Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Apologies to recent visitors for the cryptic "test post" entry. :) I'm trying to install a comments function on my website but there're some hiccups which I'm attempting to rectify, so we'll have to see if it's successfully added in the near future.

Anyhow, my annual leave is coming up, so looking forward to that. I need a break quite badly, but at the same time I feel guilty about the other MOs suffering as a result. So if any of my fellow colleagues read this -- I'm really sorry! But I sure appreciate your help and understanding. :)

Nothing much to add actually, but the latest episode of The Bachelor finally revealed Shannon's true colours. This is a woman who's extremely pretty and sweet-looking, but turned into a veritable crazed psychopath when she wasn't picked for the final two. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating, but if you saw the look in her eyes, it's guaranteed to make you lose control of your bladder. Even Alex was visibly shaken, after she stamped out of the mansion and confronted him before huffing off in the limousine. But I'll bet he's relieved too. Can you imagine being married to someone like her? I'd want to kill myself!
So now only Trista and Amanda are left. Who gets chosen in the end? Clue: Alex likes the one who's top-heavy. But she's very sweet and easygoing, so good for him.

New link: Love Stinks 4 Sure, which I chanced upon today while checking out the Blogger site. Written by an American woman and filled with witty putdowns of what seems like every single man she encounters, it's funny and relaxing, and probably addictive too. No photo of the poster though, but who cares?

Thursday, November 21, 2002

Today's post will be a little haphazard. Just finished rounds, and I've got some quiet time to myself, so thought I'd share an introspective moment. :)

Just finished reading this month's issue of Reader's Digest, and there's a brainteaser segment on the last page which really proved how one-tracked my mind is. Here're a few examples:
1) How many animals of each sex did Moses take on his Ark?
Answer: It was Noah, not Moses.
2) Which is correct to say: "The yolk of the egg is white." or "The yolk of the egg are white."?
Answer: Neither, the yolk of the egg is yellow, not white.
I answered both wrongly. Duh! :D

Another worthwhile exercise is making lists of top 10 favourite things for each of your 5 senses, ie. sight, smell, hearing, touch, taste. So just off the top of my head, I'll compose my lists now. Comments are most welcome.

1. My cat purring
2. The voices of Josh Groban, Russell Watson, and most recently, Mario Frangoulis ( thought I'd put this all under 1 entry and leave myself a few extra choices )
3. Side-splitting laughter ( preferably my own :))
4. "La Campanella" by Franz Liszt, being played ( competently, of course ) on the piano
5. Nigel Kennedy and Itzhak Perlman playing anything on their violins
6. The sound of the ocean
7. Children at play
8. Kevin Spacey saying, "" in "The Buddy Factor
9. A completely silent pager ( even better if I happen to be on call at the time! )
10. Prayer ( be it in a church or a Buddhist temple )

1. The Great Ocean Road in Melbourne
2. A gorgeous lake in Hever Castle in the outskirts of London
3. My cat fully stretched out in contented slumber
4. Sleeping babies
5. A scene from "The Legend of Bagger Vance", where Will Smith strolls along a beach at sunset, then does a little jig upon hearing that Matt Damon's character had won the golf championship.
6. A photo I took in Perth, of 2 wild dolphins suspended in mid-air as they leapt out of the ocean.
7. Another photo, this time of Loch Lomond, covered in a thin cloud of mist, on a cold rainy day.
8. Robbie Williams in concert
9. Michael Ball during any of his performances
10. When any of my patients improve, open their eyes, and smile at me. :)

1. Laksa
2. Anything my mom cooks
3. The ocean
4. A rose covered in morning dew
5. "White Linen" from Estee Lauder
6. "Light Blue" from Dolce & Gabbana
7. Books ( both old and new )
8. Freshly washed clothes
9. The Mezza9 kitchen -- sit in the right place and it's pure heaven
10. Rain

Taste ( my favourite! ) :
1. Laksa
2. A juicy ribeye steak
3. Sashimi dipped in wasabe and soya sauce
4. Pinot Noir
5. Champagne
6. Root Beer
7. Pasta from Sketches at Robertson Walk ( bring breath mints! )
8. Roast beef I once ate at Penshurst Castle in the outskirts of London in 1994 ( yes, it's that fantastic! )
9. Warm apple pie on a windy day ( ate this on a patio in the Yarra Valley, Melbourne -- most enjoyable! )
10. The Mushroom Swiss burger from Burger King

As for the last category -- that of touch -- I can't think of more than 3, so I'll leave that alone for now. So try this out for yourself, and see if the entries surprise you. Have fun!

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Just a short entry, as I really really need to say this!

I recently heard this absolutely beautiful song over the classical station the other night, and found the CD that it was taken from.

It's called Sometimes I Dream, by Mario Frangoulis, who's considered a veteran musician, but is in fact less than 35 years of age. Greek in origin, but raised in Africa, and later musically educated in the UK, he's also a violinist and composer, who's sung in productions of West Side Story, Les Miserables and various operas.
His album is mostly new-agey fare, ranging from slow introspective numbers ( including a theme from "Life Is Beautiful" ) to exuberantly happy pieces like "Luna Rossa" (which never fails to bring a big smile to my face, even at 7am in the morning, when I battle traffic jams to get to work ).
Frangoulis has, in my opinion at least, an AMAZING voice, far surpassing those of Russell Watson's and Josh Groban's ( two other young "prodigies" who've made pots of money these past couple of years ). So don't be surprised if Mario soon kicks them both off their pedestals. He obviously has received much training, and shows this off in all the songs featured. However, he's also capable of singing more standard pop fare, as evidenced in his ease when switching suddenly from lung-bursting high notes to more mellow melodies.
My favourite piece in this astounding CD is "Sometimes I Dream", a hauntingly romantic number with Middle Eastern tinges that remind me of the film "The English Patient". It also doesn't hurt that he's good-looking, with smouldering dark eyes. But this is definitely one "newcomer" who's going to make huge waves in the music scene.
His official website offers samplings of songs from the album, so take a listen and see if you end up buying it, 'cos I couldn't resist!

Sunday, November 17, 2002

Sunday morning 11am, and I'm on call -- again. Second Sunday call this month, with the first overlapping over a public holiday weekend. I've also got 6 calls in total, compared to 5 for the rest of the medical officer pool. Not sure if that's an oversight, or due in part to my upcoming 2-week-long leave. In any case, I'm exhausted, and praying very hard for a quiet 24 hours today. All of you in the ER, have mercy! :)

Anyhow, I watched Harry Potter And The Chamber of Secrets yesterday, so here's a review.

Instead of rambling on about the history of this wonderful series, I'll just say right now that the second movie installment is spectacular. Extremely faithful to the book, filled with eye-popping effects, with the introduction of a few new characters who are played fantastically by the respective actors.

Though the main players remain the same, they've definitely acquired a rapport with each other and the rest of the cast and crew. The comic timing is spot-on, the close friendship and camaraderie obvious, the pain very realistically portrayed. So what if Daniel Radcliffe ( Harry Potter ) and Rupert Grint ( the always hilariously goofy Ron Weasley ) have gone through the early stages of puberty and now croak their lines? The maturity in their acting more than makes up for that. And Emma Watson ( who's made Hermione Granger a role all her very own ) continues to excel, and appears to be blossoming into a very beautiful young lady ( a la Natalie Portman ).

Other characters like Professors Albus Dumbledore ( Richard Harris ), McGonagall ( Maggie Smith ), Snape ( Alan Rickman ) and the ever-jovial Hagrid round up the list. Sadly, Harris passed away after completing this film, and word has it Ian McKellen ( who plays Gandalf in Lord of the Rings ) has been wooed to replace him. Personally, I think Sean Connery would make a good Dumbledore. We'll just have to wait and see, I suppose.

Draco Malfoy is still in top form, and his role has been beefed up this time. I can't remember the boy actor's name offhand, but credit goes to him for making Draco so hateful that you really want to slap him whenever he shows up with his trademark sneer and greasy hair. My favourite addition, however, is Lucius Malfoy ( played to perfection by Jason Isaacs, who was Mel Gibson's arch enemy in "The Patriot" ). Banking on his villainous looks, he sports long flowing platinum blond hair and a long black cloak here, spewing his lines with a voice that rarely rises above a mere whisper. He literally steals the show at times, even when sharing the screen with main attractions Harris and Radcliffe. A stroke of casting genius!
Watch out too for the lad who plays Tom Riddle ( a character whose true identity I shall keep secret so as not to spoil the shocking ending ). I really don't know how they picked these actors, but everyone seems to be tailor-made for their respective roles. Even the girl who portrays Moaning Myrtle is a hoot!
Kudos too to the animators responsible for Dobby the house-elf. This had the potential for degenerating into a Jar Jar Binks debacle, but Dobby is adorable.
The only disppointment is Kenneth Branagh, who plays Gilderoy Lockhart, a narcissistic liar and egomaniac. True, we're not supposed to like him, but I found his performance forced and uninspired. Rumour had it Hugh Grant was the original choice. Maybe he would've done a better job.

There're some lovely scenes worth looking out for -- the flying car sequence, the Whomping Willow, the Quidditch match with a heart-stopping race between Potter and Malfoy ( beat this, George Lucas! ), the magic duel, a terrifying chase through The Dark Forest, and of course, the finale in the Chamber itself. The climactic scene is indeed very frightening, and I wonder how the children who see this movie will handle it. But judging from the peals of delighted laughter ringing throughout the theatre after the show ended, I think kids nowadays are growing up a lot faster than we did.

Chris Columbus, the man responsible for the first 2 Harry Potter films, will be stepping down after this, and the reins will be handed over to Alfonso Cuaron, who directed the revived version of "Great Expectations" ( which starred Gwyneth Paltrow and Ethan Hawke ) and "A Little Princess". Hopefully, he will remain true to the spirit of the Harry Potter novels, as the next episode ( Harry Potter And The Prisoner of Azkaban ) is a hot favourite for many readers ( including myself ), and is the most poignant and touching among all the books Rowling has written so far.

So what're you waiting for? Go see this fabulous movie! :)

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Unfortunately, I missed the latest episode of Survivor: Thailand, and haven't had the chance to check out the website yet, so those of you reading this who know which contestant got booted off after Shii Ann, please email me at and fill me in. Much appreciated. :)

Last night's episode of The Bachelor reached a new low, but that's exactly what kept me glued to the goggle-box till 11pm, despite being on call today :P
Alex went out with 3 women on individual dates, and made out with one of them on national TV. Funny thing is, Amanda ( the lady in question ) thought nothing of frenching him with the cameraman zooming in, but became extremely embarrassed when the Japanese waitress accidentally walked in in the middle of their little interlude. Talk about double standards!
The other finalists ( 8 were cut to 4 ) are Trista ( a professional cheerleader ), Shannon ( the one I'm rooting for ) and Kim ( a professional nanny ). Rhonda, who was among the 4 who were not picked, had an anxiety attack after the session, necessitating some paramedic attention. Melodrama, indeed. Good thing Alex didn't pick her. If she'd gotten through to the final round and then been ditched, she'll probably commit suicide.
Next week should provide even more interesting fodder. The 4 women will bring Alex home to meet their parents, and the trailer reveals some tension and discomfort, which should be a hoot. I'm wondering about the exact turning point where Alex decides to drop Shannon ( if you recall, I did say in my previous post that she did not reach the final 2 ). Might be her parents, hmmm...

Last piece of gossip before I sign off and prepare for yet another call: Jennifer Lopez is apparently now engaged to Ben Affleck, even before finalizing her divorce from Cris Judd. I don't really understand why Affleck, a self-proclaimed swinging single who's dated the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, would be serious enough about J. Lo to want to settle down with her. Thought he'd have better taste. And besides, I wouldn't marry someone who's got a horrible track record. Anyone want to place bets that Ben will soon become Ex Number Three? :)

Right then. Wish me luck. I'm off to unpack my night bag.

Thursday, November 07, 2002

After being literally thrown in the deep end, I'm happy to report that my first week in the medical intensive care unit has been a fruitful one. The usual consultant covering the ICU with me is on leave, so I've been mentored in the meantime by a young registrar, who's a really really nice guy and supervised me on loads of procedures. As a result, I've gained the confidence to do most line insertions solo. And let's not forget my horrendous but extremely exciting call last Sunday, during which 6 cases came to the ICU, 3 or 4 of whom were sick beyond imagination, requiring me to set lines on more than half of them ( also solo, had an easygoing reg on call with me -- many thanks to him for entrusting these sickies to my care ( popping by only when I paged for help ). So to paraphrase a Starship song: Nothing's Gonna Stop Me Now. :D

Patients here in Changi, however, are a far cry from those in the Singapore General Hospital, and even the National University Hospital. Most people there aren't fussy, and they're honest with you. Sure, there're a few unreasonable ones who make stupid complaints about small things, but I currently have an ill patient here in the MICU, whose son INSISTS on speaking to a consultant everyday -- he refuses to talk to anyone more junior. He's also trained in biochemistry ( though I'm unclear about his exact job ), so he'll ask to see his father's blood test results and will then grill you on what treatment is being instituted for the various abnormalities. He once even asked to read the case notes, but I told him outright that it's confidential and only medical personnel are allowed to see them. Don't think he was too happy about that.
My main peeve, though, was during my Sunday call, when this same guy strolled up to me while I was frantically scribbling in the file of a new admission ( unstable, intubated, you get the picture ), and asked to speak to me about "something". He was brandishing a thick file at the time, which I assume contains tonnes of information regarding his dad's medical history. But I'm the sort who can't care less about stroking someone's ego when there's an emergency going on, so I told him ( nicely, might I add ) to wait while I attended to the ill patient, and that I would talk to him later. He gave me a sweet smile and said, and I quote, "Don't worry, I understand. It's okay."

Guess what he did next?
First, he went up to the nurse-in-charge and told her I "wasn't very receptive", then he walked out of the ICU and didn't return. So after I settled the new case, I thought he'd left, and so I popped over to another ward to review other admissions. Later in the afternoon, the nurse told me he was still waiting to talk to me, but by that time, other new cases were arriving in droves, and I again couldn't find any time to chat with him.
Monday morning, he waylays the consultant upstairs, and tells her nobody downstairs wants to speak to him, but she's aware of this guy and his attitude, so she sends him back down. And that's when he starts this habit of talking only to the ICU consultant, and has left me alone ever since. ( And believe me, I am NOT complaining! )

I'm sure I'll meet more of such unreasonable relatives, and patients. But my stand is, if you want doctors and nurses to jump whenever you snap your fingers, go to a private hospital and pay for the service, instead of pushing your weight around in a government institution. Unfortunately, the administration is always sympathetic to the "clients", and fully investigate any complaints that are filed -- a huge waste of time and resources, in my opinion. Hence, one of the main draws of emergency medicine is minimal contact with any nasties, and even if we need to carry balls, it's usually only for a short time ( unlike daily rounds and worse, clinics ).

Saturday, November 02, 2002

The start of yet another new posting, this time in Medicine, Changi General. I'm currently in the MICU, and after a jerky start, things are settling down nicely, and I'm looking forward to many adrenaline rushes from numerous opportunities for resucitations and invasive procedures. ( Sorry, emergency medicine trainees love this sort of thing. :))
I must say general medicine is a far cry from my previous medical rotations -- namely, gastroenterology, haematology and cardiology. Gen med is so... general. And over here, you can get anything when you're on call -- cardio, geriatrics, renal, haemato, gastro, the works! Definitely fertile training ground.
I'm also here with a number of fellow year-mates, and some junior MOs who were once my housemen. The rest also seem very nice, so that's another good thing.

Anyway, what's the deal with the censors completely banning an episode of Six Feet Under? So now taking Ecstasy on TV is deemed inappropriate? Even when it's obviously accidental poisoning? Yeesh! With this little move, don't expect to get "Sex And The City" on the small screen here anytime soon. That series is so blatantly provocative the censors will probably have a heart attack during the preview.

As I predicted, Shii Ann has been booted off Survivor:Thailand. I can't say she didn't have it coming though. She seems to be paranoid about racism, and is too bossy for anyone's liking. Well, at least she got pretty close to hunky Ken ( the good cop, literally ), who was the only person who supported her, but couldn't exert enough influence to ensure her stay.
Competition on The Amazing Race 3 is heating up as well, with teams running neck and neck with each other. Two people I'd like to see eliminated are best friends Aaron and Arianne, who are so full of themselves they make me nauseous.

Out of curiosity, I visited a website featuring The Bachelor, and I know who Alex Michel chooses in the end. I won't tell you who she is, but I'm disappointed that it isn't Shannon. If you're interested, use the Google search engine with the keywords "the bachelor TV show". You will also get a sneak peek at The Bachelor 2 ( this new fellow is even cuter ) and the upcoming The Bachelorette.

More quotes before I sign off:

1. "He fumbles at your head like a freshman yanking at a panty girdle."
-- Hannibal Lecter voicing his despise for his minder, Dr. Chilton, in "Red Dragon"
2. "But you were a very happy child."
"That's because I was too young to realize what freaks we were."
-- a mother-and-daughter conversation from "Six Feet Under".

That's all for now. Thanks for reading!