Thursday, February 17, 2011

Life in Adagio

Adagio: a slow musical tempo.

These last few days my life felt as if it's moving to an adagio tempo. Valentine's Day came and went. I spent most of the day studying for an exam the following day, ironically an exam on human sexuality.

My best friend from undergrad is getting married. I just got his save the date. He and his fiance look so happy together. I've known the both of them for the last 6 years or so. I was looking at their engagement pics earlier tonight, and I really like the theme they chose. And as I clicked to RSVP, there was a slot for how many guests and I would be at one. I hesitated and didn't complete it. I'll do it later I guess. Weddings have been really weird for me for the last 3-4 years.

I came across the following a month or two ago (on this site):
I couldn't have put it any better. I've been chatting with Drew off and on, as usual. Earlier tonight he said something like: "We still haven't met yet, this must be corrected soon." It seems like we're tentatively planning to meet up on a Friday in the near-ish future. Trying to catch him online is kind of like throwing a dart at a board with one eye covered, haha. Here's hoping for good things, but I'm not sure we'll progress much farther than "just friends." Hopefully I'm wrong, but I'm not sure how one could maintain a decent relationship during rotations.
Adagio: a slow musical tempo.

Adagio for Strings by the YST Cello Choir

This is one of my favorite arrangements of this piece. It's such an expressive piece and it perfectly describes my mood these days. While Barber's Adagio for Strings has been described as one of the saddest pieces ever, I don't necessarily hear "sadness." It is, for sure, one of the most beautiful and emotive pieces I've heard with the notes painstakingly drawn out without so much as an accelerando. I hear a resignation that describes the world as it is, a kind of eternal reflection. Not necessarily sad, but it can be perceived as such.

Here's a recording of the original piece (not an original, the original as conducted by Toscanini who Barber himself requested to conduct it).

Finally, to end with a quote I found on my brother's Facebook page:
"Pray that your loneliness may spur you into finding something to live for, great enough to die for." ~Dag Hammarskjold

Thursday, February 10, 2011

You've Gotta Go Deeper

A few weeks ago I posted my recount of the female pelvic exam. So last Thursday I walked over to the urology clinic with other med students to do the male genitourinary exam. This is what you've all been waiting for, lol. But . . . it was rather anticlimactic.

So we walk over to the urology clinic, which is (curiously) in the lower level of the hospital. We were to examine a male standardized patient in groups of 4-5 with a resident or an attending physician. My group got this really nice and laid back resident. I especially love his preface with something like, "You know, urology is great. I never thought that I'd be doing what I'm doing, but I love it. As long as you can explain to your kids why you're not a pervert, and explain to their parents why you're not a pervert, then you're good to go. And within medicine, it's a highly highly respected field."

Some more chatter to relieve the inevitable tension of the situation (though less tension than for the pelvic!), and then we enter the tiny exam room. Sitting in our room was a guy in one of those hospital gowns. As soon as he lifted his gown, we noticed all his tattoos and he looked like your stereotypical biker guy (beard and all!). He later told us that he uses the money from doing these things to get more tattoos, lol.
So as with all exams, it begins with inspection. Some things to note: circumcised or uncircumcised, symmetry, and anything "weird" (lumps, bumps, sores, etc). This part is so important that the resident told us that if we were to ever consult urology after doing a male exam and didn't note whether the guy is circumcised/uncircumcised, then they think we didn't really do a male exam. Our guy was circumcised (unlike the prototypical picture above, and unlike 70-80% of guys on the planet - but still pretty common in the US).

Next was palpation. So basically, just feel along the penile shaft for any lumps/bumps that can't be seen, and gently open the meatus of the urethra (pee hole) to make sure nothing's wrong there. Note that it's "patent."

Then examine the testicles. There's a particular technique to "trap" the testicles between the fingers so it's easier to feel without causing (much) discomfort. Feel for lumps/bumps, find the epididymis, the spermatic cord, etc. Ask them to cough and then feel for any varicoceles.

And finally, do a hernia exam. This was actually a tad tricky, because you have to follow the spermatic cord back into where it goes into the body (and it's not as easy as it'd necessarily seem) and then ask them to cough. Our guy had to constantly tell us whether or not we were in the right area. Often he'd say something like, "You've gotta go up and you've gotta go deeper." Yeah, that was a bit odd, lol.

We didn't do a prostate exam on him. Instead, everyone did a prostate exam on a plastic model. Eh, chances are I'll never really need to do one anyway (in peds), so whatever.

And that's that. Clinical, short, easy. Like I said, rather anticlimactic and not very exciting. Our guy could've used some lotion on his penis, it looked rather dry to me (especially the glans). ::Shrugs::

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Mask of Ideas

"We are told to remember the idea, not the man, because a man can fail. He can be caught. He can be killed and forgotten. But four hundred years later an idea can still change the world. I've witnessed firsthand the power of ideas. I've seen people kill in the name of them; and die defending them."
I just watched V for Vendetta (finally) last night. It's definitely one of the best movies I've seen. I can't believe it's taken me this long to watch it! I love the premise of the movie. That an idea can be so powerful and consuming is certainly thought-provoking.

And so I ask: what was the last idea that you felt was worth fighting for? The last idea that was worth risking something for? Sacrificing something for?

While there are few ideas of mine that involve much risk, ideas have been consuming my time of late. Before this year, I never considered myself an advocate of much. There were few ideas that I felt passionate about to actively champion. But here I am, advocating for change and improvement. That ideas can be so enrapturing and form a mask is very real.

As I may have alluded to in the last few posts (or maybe not, I don't know), the idea of "diversity" has become my cause. Diversity competency has been slipping from the medical curriculum here, and that's not a good thing. It's such an easy thing to cut since with advances in medicine, there's more to learn and as they saying goes, "Something's gotta give." But as the patient population becomes more diverse, we must be keeping pace with being comfortable and competent to treat any patient that walks through our doors. As such, I've been working with the Office of Diversity, with the student Diversity Committee, with other students in the AMA (American Medical Association) to push for resolutions in the state medical society, and within my own student organizations.

And I never imagined I'd be doing what I am now, that this would be my idea and cause. I always thought that someone else with greater passion than I would take care of it. Clearly it hasn't been done, and so I step up.

But in that same quote above, follows the next line:
"But you cannot kiss an idea, cannot touch it or hold it. Ideas do not bleed, it cannot feel pain, and it does not love."
And this makes me wonder. What am I missing/sacrificing? That line rings true. I can't kiss, touch, or hold my ideas. They're intangible thoughts and only their actions can be become manifest, not them themselves. And sadly, I haven't experienced this thing known as "romantic love." I don't really know how to go about it. I run into walls and barriers every time I try. Have I, perhaps, diverted that energy towards an idea/cause bigger than myself instead? Who knows.

And coming back from school today, I thought to myself: what is the idea behind our white coats? What does it mean and symbolize? All I see is something that gets dirty incredibly easily but fortunately has a ton of utility (in its many pockets). The white coat doesn't make me better or smarter than anyone else, I am no different, it doesn't make me impervious to anything, so is there an idea behind there that I can rally behind?

Because you see, in pediatrics, few people (residents and beyond) wear their white coats and they often seem relieved to not have to . . .

Such existential questions behind this mask.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Happy Chinese New Year!

Zodiac The Rabbit by ~Dei--dara on deviantART


So yeah, I hope everyone had a great day. More posts coming soon (I hope)!! :-P

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

On the Wings of Progress

Well, it's been a while, hasn't it? My apologies.

You see, my life is nothing if not busy (even if being busy means playing a video game when not studying . . .). Much has happened since I last posted here, too much to cram. Most important is that which ride on the wings of progress.

Right after my last exam, I had a meeting with the Dean of Student Diversity here. She's by far my favorite dean to work with. We discussed what changes need to be implemented to make the medical campus more LGBT friendly and promote diversity in general. Some key issues included: admissions, visible signs to show tolerance, improving the curriculum to better meet the needs of a diverse patient population, recruit more diverse standardized patients, and anything necessary for the new medical educations building (e.g. a unisex bathroom for transgender people). I left with a very positive feeling that things will change, that things will improve.

Later that week, I met with some students to write resolutions to be presented to the state medical society (the body that governs the practice of medicine within each state) that focused on LGBT. One resolution I helped write was to edit an existing resolution in order to include "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" in hospital non-discrimination policies across the state (because "gender" isn't the same as "sexual orientation" and "gender identity"). Another student wrote a resolution to promote anti-bullying programs in K-12 schools.

And now for a couple things I came across on Facebook earlier this week:

Gay Marine's husband surprised at respect shown by Naval Academy

Zach Wahls speaks about family

This is quite a moving and powerful speech he gives.

So I'm still doing the P90X program. I'm about halfway through the 4th week. I haven't seen (or felt) that many changes. I suppose my arms are a tad leaner, my legs a bit more muscular, I'm a bit more flexible, and you could perhaps see the shadow of abs underneath the flab. That's about where I'm at right now. I've found the "yoga" and the "ab ripper x" particularly difficult. Yoga because it's just so long (I haven't been able to complete it from start to finish yet)! And the ab exercises are just so difficult that I simply can't do the number of sets at the speed that they go at. :-/