Third Time's the Charm

I did it!  I finally did it!!

After spending the night at Lee's house in Lexington, a new crew of explorers set out to find a geocache hidden along the Appalachian Trail.  And, after a grueling hike to the top of a mountain, we found the greatest treasure a man could hope to find.

Amongst the contents of the box were a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figure, a coupon for a free week at a local gym in Buena Vista, and even a tampon.  After logging our find in the journal within, we took a pair of Del Sol hairclips that change colors in the sun and a Geocaching lanyard, and we replaced them with a deck of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles playing cards (by coincidence!) and a whistle.

And so another wonderful post-Shelf weekend must come to an end.  Time to suck it up and start two months of Surgery.  Why, oh why, did I decide to end my third year on this rotation??

Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough

I didn't think it was possible, but I love Michael Jackson even more now than I did two days ago.  Last night's Who's Bad concert simply blew my mind.  They performed as many of MJ's hits as they could fit into their 90-minute show, from Thriller to I Want You Back to Man in the Mirror and everything in between.  I literally cannot put into words how much fun I had at the show.  I'm not being facetious when I say that I would quit medical school in a hot second for the opportunity to tour with them.

I think part of why I liked the show so much was that in addition to being an excellent musician, each member of the band was also an incredible performer.  There were actually two MJs who took turns singing while the other changed into a new costume.  Watching them tear up the stage made me really wish I'd gotten to see the King of Pop himself in concert.

Rest in Peace, Michael Jackson.  Be comforted, knowing that your legacy lives on in the form of the best tribute band the world has ever known.

Family Medicine Recap

I just came out of my Family Medicine Shelf exam (a surprisingly difficult one, I might add), and I'm ready to share my views on the specialty with each and every one of you.  So gather around, children, and listen well to Grandpa Sammas.

- You get to see some of everything.  Which, in the case of a Shelf exam, is a bad thing.  But, in the case of a career, is pretty freaking awesome.
- You get to develop long-term relationships with your patients.  Dr. Reinhardt has been seeing some of his patients for longer than since I've been alive.  And they bring him pastries from Ukrop's.
- Theoretically, and depending on the way the healthcare climate changes over the next few years, I can still practice OB if I go into either academic or rural medicine.

- The pay is crappy and often so is the respect you get from other physicians.
- Not all long-term relationships are rewarding.  There are definitely some patients you don't want to have to see for the rest of their lives.
- Dealing with chronic diseases can be tedious... so maybe I should just be a Pediatric generalist instead?

Well, I've thought enough about Family Medicine for one day.  I guess I'll make the decision after I complete my Family Medicine ACE in July.  I have enough on my plate to deal with right now.  Like getting out of the hospital in time to buy a ticket to tonight's Who's Bad concert.

Peace Out, R-Town

And so another rotation has ended, bringing me back to Charlottesville to prepare for the Shelf exam tomorrow.  Oh, and also to do that take-home Evidence Based Medicine Exam that I forgot about.  Ugh, what happened to me this rotation?  It's as if living at home removed any and all sense of responsibility.  In fact, I just realized that I left all of my dress clothes in my bedroom closet and have none with me here at UVA.  Oops.

I can't lie, Midlothian Medical Care really grew on me this past month.  Kind of like how the fat grew on my abdominal region after each catered meal brought by the pharmacy representatives.  I'll miss those kooky nurses the most.  And I know they'll miss me too, because they told me that they liked me more than Bob, Eric, and Lee.  BAHAHA!  Okay, maybe they didn't tell me that, but I'm pretty sure it's true anyway.

Farewell, Richmond!  It was nice seeing you, let's hang out again soon.


Today I received an e-mail from Christine, president of the UVA Class of 2008, with updates on what several of our Trustees have been doing since graduation.  Some, like me, are still in school.  Others have already made a name for themselves in entertainment and business.  No matter what we're doing, though, it appears as though we all like to travel.

A few excerpts from the e-mail, each written by a different Trustee:

- Life is still great in Accra, Ghana, mainly because it's mango season so I never have to worry about going fruitless.
- My current project is in Doha, but work / curiosity / frequent flyer miles have frequently drawn me elsewhere (5 continents in 6 weeks!).
- Heading to Kiev, Ukraine this week because... why not?
- I booked an impromptu trip to Barcelona this week since Delta had $200 flights.
- I still travel around with Al Jarreau, and am hoping to see Christine in Abu Dhabi at the beginning of April.

My friends are literally insane.

Why I Like Samurai

1. They fight with katanas.
2. The first syllable of their name is "Sam."
3. They can do battle against shadows:

Inner Circle

Those of you in the real world probably already know this, but we're actually in the middle of a long weekend because Monday is President's Day.  A group of my friends from college, self-dubbed the "Inner Circle," decided to take advantage of the holiday and rented a house on Lake Anna for three days.  I took a break from studying to go spend the day with them in Bumpass, VA where the vacation house is located.  Yes, you read that right: there is actually a place in our honorable commonwealth called Bumpass.

Anyway, it was good to catch up with everybody, to meet some new significant others, but most importantly, to retell the following story with Caroline:

Once upon a time, we were all on a tour of the South with Jubilate, our undergraduate Christian choir.  Our final destination was Orlando, where we got a day off to do whatever we wanted.  Obviously, the Inner Circle chose to spend it at Disney World.  As you may know, every night they have a fireworks extravaganza that is narrated by Jiminy Cricket.  At the end of the show, he sings, "When You Wish Upon a Star."  The song swells as the fireworks display becomes more elaborate, and just when you think it can't get any more dramatic, a children's choir joins in for the chorus.

At exactly that moment, Caroline and I turned to face each other and said, simultaneously, "Children's choirs: they really pull at the heartstrings."

And from that moment on, Caroline and I knew that despite her engagement to her now-husband Erik, we shared a deep and special bond that could never be broken.  The type of bond that makes us say incredibly bizarre sentences at exactly the same time.

Facebook Message

Today I checked Titan's Facebook profile to find that my friend Garrett had sent him a message:


What kind of dog are you? Where do you come from? Do you shed a lot? I want to get a dog just like you. Please tell me about your personality, likes, and dislikes. I hope we can be friends.


At first, I felt a little guilty reading my dog's mail.  Then I remembered that he couldn't read English, so I stopped feeling guilty and called him over to relay Garrett's message.  He looked back at me with a blank stare on his face, which I interpreted to mean the following:


I am a mixed breed dog, but my master thinks that I am at least part Rhodesian Ridgeback, a South African hunting dog.  He got me from the Chesterfield County Animal Shelter, and I have retrograde amnesia regarding my life pre-adoption. I shed a small amount.

I have a very loyal personality; I listen to my master's commands but am mostly ambivalent to other people.  I like being petted, but I don't go gaga about it like your typical labrador retriever.  I enjoy running, swimming, chewing, wrestling with other dogs, getting them to chase me, and the outdoors in general. I dislike being confined to small spaces, being left alone for long periods of time, and bringing things back after you throw them.

We can be friends if you give me a Milkbone.


I'll Never Be a Doctor

Why?  Because I can't even get an Advanced Clinical Experience (ACE) rotation, which I need to graduate.  Somehow, I got shafted during the lottery process and didn't get any Pediatrics ACEs.  Then, despite e-mailing the Family Medicine course coordinator at the stroke of midnight on the day we were permitted to begin setting up arranged ACEs, I received a reply today saying that the slot I had requested had already been filled.  How am I supposed to figure out what I want to do with my life if I can't even get an ACE in either of the two specialties I'm considering as a career!?

Fun Links of the Day:

Move over, Tiger Mother, and make room for Tiger Teacher.

Check out hipster puppies (thanks, Molly).

Fan of public media?  Save NPR and PBS by going to

I Was Right

Let's be honest, I always am.  What I'm referring to this time was my guess that my preceptor, Dr. Reinhardt, is the father of my middle school classmate, David.  Well, it has been confirmed by Dr. Reinhardt himself.  All I really wanted for him to say was, "You guys went to school together?  What a small world!"

Instead, he said, "You guys went to school together?  Here, I'll give you his number so you can give him a call."

Uh, awkward.  I think the last time I spoke to David was on AOL Instant Messenger at some point in high school.  But what happens if I don't make an effort to catch up with him?  Will Dr. Reinhardt catch wind of it and mark down my grades for not doing what he asked??


Twoo Wuv

How did Alex Trebek know?  How did he know that my first love is technology?  Is that why he chose today, Valentine's Day, to be the first in a three-day series of Jeopardy! episodes featuring Watson?

For those of you who don't know, Watson is an artificial intelligence program developed by IBM specifically to compete on Jeopardy!  This week, it will take on Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings, the biggest winners in the history of the game show.  And, according to the Facebook status updates I've seen today, apparently I'm not the only person who was planning to tune in.  Geez, why are my friends all such nerds?

What's that?  You say I'm a nerd, too?  No, let's make this clear: I'm a geek, not a nerd.  There is a fine difference between the two, as you can clearly tell from this Venn diagram.

Treasure Hunt

Greg, Lee, Matt, and I went Geocaching this afternoon.  It's basically like a real-life treasure hunt, where you use a GPS device to locate hidden containers (geocaches) hidden around the world.  Here's a brief video that explains it much better than I can:

We set out to find a geocache that was hidden in the forest in Earlysville.  Unfortunately, we didn't find what we were looking for.  This was doubly upsetting for Lee and me, as we had tried to find a geocache near Fontaine Research Park two weekends ago and had also met with no success.  Treasure hunting is hard!

I'm not quite ready to give up yet.  We're going to keep going Geocaching until we finally find one of these evasive containers.  Mark my words!

When You're Here, You're Family

I'd like to dedicate this post to my favorite chain restaurant in the United States of America, nay, the world: Olive Garden!

Some of you have heard me tell this story before, but just read it anyway, because it's the best story of all time.

Back when I was in high school, I did all of your typical high school activities.  I listened to a lot of Green Day, watched a lot of Scrubs, and bought a lot of clothes from American Eagle.  I also ate a lot of Olive Garden.  I mean, a lot.  Every Friday afternoon, my friends and I would loiter in the parking lot of the Carytown Starbucks for three hours, trying to decide what we would do that night.  Approximately 50% of the time, we would end up at Olive Garden.

One year, we were trying to decide what we would do for Daniel's birthday, and to nobody's surprise, we settled on going to Olive Garden for dinner.  Even though we were only 17 years old, we apparently had the dietary habits of people who are 71 years old, because we arrived at the Broad Street Olive Garden at 5pm, long before the next patron showed up.  Now, our favorite part of Olive Garden was obviously the bottomless salad and breadsticks.  Not surprisingly, it took only a few minutes for this group of mid-pubertal teenagers to devour the first basket of breadsticks.  And another.  And another.  And another.

We kept going, until the waitress finally came out and told us, "You guys need to slow down on the breadsticks.  Our bread lady literally cannot keep up with you."

To this day, I still don't know what my favorite part of this story is: the fact that Olive Garden actually employs a "bread lady," or the fact that she couldn't keep up with our ravenous appetites.  Cheers to you, bread lady, cheers to you.

This Is a Bad Situation

Today an elderly woman came into our clinic with chief complaint of ongoing diarrhea.  While I was genuinely concerned for her health, I could barely keep myself from collapsing into a ball of laughter during the interview.  She kept calling her disease a "situation," and at one point she said the following:

You see, it's like I'm in this bad Situation.  And what I'm trying to say is, I need to get out of this Situation and into a better Situation.

It was uncanny how closely her description of loose bowel movements mirrors Mike Sorrentino's description of trying to ditch a grenade at the bar.

Speaking of which, this season of Jersey Shore has been highly entertaining.  I CAN'T BELIEVE I JUST ADMITTED THAT.  At least I don't have diarrhea.  What??

Great Day

Andy Samberg, I couldn't agree more: today was a great day.  Some pharmaceutical representatives brought us food from Olive Garden for lunch.  Yes, that's right, Olive Garden for lunch.  NO, I'M NOT GOING TO REPEAT MYSELF AGAIN.  It was delicious.

I also went to my dentist this afternoon.  I know a lot of people who hate going to the dentist, but I love getting to see Dr. Snidow.  I also love Cassie, his dental hygienist, who happens to be one of those people who never forgets anything.  For example, she remembered that I went to the Maggie Walker Governor's School, attended UVA for college, played piano for Heritage Theatre Festival one summer, and am now in my third year of medical school.  And, as always, she asked me about how Catherine was doing out in California.  How does she do all of this without even using Facebook??

The best indication that today would be a good day, however, was when I drove past the van for The Draft Doctor, a local company that installs custom-made draft beer systems.  The motto on vehicle?  "We Cure Your ALES!"  LOL!!!


The folks over at IWatchStuff have done me the favor of collecting all of the movie spots from last night's Superbowl commercials and putting them all in one place.  Gah, I'm so excited about Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger that I feel like I have ants in my pants!

Aside: I can't believe that the folks over at Chevy Cruze actually made a commercial that revolves around the car's abilities to give audio updates on Facebook News Feed updates.  What has this world come to??

Uncle Sam

The Chinese New Year celebrations continue to roll.  I just got back from a dinner party with some family friends, where I got to catch up with Christine and Liz, two of my closest childhood friends.  More importantly, I finally met Christine's son, Adrian.  It still blows my mind that Christine is not only married but also has a one-year-old boy.  And not just any one-year-old boy, but the cutest one-year-old boy I've ever met in my entire life.  I wanted to take him home and play with him forever, but I didn't want to make Titan jealous.

Christine's mom and my mom are best friends, so we spent nearly every waking moment together as kids.  I remember watching 3 Ninjas and Beethoven over and over again on the weekends with her.  We reminisced about all the times we built cities out of Legos at my house, pretended we were on a rocket ship in her mom's minivan, and played Oregon Trail on my computer.  It's hard to believe that so many years have passed since all of that happened, but thanks to the miracle of the Internet, I can relive my childhood memories by playing The Oregon Trail on Facebook.

This. Is. Awesome.

Year of the Leporidae

Happy Chinese New Year, everybody!  I actually celebrated it with my extended family via Gchat two nights ago, when it was New Year's Eve in China.  Time zones: they still boggle my mind.  My family keeps telling me to try to go back to China to celebrate with them, but to be honest, just the thought of it scares me.  Over two billion people travel by rail and bus in the two weeks surrounding the New Year to be reunited with their families, the largest human migration in the world.  Do not want.

Anyway, festivities on this side of the Pacific Ocean have been relatively tame.  My parents and I have been eating some traditional New Year's food, but I think we're all saving up for the big parties our friends are hosting this weekend.  In the meantime, we can all enjoy the CCTV Spring Gala, which is... well, kind of weird, actually.

Happy Year of the Rabbit, and may it bring each of you peace and prosperity!

Missing In Action

I arrived at Midlothian Medical Care yesterday morning to learn that my preceptor, Dr. Reinhardt, is actually on vacation for the next two weeks.  One of his partners from an office across town is filling in for him, and luckily for me, Dr. Boyce is a great guy who was happy to take me on as a student.  My first two days with him have been a lot of fun, but I'm still kind of upset about Dr. Reinhardt being on vacation for half of my rotation for a few reasons:

1. There are fewer patients in clinic than usual, because most of them would rather wait and see their own doctor instead of someone else who is filling in for him.  When Dr. Reinhardt's patients do come, Dr. Boyce is just as unfamiliar with their histories as I am, which kind of defeats the main purpose of Family Medicine: continuity of care.

2. When Dr. Reinhardt comes back, I will get to work with him for a grand total of eight days before the rotation ends.  So much for developing a meaningful mentor-pupil relationship.

3. The drug reps only bring free lunch when Dr. Reinhardt is here, so I'm not going to get any freericious nomz for the first two weeks.  WHAT DID I DO TO DESERVE THIS??

The nurses also mentioned that Dr. Reinhardt has a son who is about my age named David.  Could this be the same David Reinhardt who went to Manchester Middle School with me?  I must get to the bottom of this mystery.

...Does anybody know where I can find the Boxcar Children?

Housecat Grandmother

Fact: When grandson is born, Tiger Mother morphs into Housecat Grandmother.

My parents, who never let me get away with anything when I was growing up, seem to have no sense of discipline around Titan.  My mom pretends to be harsh with him; she even goes through the motions of putting up a gate that keeps him in the laundry room when he's inside the house so that he can't shed his hair everywhere.  But if someone leaves the door open and he saunters into the kitchen, she doesn't yell at him to go back to his room.  And when we're eating dinner, she doesn't even hide the fact that she's feeding him under the table.  "Oh, it's okay every once in a while," she says.  Yes, but you can't say that and then do it several times during the same meal!

Meanwhile, my dad just sits there and coos, "Titan!  Titan!" on repeat.

I swear, if this keeps happening, they're going to undermine all of the Tiger Dad parenting I've done with Titan.  He didn't graduate at the top of his Basic Obedience class by getting a Milkbone every time he made sad puppy eyes!