesome for most of the day.

I started my day by making some banana pancakes for 1. They were pretty good considering pancakes aren't my forte. :-) Then while washing the dishes, I sliced my right thumb while cleaning the cheese grater. Pretty much bled all over the kitchen - didn't leave a mess though, except the blood smear on one of the hand towels . . . that hurt. What a way to start off a year, eh? Red for Valentine's Day, kind of morbidly ironic. Just another reminder of why I'll never be a surgeon.

Anyway, I had lunch with 3 friends at a Chinese restaurant. It was okay, I've had much better Chinese food before. It's sad how this place is called "the most authentic" Chinese place in the area. Next time I really crave Chinese food I may have to drive the 2 hours or so to Chicago's Chinatown. Then I came back to my apartment, chilled for a bit, and then made some stew. It's surprisingly difficult to cook when one of your thumbs is out of commission.

I also made rum cake. What better way to celebrate Single's Awareness Day than with an alcohol cake? Lol. My roommate came back to help me finish the glaze on the cake (which is like, half butter and is soooo bad for one's health). The rum cake turned out very well, and my roommate and I fully enjoyed it. I swore I felt my heart skip a beat once from the fat and sugar in this cake, heh. I told a friend of ours on gchat about the rum cake and he was like, "Wow, for the effort you put into making that cake it had better be delicious. Otherwise it'd be like med school - putting in so much effort only to just pass."

I called some relatives to wish them a Happy New Year, the typical "新年快乐,恭喜发财,身体健康!" It was nice talking to my grandparents, their laugh always uplifts my mood. I think I've got it pinned down why though. My grandparents are just coasting on life now. Pretty much everything they needed/wanted to get done in life has already been accomplished. They can just relax and enjoy things slowly, because everything else has already been taken care of. I want that one day - to look back and have no regrets, to sit and laugh at the small joys of life, and to look forward and not really see something that has to be done.

Hmm, a thumb out of commission kind of precludes wanking, if only there was someone here to do it for me . . . TMI? ;-)

Anyway, happy Valentine's/Single's Awareness Day/Chinese New Year everyone! It's pretty rare for these days to all overlap. I hope everyone enjoyed their and didn't slice a body part accidentally.

Friday, February 12, 2010


I just got off venting to my best friend online. I feel kind of bad and embarrassed to be venting to him online, it's not something I like to do. I'm glad we weren't talking on the phone or in person, otherwise he would've heard/seen my tears.

So Jay canceled our plans on Sunday because he has a massive paper due Monday. I had a feeling that Jay might have to cancel, and I suppose my fears came true. :-( I can understand that though, and he wants to reschedule. I feel we're constantly in the rescheduling flux . . . things just don't seem to work out initially between us. It's like there's something keeping us apart. He's also very difficult to get a hold of for any length of time online.

I don't know why, but I'm feeling kind of down and crushed by this. And it's irrational but I can't help it. I had my hopes up for Valentine's Day/Chinese New Year, and now I've nothing. While I'm okay with being alone on Valentine's Day (like every Valentine's Day before now), I've never been alone on Chinese New Year and it's honestly one of my favorite holidays. My roommate went home for the weekend and many of my other friends here have plans.

I guess I'm just feeling really lonely right now . . . I feel like I have such terrible luck with relationships and I can't seem to get anywhere. I don't know what to do, I don't know what not to do, I don't know how to court, I don't know how to impress. All I can offer is what one sees. And every time a relative or my mom asks if I have a girlfriend I always have to awkwardly say no and that I'm probably too busy anyway. And when I do I cry a little on the inside.

Everything else will fall into place. Everything except, it seems, this thing called "relationships." I feel like I'm constantly waiting for someone or something, but it's all very hazy. And I'm getting kind of anxious and twitchy, because with every passing year it's going to get harder and harder. I don't try, let things just happen, and nothing happens. I try and still nothing much seems to happen. And I'm still so uncertain about myself in this respect - I don't know what I'm looking for or what I want. I can't foresee the future here - all I see is myself alone with my work and it scares me. I'm still uncomfortable talking about this with people offline and I'm sure I'd just freeze up - I still can't open myself and make myself vulnerable in front of a physical person, and I don't know why.

I can only wonder, not even imagine, what it must be like to wake up next to someone you love . . . because I'm going to bed alone.

After I fold all my laundry. -_-

Friday, February 5, 2010

Two Birds, One Stone

Finished my last exam of this block!! Soooo glad to be done . . . for now. It went alright, not as good as I'd hope but I think I did just fine.

Anyway, after the exam this morning, my awesome lab group from anatomy, Table 6 (now Team Dendrite Storm), went out to have breakfast. We went to this nearby bar/restaurant place that had really good mimosas - a kind of drink that somehow I hadn't known about until now. Jon, the future surgeon in our group, took the opportunity to invite us all to his wedding this July!! :-D
Status update concerning Jay. We had been chatting late into the night several times this week. The following snippet occurred a couple days ago:

Jay: We should get together sometime soon
Me: hehe, yup yup :-)
Jay: To be honest, you're by far the most interesting boy I've come acrossed for a while
Me: oh?
Me: i'm flattered! ^_^
Me: what makes me so interesting?
Jay: I wanna lick your mind
Jay: You're an intellectual
Jay: and your knowledge base is fascinating
Jay: I could probably pick your brain for hours
. . . later . . .
Jay: It'd be nice to see you again soon

He had wanted to meet up for a few drinks tomorrow night, but alas I've other commitments. I had agreed quite a while ago to host poker with my roommate at our apartment tomorrow evening, and Sunday is of course Super Bowl Sunday. So it looks like this weekend doesn't work for either of us really well. :-/

BUT! I asked him if he was doing anything for Valentine's Day. He said he wasn't, only working until about 6pm. He never really liked Valentine's Day because he always spent it alone. Well, because this year Chinese New Year (which is one of my favorite holidays, btw) is on the same day, I asked him if he'd like to go out to a Chinese place for dinner. I had heard great things about this one Chinese restaurant in town but I haven't had the time to check it out yet.

He agreed to that. :-) So I'm kind of hitting 2 birds with 1 stone, holiday-wise, lol. It'll be nice, this way he won't be alone on Valentine's Day (likewise for me) and I'll be hanging out with someone during Chinese New Year (I usually go home, but home is rather far now). We just have to figure out the time we're meeting each other at the restaurant, but we've got a week to discuss that.

Speaking of discussing, we've had some interesting discussions lately. Somehow, his smoking pot got brought up (by him). We talked about it a little, and he thinks it's fair that I'm not interested in smoking pot and don't want to be around him when he is smoking pot - or any pot that's in his possession, for that matter. So I think we've reached a decent agreement in that respect. I think he doesn't want to "contaminate" me, lol. He calls me a really good guy who's really well-behaved, and he thinks he might be too naughty for me. He did describe in some graphic detail how he's an awesome top and how guys he's been with kept wanting to come back for more; I suppose I'm curious now . . . o_O

Well, perhaps I'll see for myself one day. ;-)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Many Thoughts

1. This week has been rather crazy (then again, this is true for every exam week). I think I've got a good system for studying this semester though. I go through all the material twice by myself, then get together with 2-4 other friends and we power-review through every lecture and leave no details untouched. Then I do 2-4 practice exams, then I read over the "quick notes," then sleep, then get up early to read over some more notes, eat breakfast, then exam.

I did pretty well on the neuroscience exam on Monday - about a 90.5% or so, which went up to a 92.5% after a question was re-graded. Yay! But I suspect I'm still below average, grrr. However, the physiology exam this morning was a different story. Let's say I feel like I've been mentally trampled over. And the bitching and moaning from my classmates attest to the fact that the exam wasn't well-written. I'm almost positive I passed though (they haven't posted our grades online yet, only the key - how rude). Gah, I still have one more exam to study for on Friday!! :-(

I saw the following YouTube vid uploaded on Facebook by a friend. It's a parody to the tune of Lady Gaga's "Just Dance," though it's sung horribly off-key:

Just Pass (P = MD)

2. I also spent the last few days pondering over what to do about Jay - that is, whether to pursue "just friends" or "hopefully something more." You see, he's expressed no interest whatsoever in completely quitting pot smoking. He acknowledges that he's going to have to cut back to a couple times a month or just a few times a year, but never 100% quit (though it seems like he rarely smokes pot right now anyway). Cigarette smoking, heavy drinking, pot smoking, and drugs are all deal-breakers for me.

Now, though I said above that it's a deal-breaker, I've decided to attempt to pursue "hopefully something more." See, we chatted a little bit online these last few days and he tells me how it feels like his life's "in a state of constant flux" and that it's "gone into overdrive" since he started up school again. He's feeling the busy-ness of school and the excitement that comes with knowing he's clearly moving towards his goals. All this requires a lot of effort and focus; he's a smart guy, so he's well aware that smoking pot decreases focus and he'll have to smoke less of it as he gets busier and needs to focus more. So by my reasoning, while he may still smoke pot from time to time, it'll become less and less frequent as his career advances.

So here's what my "plan" is concerning Jay. Probably go on 3-4 more dates or something, get to know each other more in person, see how things are, and hopefully they'll be moving towards something more. If so, then I'll just have to be explicitly clear that if he smokes pot I don't want to be around him when he does, just like I don't want to be around him if he's going to be drunk. I also don't want to be around any pot he or his roommate(s) may possess, because on any chance that I'm caught near pot, there goes my career instantly out the window. If he can live with those 2 caveats, then we're golden.

There are a lot of "if's" but hopefully each one of them will become true. I really want things to work out the way I hope, but only time can tell. :-)
3. The current opening song to the anime, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, has been stuck in my head for the last week or so. It's such a great anime, definitely in my top 5! :-D The song is called "Period" by the Japanese band, Chemistry.

"Period" by Chemistry

Here's a YouTube vid with the full version of the song and (Japanese & English) lyrics.
4. Last week after I shadowed the Dr. P (the ID specialist), I sent him an email thanking him for letting me shadow. In my email, I also asked what he'd like to see in the LGBT student group or what direction he'd like for it to take. His response was:
Regarding the group, I guess the most important thing is to have it be something that makes LGBT students feel comfortable at [med school]. Beyond that, working toward improving the [med school] culture and curriculum are "extras." So, whatever will make people feel comfortable and want to be in the group is what I want to see.
I'm toying with the idea of running for president of that group next year (because no one else seems to want to touch it with a 10-ft pole). Any ideas on how one might help fulfill Dr. P's vision? I have my own ambitions for the group, but that's for a later post.
5. Lastly, several days ago Biki linked me to this hilarious YouTube vid. I think the message is pretty damn clear. Enjoy!! :-P

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