Saturday, May 15, 2010

UCSF Graduation

Yesterday, members of the UCSF Class of 2010 received their medical degrees. Families cheered. Students breathed a sigh of relief and excitement. Unlike college graduations, there's a greater sense of commitment and responsibility, and an emotional ending akin to finishing one leg of a marathon. Medical school is difficult in many senses...it is difficult to apply to medical school, accept more loans, and journey through the clinical years before applying to residencies. This difficulty underscores the fact that none of the students graduating yesterday could have accomplished anything without the support of family, friends, and teachers.

Thank you to everyone, especially my mom and dad.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

They Grow Up So Quickly

Everyone tells me that my 14-year-old brother is too old for me to coo and dote over. Witness the following conversation:

Jeremy: the wound never hurts intil afterwards, probably because I'm caught up in playing
me: yeah too cute
me: i mean
Yeah, Man.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Coda

Taiwan was great. I got a perm and we visited Shi Tzu and Taipei (the national museum, taipei 101) before exploring the east coast of Taiwan which was beautiful, rugged, and highly similar to California's Big Sur. Paul spent much of Friday and Saturday fishing in a little pond, and we visited Ken Ting, the seaside beach town.

My last rotation was dermatology, which was very educational and relaxed. As a class, we are currently in our last block, a lecture course called Coda...which I like to imagine as a crash-course in how to be an intern. It is mildly surprising to me that despite the generous amount of unstructured time we have, how much can be consumed by errands and paperwork (for finishing school, for starting a job, and others for finding new housing etc.). I am looking forward to spending more quality time with my friends in medical school and making a few mini-trips. As I am doing some travel research (something that is paradoxically very entertaining and very frustrating), it occurred to me to jot down some travel life goals (general theme is seasonal attractions):

1) travel to southern oregon, see crater lake and try some pinot
2) see the waterfalls in yosemite during the spring
3) see the cherry blossoms in japan during the spring
4) see the meteor showers at Tuolumne Meadows in yosemite in august
5) roadtrip around lexington and concord, ma to visit Old Manse (home of emerson and hawthorne), Orchard house (home of alcott), walden pond, gropius house, etc. in the summer
6) see bats emerging from Carlsbad caverns in new mexico on a summer twilight
7) watch the kentucky derby with a big hat and a mint julep
8) visit Reykjavik, Iceland


Monday, March 29, 2010

Taiwan

Currently in Taiwan enjoying some vacation post-match. Saw some lovely temples in Lukang today and ate 4 new plants/fish. Went bird watching at sunset.

On Thursday, Paul and I explored Lukang and found some delicious goose in the traditional market. On Friday, we shadowed Paul's dad in rheumatology clinic, which was quite eye-opening. That evening, we explored Tainan with Paul's parents. Bought some plum preserves. Ate the best doh hua ever. On Saturday, Paul and I expored Kaohsiung, ate the best soup dumpling in my life, visited the art museum, sat by a lake and watched a kid throw in 4 whole slices of bread -- scaring away the ducks and luring the fish which were soon hunted by the egrets. Then we went to the shopping district, visited Kaohsiung 85 (not a real name), experienced the night market and ate stinky tofu. Yesterday, we visited the seaside area, rode bikes (no helmet, $3 per day, welcome to asia) around the seaside, enjoyed presotea, saw the 1865 british consulate, tasted a yummy drink whose literal translation is "love jade," wheezed up a few hills, saw a lighthouse, biked around a college campus, took a ferry, ate the most amazing fresh caught shrimp and seafood, played at a bike-cross, walked over painful stones with bare feet, sunburned arms!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Matched!

Match Results:

Preliminary Medicine at Kaiser Oakland!!!

Radiology at Mallinckrodt (Washington University in St. Louis)!!!

So HAPPY! :)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Infectious Disease

Finishing my rotation on infectious disease at SFGH...it's AWESOME! :) I am on service with fellow med student Elaine, whom I love very much. Our fellow, Sarah, is amazing and very nice to us. The cases are fascinating and the learning is plentiful. Today, we had a nice bread and butter case of C. difficile in the afternoon.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Wendy

The hospital equipment in her room surrounds her like a safety net or a fortification. She sits in her bed at home wearing a nasal cannula and a face mask, the continuous flow of oxygen and periodic puffs of extra O2 streaming from clear tubes like invisible life lines.

A strange phenomenon surrounds Wendy -- she never seems to change. Four years have passed so quickly, and when I first met Wendy in the winter of my first year in medical school, she was 14 and recovering from a bone marrow transplant. She is my PedPal, and I have followed her through numerous hospitalizations. This fall, the medical team determined that Wendy would not be a good candidate for a lung transplant, and she went home with arrangements for home hospice.

When I saw Wendy yesterday at home, she had not changed. Her days are simple -- sleeping 12 hours per day, occasional trips to the bathroom, continuous oxygen (12 L), she is breathing relatively comfortably and experiencing no pain. The static nature of her routine belies a well-hidden unrest; she continuously roams the internet and watches anime from her bed. Her round cheeks-- vestige of prednisone -- has not changed much in the last few years, and she has always been extremely shy. I have always struggled to understand Wendy's development as a person caught somewhere between childhood and adulthood -- she fell ill at the age of 12 and has not attended much school since then, she loves Hannah Montana, and she recently celebrated her 17th birthday.

Like a fairy or a sprite, she appears ageless, frozen in time, forever innocent and forever young. What hurts the most is the realization that this illusion of eternal youth is cruel. As I pondered all of the things that Wendy might not have the opportunity to do, it surprised me to realize that of all the missed opportunities, it pained me the most to realize that Wendy might never have the chance to grow up and meet someone and fall in love.




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