For some unknown reason, I keep getting e-mails addressed to the Faculty and Staff at UVA.  I usually delete them without reading them, but when I saw "Discount Dining Program" in the subject line of the last e-mail, I knew I had to read it all the way through.  Apparently as a pseudo-employee of the University, I am eligible for a free discount card that offers me numerous savings, the most important of which was:

$5 brunch, eat-in only, at O'Hill on Saturday and Sunday for discount card-holder and guests

You can stop right there; that's all I needed to hear.  So, who wants to go to O'Hill brunch with me next weekend?

Bad Touch

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Rest in Peace

I turned my switch in the ignition.  My first thought: How long will it take for my car to heat up?  My second thought: Who is this guy talking on the radio?

My favorite radio station in Charlottesville has been TOM @ 107.5, a variety hits channel whose motto was, "We play anything, anytime."  Apparently earlier this year, the owners decided to can the three-year-old music station and replace it with the most boring content possible: News Talk.

Guess it's time to change my radio presets again.  Any suggestions on good radio stations out there?


Every episode of hypomania must come to an end, and I think that's what happened to me this morning.  Maybe it's because getting four hours of sleep a night finally caught up to me.  Maybe it's because despite temperatures in the 80s a week ago, I woke up this morning to find snow all over the ground.  Maybe it's because I'm in withdrawal from seeing the same twelve people every waking hour for three weeks straight.  Whatever the cause, I just wanted to sit around and do nothing all day.

Nintendo to the rescue!  After we watched VCU epically crush Kansas this afternoon, Lee went out and bought Goldeneye for the Wii.  If I fail the remainder of my Surgery rotation, I think we'll all know why.

So, who's ready for three weeks of Transplant Surgery starting tomorrow?

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TIVA: This Is Veterans Affairs

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Progress Note

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Quote of the Day

Patient: Please stop bringing me melted ice; it's just making my mouth drier.  Can you make sure I get a cup of water instead?

Does Not Compute

You might say that I'm not the sharpest scalpel on the instruments table.  Gauri, Grace, Riel, and I were at Fork in the Alley for lunch today when the waitress dropped an entire pizza belonging to the people sitting next to us.  Never one to let good food go to waste, I immediately asked her if I could have it for free.  Sure, some of it had landed face-down on the outdoor patio floor, but what bacteria could possibly be on it that I haven't already come in contact with at the hospital?

Believe me, the dirt from the ground only added another layer to the rich tapestry of flavors.  Dusty and delicious!

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Happy Saint Tuggy's Day

While the rest of the world celebrated Saint Patty's Day, the surgical team at the Salem VAMC celebrated Saint Tuggy's Day.  In case you didn't know, Saint Tugster is the patron saint of Salem, VA.  He is attributed with driving all of the roundworms out of the veteran's hospital many years ago.  To commemorate his achievements, we decorated the TUG robot that delivers medications with a spirited sign.

Of course, we also rallied and took the party out to Corned Beef.  It was fun to celebrate with our Medicine, Psychiatry, and Pediatrics colleagues who are working in Salem and Roanoke.  However, it was not fun to wake up at 4:30 this morning to gather our patient's vital signs.

And before I forget, congrats to the UVA School of Medicine Class of 2011 on your incredible match list.  I only wish I could have been in C-ville to celebrate with you guys.  But hanging out with Tuggy is an acceptable substitute.

A Quick Breather

It turns out that Surgery at the Salem VAMC is really just a three week camp.  We wake up and do a large group warm-up activity (morning rounds).  We have a huge breakfast together.  We break up into smaller groups and everybody does his or her assigned duty (operating room, minor office procedures, clinic visits).  We come back together for a large group cool-down activity (afternoon rounds).  We get dinner together at the Trough.  We end the day with a social activity, and trust me, if there were a campfire here, we would all be huddled around it making s'mores and singing Kumbaya.

But, since there's no campfire at the Salem VAMC, we have to make do with what we have.  And what we have is the game of Operation.  So in case you were wondering what surgeons do with their free time, it's playing pretend surgery.

I used to love reading Harris' "Highlight of My Day (HOMD)."  And today's HOMD?  Hearing Kate say that we would round at 6:30am tomorrow instead of the usual 6:00am.  There IS a God, and He DOES love me!

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I can't believe I've already had an entire week of surgery at Salem.  Really, it just feels like one 120-hour day to me.  And during those 120 hours, 75 of which were spent working, I've learned a few things.

Most importantly, I've learned that teleportation does exist.  In fact, our government has known about it for years but for some reason have decided to keep it from us.  You see, the Salem VA Medical Center is one giant campus, with each building connected by underground tunnels and overhead passes.  However, unlike normal building complexes like our own UVA Health System built based on a normal blueprint, the Salem VAMC is more like a real-life MC Escher drawing.  More than once, I've walked through a doorway and end up in a different hallway on the floor of a building that I could have sworn was on the opposite side of the campus.

I have also learned that my hypomania has its boundaries.  The motto at Salem is "Work Hard, Play Hard."  We generally have to up by 4:30am in order to have enough time to pre-round on all of our patients.  But if I want to do any studying for the cases the next day after exploring the surprising amount of interesting places in Salem after we get off of work, I won't be in bed until 12:30am.  If only Charlie Sheen would share some of his Tiger's Blood with me...

The only reason I've survived this first week at all was with the help of the other students in my block.  And with a group that has assigned itself nicknames from the NATO phonetic alphabet like Alfa, Golf, Romeo, Sierra, Tango, and Zulu, how could you possibly go wrong?

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My Clothing Reeks of Smoke

And that's because I just got back from the Hilltop.  Instead of studying like normal medical students, Joseph, Liz, and I went out with two of our residents tonight.  And after three games of pool and endless jams from the old-fashioned jukebox, I have to say it was the right choice to make.

It's all fun and games (literally) until I remember that I have to wake up at 4am to pre-round on my patients.  Sigh, literally the worst.

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Work Is for Losers

Some of you may have been wondering where I've been for the past two days.  I haven't been replying to e-mails, I haven't been playing any moves on Words with Friends, and I haven't been posting on my blog.

Well, wonder no more!  I have been putting my nose to the proverbial grindstone on my Surgery rotation.

And this is why I'm about to have the sweetest, most luxurious sleep of my life, despite the fact that my bedroom on the converted Psych ward is 58°F.  Ah, the endless comforts of living at the Salem VA Hospital.

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And So It Goes

Every good thing must come to an end, including Trivia Week 2k11.  I'm just pleased to see that what was once a dream actually became a reality: Nosheen and I played in three separate trivia games in one week.  Our last competition was last night at Baja Bean, another event hosted by the guys from Geeks Who Drink.  We improved significantly from our first showing, jumping from sixth place on Thursday to tied for third place on Saturday.  In fact, you could say we were Bi-Winning... we won at McGrady's, and we won at Baja Bean (well, we placed).

Droopy-Eyed Armless Children

We used to be alcoholics but we cured it with our minds (with a photobomb from yours truly in the background)

I've learned a lot of random trivia this week, but more importantly, I've learned what it's like to have an archnemesis.  And that archnemesis is Axis of C-ville, a group of guys who are on a ridiculous winning streak at the Geeks Who Drink pub quizzes.  They won both Thursday and Saturday, and my new goal in life is to take them down.  Preferably in a battle of the minds, but I will resort to physical intimidation if I have to.

False Hope

I just filled out my 2010 tax return online, and at the end, it told me that my estimated federal tax refund was $1002.  EXCUSE ME??  Too good to be true!  And in fact, it was.  Upon closer inspection, I realized that I did not qualify for the American Opportunity Credit because I graduated high school more than four years ago.  And then my $1002 tax refund turned into a $2 tax refund.  Sigh, worst.

Sure, I may not be getting any money back from the government this year, but you know what's more important?  Making it onto the official Geeks Who Drink blog!  This discovery has only furthered my complete and total obsession with Trivia Night in its many forms.

Yes, I love my Vitaminwater.  And now I'm off to run some errands before beginning my daily quest for lulz.  Any idea where I might find some tonight??

The Gold Standard

There is a new sheriff in town, and his name is Geeks Who Drink.  Nosheen, Rohan, Emily, Travis, and I met him at Rapture tonight, and let me tell you, it was the most intense and difficult game of trivia that I have ever played in my entire life.  We actually did surprisingly well for a beginner team, but we were totally crushed by the audio rounds, one which required us to name eight songs after listening to a 16-second clip and the other which required us to give the name of eight albums after listening to the first track.  Not only was the trivia itself hard, apparently so was the scoring system: at the end of the game, I had tallied 36 points for our team, but we ended up coming in sixth with 51 points.  Schwaaat??

According to Matt, my hypomania has reemerged in the form of trivia-mania.  While this may be true, I'm still nowhere close to being as manic as Charlie Sheen.  He is a living legend, as is his namesake, Nosheen.

I'm on a drug.  It's called Nosheen.  It's not available.  If you try it once, you will die.  Your face will melt off and your children will weep over your exploded body.

Charlie Sheen is so powerful, he can even shift your opinion on important issues in the world.

Christin: Are you on Twitter?
Me: Nah, Twitter scares me.  I don't really understand it.  Are you?
Christin: Charlie Sheen has changed my mind about it.  I'm doing it.  I'm jumping in.

Godspeed, Christin.  No, Charlie, nobody said anything about doing speed.   Now go back to making $10,000 per tweet and let the rest of us be.

Blast, I've Been Foiled!

Hoping to repeat our success from last night, Nosheen, Neil, and I tried to persuade our friends to join us again for Trivia Night at Mellow Mushroom.  We showed up at 7:30 to make sure we could get a table before the event actually began at 9:00, but we were sadly told that the list was far too long and we had no chance to be seated.  CURSES!!

We ended up walking to The Backyard instead so Neil could get some food.  While he was ordering, Nosheen and I looked up alternatives to Mellow Mushroom for trivia in Charlottesville.  Unfortunately, everything we found, like McGrady's, Fellini's, and Wild Wings Cafe, offered trivia on Tuesday.

Nosheen: There has to be someplace other than Mellow Mushroom that does trivia on Wednesdays.
Neil: Does Maarten's do trivia?
Sam: I think College Inn used to...
Nosheen: What about Durty Nelly's?  They have to have trivia.
Sam: [looks up Durty Nelly's on Neil's iPhone]  Look!  The website says that they have trivia every Wednesday at 8pm!  [glances at watch]  That gives us exactly eight minutes to make it there in time!

At this point, Neil had already ordered, so we called his waitress over and asked her to put his dinner in a to-go box while we chugged the pitcher of beer that had just been brought to us.  We immediately called and texted everyone to meet us at the restaurant as soon as possible.  Richie and his friend Jenny picked us up from The Backyard and drove us to Durty Nelly's, and we arrived not a minute too soon at 8:02pm.  I ran to the door and barged in, hoping we hadn't missed the first question.  I looked around frantically, only to find seven people sitting at the bar.

Confused, we all stared at each other.  Nosheen walked to the game room in the back and peered around, but there was nobody there, either.  We began to wonder if Trivia Night was still taking place.  Before I asked the bartender, I decided to check Neil's phone again.  And that's when we noticed that the restaurant we had found online spelled their name "Durty Nellie's," which is NOT the same as "Durty Nelly's."  Suddenly it was all clear: we were five people in a seedy local bar where there was going to be, in fact, no trivia that night.  In order to do trivia at Durty Nellie's, we would actually have to drive the 800 or so miles to Palatine, IL.

I embarrassingly had to text all of our friends, "Big mistake.  It was all a misunderstanding.  We are going to Richie's instead."  And then we ran away, as fast as we could.  Well, except for when we stopped to take this photograph to document the moment on my camera:

Ah well, we'll have to defend our title another day.  And hopefully that day will not involve me storming into a bar, standing around for five minutes looking confused, collapsing to the ground in a fit of laughter, and fleeing the scene while cackling with glee.

Until that day comes, enjoy some Charlie Sheen Quotes As New Yorker Cartoons.  Psst... #4 is my favorite.

I've Waited Seven Years for This

I've said it again and again and again.  I've even come as close as second on numerous occasions.  But tonight, I can finally claim that my team has won Trivia Night.

Yes, I know, that is a ridiculous picture.  But you have to understand that my team (dubbed "I'm not bisexual; I'm bi-winning," a tribute to Charlie Sheen's Good Morning America interview) was performing in synchrony the hand motions used to convey a rhinoceros' footsteps.

What's that?  You're telling me that what I say doesn't make any sense?  Right, well, you borrow my brain for five seconds and just be like, "Dude!  Can't handle it!  Unplug this bastard!"*

*Yet another direct quote from the great and soon-to-be-late Charlie Sheen.  Seriously, man, how do you do it?