Saturday, May 08, 2004

Desperate Measures

Guess what. It's 4am, I'm on my first night shift in the new posting, and have resorted to using my rest period to blog.

What can I say -- the first few days were rough. REALLY rough. New environment, new patient demographics, new colleagues, new %&^%$# computer system -- took some getting used to. But most of us have adjusted, and things are flowing pretty smoothly now.

It's pretty fun, no doubt about that. We get the occasional FON parent or fussy patient, but most -- surprisingly -- are actually nice and easy to handle. It also helps that our seniors gave us lots of tips on how to put our interpersonal skills to good use. It isn't exactly WHAT you say, but HOW you say it.

Babies are sooooo cute. :) And some of the toddlers and older children I've seen are extremely sweet. So is it just the Eastern population that's consistently irritating? Seems so. :P

Lots of procedures down here. A paeds A&E reg once told me the paeds ER enjoys a lot of autonomy, and from what I've observed, he's absolutely right. We do the usual toilet and sutures, manipulations and reductions, BUT just yesterday, one of my consultants gave me permission to drain a superficial lower neck abscess. One MO who once did a paeds surgical posting told me he's had admissions for less, but I guess if your seniors have confidence in you, anything goes. Cool. :)

Weapon of choice -- oh wait, I meant drug of choice, heh heh -- KETAMINE. The wonders of this drug never fail to amaze me. 5 minutes after an IM injection, a screaming child is reduced to a floppy, dazed rag doll. Some exhibit nystagmus -- a horizontal zig-zagging of the eyes -- which always amuses me no end. Peace and quiet for the next 30 - 60 minutes. Aaaah. :)

The only thing is, my brain may start to rot a little after a while, so I'd better keep revising for the upcoming exam in August. Almost every paediatric case here falls into one of the following categories:
1) fever
2) vomiting / diarrhoea
3) breathlessness
4) non-specific abdominal pain
5) fit -- usually febrile

Resuscitations are few and far between, and after a while, I sound like a broken tape recorder as I dish out fever / gastroenteritis advice ad nauseum. I've learnt to make full use of the patient information leaflets, which I consider real lifesavers. "Take this home and look through it. Very good explanations inside!" I tell them in a chirpy voice. "Ooh, okay doc! Thanks!" Works every time. :P

More medical stuff another time. Hopefully that venture will materialize soon. :)

Van Helsing

Caught the movie this afternoon, and all I can say is: thank goodness I didn't have to pay for the tickets ( credit card points redeemed for movie vouchers, yeah! ).

That 3.5-star review in Life! by Ong Sor Fern is sorely overrated. I started getting bored 30 minutes into the film, which almost never happens ( other unfortunate candidates for me include Chain Reaction and Beautiful Girls ). Never mind that director Stephen Sommers helmed The Mummy and its sequel. Never mind that there're loads of eye-popping special effects and monsters galore. Never mind the gorgeous leads Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale.

My main qualm is how the story got majorly distorted, and all in the name of (mindless) entertainment. Won't give the plot away here, but personally speaking, I hated it. Almost as much as I hated Chain Reaction, blech.

The only saving grace is Jackman, of course. Towering, ruggedly handsome and sexy in spite of that cringe-worthy costume he's made to wear, he manages to keep the movie afloat, spouting bad lines like a pro, and being every bit the athletic, fearless hunter.

Will this make pots of money? Probably. But watch at your own risk. And redeem your UOB credit card points. :D

Jamie Cullum's Album

I've already played it to death in my car, but will spare you the track-by-track breakdown. ( I'm a little tired as well, so there. :))

This is one talented dude, folks. And a Brit, no less. Twentysomething has already gone double platinum, and he's received accolades from both sides of the Atlantic. Like Peter Cincotti -- another rising jazz star in his 20s -- Cullum is an excellent pianist, with the additional credentials of composer and arranger. Both men have produced terrific albums, but greatly differ in style and personality.

While Cincotti has a mellow, boyish voice, Cullum's vocals are raspy, almost rough even. Or as one reviewer wrote: sandpaper finish. But both use their unique characteristics to great effect, with Cincotti favouring more conventional, breezy fare, and Cullum experimenting with an edgier repertoire.

In Twentysomething, choice selections include:

1) Original compositions -- Twentysomething, All At Sea
The former is a playful, albeit cheeky, take on life as a young adult ( Maybe I'll go to the gym so I won't get fat / Aren't things more easy with a tight six-pack? ), and the latter a beautifully introspective mood piece about personal space and the need for quiet reflection. Love them.

2) Songs from 50's musicals -- Singin' In The Rain, I Could Have Danced All Night.
Singin', originally done by Gene Kelly, is given a modern makeover here, with smooth grooves that actually work well despite having some huge shoes to fill. The second piece is taken from My Fair Lady, but put to pumping synthesizer beats and a head-bobbing rhythm. The songs kinda grow on me, but lo and behold, my mom LOVED them when I blasted my hi-fi today. And she's a purist! Can't get better that that! :)

3) Jazz classics -- lots of them here. What A Difference A Day Makes starts things off as the CD's first track. Wonderfully done. I especially like Old Devil Moon, Blame It On My Youth and I Get A Kick Out Of You ( the last showcases Cullum's prowess on the piano ). Think my mom sums it up best by commenting that he has a "sexy way of singing", which in my opinion, is vital in the jazz genre. You can't just robotically belt out the lyrics -- you have to feel them, give them life, make them your own, and draw the listener in.

This week's American Idol had a big band theme. The best performer is very obviously LaToya London, whose dynamite performance easily equals some of our century's greatest -- a natural gift given her lack of experience. The other contestants may have good voices, but they lacked the requisite pizazz *snap your fingers when you say that word :)*.

Cullum, Cincotti, Michael Buble, Robbie Williams -- they all have loads of pizazz. There seems to be a jazz revival in progress, and these 4 young men may very well be our generation's Rat Pack, just as Sinatra, Martin and Davis were their generation's icons. I've already seen two on this list. Waiting patiently for the rest to come to Singapore. ;)


Forgive the vague-ness. Let me put it this way: in a recent public incident which divided locals into 2 distinct camps, and in which a certain high-ranking figure flouted a rule, I have it on good authority that the person who made this high-ranking figure break that rule had it coming.

Apparently, the "victim" spewed forth unspeakable vulgarities, even insulting the high-ranking figure's family in the process. Showed zero remorse, is a consistent and defiant repeat offender, and in all likelihood, gives authorities the middle finger on a regular basis.

Internal sabotage hasn't been ruled out, but those closely involved are keeping mum. It is indeed a sad day for Singapore.

Time to have a snack before I pass out. Enjoy your weekend!

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