Wednesday, August 31, 2005

U.S. Open

So I got to go to the U.S. Open with Claire's lab yesterday!

It was completely different from any sporting event I've been to before. I'm a reasonably big sports fan, and when I go to a sporting event, I want to do one main thing: watch the game. You go to the bathroom or get food at halftime or between innings. The U.S. Open is different--there are probably about 15 games going on at any one time, and you are free to peruse any of them. I ended up watching just one full match (Amelie Mauresmo vs her Italian challenger whose name I can't remember) but at least a portion of about 12 other matches. And you're there for the entire day long, so it's perfectly acceptable to take a break from the tennis and eat some lunch (or even take a nap in the grass, which I had to do because I was just coming off a horrendous 7pm-7am shift from the ER that very morning...)

The best match of the day was a 4-hour affair between the 18-year-old Frenchman Gael Monfils against the 18-year-old Serbian Novak Djokovic. I was rooting for the French dude, naturally, who looked a lot like Tracy McGrady (right down to the Nike apparel) exept he was playing tennis not basketball. He lost, but it was a nail-biter and now I'm hoping he becomes famous one day.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Sample Night in the ER

Ouch! The ER is brutal! The other night I set my personal best with 19 patients in a 12-hour shift (a statistic which is even more impressive when you factor in that 9 of the 19 were admitted, 2 of which were ICU-level patients!)

Here's an example of one night's full tally of ER patients I took care of, in no particular order. It's *not* the record-setting night mentioned above, however. An asterix (*) denotes patients on which I had to perform a pelvic exam, perhaps my least favorite medical procedure of all time.
1. woman who was hit by dumpster in left shoulder at Jimmy Buffett concert.
2. woman who recently had C-section who presents with fever to 102.
3. diabetic guy who lost his meds and comes in with hyperglycemia.
4. young woman with right lower quadrant pain who did NOT have appendicitis*
5. asthmatic guy who lost his inhalers and comes in with wheezing (see a pattern here?)
6. woman with a stem cell transplant for myeloma comes in with fever and low white count.
7. woman with abdominal pain due to an ovarian cyst*
8. woman with abdominal pain due menstrual cramping (This was the night of the 5 pelvics--also a record)*
9. woman with pus underneath her right middle 3rd finger that needed to be drained.
10. woman with heart transplant and a lymphoma (some people have all the luck, huh?) with a fever after chemotherapy.
11. man with left-sided Bell's palsy (when one of the facial nerves is paralyzed and one side of your face is completely weak).
12. pregnant woman who was bleeding, fortunately didn't have a miscarriage*
13. woman with abdominal pain who might have ectopic pregnancy*
14. man with a new diagnosis of diabetes who came in with high blood sugars and peeing a lot, dehydrated.

Only 4 more shifts to go! Then I am on sweet, sweet elective...

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Wedding Program Preview

Hey Folks,

I've been working on our wedding program--there is going to be an insert detailing the "Great Moments in the History of Claire & Nathan"--I was going to put the entire thing online but unfortunately I'm having some major formatting issues in converting a Power Point file to a JPEG or similar I'll leave you just one tasty morsel.

The text for this bit: "Dec 2002, La Baule—At this point the relationship is going very well, and Nathan is invited to Claire’s parents’ home for Christmas in La Baule, France. In this remarkable scene, Nathan braves the icy waters of the Atlantic to prove his love to Claire. "

If I can figure out how to put the whole thing up I will. If not...well, you'll just have to come to our wedding in France to have a look-see.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Tina! Come get some ham!

I found a sweet Napoleon Dynamite website. Check it out--you can hear a buttload of the sweet quotes.
You can also take this quiz and see which Napoleon Dynamite character you are the most like.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

I like Captain Solo where he is...

How cool would it be to own this perfect, life-size replica of Han Solo frozen in carbonite a la Empire Strikes Back/Return of the Jedi? You can buy it for 2500 pounds at a website I recently found while surfing...

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Hulk Smash

At this point in my blogging career I have yet to publicize my current #1 non-medicine/science hobby: comic books! I've collected on & off since I was about 16. There was a period during college & early medical school where I drifted away from collecting...then got back into it about 4 yrs ago. I think it's actually quite an ideal hobby for a medicine resident who otherwise struggles for reading time--my spare time is quite limited and often comes in random 30 minute chunks which is perfectly adequate to thumb through a few comics from start to finish. Here's a list of some of my favorite comics & what I'm collecting currently--not in any particular order.

1. The Incredible Hulk--I would have to list the Hulk as my "favorite comic" although right now it's going through a little of a rough patch. For whatever reason the Jekyl-and-Hyde-esque psychologic aspect of the story has always appealed to me.
2. Daredevil--probably the book I most enjoy reading at the moment...Brian Michael Bendis & Alex Maleev are closing in on like a 50-issue run which is quite remarkable, I'm upset that they're calling it quits!
3. Y the Last Man--non-super hero-comic book detailing the adventures of a man who is the only surviving male after a virus wipes out all other Y-chromosome-containing individuals on earth...not as cheesy as it sounds.
4. Ex Machina--by the same writer as "Y The Last Man", also not your typical super hero fare.
5. The New Avengers--Brian Michael Bendis, probably the hottest writer in comics, revamping the classic Marvel super hero bunch. I never collected this title before he came on.
6. Powers--Brian Michael Bendis' independent creation which is always a creative read.
7. the Ultimate line--a few years ago Marvel launched a kind of "What If?" parallel universe, retelling the history of its major characters in modern times. The good titles right now: Ultimate Fantastic Four, Ultimate X-Men (was good for a long while, now starting to peter out some b/c it's involved too many characters at this point), The Ultimates...
8. The Goon--weird, funny stuff--reminds me some of "The Tick" from the early 90's.
9. Desolation Jones--have only read the 1st 2 issues of this unusual title but so far seems cool.
10. Spider-Man--always have been a fan of this quality comic with a good storyline--but much like the Hulk, the current storyline is a little unorganized.

Horrible night in the HUP Emergency Room. Fortunately I have the next 2 days off to lick my wounds before I go back...

Monday, August 22, 2005

A Farewell to the VA

My time at the Philadelphia V. A. has come to an end!

To the vet with the left BKA (below-the-knee amputation) who heroically & narrowly avoided getting a right BKA...

To the vet with a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder and iv drug abuve presenting with presumed acute spinal osteomyelitis who is in a spinal collar at least until Tuesday when the Neurosurgery Clinic is open...

To the vet whose lungs are riddled with tuberculosis who is destined to remain an in-patient until his AFB sputums become negative x 3, which will probably occur at some point in mid-October...

To the vet with a "rheumatologic disorder of unknown etiology" who is being followed by every single consult service in the hospital...

To each and every vet who is at the V.A. who is now just "awaiting placement"...

I salute you.

In all seriousness, the VA was a pretty fun month...taking care of these guys is pretty fun, and although I poke fun, serving them is actually an honor.

Next up: 2 weeks of the EMERGENCY ROOM. Time to bust out my Peter Benton moves and save some lives, starting with the 7pm-7am shift... See ya!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Man Launches Ice Cream Stick Viking Ship

This is a truly fantastic current news item coming to us from the Netherlands. Check it out here.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Feeling Randy?

Yesterday was our FANTASY FOOTBALL '05 DRAFT at my buddy Scott Halpern's house. Here's the roster for what is sure to be this year's champs, the DULUTH DOMINATORS!
QB Michael Vick, Atlanta Falcons
RB Corey Dillon, New England Patriots
RB Ronnie Brown, Miami Dolphins
WR Randy Moss, Oakland Raiders
WR Nate Burleson, Minnesota Vikings
TE Alge Crumpler, Atlanta Falcons
K Josh Brown, Seattle Seahawks
D Chicago Bears
QB Ben Rothlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
RB TJ Duckett, Atlanta Falcons
RB Reuben Droughns, Cleveland Browns
RB Marshall Faulk, St. Louis Rams
RB Dominic Rhodes, Indianapolis Colts
WR Kevin Curtis, St. Louis Rams
TE Jeb Putzier, Denver Broncos

Sunday, August 14, 2005

A sad tale

When people ask me how I like living in Philadelphia, I generally say that I love it here. And it's true: this is the first time I've felt like I'm really living in a big city (Duluth & New Haven certainly don't count, and while St. Louis is comparable in terms of size it has more of a Midwest smalltown feel) and it's fun to have such easy access to all the great restaurants, bars, cultural opportunities, diversity, etc. that a cosmopolitan city has. However, there is one big drawback to all of these advantages, and that is BIKE THEFTS.

It's basically been a contest between myself (& my fiance' Claire) and the bicycle thieves in which bicycle lock technology and bicyle lock removal technology have been embattled in an ever-escalating war. Allow me to reconstruct the situation as it developed:

August 2004: my bicycle of 7 years--which I had at one point bought from my medical school classmate for a mere $30 and had thought nobody would bother stealing--was stolen from the rack outside the front of my house. It had a Kryptonite-knock-off U-lock. Unfortunately, the theft occurred a few weeks after the Kryptonite penjacking scandal. C'est la vie. I therefore bought a cheap $58 bike from Magna.

May 2005: The crappy Magna lasted me through the winter. It was secured with an old-school Huffy U-Lock which I'm pretty sure is immune to the Kryptonite penjacking technique. Unfortunately the thieves were able to remove my rear bike wheel. It's not a quick release, so presumably they had some tools with them to remove the wheel.

June 2005: I was fortunately able to forage an old rear bike wheel from an even bigger piece-of-crap bike I had bought for $40 off of Craig's List. Having learned my lesson, I was now double-locking with the U-Lock for the frame and a cable lock for the rear wheel. However the cable lock was easy pickings for the thieves and they made off with the rear wheel once more.

July 2005: At this point I started using my old Trek 400 racing bike--a bike my parents had bought me when I was 16 and had served me through several bike ride throughout Duluth, St. Louis, Philadelphia, and even a couple of triathalons in my younger days. Despite being secured with a U-Lock, the thieves were able to somehow saw through the U-Lock and take the bike!

August 2005: I bought a marginally better bike from Target again, this time a $100 Mongoose mountain bike--still kind of a piece of crap but it gets the job done. At this point, all of the thefts had occurred at night--so I was in the habit of always taking my bike in when it started to get dark. On one particularly evening, I went downstairs at about 9PM--not too long after sundown--and the rear wheel of the bike was gone.

Now I'm in the position where I have to decide to spend like $65 for a new wheel (which is over half the cost of the entire bike) or just buy a totally new cheapo bike. I'm leaning towards the latter at this point.

This is not to mention the fact Claire has had 2 bikes stolen as well.

A plague upon bike thieves everywhere! May they be flogged by bike chains and be forced to sit on a painful banana seat for all of eternity!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

The VA Strikes Back

Rough night at the VA Spa.

The specialty-du-jour was definitely Aspiration Pneumonia. What's the deal? Does the nursing home serve some particularly repugnant puree'd meal on Fridays in order to clean house just before the weekend? The makers of Zosyn should be throwing some seriously high quality pens my way for my frequent use of this versatile antibiotic...

In unrelated news, I purchased a sweet new suit for my wedding (see below!) at Men's Wearhouse. I'm gonna be lookin' mighty fine come Sept. 17th!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Dinner at Ellen's

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Well, it's admittedly been a long time since my Six Flags Rate-The-Roller-Coasters outing...we'll blame it on the weather (hot n' muggy as all hell) and my busy schedule (always good for an excuse or two).

The Duluth pic-o-the-day lasted for awhile but I think we'll call it quits unless I find some more outstanding Duluth's a picture of some of my Philadelphia buddies, most of whom are MD's...from L to R hostess Ellen Mowry, my fiance' Claire Pecqueur, yours truly, John Evans, Amanda Capano, and Suzanne Zentko.

I will write more about my experiences at the Philadelphia VA Hospital, where I've been on service for the past 2 weeks, in the blogs to come...