Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tip #3: Pregnant? Go See a Doctor ASAP.

Pregnant women of the world, please see a doctor AS SOON AS you think that you might be pregnant. Not only can you get a second pregnancy test, but you can start your prenatal care early. Fetuses need healthcare too, but the most important thing might be the first sonogram to estimate the age of the fetus. Combined with knowledge of your exact LMP (the first day of your last period), doctors can make better decisions about your healthcare...everything from deciding when you might need an induction to whether your fetus is growing normally.

I always wondered by doctors get very persnickety and anal about "dating" the pregnancy, but now realize that it is a fundamental and often underestimated part of the process.


I often enjoy David Brooks' columns in the NYT, here is a particular quote of a quote for today:

"In 2005, Ryne Sandberg was inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame. Heclo cites his speech as an example of how people talk when they are defined by their devotion to an institution:

'I was in awe every time I walked onto the field. That’s respect. I was taught you never, ever disrespect your opponents or your teammates or your organization or your manager and never, ever your uniform. You make a great play, act like you’ve done it before; get a big hit, look for the third base coach and get ready to run the bases.'”

However, I disagree with Brooks' assertion that we must return to a culture more reliant upon institutional thinking. I am still a big believer in the philosophy of a liberal education, as Brooks points out:

"A few years ago, a faculty committee at Harvard produced a report on the purpose of education. “The aim of a liberal education” the report declared, “is to unsettle presumptions, to defamiliarize the familiar, to reveal what is going on beneath and behind appearances, to disorient young people and to help them to find ways to reorient themselves.”
The report implied an entire way of living. Individuals should learn to think for themselves. They should be skeptical of pre-existing arrangements. They should break free from the way they were raised, examine life from the outside and discover their own values."

Whether we devote ourselves to individualistic "thinking" or institutional "thinking" is not even the point; both labels describe certain automatic behaviors. We need to be capable of thinking (and I say this in italics) in a consciously unbiased manner instead of blindly following our own needs or conforming to the demands of society.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Chinese New Year!

Year of the Ox. :)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

When I Grow Up

The favorite questions between classmates during this season are: 1) Are you taking a year off? and 2) Do you know what you might go into?

No. And no.

Throughout medical school, I always assumed that the right field would seem immediately and obviously perfect for me. Maybe it would be when I diagnosed my first ear infection in a 2-year-old in Pediatrics. Maybe it would be when I first saw an open abdomen under the bright lights in an OR during Surgery. But somehow, working on the theory that finding a medical profession can be as easy as love at first sight has...well...turned out to be harder than imagined.

Writing has always been a way for me to process emotions and explain decisions. But during third year, writing has been difficult due to time constraints, privacy issues, and my inability to sit down and ponder the journey that will be my life.

Stay tuned for future angst.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Fresno, CA

Fresno is an inland city located in California's Central Valley approximately midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. In many ways, Fresno is very different from San Francisco...the median income for a household in Fresno is $32,236 vs. $57,833 in San Francisco according to wiki. There is a larger population of Hispanic and minority patients, and most of the Asian patients in Fresno are the legendary Hmong. (Legendary because Hmong culture is featured extensively in our required reading during medical school as part of lessons in cultural sensitivity, but rarely seen in San Francisco).

In Ob-Gyn, our female patients tend to be younger, healthier, poorer, and less educated than patients probably seen at other hospitals in the Bay Area. A fair amount of patients are illiterate. Many are immigrants from other countries. Learning medicine in a non-academic center has been new and refreshing for me, and I have been able to practice my medical Spanish. I had wanted to do obgyn in Fresno because 1) it seemed like a good idea to do an away rotation to see new settings; 2) Fresno has one of the highest birth rates in CA; 3) I've never been to Fresno; 4) I wanted to practice my Spanish.

I haven't spoken much Spanish since college, and have been amazed again at how beautiful the language can be. Honestly, Spanish is more expressive and beautiful than English or Mandarin...and this is coming from a pseudo-Asian American English major. There are so many shades of meaning, and interesting quirks to think about...like how the term for giving birth is "dar la luz" (literally: give light), or why someone can be "estar muerto" (dead) when the verb "estar" implies a temporary state. Or even why someone can be "ser joven" (young) when "ser" usually implies a permanent state. Don't get me wrong, my Spanish is still fairly poor.

Another interesting thing about Fresno is the lifestyle...the buildings are spread out, there are gazillions of chain stores like Target, Starbucks, Costco, and plenty of parking and free high quality food at the hospital. The people in Fresno tend to be more open, friendly, less pretentious and more humble. :)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Tip #2: Wipe from Front to Back

Ladies, avoid getting UTI's by wiping from front to back (if you know what I mean).

Interesting NYT article on abortions in the NYC Dominican community: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/05/nyregion/05abortion.html?pagewanted=2&fta=y

ObGyn is fun! I enjoy working in the clinic and seeing different aspects of female reproductive health. Today I saw a few colposcopies for cervical dysplasia and worked up a case of bilateral breast pain. In the past week, there have been a few endometrial biopsies, some PID, a MRSA abscess, lots of prenatal appointments, and lots of birth control appointments. :)

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Ladies, Keep Track of Your Period

Current in Fresno on my ob-gyn rotation. Fresno is a cool town, and medical students get free housing! So far, I like how ob-gyn is such a great mix of medicine and surgery.

Public Service Announcement: Ladies, PLEASE KEEP TRACK OF THE FIRST DAY OF YOUR PERIOD. In clinic, less than 25% of women know the date of their last menstrual period (LMP). This is just sad and pathetic, because obviously it's not hard to keep track of your period using a calendar, but rather indicates that medical professionals suck at teaching patients how take charge of their health. This will also come in handy not only if you're pregnant, but also if you show up at the Emergency Room with appendicitis...they will want to know your LMP.

Don't worry about anything more than the FIRST DAY of your period.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Raise Your Kids in Arcadia, CA

Sorry again for the lack of posts...surgery was busy and full of dramatic stories to be related soon. A belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! :)

Also just wanted to let everyone know that my hometown of Arcadia, CA was named the best place in California to raise your kids in 2009 accordinging to Business Week magazine! And the Rose Queen in the 2009 Pasadena Rose Parade is an Arcadia High School student! :)

See links: http://images.businessweek.com/ss/08/11/1110_best_places_for_kids/6.htm

Kid-Friendly and Cost-Friendly

By Prashant Gopal

Welcome to BusinessWeek's second annual roundup of the best places to raise your kids.
This year we are going state by state. Once again working with OnBoard Informatics, a New York-based provider of real estate analysis, we selected towns with at least 50,000 residents and a median family income between $40,000 and $100,000. We then narrowed the list of towns using the following weighted criteria: school performance; number of schools; household expenditures; crime rates; air quality; job growth; family income; museums, parks, theaters, and other amenities; and diversity. We weighted school performance and safety most heavily, but also gave strong weight to amenities and affordability.

Bear in mind with this list, the organizing principle was affordability. While the median household income varies by state, we purposely weighted the results to prevent pricing out most readers. That's why, for example, Greenwich, Conn., with its good private schools, low crime, and abundance of cultural amenities, was left out. It simply costs too much to live there.
Of course, there are other places that are great for kids which did not make this list. In many states the competition was extremely close. Moreover, we looked for communities that scored well across the board. So, while there might be places that offer more culture, better schools, etc., other factors such as crime or a high cost of living knocked them down.