School Bully

Despite the fact that I didn't have to be at the hospital until noon today, I still somehow didn't wake up in time to pack myself a lunch.  I dunno, I'm a buffoon.  Anyway, I ended up having to buy lunch from the Wahoo West cafeteria.  It wasn't until I was in the checkout line that I realized that I had left my wallet at home.

So what did I do?  I went to the library, found Randy, beat him to a pulp asked him if I could borrow $5 for lunch, and threatened to give him a swirly in the bathroom promised to repay him the next time I saw him.  Ha!  See if he dares to cross me again.

Oh, and Friday morning's Pediatric Cardiology Clinic was canceled, so I don't have to be in for work before 11am for the rest of this week.  GOD, I LOVE THIS ROTATION.

I'm Going Home!

After two months of trying to use frequent flyer miles, three days of searching on budget travel sites, and four hours of talking to travel agents on the phone, I finally got my plane tickets to China for winter break.  And they only cost $1996.  Excuse me while I go barf up my bank account.

On the bright side, I don't have to work before 11am tomorrow, Wednesday, or Thursday.  God bless Pediatric Cardiology.

Also, if anyone is looking for an Advent devotional, here's one created by my friends Helms, Greg, and others associated with Hyaets, a faith-based urban ministry that works in a low-income, high-risk area of Charlotte, North Carolina.  You can also download a pdf version of it here.  Check it out!

The Walking Dead

I've been as animated as the zombies from The Walking Dead for the past three hours because Comcast is the worst company in the world and there was an outage in my area.  No access to the interwebz for three hours!?  I BARELY SURVIVED.

Also, that's the coolest show on TV right now.  Also, I may or may not have just entered to win a walk-on role as a zombie.  Also, NO I'M NOT SHARING TONIGHT'S ENTRY CODE WITH YOU.  AUYUMNAAUGH!

(I case that didn't translate well to text, that was supposed to be a transcription of me making zombie noises.)

Better Than Thou

Titan and I just got back from our last run on the beach before we leave the Outer Banks.  It wasn't a very successful run in the typical sense, because we had to keep stopping to say hi to all of the other dogs and to let the kids come up and pet him.  My favorite was the six-year-old boy who told me, "Your dog is so big!  He's like Marmaduke!"  That's definitely a compliment(?) that Titan has never gotten before.

The only time I had an adverse reaction was when I ran past a guy wearing his "NYU School of Medicine" hoodie walking his dog.  These are the thoughts that went through my head:

1. I can't believe he's wearing scrubs on the beach.  That's so unprofessional.
2. Actually, I'm just jealous that I didn't think of it first.  It would be so comfortable running in scrub bottoms...
3. I bet I love my school more than he loves his.  It's probably not worth my time to stop and talk to him.

And so I didn't.

The Black Death

I'm not talking about the Bubonic Plague, I'm talking about the Magic of Midnight Sale at TangerOutlets.  I was somehow coerced by my mom's friends into leaving at 11pm to get in line for the stores to open at the stroke of midnight.  What I saved monetarily, I lost in sleep and dignity.  I also encountered a few crazy-eyed shoppers that I think may have been rabid, but I didn't feel comfortable asking for a saliva sample in the middle of the Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store.

Now it's 3am and I might be passing...

Q: What Sound Does a Space Turkey Make?

A: Hubble, hubble, hubble.

It's officially Thanksgiving, and I'm officially thankful for my DT 11-18mm f/4.5-5.6 super wide zoom lens that came in the mail yesterday.  I got a used one on sale from a lens rental company for only $490.  Merry Christmas, self!

As you can imagine, I haven't really stopped playing with it since it arrived.  Check out this picture of Jockey Ridge State Park that I took with it:

And I saw that it was good.


I'm going to be honest: I hate it when I see OBX stickers on people's cars.  I'm not sure why, but I find them extremely annoying.  Nevertheless, I do love coming to the Outer Banks for Thanksgiving.  Growing up, we always had Thanksgiving at our house, but I think my mom got tired of having so many guests over.  Recently, our Thanksgiving weekends have been much more relaxed and spent only with a few close family friends.

I actually arrived in Waves last night, and when I walked in the door, I was greeted by this fantastic scene.  Can you spot my favorite thing in this picture?

If you said, "the game center next to the staircase," you would be 100% correct.  And you'd better believe I'll be practicing my Photo Hunt skills for the rest of this week.

Of course, even more important than the activities room is the food I've already enjoyed in the past 20 hours.  We had hotpot for lunch today.  What else is there to say?

We were all stuffed after eating for two hours straight, so my dad and I cooled off with some light reading: he, the Chinese version of Reader's Digest, and me, Blueprints: Pediatrics.  Titan was kind enough to be my pillow while I struggled through the Immunology, Allergy, and Rheumatology chapter.  Gross.

Boy, does Titan look comfortable in that picture.  So comfortable, in fact, that I've also been inspired me to also take a nice, long nap.  Thank God for Thanksgiving.

Picture This

It has been unseasonably warm this week, with temperatures in the upper 60s despite the fact that it's late November.  I certainly can't complain about the nice weather, since I'm headed to the Outer Banks to meet up with my parents and their friends tomorrow.  Speaking of weather, can somebody explain to me what the weather on Thanksgiving Day is going to be in Roanoke?  I mean, what the heck does that picture even mean?  Is the Sun going to be shedding crocodile tears or something?

I'm kind of obsessed with this post from Hyperbole and a Half that addresses the inadequacy of the pediatric pain scale.  For that reason, I'm going to steal her "better" pain scale, print it out, and show it to all of my patients for the rest of the month.

Matt sent me a text earlier today of the cupcake mold shown below.  It's from Fred & Friends, a website that sells... well, I'm not exactly sure what.  But if one of its products is a cupcake mold called Nomskulls, you'd better believe that I've already bought $5000 worth of stock in it.

Daily Double

[cue the pew-pew-pew sound from Jeopardy]

I took Titan to the dog park this morning for a play date with some of his friends.  Minutes after we came home, I got a call from Lee that Hershey was in town, so later this afternoon, we took them back for some more playtime.  Two trips to the dog park in one day?  This is unprecedented!

Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera along with me, and taking pictures of Titan and Hershey together at home proved to be a nearly impossible task.  Here is the only shot I have of the both of them sitting still for more than five seconds:

Tonight, we had yet another potluck.  ZOMG, why has Thanksgiving morphed into a two-week-long celebration?  As you can tell, none of us is very upset about this turn of events.

And because that photo was taken post-nomfest, here's a glimpse of the food we prepared.  Not pictured are Sunny's biscuits, Chrissy's deviled eggs, Brittany's sweet potatoes, and Liz's blueberry pie.

So, who's going host a potluck and/or feed me tomorrow night?  Any takers out there?

Soft. Very Soft.

Moments ago, I was inducted into the Raven Society.  (Is that something I can just broadcast to the world like this?  I hope so.)  Anyway, after enjoying the reception which featured some delicious hors d'ouevres and wine arranged by none other than VMed's very own Christina, I have to say that I'm pretty happy right now.  Any organization that offers its members free food is definitely one I want to be part of, even if my nomination was a soft call.  Thanks for the confidence boost, Amir.

As part of our initiation, we had to write a parody of the Edgar Allan Poe classic, The Raven.  (Again, is this something I can just put out there?)  Here is mine, lovingly titled The Lolcat.  Credit goes to Nosheen, Harris, Catmo, and Nick for separately but equally suggesting that I do a parody based on Lolcats.  What!?  But I don't believe in separate but equal!!

Once upon a dinner party, while I sipped my soup so hearty,
Wond’ring what to put on my next plate, the third of four –
While I stroked my chin so slowly, finding chunks of ravioli,
Suddenly I heard an unknown sound come from the floor.
“Someone must have dropped some leftovers down on the floor –
                                        Only this and nothing more.”

As I started on my next dish (as I recall it was white fish),
Tasty flavors made me forget worries from before –
Just one taste of calamari sent me on a food safari,
Till that unknown sound grew louder coming from the floor.
“It must be my stomach making noises, what a chore –
                                        This it is and nothing more.”

Rushing now to try the dessert, I spilled ice cream all o’er my shirt,
I still ate it anyway and lapped it off the floor –
As I stooped down for the last drop, my heart came to a complete stop,
When I locked eyes with a kitty crouching on the floor.
“Surely this is just a housecat sitting on the floor –
                                        Merely this and nothing more.”

Unlike any ordinary cat this one was much more scary,
He stared right back at me and I felt chills to the core –
Never had I been so frightened, anal sphincter tone so tightened,
As when this cat opened up his mouth as if to roar.
“I iz not just any kitteh liek teh wun next door.”
                                        Quoth the Lolcat, “Feed meh moar.”

Much like all the other Lolcats, he was ready to do combat,
And I knew I had to get him what he’d asked me for –
Every Lolcat likes cheezburgers, so I had to look no further
Than the grill we’d fired up outside of my back door.
So I gave him every patty brought back from the store.
                                        Quoth the Lolcat, “Feed meh moar.”

Fancy Feast wasn’t good enough, Lolcats like the finest foodstuffs,
So I caught and killed and cooked for him a wild young boar –
He’d soon eaten every last piece, but his appetite just increased
That’s when I knew that my task was nowhere near being o’er.
“Free me from your services, your highness I implore.”
                                        Quoth the Lolcat, “Feed meh moar.”

Soon the night had turned into day; yet I dared not to run away,
For I knew that Lolcat still had not settled his score –
Next I made him Kung Pow chicken (maybe he was Chinese kitten?)
Finally he laid in a food coma on the floor.
“If I don’t escape now I won’t live to tell this lore.”
                                        Quoth the Lolcat, “Meow, meow, snoar.”

Who can I get to come save me? No one dares to battle kitty,
He’s more violent than rioters in East Timor –
Out of nowhere an idea hit: I know Lolrus has a bukkit!
He could take the Lolcat as a prisoner of war.
“Please do help me, my request is one you can’t ignore.”
                                        Quoth the Lolrus, “Fear no moar.”

I brought Lolrus back to my home; then I hid behind my lawn gnome
Watching as he silently crept up and down the floor –
He eventually got to Lolcat, who was wielding a baseball bat!
This would not be quite as easy as I’d thought before.
“Leave dis man aloan oar I will crush yew as I swoar!”
                                        Quoth the Lolcat, “Boo, yew whoar!”

I looked on with wide-eyed wonder as the battle raged like thunder
Cheering on the Lolrus to help his esprit de corps –
Tusks were jabbing, claws were flying, soaked in urine I was crying,
When, behold! I heard the Lolrus’s triumphant roar
He had trapped the Lolcat ‘tween the bukkit and the floor!
                                        Quoth the Lolcat, “Please, no moar!”

Free at last, I thanked my new friend, Lolcat’s evil reign he made end,
He deserved some honor or a medal from the war –
Humbly, he bid goodbye and split, carrying Lolcat in his bukkit
I’m indebted to the Lolrus; that I know for sure
I went back to feasting on my food with no fear, for
                                        I saw Lolcat nevermore!

Who Am I?

Apparently I spent $303.29 at a leather boot store in St. Petersburg today.  And that's how Chase caught onto the fact that someone had stolen my credit card information.  In reality, I had been at the hospital all day.  I had not purchased sunglasses in Sunnyvale, California, nor had I been to a McDonald's in Salt Lake City, Utah, and I certainly had not visited the Russian Federation in the last 24 hours.  They had no choice but to cancel my credit card, and a new one is on its way to my doorstep as I type.  Too bad I'll have a new credit card number... it took me years before I could recite those 16 digits from memory!

At least not having a credit card right now buys me a few more days to decide which camera lens I want to buy.

Speaking of which, thanks to George and Mike for their advice earlier this week.  I think I'm going to go with the wide-angle lens this Christmas after all, as I tend to take more outdoor photos with my Sony α DSLR-A200.  Then I'll shoot (no pun intended) for the portrait lens, followed by the telephoto lens, which would have been very useful on the safari parks I visited in South Africa but not very useful in the immediate future.  And Mike, I also have an APS-C camera, but as I understand it, the Sony DT line of lenses are designed specifically with APS-C cameras in mind so that I do not have to multiply the focal length by 1.5 like I have to do with their other lenses.  I'll definitely check into this before I make any purchases, though!

Titan Is Back!

And the house is once again filled with the pleasant aroma of dog farts.  I'm sorry, did I say "pleasant"?  I meant "foul, malodorous, and pungent."  FML.

This Is Why I'm Fat

As it turns out, Taste of Charlottesville was just a prelude to what would be a symphony of feasting this weekend.  We started things off right with a Thanksgiving potluck at Laura and Farida's apartment downtown on Friday night.

I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of our friends' cooking.  I was much less surprised to find our classy potluck dinner disintegrate into a dance party by 10pm.  My own dancing was a bit impaired by the four plates I had just consumed.

The food kept on coming throughout the weekend. A group of us tried out the new Hibachi Grill Supreme Buffet, the self-proclaimed "largest buffet in Charlottesville."  Well, I don't doubt that for one second.  The quality of their food wasn't anything to write home about, but the sheer quantity of food was just staggering.  Five plates of food and a bowl of soup later, I finally called it quits.  Nick's fortune at the end of the meal was the best one at the table: "Actions speak louder than talks."

Just a few hours later, I met up with my Big Sib family for yet another potluck dinner at Chelsea's apartment.  Once again, we had way too much food, and I actually brought some of the leftover pasta and meatballs home with me.

Now, it's time for me to go home and bring Titan back to Charlottesville.  While I'm at it, it only makes sense to bring back some mom nomz as well.  THIS IS WHY I'M FAT!!!

Completely unrelated: a picture of me cowering in fear from the other social chairs' plaid outfits.  So scary!

Camera Conundrum

I've been enjoying my Sony α DSLR-A200 for over a year now, but the 18-70mm f3.5 zoom lens that came in the box just isn't cutting it anymore.  I need more.  Like these:

1. The 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6 Zoom Lens ($249.99): perfect for when I need telephoto zoom.
2. The DT 50mm f/1.8 Lens ($124.99): perfect for when I want to take crisp portrait photos that cause an artistically blurred background in low-light conditions.
3. The DT 11-18mm f/4.5-5.6 Zoom Lens ($649.99): perfect for when I want to take wide-angle shots of the landscape when hiking.

The problem is that I don't have $1000+ to blow at one time.  So, my question is whether I should buy myself #1 and #2 this Christmas and #3 next Christmas, or vice versa.  What can I say?  It's a hard knock life.

Abdominal Distension

I've been stressing myself all day thinking about coming back to Charlottesville.  On the one hand, it's great to be able to sleep in my own bed again.  On the other hand, it's terrible to have to cook for myself.  How will I survive without a cafeteria and $22.50 in food allowance each day?

Well, Taste of Charlottesville heard my cries and came to my rescue.  Rohan, Sean, and I headed over to Alumni Hall to enjoy the annual offering of free food from the staple restaurants of Charlottesville.  Tonight's menu included wraps and Thai salad from Zazu's, fajitas from Baja Bean Co., stuffed mushrooms and spinach dip from Fry's Spring Station, sliders and crab cakes from the Virginian, sweetbread from L'Etoile, and much more.  And no, Taste of Charlottesville doesn't become any less exciting the seventh time around.  Geez, I'm old.

Speaking of coming back to Charlottesville, I had to stop along the drive to take some pictures of the Shenandoah Valley, which is in peak color right now.  Here's one of my favorites:

I know this kind of defeats the point of having four seasons, but can it just be fall all year round?  It's just... too... beautiful...

Ale-alejandro, Ale-alejandro

I've had a lot of good Mexican food in my day, but I've never had anything quite like Alejandro's in Roanoke.  Seriously man, their food is delicious.  I just got back from my second time there in one week.  I simply cannot get over their salsa bar, which features 12 different kinds of sauces for you to dip your chips in.  Why doesn't every Mexican restaurant do this??

And that's just the appetizer.  Then there's the entree... oh, the entree.  Feast your eyes while I feast my taste buds on this:

The only weird part of the night was when Randy and I tried to order beer.  There's a sign on the wall that says all draft beers are $1.50 off on Tuesday nights, but the waiter refused to give it to us.  When I tried to explain to him that it was 8pm and the deal was supposed to go until 9pm, he literally ran away from the table.  When he finally came back five minutes later, we just ended up each getting a bottle of Dos Equis because we were so confused.  I guess he won us.

Now, for those of you who have a Shelf exam in two days and have run out of ways to procrastinate, I just found a new website off of Christin's Gchat status called Damn You, Auto Correct!  My favorite post so far?

The age-old formula still works: Medical humor + Inadvertent racism = Hilarity!

I Am the Smartest Man Alive

As third year medical students on an inpatient rotation, it's expected that we go home and study our patients' conditions every night.  Typically, we present what we learned from our review of the literature during rounds the next day, especially with regards to how our therapies should be adjusted based on the latest treatment algorithm or clinical trial data.  Unfortunately, the responses I get from my attendings and upper-level residents usually go something like this:

"Yes, I'm aware of that study, but this particular patient doesn't fall into those guidelines because..."


"That's not a very strong paper, and from my own clinical experience, I've found it better to..."


"I completely agree with you, and that's why we started the patient on that regimen last night after you left."

Well, ridicule me no more, because today, I made what may have been my first productive contribution to medicine... ever.  My team is currently taking care of a patient with toxic shock syndrome who has been on IV vancomycin and ceftriaxone.  This morning I mentioned that in my readings, I had come across a paper that recommended the use of IV clindamycin, which inhibits ribosomal translocation and thereby decreases the production of TSST-1, the toxin that gives rise to all of the symptoms associated with the disease.  I also brought up the idea of discontinuing the ceftriaxone, since we were no longer worried about gram-negative coverage.  And Dr. Jaworski said, "That's a great idea; let's stop the ceftriaxone and start clindamycin."

BOOM!  Hand over that medical degree.

All the Pretty Horses

Thanks to Fall Back, I got to spend half of the weekend in Charlottesville, drive back late last night, and still get enough sleep to be semi-functional at work today.  And what a great half of the weekend it was!  I think I'm starting to become a hippophile.  Between Foxfields, the Harriman Cup, and the events that transpired yesterday, I can now say that my entire medical school experience has been a blur of activity with sporadic breaks for equine-themed events.

We had an early start to the day, as Timmy, Ned, Paul, and I arrived at the races around 11am.  There weren't a lot of people there yet, so we set up Paul's cornhole set in the middle of the infield parking area.  Several people who had apparently never seen a game of cornhole stopped to watch us play.  One of them asked Paul, "So you like to play cornhole, huh?"  Awkward!!

When we weren't playing cornhole, we were either eating free samples from the kettle corn station, which was run by this insanely cool and insanely bizarre looking man and his wife,

feasting on the delicious nomz at the tailgate that belonged to Timmy and Ned's friends,

trying to crawl through the ladder golf set without touching any of the borders,

watching Randy somehow beat all of the girls in a game of Limbo,

cheering on the races,

breaking the rules of the raceway,

or simply enjoying the beautiful grounds of Montpelier as we strolled away into the sunset.

The only thing that was missing yesterday?  Christin, who is quite possibly the only person I know who loves the triad of dressing up, watching horses, and day drinking more than I do.  You'd better be here for this next year, Christin!!

Zero Tolerance

I like to think that I'm a pretty open-minded person.  I didn't judge the patient who was being hospitalized for her fifth alcohol detoxification.  I didn't look down on the patient who was looking at inevitable amputation because he refused to take his diabetes medications.  I didn't scoff at the patient who had full-thickness burns on both hands and forearms after trying to simultaneously light an entire pack of fireworks.  When patients suffer, I can't help but feel bad for them, even if their circumstances are created by their own life choices.  What's most important to me is that I do everything I can to help them get better (even if that involves simply writing a note and putting it in a chart, knowing that nobody will ever read it again).

My policy for not making judgments goes out the window when the the same person who is making irresponsible decisions has a child.  If you're 16 years old and can barely take care of yourself, you probably shouldn't be having your first child.  If you're a cocaine addict who has already lost custody of your first child, you probably shouldn't be having a second child.  And if you're living on disability and two of your five children from four different men have developmental delays, you definitely shouldn't be having a sixth child by yet another man.  It's downright irresponsible to bring a child into this world that you know you can't take care of, and yet I have met each of the three people above.  Sure, I still feel bad for them, but I feel much worse for their children, who may never have the chance at a successful life thanks to their toxic environments.

On a brighter note, did you know that the song Like a G6 is performed by Far East Movement, an Asian-American group?  I didn't realize this until earlier this week, when I heard that they were the first Asian-Americans to make it to the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100.  Far East Movement, I'm really happy for you and I'mma let you finish, but Sammas is the greatest Asian-American musician of all time.  OF ALL TIME!

Clean Catch

The poor baby.  He's had the most difficult first two months of any infant I've ever met.  First, he was born with duodenal atresia and gastroschisis, requiring emergent surgery.  Then, he had a myocardial infarction and coded on the floor.  His recovery was complicated by cardiac tamponade, which had to be treated with pericardiocentesis.  And he's still never been home because of continuing failure to thrive.

In spite of all this, he's still the cutest baby in the world.  At least, that's what I thought until today.  I had just picked him up and set him down in my lap.  I was gently rocking him back and forth, trying to get him to go to sleep, when I suddenly felt unseasonably warm.  One second later, I came to my senses, and realized that he had peed through his diaper and all over me.

Fortunately, I was wearing scrubs that I could easily change out of.  Unfortunately, his pee stain laid directly on my crotch since he'd been resting in my lap.  I had no choice but to cover myself awkwardly during my whole walk to the scrub machine and locker room so that it wouldn't look like this 24-year-old in a white coat had just peed himself.


When babies get upset, they get TootSweet, a liquid solution that's 24% sucrose.  You can drip some of it on their pacifier, and they're so absorbed in sucking on the delicious flavor that they completely forget about whatever was bothering them in the first place.

When I get upset, I get leftover Halloween candy.  For some reason, everyone on the Pediatrics unit decided that the best thing to do with their Trick-or-Treating leftovers was to bring them all to work.  We have innumerable plastic pumpkins sitting on every table, filled to the brim with delicious candies.  Don't they know how weak I am, and how easily I give into temptation??

I ate so much candy yesterday that I vowed not to touch a single piece today.  But my taste buds had other plans.  By the time I left work, I realized that I had eaten a packet of candy corn, a packet of M&Ms, a packet of Skittles, and a packet of Whoppers.  ZOMG, SUGAR RUSH!!

It's weird; I actually don't like to eat sweet foods.  I rarely eat desserts, and I never crave cake or pie, always opting instead for more of the entree.  But when it comes to colorful candy marketed towards five-year-olds, I can't even put up a fight.