Faux Pas

I just want to brush my teeth so that I can go to sleep, but I'm being held up by two people who may or may not be having sex in my bathroom.  Oh, wait, I hear rhythmic pounding on the door.  Yep, they're definitely having sex in my bathroom.  FML.


I just woke up from one of my typical murder mystery dreams, but this one was punctuated by a few unexpected events:

1. At one point, I found myself in Dr. Park's clinic for a consultation to see if he could add more volume to my small Asian nose.

2. Then, as I was walking through the hospital, I ran into Dr. Cheng, who encouraged me to go into Plastic Surgery as a career.

Unnecessary use of cosmetic surgery and life as a surgeon: these are two of things that my ego is most opposed to.  But apparently my id embraces them.  WTF, subconscious!?

Money Laundering

That's what they do in the dry cleaning business.  I'll be honest, I rarely ever take my clothes to the dry cleaners.  Partly because I don't know what the term "dry cleaning" really means, partly because I'm really lazy, and partly because it's so freaking expensive!

I finally caved in to the notion that my ties might be carrying germs around and contributing to my immunocompromised patients' development of MRSA and C. difficile, so I brought all of them to the dry cleaners.  Some of my ties I've owned since high school but have never been cleaned before.  Unfortunately, the cost is $3.95 per tie, and I own 20 ties.  That's $79 that I will never see in my life again.  On the bright side, some of my ties now have colors so vibrant that I can't even look in a mirror when I put them on.

If my story has made you sad, then the following trailer will make you glad!

I just ate a scrumptious pear!

EDIT: ZOMG, it's been taken down!  Well, it was the trailer that played for Thor at Comic Con.  Sigh, I knew it was too good to last.

Feed Me

I would do anything for fudz.  So imagine how excited I was to be fed breakfast, lunch, and dinner today!  What did I do to deserve this cornucopia of nomz!?

Breakfast: Okay, this one's kind of cheating, but I had a granola bar that I had "purchased" using Roanoke Bucks during my Psychiatry rotation.

Lunch: It was Staff Appreciation Day at The Colonnades, where Dr. Snustad's clinic is located.  Unfortunately, I had an extra-long interview with a patient during the lunch hour (turns out it was a normal-length geriatric interview, just extra-long to me).  Super fortunately, one of the nurses went to the courtyard and brought me a takeaway box filled with a pulled pork sandwich, potato salad, coleslaw, baked potatoes, fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, and a slice of watermelon.  ZOMG, service with a smile!

Dinner: The Medical Alumni Association hosted a Happy Hour at McGrady's Irish Pub.  As if free food isn't enough to entice me, we also got free beer on top.  Not that I could drink much after devouring a plate full of chicken wings, chicken tenders, cheesesticks, and french fries.

Alright, tomorrow, you've got a lot of living up to do.  Let's see what you're made of!

It's a Beautiful Day

Kristy, the course coordinator for the Geriatrics clerkship, keeps referring to these two weeks as "your favorite rotation."  I'm beginning to understand why.

Grace and I worked... ahem, "worked"... with the Palliative Care team this morning.  What does this mean?  Well, it means that we met with the rest of the team at 9am, spent an hour talking about all of our patients, and then went to go talk to as many of them as we could (read: two) before it was time to break for lunch.  I'm not sure I could live a life quite that slow-paced, but I certainly can't blame anyone who does.  Perhaps in my old age I can semi-retire and become a Palliative Care physician.  Why not?

I would also like to share the wonderful news that when I hooked Yolisa up to the AC adapter at Crutchfield today, she came back to life!  That means that she's fine, and I just need to replace my zapped battery.  I already ordered one for $35, and it should be here within the week.  Huzzah!

Cleaning Catharsis

Boy, do I love to clean.  You can really tell when I get stressed, because the closer I get to exams, the neater my room becomes.

Pete and Andrew have both moved out of the house, and since the four of us who remain all happened to be home tonight, we decided to clean out the living room, the kitchen, and the refrigerator.  They are all so much cleaner now than they were four hours ago!  We found apples that had been growing mold, pizza that was so hard that it was contractured like a bad scar, and oatmeal that expired in June 2007.  Seriously??  That's over a year before I moved into this house!

Our work (or pleasure, depending on how you look at it) isn't done yet... we still have the cupboards, the freezer, and the basement.  Thank goodness I'm on my Geriatrics rotation and literally have nothing to do during the evenings.

Pray for Yolisa

I have a very serious prayer request.  At the end of our hike to St. Mary's Falls today, my dearest Yolisa was found in the water.  I can only surmise that while I had set her upon a rock, one of the several dogs who were running around (including Titan) must have knocked her into the swimming hole.  It couldn't have been more than a minute or two, but the bag was pretty drenched, and the camera had taken a good soaking.  I'm going to take her to the camera shop to see what they suggest tomorrow after work.  Until then, please pray that she makes a full recovery... I literally cannot afford to purchase another digital SLR camera, and I would simply miss Yolisa too much.

I also just tried to remove an ugly but harmless moth from our bathtub with a piece of tissue.  I turned to walk it outside and set it free, but accidentally dropped it into the toilet.  Nothing good can come from this day!!

Otolaryngology Recap

First of all, I haven't posted on this thing in four days.  What happened!?  I must have blacked out or something.

- The best mix of patient care and procedural work that I've seen yet.  Between the numerous clinic hours (which may or may not include ear wax cleaning) and the almost unholy number of procedures that may be happening in one given day, you're guaranteed to get your fill of both.
- The residents all really seem to like each other.  They go to Happy Hour every Thursday and they get together on the weekends.  I really like the fact that they hang out even outside of work.
- The surgeries are absolutely incredible.  Dr. Park is one of the best facial plastic surgeons in the country, and he does an amazing job of making incisions that barely leave a scar.  I would love to learn how to do that!

- As with all of the surgical subspecialties, a nearly impossible field to get into. Womp womp.
- Ears and noses just aren't all that appealing or exciting to me.  Throats are pretty cool, though.
- Head and neck anatomy: not necessarily my strongest suit.

To make up for my prolonged absence, I want to introduce you to Literal Bears I'm Jealous Of.  In addition to being super hilarious, it's also super short and can be read in one sitting.  And, as its banner states, it is a very different website than Bears I'm Jealous Of.

At Last

After an entire week of Otology/Laryngology in which I did nothing but watch my attendings and residents perform microscopic surgery on a TV screen, it feels really good to switch over to Sinus/Plastics and finally get to scrub in again.  I worked with Dr. Park today, who let me do a significant amount of cutting and cauterizing... and then subsequently criticized my poor handiwork.  I honestly can't be upset about it, though, because he is just so freaking good at what he does.

George: I saw this shirt btw
and thought of you
I was going to get it for your birthday
but I realized i didn't know your shirt size
or your birthday
or had 10 dollars
George: hahaha
Sam Zhao - predicted response, affirmed

You know, this probably isn't relevant to anything, but I wear shirts sized Small and my birthday is on August 21.  Hint, hint.


Today, a patient came into clinic to be evaluated for his facial tics.  While Dr. O'Rourke was examining his ears, I happened to notice that he had a tick crawling on his arm.  The man had tics and ticks... what are the odds??

If you still haven't seen Inception, you need to make your way to the nearest movie theater and catch the next showing.  If you have, I highly recommend this article, which presents six different interpretations of what actually happened during the movie.

Did you know that before Topeka changed its name to Google last year as part of a bid to become a test site for the fiber optic internet system, it had also changed its name to Topikachu back in 1998 to coincide with the debut of Pokemon in the United States?  The geek in me rejoices!

Why did nobody point out to me that I had originally titled my July 16 post "I'm an Winner"??  I'm deeply ashamed of my grammar fail.

Housing Woes

Augh!  Filling the last room in our house has been quite a trial.  Originally, we had a tenant in each bedroom, but then one of the incoming first year medical students decided to defer for a year.  This past week, we started shopping our last room around on the Charlottesville craigslist.  We narrowed our choices down to two possibilities and finally made an offer to Randolph last night.  He accepted, so we called Owen, our other finalist, to let him know that we had already filled the room.  This morning, Randolph called back to inform me that he had changed his mind and would be living at another house.  I immediately called Owen, but of course he had agreed to live elsewhere after hearing from me last night that the room had been filled.

Now it's back to the drawing board, which means interviewing and meeting potential roommates.  I definitely won't be considering this guy, though:

I hate staying in motel or apartments, worrying about bothering the neighbours, cause I get drunk and sometimes even arrested. Yeah I'm serious. Plus when I'm sobering up I start bugging in enclosed spaces. I love listening to loud music, which doesn't mean I do it. Cause I never can. I mean I'm not stupid. When I'm withdrawing and really need a drink and my nerves are on edge and/or staying up all night the walls move in on me and I start listening to the sounds around me and hate having to be careful not to pace the floor above the room below. Man it's not like I ever paid for crack cocaine, or even ever shot drugs, (strangely) but if I'm going to mess up I wanna get away with it yall. But don't worry, cause I'm in recovery now, clean and sober, and homeless, and it's not that easy to find a place to live. I have a headache right now and maybe a drink would get rid of it, but I digress. AND SO, I'm totally serious, I want a place to live, I've never been convicted of a felony, there will be no drug paraphernalia around me, and no firearms please. Cause I want a place to live with tolerance and space with anybody ASAP. Rock n' Roll =;o)-

I'm a Winner

One night last month, a bunch of us went to check out a comedy show at 12th Street Taphouse.  Believe me when I say that it was the worst comedy show I've ever seen.  You can imagine how well the jokes about masturbating at the gym and raping children went over with the audience.

ANYWAY, I digress.  After the dreadful show came to a much-anticipated closure, we discovered that the event was actually a fundraiser for the Epilepsy Foundation of Virginia.  It was an odd way to fundraise, I must say, but I decided to purchase two raffle tickets from the group, especially since I was just finishing up my Neurology rotation at the time and had seen the struggles of several epileptic patients.

So, guess what I got in the mail today?  Four complimentary recreation packages (golf, tennis, skiing, snowboarding, snowtubing, Lake Monocan, Aquatics & Fitness Center, or Discovery Ridge activity) and five complimentary ski, snowboard, or skiboard rentals at Wintergreen Resort!  I'm not sure why I got four of one thing and five of the other, but hey, it's free, so I'll take it.  And it's better than the grand prize of a P. Buckley Moss painting.  Not that I don't appreciate her work, I just don't have anywhere in my rundown house to store a priceless piece of art.


Yesterday, Lee led off a game of Words With Friends using the word VIXEN.  I counterattacked using the "V" from his word to form my own eight-letter word: LEVODOPA.  Yes, it's true, the Scrabble Dictionary contains generic names of pharmaceutical agents.  This is without a doubt the greatest discovery I have ever made.

From Christin: Lady Gaga Doing Normal Things.  Too bad they don't look normal when she's doing them.


If you've ever lived in Charlottesville, then you must be aware of the fact that Charlottesville has more non-chain restaurants per capita than any other city in the United States of America.  Knowing this makes me feel extremely silly when I keep going to the same restaurants over and over again, even if they are as amazing and delicious as Saigon Cafe and Sticks Kebob Shop.

Tonight I decided to try Padthai, which, according to some, is the best Thai restaurant in Charlottesville.  Unfortunately, my taste buds are not very discerning when it comes to Thai food, and I'm not really sure what's great and what's only mediocre.  Honestly, Pad Thai tastes pretty much the same anywhere.  The fact that Garrett and I had a few drinks from Beer Run before dinner probably didn't help.

Sadly, Garrett is leaving for Kyoto next Saturday, where he and Carly will be living for the upcoming year.  That's a good enough reason to book some tickets to Japan, don't you think?

Show Me What You've Got

So far, Otology-Head and Neck Surgery (apparently they hate being called "ENT") has put an excellent foot forward.  This is how I know I'm going to love my next two weeks on the service:

1. The two chief residents I'll be working with are Drs. Schneyer and O'Rourke.  This morning after rounds, Dr. Schneyer turned to Dr. O'Rourke and said, "So, did you watch last night's episode of True Blood?"  My new BFFs??  Yes, I think so.

2. They had journal club this evening.  And it came with free food from Jimmy John's.  Now, normally I'm no fan of cold subs, but let's be honest, everything is delicious when it's free.

3. During journal club, one of the attendings said the following in reference to orbital floor repairs: "There are certainly times when you just can't get it to go up.  In that case, you just need to pull the bone down until it goes back up."  I glanced around the room to find all of the residents biting their lips and suppressing their laughter.  Personally, I had to suppress the urge to yell out, "That's what she said!"

Plastic Surgery Recap

- There are few careers out there as cool as plastic surgery.  I mean, who doesn't want to be Sean McNamara or Christian Troy?
- Most of the procedures take only 2-3 hours, which means you can do several different surgeries in one day.
- Few patients require ICU care following their operation, and most get to go home within the week, their lives drastically improved.  This is about as close to instant gratification as you can get in medicine.

- The life of a resident is extremely difficult.  They often work 15 hours/day, not including taking call at night.  This can be both mentally and physically exhausting, to say the least.
- My scores are nowhere near good enough to get me into an integrated program, so if I were to choose this specialty, I would have to spend five years in general surgery residency followed by three years in plastic surgery residency followed by two years in some sort of fellowship.  I'm not really sure I want to squander the rest of my 20s on building my career.
- Both of the above add up to mean that there is little chance of having a life outside of your career.  And boy, do I love living.

I start Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery tomorrow, and I don't have to show up until 6:45am.  As sad as it sounds, I actually feel like I'm getting to sleep in.  Sweet.

Quotable Quotes

As we were leaving a local restaurant:

Matt: Sam, between your Asian glow and your arm rash, you are the epitome of skin diseases right now.
Me: Yeah, I know, I might as well just have dermatomyositis.
Girl Walking Behind Us: This is totally random, but I was diagnosed with dermatomyositis when I was in high school!  I've never heard anybody talk about it in public before!

And then she told us her life story.  Literally.

Romans 6:23

Caroline: I don't feel comfortable sitting in the area that's been roped off.
Me: Haven't you ever heard of the phrase, "Rules were made to be broken?"
Caroline: Haven't you ever heard of the phrase, "For the wages of sin is death?"


First Ever All Nighter

Remember when I stayed up for 20 hours straight?  That was for babies.  I just pulled the first all nighter of my life while taking call with Dr. Capito.  We were consulted at 11pm last night, and trauma cases didn't stop rolling in until rounds this morning at 6am.  I even stuck around after we saw all of our patients to do a Mohs reconstruction surgery with Dr. Black.  Now it's 11am, and it's officially time for the world's best nap.

Err, I guess this means that I've been awake for the past 31 hours, 24 of which were spent in the hospital.  And that, my friends, is why I simply cannot do plastic surgery, no matter how much I may be in love with it.

Burn, Baby, Burn

Today was hands down the best day I've had yet in Plastic Surgery.  During our two burn cases, I got to remove the skin graft from the donor site, create the skin graft meshing, and apply the graft.  ZOMG!  It's the most I've gotten to do during any given procedure, and it will undoubtedly be one of the most memorable days of my third year of medical school.

The only downside is that during skin grafts, we have to heat the operating room to approximately 90 degrees Fahrenheit in order to help the burn patients maintain normal body temperature.  Needless to say, I was sweating like a pig under my scrub gown.  True story: it became so hot at one point that the anesthesiologists' computers started malfunctioning and churning out weird values.

I must have developed an allergy to Avagard, the hand sanitizer used at UVA after you do your full ten-minute scrub in the morning.  This afternoon, I broke out in rashes all over both of my arms between the elbows and the wrists.  I look like I have some frightening skin condition, but I promise it's not contagious.


Breakfast of Champions

By the grace of God, the medical students didn't have to attend Plastic Surgery conference this morning.  They were having a resident meeting in place of the normal presentations, so we were excused for two hours to do whatever we wanted.  Zoe, Matt, and I opted to make a breakfast run to Bodo's Bagels.  I mean, let's be serious, it was a no-brainer.

Even though we went to breakfast after we had finished rounding on our patients, we were still amongst the first patrons of the day.  In fact, I was only the 11th person to walk into Bodo's this morning... despite having being awake for almost three hours already.

I ordered my standard ham and egg on everything wheat bagel with lettuce and sprouts.  Mmm, dericious.

The icing on the cake was that after we ate, we still had over an hour before the first surgery for the day was scheduled, which I happily filled with the most glorious nap of all time.  I always knew that the library was attached to the hospital for a reason...

One of our patients was extremely nervous about having surgery performed on her, so I offered to let her hold my hand while everyone was prepping her for surgery.  I did not realize how long the process would take or how strong her grip was (she would get a 5+ for finger strength on the Neuro exam).  I'm not exaggerating when I say that my fingers were entirely numb by the time she finally fell asleep and relaxed her hand.

Beware of Plastics

You know, the free TRAM procedure sounds great in theory.  Using skin, fat, and muscle from the abdomen to reconstruct a breast: you get a boob job and a tummy tuck all at the same time!  But in reality, it is the most boring surgery to watch.  Especially because it lasts seven hours, the majority of which involve microsurgery to attach the resected inferior epigastric artery to the internal mammary artery.  How can something that sounds so cool actually be so lame in real life!?

The case wouldn't have been all bad if I had been allowed to suture during the case, but since the fellow, the residents, the intern, and the fourth year medical student were all in the figurative line ahead of me, all I got to do was hold a retractor for one hour and watch the computer monitor for the other six.  Worst.

During the one hour I was actually scrubbed in, the tip of my nose started itching.  Since I couldn't touch my face mask, I had to rub it... with my tongue.  At least I'm able to touch my nose with my tongue; I don't know what I would have done otherwise.

At one point an anesthesiologist came into the operating room and proclaimed, "Tell me if you're new and I haven't met you yet."  I mistakenly reached out to shake her hand and introduce myself as Sam, the medical student.  Her response: "Oh, I don't care about you.  I only meant the new doctors, because they are the people who can actually help me."

At the end of the surgery, the scrub nurse counted one less lap sponge than we started with.  Assuming that someone had accidentally tossed in the trash, the doctors closed the patient up and ordered an x-ray per protocol.  Lo and behold, the lap sponge was still in the right breast... so they had to open her back up and remove it.  I guess that's why we do counts, huh?

Happy Fourth of July

What better way to celebrate the birthday of our great country than by cooking out and watching the fireworks display from Washington Park?  Well, how about also spending the day with Titan on the River?

It was his first time visiting Belle Isle, and I think he really liked it.  He certainly made a splash with the other Richmonders!

He even behaved enough to sit through an official Fourth of July photo shoot with me.

He also managed to learn how to work some of the old iron mill machinery.

Come here, boy!

Titan nobly guarded the old entrance to the iron forgery.

Of course, no day is complete without some sort of medical activity.  There was a guy laying out on the rocks who we all thought was sunbathing, but then later discovered had hurt his neck while body surfing down the James River rapids.  I stayed there until the EMTs arrived, stabilized his cervical spine, and took him away on the ambulance.

I'm further showing my national pride today by taking in a French medical exchange student for the month.  LOLWUT!?  Who knew that there were still exchange students at our age??

Walking Dead

I have been awake for 20 hours straight and I think my body might be shutting down on me.  I'm afraid to fall asleep because there is a distinct possibility that I may never wake up.

Take Two

I was supposed to be on call Wednesday night, but I got tagged to the wrong resident and never got called in.  Of course this would happen to me.  So, I took call for real last night.  It was literally the best!  I got to see someone whose forehead had been bitten by a dog, someone that had partial thickness burns that covered 17% of the total body surface area, someone who had torn the skin off of the right ear in a drunk driving accident, and someone who had a laceration across the forehead and broken both the right tibia and fibula in an ATV accident.

This all after getting to watch a cleft palate surgery and assist during a post-mastectomy breast reconstruction and contralateral breast reduction surgery on Friday.  ZOMG, why is plastic surgery so cool!? ZOMG, can somebody please talk me out of having any interest in it whatsoever!?  ZOMG, what is wrong with this craigslist post!?

EDIT: The "missed connections" posting I tried to link to just expired.  Here's what it used to say:

Red Headed Boy, beautiful dead headed red headed boy. I have always wanted to draw constellations on your acne scars. In my fantasies I trace them with my fingers and a fine tip glowing pale blue line appears somehow. Libra, Orion, Virgo… Too bad you have bad teeth…

Needed: Roommate

Bassem and I are still trying to fill the last of the six bedrooms in our house for next year.  Since it's getting too late to keep holding out for incoming medical students, we've begun the craigslist search for our final roommate.  I was checking out the "housing wanted" section of the Charlottesville craigslist when I came across the following post:

hi i am sunni and i am looking for a nwe roomate. im a single mom and a college student. i currently stay in bumpass and i have a gereat roomate. i currently am looking for a place like where i stay at. i dont pay anything here all i do is focus on school and i cook and clean a little bit. but i am looking for a place like this. i really dnt have money like that right now and wont til i get out of school but my roomate buys me pretty munch whatever i want and need. she's pretty cool. but i am going to be attending uva soon and i wanna move closer. i have been through alot. i dont have any parents or i would be staying with them and i dont want assistance....dont ask y i just dnt want it. i have one year left in school and i just really wanna focus on school and my kid. i firmly believe in a strong college education. and i am just working really hard to get to my goals. so if u have a place thats great...thanks

oo yeah i have a cat too...let me kno if thats ok 

There are so many things wrong with that post that I don't even know where to begin to make fun of it.  You can read it in its original form here.  Suffice it to say that Sunni will not be getting an e-mail from me asking her to live with us.  She did, however, inspire me to resume perusing the "missed connections" and "rants and raves" section of the Charlottesville craigslist.  Oh, the crazies.  How I have missed you.

None, because I didn't get to see any surgeries.  Worst!