Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Current Events

Miscellaneous News/Thoughts:

-The #1-seeded Boston Celtics better win tonight's game against the #8-seeded Atlanta Hawks or there's going to be hell to pay.

-My man Dave scored ticket to Friday night's Boston Red Sox-Tampa Bay Rays home game & I'll be in attendance, rain or shine!

-I'm switching services as of tomorrow: I was previously taking care of only patients in the Intensive Care Units (ICU) requiring Nephrology advice or dialysis; now I'll be on the General Consult service--in general, a less sick breed of patients, and hopefully this will give me some time to tool around a bit.

-My Dad is eating steaks now, so I guess that mean he's gonna be okay.

-Sophie Hellman turned 10 months old yesterday. She is presently the owner of 7 teeth.

-Link of the Day: apparently there exists one person on this earth who thinks that Indiana Jones & the Raiders of the Lost Ark movie sucked. His name is J.D. Salinger.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Blue Velvet & Tumor Lysis Syndrome

It's been a weird 48 hours.

I am still recovering from yesterday's mayhem. Monday started off well--I survived my meeting with Dr. Brenner, and managed to make it home at a reasonable hour. Even started watching the uber-bizarre David Lynch movie "Blue Velvet". About half-way through the movie, however, I was notified that my nephrologic expertise was needed, as a patient with leukemia and tumor lysis syndrome (a condition in which tumor cells are dying so rapidly that they release dangerous amounts of potassium and uric acid into the bloodstream, the latter of which can cause the kidneys to shut down). To make a long story short, I got about 2 and a half hours of sleep in a shitty bunk bed in one of the call rooms, and have spent most of the day trying to recover. In fact, I should just stop blogging now and get to bed!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Preparing for Brenner

I am interviewing Dr. Barry Brenner tomorrow as part of a project I am starting regarding the history of Nephrology Fellowships in the U.S.

The man is a legend. He literally "wrote the textbok" on the Nephrology. "The Kidney", by Brenner and Rector, is in its 8th edition and remains the gold standard. He was also the head of the Renal Division at Brigham & Women's Hospital as well as director of the Renal Fellowship Program (which I am currently a part of now) or many years--he is now a Professor Emeritus.

So this Sunday I'm spending a fair bit of time listening to some online interviews with Dr. Brenner and thinking about what questions I will be asking him tomorrow so that I don't sound like a complete and utter idiot. Wish me luck!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Zeus Photos

Some photos of my favorite Samoyed, Zeus, from our visit last weekend at my parents.

Not much going on this weekend. My main goal for this weekend is catching up on my sleep deficit; anything else I might accomplish is, as they say, gravy.

Oh yeah, I played basketball today for the first time since I was in France. To make a gross generalization, Americans are much better than the French in terms of playing basketball. This is another way of saying I got my ass kicked today.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

My Favorite Photo Topic

Here are some more photos of my current favorite photo topic: my daughter. Here are some of the better ones from Andy's camera.

Caught tonight's episode of "Lost." Very intense. Tonight's episode was jam-packed with "WTF" moments.

The American Mustache Institute is sponsoring a contest to determine which 4 mustachioed celebrities should sit atop "Mount Stashmore." My personal favorites would be Burt Reynolds, Salvador Dali, Gene Shalit, and Ron Jeremy, but you can choose for yourselves.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Phineas Gage's Skull

I've already posted pics from my trip to the Massachusetts General Hospital Ether Dome Museum (site of the first anesthesiology-aided surgery). Today I had a few spare moments at its sister hospital, Brigham & Women's Hospital, and checked out ITS museum, the Warren Anatomical Museum, housed on the 5th floor of the main medical library.

Probably the most famous of the many medical curiosities and artifacts housed at the museum is the skull of Phineas Gage, a construction foreman in 1848 who inadvertently had a large iron spike blast through his skull. Miraculously, he survived the incident, but the spike had pierced his temporal lobe, a portion of the brain. Though he survived, his personality was observed to be radically altered: once a highly responsible, well-liked individual, he became a belligerent, capricious man who was unable to go back to his original job. This provided one of the now-textbook examples of how the temporal lobe is the part of the brain which deals with personality and higher-order thought processes. In any case, you can still see where the spike passed through his skull at the museum.

Check out the crazy, bendy bones on this skeleton of an individual afflicated with rickets! This is caused by a lack of vitamin D in the diet as a child.

Painting of the modern surgical theater in the library's 1st floor.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sweet Baby James

I got to meet my awesome nephew James B. O'Malley last weekend as well. He is decidedly more mellow than his older brother Henry. Here are some of the better James photos from this weekend, many are from Susie's boyfriend Andy's camera.

Sophie playing with her nephew James. They're only about 6 months apart, but at this stage it's quite a difference!

Beeping James' nose.
Don't ask me what Sophie is doing in this picture.
The 3 Musketeers (Henry, James, & Sophie)
Uncle Nate meets James for the first time.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Jesse The Body Celebrates Passover

This year's Hellman Passover mascot was Jesse "The Body" Ventura, posing to the left in midst of a power slide while brandishing two dinner forks. As my nephew Henry remarked to his father Tim the other day..."Daddy, you wear a tie to Jesse the Body." Evidently, Grandma Pat's Jesse the Body figurine has made quite an impression on Henry.

We gathered in Indianapolis this year for the Passover celebration, and it was great seeing everybody. Let's share the first batch of Passover pics!

To spice up this year's cedar, we bought a bunch of toys meant to symbolize the 10 plagues. Here Mom demonstrates the ever-popular "Cattle Plague" mask.
My nephew Henry chowing down on a hearty bowl of Matzo ball soup.
Sophie remembers the tears of her slave ancestors by eating some parsley dipped in salt water...and once again proving that kids will try and put literally anything in their mouth in an attempt to test its edibility.
If the inflatable Matzah Ball isn't a sure sign that Passover is here, I don't know what is.
The only bittersweet aspect to Passover this year is that we were minus one family member at the dinner table. My Dad is in the hospital--some gastrointestinal issues that he had to have a surgery for--but fortunately seems to be showing some recent signs of recovery. Get well soon, Dad!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

NBA Predictions

Still some time to get my NBA Playoff Pedictions online before I sneak a peak at the box scores of today's action:

1st Round

(1) Boston def (8) Atlanta 4-0. Boston should cruise with this matchup of experience vrs youth.

(2) Detroit def (7) Philly 4-2. The athletic Philly team could make things interesting for a few games.

(3) Orlando def (6) Toronto 4-3. I'm not a big fan of either team's chances but Orlando has more talent.

(5) Washington def (4) Cleveland 4-3. LeBron's awesome but Washington has the momentum.

2nd Round
(1) Boston def (5) Washington 4-2. Washington's done well against Boston in the regular season, but the Celts seem focused for the playoffs.

(2) Detroit def (3) Orlando 4-1. Detroit shouldn't have problems with Orlando.

Eastern Conference Finals
(1) Boston def (2) Detroit 4-3, in a classic contest which could go either way.

1st Round:
(1) LA Lakers def (8) Denver 4-2. Tough to see Denver competing with the Lakers' frontline.
(2) New Orleans def (7) Dallas 4-3. This year New Orleans has the more polished team.

(6) Phoenix def (3) San Antonio 4-3. Another nailbiter series between these old foes; San Antonio didn't finish as strong as Phoenix towards the end of the regular season and I think the Spurs are starting to show their age.

(4) Utah def (5) Houston 4-1. I never really trusted Houston's 22-game winning streak without Yao.

2nd Round:
(1) LA Lakers def (4) Utah 4-2. Who's going to guard Kobe?

(6) Phoenix def (2) New Orleans 4-3. Steve Nash & Co are under more pressure to achieve results now and they come through in this tough series.

Western Conference Finals:
(1) LA Lakers def (6) Phoenix 4-2. The younger Kobe achieves some degree of vindication against ex-teammate Shaq.

NBA Finals:
(1) Celtics def (1) LA Lakers 4-2. A marketer's dream NBA Finals--perhaps this is wishful thinking on my part and we are in fact heading for another San Antonio-Detroit Pistons contest--but it sure would be great to see the Boston-LA rivalry revived.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Hey, it seems I've been taking something of a blog holiday as of late. It hasn't been planned. Just a combination of being busy at work and not having a lot of bloggable events occur in my life over the past couple of weeks.

I am heading to Indianapolis for the weekend to see my family, always good for putting things in perspective and hopefully providing me with something interesting to write about in the coming weeks. Bon voyage to me!

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Sophie keeps in touch with her French relatives via Web-Cam! We had one today with Granpere Pecqueur, Mami Christine, Tonton Olivier, Tata Dorothea, et les cousines Maeva et Auxanne.

Of note Maeva recently turned 9 years old. Joyeux Anniversaire, Maeva!

Medical Humor Link of the Day (this will likely only be humorous to M.D.'s amongst you, or if you know what "Wenkebach block" means).

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Glorious Saturday

My goal for today: maxxin' and relaxin'. So far my day has consisted of sleeping in, playing with my new Palm Pilot (I inadvertently knelt down on the screen of the old one and shattered it--only to find that to replace the screen cost about as much as buying a whole friggin' new one), organizing my comic books, clapping with Sophie, and taking a nap. Ah, sweet relaxation.

Links for today:

Kid tearing up paper. This is just good clean family fun.
Patrick Ewing's son throwing down a sweet dunk.
Tenacious D: Master Exploder.
Weird bunny prank.
Food fight.
Amazing buzzer-beater.

I hope everybody is enjoying their weekends as much as Sophie & myself!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Kidney-Less Weekend Approaching

I am looking forward to a kidney-free weekend. I am really looking forward to these days off. Now I just have to make it through the next 10 hours (I am on-call Friday night until 6am Sat morning) without any disasters...

I hear that there's been an April blizzard in Duluth, my hometown. Impressive.

Have a great weekend everybody!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Things and Stuff

Haven't been blogging much recently. My excuse? A combination of stuff. For one, I'm running the Renal ICU Service currently, and it's been busier than usual. I have 7 patients currently on CVVH--a special kind of dialysis for unstable patients which requires them to be hooked up to the dialysis machine 24 hours a day--these are some sick MFs. And the chances of all 7 dialysis catheters working well at the same time are sadly somewhat slim.

Stayed up late last night (in my already somewhat sleep-deprived state) to watch the end of yesterday's NCAA Final Four game between Kansas & Memphis. What a finish! And what a choke job by Memphis. I had a feeling it was going to be a good one and I was right. By the way, despite my ridiculing my father for picking all four #1 seeds to make the Final Four, he ended up being spot on, picking every single Final Four game correct. Go, Dad!

Small world category: while biking home from work yesterday afternoon, I ran into one of my friends from Paris! Okay, he's a graduate student at Boston University so it's perhaps not that inexplicable, but I didn't know he was back in Boston and the last time I saw him was probably walking around Rennes in Normandy.

Friday, April 04, 2008

It is what it is

"It is what it is." I've been hearing this phrase a lot these days...whether it be from fellow physicians, comic books I am reading, or eavesdropping while riding public transportation. I believe it is meant to imply a feeling of helplessness and inability to change a crappy, broken-down system. I'm not sure I approve of this expression or not.

I'm on call all weekend. It is what it is. The pain starts tomorrow at around 6am and continues until 5pm Sunday night.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Nir in Gabs

My friend & college roommate Nir Modiano is following in my African footsteps...he just started working at Princess Marina Hospital in Gaborone, Botswana. I had done this February 2006 as this hospital has a special relationship with the University of Pennsylvania Infectious Diseases Department. Anyways, I told him what a great experience this was and he's been there for all of two days. In fact, he's got his own Nir-centered Motswana blog (the adjective to describe something or someone deriving from Botswana is NOT Botswanese, but rather Motswana) which you should totally check out.

Rough day at work today. I switched services (and hospitals) and since Tuesday have been trying my hand at running the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) Renal Service at Brigham & Women's Hospital. Very hectic. Today I received a total of about 9-10 pages (in medical speak, we say that "my pager was in status epilepticus") during a 45-minute span while putting in a dialysis catheter on a patient. Better luck tomorrow I suppose...