Thursday, January 29, 2009

safety first! (possibly nsfw)


(click to enlarge. image from www.prevaids.org.)

just a safety poster from one of the HIV/AIDS lectures that i've been studying from. i like how it really breaks everything down, and is also non-judgmental about sexual orientation at the same time. at the same time, it's a bit humorous because of the stick figures...but bottom line, it sends an important message out! HIV/AIDS is out there even in the USA more than you think it is, so please be smart and practice safe sex!

virus hell

so not only am i in virus hell, i get to watch some of my classmates flirt with each other that state that they don't like each other but they DO. it's so painfully obvious, at least from one of them, but the other one gives off subtle signs as well. it makes me want to vomit!!! i just want to scream at them to just DATE ALREADY, or GO OUT, or something, but alas...that would just make me look stupid. (i am in a public place after all.)

"oooh, what is the answer to this? i just don't know!!!" (bats eyelashes and slightly thrusts out chest.)

"oh, you know, you're soooooo smart." (said in the voice reserved for the "special one".)

"oh i am? haha, i must just be sooooo scared about this test! how will i ever pass! tee hee! will you saaaaave meeeeee?"

insert frylime rolling eyes and vomiting into mouth.

test tomorrow is on viruses, also. i've been listening to some wonderful classical music on the iTunes radio list. it really gets my brain going and drains out all the other disgusting-ness going on around me! (seriously, i'm really tired of watching their "games". ugh.)

i have this fear that during my ob/gyn rotation i'm going to get hit in the face, or worse, the EYE, with a flying herpie!!! i'm going to go to a birth or something, and get attacked! by squirting fluids! and then pooped on! and then the herpes! it's too much, really. i think that 6 weeks will be the worst of my life. think of all the fluids! the warts!!! and then i'll go to catch the baby, my c-ring grip will slip, and i'll drop the infant into the piles of poop on the floor and then get guerilla warfared by an incognito HERPIE or HPV!!!

i will be so glad when micro is over next week after taking the board. i swear, this class has instilled more fear into me than any other one. you should see the extremes i go to to not touch doorknob handles coming out of bathrooms after washing my hands! also, WHY ARE THERE 2 DOORS COMING OUT OF A BATHROOM? that makes 2 OPPORTUNITIES for some poop germ to get on my freshly washed hands!!! another thing i don't understand are people who take poops while TALKING ON THEIR CELL PHONES. WHILE I AM IN THE NEXT STALL. OH THE HUMANITY.

ugh. ok back to arboviruses. which i am convinced that i will get west nile virus one day and just succumb. that's right. succumb.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

another reason to NOT eat high fructose corn syrup...

my friend K pointed out this article to me today. another confirmation as to why we should not ingest HFCS...now there's supposedly mercury contamination in it due to the production process.

i think it's well worth the extra money spent to buy foods that are HFCS-free and low sodium. when i started reading ingredient labels and whatnot to try and eliminate as much HFCS from my diet as possible, and paired with better exercise habits, i lost weight and got much healthier. and now i'm glad to know that i don't have as much potential mercury in my body as some other folks do.

also, i HATE HATE HATE those stupid commercials saying that HFCS is "ok in moderation" and "made from CORN" and "ok to eat!". stupid stupid stupid. it's all a conspiracy by the government to make you consume more corn products and a way to ensure that everyone stays nice and plump. fructose is more readily taken into the "fat making cycle" rather then the "energy making cycle". you learn that in biochemistry. why willingly do that to yourself? i do not deny myself sweet stuff...if i am craving something sweet, i eat something with REAL sugar, or honey, or just snack on some fruit. i don't care if i'm stuffing myself with ice cream or cake, i just want all the ingredients to be REAL, and not manufactured by some factory that is putting free radicals or mercury or salmonella or whatever in it.

so i guess it's appropriate that i put some of the things i do to try and avoid my HFCS intake, and save some money on the side as well:
  • make and bake my own bread. i keep a jar of "bread starter" in my fridge. with just a $1 or so worth of bread flour and whole wheat flour, small amounts of salt, sugar, oil, and starter, i can make 3 loaves of bread that is much better than what i can get at the store. and it keeps well...just wrap it up in plastic wrap or put it in a ziploc bag and throw it in the fridge. and best part...no HFCS. i can use the dough to make cinnamon rolls too if i like.
  • make my own flavored yogurt. i get the plain low-fat generic variety and add whatever i want. sometimes i just slice up a banana and mix in some honey. yum! currently i have leftover lemon curd (that i made myself)...just stir some of that in and you have delicious lemon yogurt.
  • if i want ice cream, i get a little pint of the ben and jerry's flavour du jour. and then i just get a little bit to eat. good stuff, if you ask me.
  • make my own granola...ok, H makes most of it, but i know how to do it myself too.
  • eliminate soda. i did that in college, and now the stuff is waaaay too intense to drink. ha, i did replace my mountain dews with coffee with sugar, but even by adding my own sugar i was being "healthier"...i did not add near as much sugar as would have been found in a can of coke, and plus it was REAL sugar, not HFCS! now i drink coffee with milk (no sugar) and it's all good.
  • cut fruit juice with water. that's simple. maybe not 1:1, but consider filling up your juice glass 3/4 of the way and topping it with water. or just drink less juice.
all of these things don't take too much time. granted, the first time you do something different, it will take longer than normal, but it's not hard. i'm lucky in that one of my hobbies is "food" in general...but that shouldn't even matter. i believe everyone should be very choosy in the things that they put INTO their own bodies! people freak out over what kind of car to buy, or what clothes to wear, etc etc, but they don't spend enough time thinking about what they EAT. shouldn't that be the most important thing?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

updated the blog template, plus photos

i just got tired of looking at the gray background of the old template, so i changed it. also, kind of scared of using non-blogger templates...you should have seen my first attempt! everything just kind of jumbled up or disappeared...not cool. plus i didn't want any ads. i hate ads. blogger needs to start making more templates!

my lemon cupcakes were a hit!


lemon curd filling in a light lemon flavored cupcake...


final product! that's some sweetened condensed milk flavored buttercream. delicious...

so i'm thinking about doing some custom order baking on the side after STEP 1 is over...who knows if it would work though. at least i have a great hobby that makes people get all excited and is a nice study break.

in class the professor is talking about the "vaccines vs. autism" debate...i don't know about you, but i will be vaccinating my future children. vaccines do not cause autism. it just so happens that autism shows up early in life, which just happens to coincide with the time frame of vaccines. also, if you're a parent that has an un-vaccinated kid because you have loony ideas about whatever and the kid gets the particular disease the vaccine protects against, i would consider that to be child abuse. period. be thankful that your parents got you vaccinated so you wouldn't get polio or rubella or whatever, and do the same service to your kids.

virology test is on friday...viruses are scary things. micro board is next week, along with our other tests. then after all that, there's tons of PIG stuff going on february. i'll be glad when april is over...then it's just STEP 1 study time and NOTHING ELSE.

also, did you know that the flu vaccine is grown in embryonated chicken eggs? it makes me want to go home and eat some now...haha!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

on the menu for today...

  • read infectious disease chapter
  • go to gym
  • bake lemony yummy cupcakes (to be filled with homemade lemon curd that i made yesterday and topped with a sweetened condensed milk frosting)
  • VIRUSES!!! AAAAAH!
i'll post a picture if i can remember to get my camera out of my car.

judging by the old tests, virology is doable, but blah! just really, blah blah blah!

a part of me wants to "liven up" my blog, but i kind of like how plain it is. honestly, i don't know how to change the background to something that's not "blogger" so that's my main thing holding me back.

so if i thought bacteria were scary enough, and parasites even more so...i must admit that VIRUSES are the most scary of all! like, what if i eat a prion? what if i get a virus and THEN a parasite? aaaaaah!

and then there's STEP 1 study. potential STEP 1 study, that is. today is going to stink. aaak!

Friday, January 23, 2009

the funny thing about med school is...

...you forget about the "rest of the world" sometimes.

the economic hardships that are affecting the nation haven't really affected me so much, but those hardships are starting to trickle in slowly but surely...

i just had one of "those" conversations with my dad about health insurance, money, etc. turns out the health insurance i'm on got changed once again, and whaddayaknow...where i live is most likely NOT IN THE NETWORK. so i'm going to have to be really picky about when/where i go see the doctor...do i do it here? risk paying more? or do i drive to where my parents live (about a 45 minute drive), see a doctor, and drive back? decisions, decisions. the good thing is is that i can get free care at my school because i'm a student. well, things like "i need more asthma meds"...i can get a script easy for that.

i'm also looking at ways to cut costs...my first inclination was to move to a new apartment! haha...but if you think about it, the whole cost of MOVING would offset any savings i would gain. (yeah, i'm the smarty pants who has a PIANO. and i live on a second floor no elevator apartment.) and i like where i live. so i think the first step to cutting costs is to scale down to basic cable, rather than my fancy cable. i can catch most shows online these days anyway, so might as well.

i'm lucky that my car, though a gas guzzling SUV, is a gift to me from my parents. a free car. (that's what happens when you work hard and get your undergraduate schooling paid for through scholarships my friends. well, at least with me.) i am thankful that i don't have to worry about car issues for now. and since i've always told myself since my college days that i wouldn't even think about getting a new car until this one absolutely died or until i could easily afford to buy myself a new car...which means that i would have a job and savings and all that. so gas guzzling car of mine, you're here to stay for a good couple of years. get used to me!

i'm also lucky in that my parents have been helping me out with some of my living expense costs. (not school tuition or anything like that, but just regular month-to-month expenses.) a parental "stipend", if you will. another gift to me for being a "good student" in the past. however, as soon as my next loan period starts up, i will be taking care of myself all by myself...which is something that i am totally prepared to do. i never expected my parents to help me out forever, and i'm glad that when times are tough, and even though i will have to take out more loans, at least i have that option. is it weird that i'm also glad that there was a "reason" for my parents to say that i needed to fully support myself come june or so? it just makes the "release" a bit easier on all of us...they don't have to "yank" all their help away, and i don't have to demand to be "not" helped. (believe me, whenever i first found out i was going to med school, i told them i didn't want any financial support. they refused to not help me. when i went on medical leave, i told them that i had my own job now, don't give me money. they obliged, but said as soon as school started back, they would help me again.) they have been good parents to their daughter, and i am glad that they helped me out for as long as they did. but the times are a'changing, and i am fortunate to be in a situation where i can take care of myself.

i know i've been coveting some shoes lately...and i did just buy about $35 worth of baking stuff that i really don't need. ok, some of it i have been wanting for a while, and did some serious thinking about, so that purchase was justified. at least in my mind. ha! but as far as other purchases? i think i've been pretty good at not buying stuff i don't need...i will just have to prioritize a bit more to get the finances under tighter control. that won't be hard since i don't have much of a life anyway outside of school. HA!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

three cheers for president obama!

yesterday i tried in vain to watch the inaugural proceedings, but you can only do so much while sitting in class and trying to make the cnn/facebook live web feed work. plus i had no sound. so i comforted myself by reading the transcripts and all the blogs and whatnot. this morning i looked at all the pictures of the new prez and his first lady, who i must add looked FIERCE yesterday!!! i am such a fan of mixing colors together...i loved michelle obama's inaugural outfit, especially her SHOES! i want i want! she has great style. and sasha and malia looked super cute as well...is it bad that i want to wear their coats?

clothing choices aside, i'm so happy that obama is president. i would have voted for him even if he was 100% white, but a part of me is happy that he is of mixed races. finally, someone who is president who is a halfie just like me. i really love the fact that his sister is half white half asian...because that is JUST LIKE ME! i appreciate his openness, his centrist attitude, and his pragmatic ways. i guess it's the engineer in me, but i really appreciate people who are systematic and practical, and i get those vibes from obama.

reading through the transcription of obama's inaugural speech really did inspire me. i know, people will say that he said the same old same old presidential crap, but the words really did strike something within me. it makes me excited that this man is our new president, and makes me excited about where this country is going. if we truly want to be the best nation in the world, we have a lot of work to do...no more secrets, no more underhanded schemes, no more prejudice, no more subjecting the way WE do things to OTHER people in different countries. there's more than one way to tie a shoe, sometimes the way someone else ties it is just fine, sometimes they may just use the velcro, and sometimes they may need some help. there just needs to be better decision making in that regard, period.

one of the phrases in the speech that really hit home for me was the one about "setting aside our childish ways"...i know he meant that with regard to the nation, but why can't we as citizens set aside our childish ways and become more responsible for our own actions? (i know that "personal responsibility" is technically more of a republican idea, but shouldn't we all have personal responsibility ANYWAY?) instead of blaming X and Y for making us lose money, why not learn how to balance our own checkbooks and not spend more money than we own? instead of treating our environment like crap and wasting resources, why not make better energy choices and do things as simple as recycling or setting the thermostat on a lower heat setting and wearing a sweater if you're cold? if we had more personal responsibility in our everyday actions, then we probably wouldn't need all these government handout programs...the country would save money on certain programs and be able to invest where it really needs to: education, health care, and improving technology for the future.

ha, didn't mean to go on a soapbox there...just really excited about everything that is going on. also, the new whitehouse.gov website is AWESOME. i predict i'll be reading it a lot, especially now that there is a white house BLOG!!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

and one more thing, a meme!

i had NO IDEA that i got tagged for a meme by my blog friend at Respiratory Therapy 101 back in NOVEMBER. that goes to show you how the brain of a med student shuts down to most outside stimuli during crunch times!

The post posted the following meme:

Pass it on to five other bloggers, and tell them to open the nearest book to page 56. Write out the fifth sentence on that page, and also the next two to five sentences. The CLOSEST BOOK, NOT YOUR FAVORITE, OR MOST INTELLECTUAL!

well, given that i am currently "studying" micro, i will have to use the "Clinical Microbiology made ridiculously simple" book. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK TO ALL MED STUDENTS.

ok, here is the sentence block...ok wait, page 56 in my book is a table. dangit! ok, i'll just use the fifth bullet:
  • Motile: flagella (so H-antigen positive)
haha, that was in reference to Clostridium tetani. wish the book i had was more interesting, but alas, had to play by the rules. and i'm SO SORRY that i didn't notice the tag earlier! and since i'm lame, i'll just not tag anyone. haha!

conquering the fear of needles, part something

today my friend K and i went and spread good into the world! we both went to the local blood donor center and made some donations. woo. she did whole blood i gave platelets. since i'm A+, the center would rather me make platelet donations since my blood type is quite common and platelets can be given to anyone who needs them regardless of their blood type. the apheresis machine that i was hooked up to pumped my blood out of my arm, spun it in a centrifuge, skimmed the top layer of platelets off, and then pumped the rest of the blood (plus the anticoagulant solution) back into my arm. repeat. the first time i donated platelets it took about 2-2.5 hours...this time it only took 61 minutes! i had gotten my technique down and was outta there! (the time it takes to do the donation varies with the number of platelets you have, the pumping you're doing, and how the earth is rotating...haha.) i think i talked my blood tech's ear off though...when i get nervous i get really chatty. (and those out there that know me personally are like, when is frylime NEVER chatty?!)

it was interesting to note that my pre-donation blood pressure reading was 98/58...my lowest known reading yet! my BP is usually in the 110/70 range...so that impressed me. gotta keep up the good work...cardiovascular disease runs on one side of my family so got to do what i can now to prevent the bad stuff later.

and yes, i did flinch a bit when they stuck the needles into my arm, but all in all, i survived the needle sticks! the blood sample needle was a 21 gauge, and the actual platelet donation needle was a 17 gauge...that's what actually sold me on giving platelets. the needle for it is SMALLER than the whole blood donation needle. sign me up!

school is going alright...i just need to buckle down and study more. i'm so glad for the holiday this coming up monday...more study time!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

ethics lunch

today i had the fortune to attend a free lunch seminar. any good med student knows the secret to free lunch is to sit through a meeting...usually they're boring but today's talk was about guantanamo bay. it was given by a doctor who was assigned to go there for 6 months and serve the medical needs of all the detainees.

the main gist of the talk was to point out all the headlines that say that medical ethics were/are violated, etc, at GTMO. he also talked about the physician-patient model down there, how it's important that the medical team distance itself from the interrogators and the security people. he discussed the various lengths they go to for the detainees' medical care and whatnot. all of that was very informative...basically, everything there is "patient first". that's how it is here. he said that it was a bit difficult to treat people at times, but as a doctor he was ethically bound to serve the needs of the patient, even if it went against what the interrogators/security/etc wanted. i can definitely agree with that. he talked about how it was hard to earn the trust of the patients and raised some ethical questions for the audience to ponder.

the tides changed though once the floor was open for comments and questions. some people praised the speaker for his ability to "help those that hurt us". eh, i wasn't impressed with the gravity of his job...he's a doctor. he just happened to be assigned to GTMO. he cared for his patients. that's his job. same if someone were taking care of prisoners in the local jail or people who want abortions or whatever...he did his job, and he did it because that's what doctors are supposed to do. it sucks (i suppose) that he was assigned to GTMO, rather than caring for americans in iraq or civilians at a US base, but he did his job. he's military...you do your job, no questions asked.

one person asked about what would happen when the new admin comes around (since obama is pledging to shut down GTMO). i thought that was a weird question...this is a doctor. he doesn't meddle with the security or placement or whatever, he's just a doctor. next question.

another person stated that he didn't understand why the speaker was speaking about his experience. turns out, the speaker was still active reserve. (did i state that correctly? basically, the doctor was still on the military's tab.) did the speaker have the right to talk about his experience at GTMO? was he violating his loyalty to the government? it was interesting that the speaker didn't disclose his "affiliations" at the beginning of the talk. usually, if you have a tie to whatever company or organization, you have to state it at the beginning of your talk. lots of people have gotten in trouble for not disclosing relationships.

so yeah, it made for an interesting talk. i didn't agree with all the "implied politics" the speaker put forth, but it was fairly informative. i would assume it would be hard to remain objective when talking about GTMO...as the speaker said "you either have been there, or you haven't". the military certainly isn't going to let someone like me go and take a tour! it was worth sitting through to eat my free ham sandwich...ha!

i must say though that i am glad to know that obama is pledging to shut down GTMO. granted, i know it's important to have prisons, etc, for whatever reasons, but saying "guantanamo bay" just really brings up bad connotations and whatnot from all kinds of people...it's best to just shut it down. if the united states really wants to retain (or regain?) its status as "best country in the world" or whatever, i think the new administration will really need to work hard on reestablishing its moral and ethical positions. give the foreign prisoners the same due process as an american prisoner. don't torture people. be fair. (now i don't know if torture really is happening or not happening, but it shouldn't happen. the "best country ever" should not be reduced to torturing people to get their info. if the united states doesn't have information on whatever topic, that means we weren't doing our job to begin with.)

to all my future patients out there, whoever you may be, just know that if i am your doctor, i will be doing my best to provide you with unbiased care. also know that if i can't help you, i will do all i can to refer you to someone who will. i hope the same would be done for me. (ok, end the cheesiness...haha!)

Thursday, January 08, 2009

another thursday, another pig meeting

today was another pig meeting...man...have we really had 3 of these? and i've already got the next 2 planned (feb and march), and i hope to get one more in for april. not sure if may will pan out, since classes end then and it's generally just chaos. it feels good to have a meeting over with. today's meeting was a bit smaller than normal, but then again, we were just targeting M1s. i'm happy with the turnout. and all the food got eaten! granted, i forced some people to keep eating, but all the food got eaten and i can't complain about that at all.

in pharm we got a drug list of a bazillion chemo drugs. that's going to be a pain to learn. in path we are finishing up breast and gyn path and will be starting neuropath tomorrow. and in micro it's all about viruses. yay.

ok, on to reading. woo!

Monday, January 05, 2009

learning the female pelvic exam

today i learned how to do a female pelvic exam and breast exam. no worries, they were both on plastic rubbery models! strangely enough, it wasn't a weird experience for me. then again, i have gone to the gyn a couple times so it shouldn't have been weird. (i bet the male pelvic exam will be weird to witness since i'm not a male!) but what was REALLY weird was watching some of the guys mash on the breast model! (random statement about the breast model: it was literally a torso with breasts...and the feel of it was just like those sticky "hand" things...you know the thing you would hold one end and then "throw" the whole thing and it would stick to the wall...they also made sticky "wall people" that could "walk" down walls due to their sticky appendages...ok you get my drift.) omg...some of the boys...you would have thought they were trying to squish the daylights out of the breasts! yes, there were fake "lumps" that you really had to have a firm press to find, but gosh, there's some finesse involved in conducting a breast exam! for instance, use the PADS of your fingers....NOT THE NAILS. alas. it just cemented for me that i will only have female gyn's...no males if i can help it.

and public service announcement: all females should be seeing a gyn by the time they are 21, preferably 18. also, all females should perform self-breast exams once a month. (interestingly, the technique the doctor uses to examine the breast is the same as the patient self-examining...women, we can all do ourselves good by knowing our bodies!)

now for the pelvic exam...maneuvering the speculum through a plastic rubbery cave was kind of brutal! i know in real life it will be different because human flesh has a lot more give than RUBBER, but i must admit that i cringed a little at first. and the doctor showing us the techniques was really funny, but also appropriate and respectful with her comments. an example of her funny-ness: when describing the healthy cervix, she referred to it as "a doughnut with strawberry icing on top". for some reason that really makes me giggle. and also not want to eat a strawberry icing topped doughnut...haha!

so yeah, a nice start back to school. female pelvic exams! and doughnuts with strawberry icing!