Thursday, March 31, 2005

In A Hurry

*pant pant*

I think I'm deliberately doing this to myself. Not good.

In a nutshell - 'cos I doubt I will be able to blog again till next week...

1. Will be catching the Asian premiere of CSI:New York tonight. With a possible chance of winning a set visit. Woohoo!

2. I love teaching. Both med students and basic trainees.

3. Caught the students whispering my name as I passed by the other day. Guess they do read the NUS Med Soc newsletter faithfully ( where I contributed something early this year ).

4. The ER is overcrowded to breaking point. And I'll be seeing this day in day out for the rest of my career. Yay.

5. I need sleep. Badly.

6. Jessica's out of AI4. Now if only they'd get rid of Scott too.

More another day. Gotta grab a quick dinner then I'm off! :D

Monday, March 28, 2005

The IRAS Cometh

I HATE e-filing tax returns.

But it's done. One less headache to contend with.

The Iceman Singeth

Did anyone catch Parkinson on StarWorld last night? Guests included Renee Zellweger, Mel Brooks ( aka Marlin from Finding Nemo ), and *drum roll* Kevin Spacey.

Spacey obliged with 2 performances of Bobby Darin songs ( one of which was Mack The Knife ). What a treat. :)

But of course, he's also one of Hollywood's most elegant, eloquent speakers. Calm, confident, purposeful choice of words, yet brimming with good-natured humour ( get a load of his Jack Lemmon impression ) -- precisely why I'm such a big fan.

Photos To Follow

Clay Aiken appeared on "Scrubs" earlier this year, but I never managed to write about that thanks to my crazy schedule. Online recap available here, but I've seen the photos already, and have never seen him look better. Now if only I can remember where I saw those pictures...

Burning Out

Into my 2nd month of registrar-ship, and at least 3 people notice I've lost weight. Yikes.

Last week was a particularly bad one, with busy shifts, and a literally "nightmare case" involving a young asthmatic who deteriorated before our eyes within a mere 5 minutes. If you thought a child could never be diaphoretic, you're totally wrong. This kid was into his 2nd nebulizer when his clothes became drenched. And I mean SOAKED THROUGH. I pushed him from Critical Care into Resus immediately, and had to intubate him soon after.

The good news is, he was transferred to the paediatric ICU at you-know-where that very afternoon, extubated later in the evening, and sent to the ward the morning after.

Guess we adult ER physicians got the brunt of the (extreme) stress. His parents were frantic, we were doing everything we could to avoid intubating the boy, but once the drowsiness and plunging sats set in, the decision was final. Titrating the Magnesium Sulfate and IV Salbutamol ( not to mention all those sedating drugs to stop him from pulling the ETT out ) weren't exactly fun either.

Hats off to paediatricians.

Shift's starting soon. Wish me luck.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

SMA News March ( Junior Doctors ) Issue
-- as expected, quite a bit of complaining. But at least it's now being done "openly". Well, anonymity notwithstanding, heh heh. Hey, walls can't be broken down overnight.

American Idol This Week

My top 4 ( always seems to be 4, hmm ):

Nikko Smith: He rocked this week! His performance of Sisqo's Incomplete ( a song I don't even know ) blew me out of my reverie ( it was my day off, and I'd just done some major house-cleaning ). He'd been my least favourite male finalist up till then. Now he's a CONTENDER. Mighty interesting.

Constantine: This guy has convinced me to dish out money for tickets when ( and I'm sure of this ) the AI4 group of 12 comes to Singapore later this year for a concert. Gave the AI3 gang a miss ( can't stand Fantasia ), but Constantine ALONE is worth the price of a front-row seat. :)
Here's a fellow who's suddenly developed a knack for making me smile in spite of myself. Didn't really like him in the earlier episodes, but he's grown on me a lot since last week's powerhouse version of You Make Me So Very Happy, and his cover of The Partridge Family's I Think I Love You yesterday sure induced some good-natured laughs of appreciation. :D
He picks rather odd songs, but is confident enough to pull them off every single time. He's a rocker at heart, but doesn't turn songs from other genres into heavy metal nightmares. There's a very fun spirit in his performances which I'm beginning to get addicted to. And that SMILE... I haven't seen any AI finalist smile this much since... Clay Aiken! :)

Anthony Fedorov: He's done better previously, but at least he picked a catchy tune ( I Knew You Were Waiting For Me by George Michael and Aretha Franklin ). I still prefer the original, but Anthony has got some smooth moves in him yet. If only he could find a way to harness and control that pure, unique and beautiful voice of his.

Carrie Underwood: Sporting big hair and all, she bravely broke out of the country-girl stereotype and belted her guts out on Heart's Alone. Wow. Although, I have to disagree with Simon Cowell's over-the-top statement about Carrie winning AI4 and going on to outsell all her predecessors. No way, man. This year, the guys rule.

Disappointments: Nadia Turner's poor choice of song ( Cyndi Lauper's Time After Time ) and Anwar Robinson's weak vocals on Chaka Khan's Ain't Nobody. But hey, their fans know better and could care less. Me included.

Deep Throat

Well, not really.

But I've heard so many shocking pieces of news today that my head is spinning right now.

First, something about a training fee certain junior specialists have to fork out every month. And it's significant.

Second, the dire conditions in a particular medical specialty.

Third, the number of cases being sent to the wrong departments for the wrong reasons.

And it isn't even a case of concerned parties doing nothing. It's a case of concerned parties trying to do something, but hitting obstacles in every direction.

If you're in a position of power, but use that power irresponsibly, then the patients suffer, and ground staff will grow increasingly disgruntled. The lack of a strong foundation does not bode well for a large healthcare institution.

Sigh. Maybe life as an ignorant MO was better after all.

In Retrospect

The conversation was extremely one-sided.

The realization of the misstep grossly delayed.

The method of making amends - disturbingly inadequate.

Note to self: Stop doing favours for people.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

A Few Short Notes

... before I start a major rambling session. :)

To SP: Hope you've arrived safely. Are you still reading the blog? Keep in touch.

To my good pal: Thank you for meeting me at such short notice. It was great talking to you. Think we needed it.

To Budak Pantai: I need more advance warning! Please update us at least a week before your next performance. I promise to attend if my schedule permits.

To my fellow A&E colleagues: An innocuous comment turned into a huge stress-busting laughing session the other week. And every single day, without fail, we share some measure of good humour and heartwarming anecdotes, even with the many nurses and MOs. I couldn't ask for a happier surrogate family than this.

To the local Clay fans: Your unbridled excitement always brings a smile to my face. I got through the Monday call only because your Forces Of Nature updates kept me up the whole night. :D

And to Clay Aiken, aka the centre of the following major updates, I can't believe that 2 years have passed by so quickly. I can't believe how far you've come, how much you've achieved, and how effortlessly inspiring you are. Most of all, I can't get over the fact that you were in Kuala Lumpur, and DIDN'T COME TO SINGAPORE, aargh! ( Just kidding. ) We're glad you've promised to come by someday ( threads below provide first-person accounts which confirm this ). Definitely something to look forward to. :)

And now for the rambling... ( nasty comments will be deleted, so don't say I didn't warn you first )

A Gorgeous New Website I Recently Discovered
-- the pictures are exceptional
-- lots of hot-off-the-press videos, which I have to download very patiently, since I'm still very resistant to broadband

Thread On Clay's Aceh Visit
-- check out Callisto's video avatar of the dear boy dancing with the children, awww
-- my favourite pictures in the whole lot: the very first one in the thread ( aka Feast Your Eyes #1 from my previous post ), and one included by aikencrazy on March 15, with him crouching next to a little Acehnese boy and waving his arms. My heart melted when I saw that one. :D

Thread on Clay's Appearance at Forces Of Nature In Kuala Lumpur
-- these were taken by our very own Singaporean fans who were just a foot away from the man himself on the red carpet
-- if you can't read through everything, this was where he stopped to sign his fans' CDs and posters, and answered "I will!" when my friend asked if he'll come to Singapore, woohoo!
-- he's grown significantly more haggard, but the years have added a certain compelling quality to his features which exudes quiet confidence and a clear direction. Very rare.
-- he's a brunette now. Even better. :D

The Video You Simply MUST Watch
-- is the 4MB file dated March 18 2005, titled Clay Visits Indonesia ( Reuters version )
-- he is clearly happiest when among children, and anyone who feels nothing after seeing him dance and sing with these kids needs some serious psychotherapy.

Thank you, Clay, for maintaining - and occasionally restoring - my faith in the human race.

Last But Not Least

CD reviews are being put on hold while my brain recovers from a sleepless call.

Training to be an ACLS instructor was fun last Sunday. Seems I was "too kind" to a candidate ( ie. I tried to help her out by prompting just a little too much ). So we were told to just stand there and let them squirm until time's up. Err, okay.

One of my A&E MOs surprised me by blurting the smallest details about American Idol finalists ( both past and present ). The main reason for the surprise? He's a guy... who wants to be a surgeon... and is really good-looking.
And some of you thought only losers love this show. :P

Anyone care to wager that Ian will emerge victorious in Survivor:Palau? This guy is really growing on me. Great swimmer, beautiful smile, kinda geeky at the same time. Yep, my trademark funny taste kicking in yet again.

Star Movies just screened Part 1 of a made-for-TV version of "Spartacus" -- Part 2 is this coming weekend. Having been bored out of my mind by the original which starred Kirk Douglas, I greatly enjoyed this one, mainly because the lead is none other than Goran Visnjic, aka Luca the Russian doctor in "ER". Whereas Douglas was all blonde and bronzed, Visnjic is dark and melancholy. Lacks some conviction where those big-speech scenes are concerned, but the series is well-made, the pace crackling, and certain sequences most memorable ( especially one where the Roman senator disdainfully crushes the fingers of a dying African gladiator ).

"American Beauty" also made an appearance on local television a few days ago. Don't ask me how I missed out on the commercial-free cable telecast ( think I didn't have cable then ), but this classic is irrefutable proof why Kevin Spacey is one of our generation's most accomplished actors, and totally deserving of that Best Actor Oscar.
( Although personally speaking, I still think Swimming With Sharks is Spacey at his absolute best EVER. Think I'll order it through Amazon one of these days. )

I need to get some rest before my health starts to suffer.

Allow me to end off with a quote from "American Beauty":

Lester Burnham ( previously oppressed husband played to perfection by Spacey )
-- "You're right, I have lost something. But you know what? It's never too late to get it back."

Saturday, March 19, 2005

First, The Good Stuff

Feast Your Eyes #1

Feast Your Eyes #2

Feast Your Eyes #3

Translation Below:

American Idol Runner-up Entertain Aceh Refugees
Monday, 14 March 2005 | 7.19 pm WIB

TEMPO Interaktif, Banda Aceh: Clay Aiken UNICEF Ambassador who is also runner-up of American Idol, Monday (14/30) afternoon charmed the kids from Lampuuk Beach, Lhok Nga, Aceh Besar (bigger part of Aceh) refugees. About 100 children of elementary school age gathered around the shore to greet Clay.

The kids are from tsunami hit areas who now are sheltered at camps around Lhok Nga. The kids welcomed Clay with songs, he then had some chats with them. He also motivated the children to be happy.

Clay, accompanied by Ferry Salim (local celeb who's also a UNICEF ambassador), was also singing with the kids. Slowly his mouth began to get used to the song 'di Sini Senang, di Sana Senang' (literal translation: happiness everywhere; a common Indo kids nursery song ^_^). Next, they went with drawing competition and calligraphy writing which was held by the committee, Child Center under the umbrella of UNICEF.

Clay was the American Idol 2003 runner up who is signed by RCA. He appeared on Rolling Stone cover and Entertainment Weekly Magazine. UNICEF appointed Clay as Ambassador for All Children of the year 2004.

Adi Warsidi-Tempo

( ps. Tempo is like the local TIME magazine )

Word also has it that Clay was a last-minute addition to the Forces Of Nature tsunami aid concert being held in Kuala Lumpur tonight. A couple of local fans have already flown up at a moment's notice. We'll be hearing from them very soon. :)

Boy have I been out of the loop...

Now For The Not So Good Stuff

First One

The phone call came right smack in the middle of our meal.

Hushed conversation, but I caught some of it despite trying not to.

He hung up, and the countdown began.

I knew it was coming. So when will the evening end?

It lasted another hour or so. He didn't look distracted, but soon after dessert, he called for the bill, and we parted ways. She's probably waiting for him somewhere nearby.

First time this sort of thing has ever happened to me, come to think of it.

Not very pleasant, but oh well. Life goes on.

Second One

You read the blog faithfully, so I know you will see this.

I don't know how to fully express my fears and reservations about your rash decision.

She manipulates you time and time again, and you let her.

She didn't like me before we met, and she still doesn't like me after.

I've only met her once, and she keeps refusing my invitations to join us whenever we get together. Why?

You're always the one making all the compromises.

She didn't keep a promise she made.

She's drawing you further and further away from God.

Once the deed is done, I know I will lose you.

I see the signs so clearly because I've been there before, but I escaped. I'm trying to help YOU escape. But you won't listen.

Losing you will be infinitely more painful than the heartbreak I suffered. Because you're one of the best people I know. Because you're my oldest and best friend. Because she doesn't deserve you. Because you can find true happiness with someone else.

I would never do anything to hurt you. In making this irreversible decision, my greatest fear is you inadvertently hurting yourself.

I will pray hard for you, my friend. That you will see the light, and do the right thing. And that I will always be there for you, even if you start to hate me someday.

Number Three

Yes, AI fanatics, Mario Vasquez is officially out of the competition. Extremely disappointing.

Judging from this week's performances, my top 3 are:

Constantine -- aka Smouldering Idol ( Simon's words ), he sang You Make So Very Happy right out of the ballpark. After simmering on the sidelines for the past month, he's finally broken free of his chains and released all that testosterone and rocker energy when it matters the most. Earth-shattering!

Nadia -- Getting more gorgeous with each passing week, her soulful rendition of When You Say You Love Me combined with a svelte silhouette togged out in a fabulous short green dress was, in Randy-speak, "Da Bomb"!

Anwar -- this is one handsome dude, people. And with 3 years of classical tenor training under his belt, his voice is ( Paula's description ) "flawless". He picked a rather dull song this time - A House Is Not A Home by Burt Bacharach ( which according to my mom, was featured in a movie about prostitutes, hmm ) - but his track record stands him in good stead, and he sailed through to the next round.

Anthony faltered with Neil Sedaka's Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, but only because he tried a little too much. He's got wonderful vocals - very pure and a joy to listen to - but he has to relax and just keep to the basics.

I repeat: the female contestants ( except for Carrie and Nadia ) SUCK. Little wonder the bottom three were all gals. Kick them out fast. Please.

Reviews To Follow

Kenny G's albums - just bought another one which has Chinese packaging but is original stuff ( cost me only $9.90 at That CD Shop, woohoo :))

The Ultimate Hall & Oates Collection - TWO full CDs ( again shipped from China, excellent quality ) that cost only $12.90. Reeeeaaaaallllllllyyyyyyy good. Wish they'd return to Singapore for a 2nd gig already.

Non-Sequitur Omnibuses ( is that the correct plural form? can't be bothered to check. it's past midnight. ) - Darn funny. The Far Side who?

Right. Time to turn off the lights and ATTEMPT to sleep. All that sashimi and sake is keeping me wide awake. Isn't alcohol and a full stomach supposed to do the exact opposite?

Sunday, March 13, 2005

American Idol 4

My predictions for the top 4:

Nadia Turner -- odds of winning: VERY HIGH, if she remains consistent. Gorgeous young lady with a devastating stage presence. Cross between Beyonce and Tina Turner. Best performance so far: her rock / R&B / disco cover of the usually sedate ballad Try A Little Tenderness ( also featured on Michael Buble's latest album ). My jaw dropped. :)

Mario Vasquez -- odds: ALSO VERY HIGH, if he doesn't screw up. Another good-looking contestant with lots of sex appeal. Beautiful smile. Awesome showmanship. Best performance so far: How Do You Mend A Broken Heart at the most recent show. It literally broke mine. :D

Anthony Fedorov -- odds: MODERATELY HIGH, but could get higher if he loosens up a little. Constantly compared with fellow bespectacled power vocalist Clay Aiken, and described as "sweet" and "a very nice guy" by none other than Simon Cowell. Fantastic voice, capable of belting Jon Secada, Richard Marx and Marc Anthony numbers. Best performance so far: Hold On To The Night on the first semi-finalist episode. Gave me goosebumps!

Anwar Robinson -- odds: MODERATELY HIGH, but set to rocket past everyone if he plays his cards right. The reason I say this: he's got TWO great performances so far, and I can't even choose between them. First, his fantastic rendition of Moon River, and second, his amazing cover of Louis Armstrong's simple yet poignant What A Wonderful World. He dazzles just that little bit more with each passing week. If he keeps this up, he'll win for sure. Plus, he's also been described by Simon as a very nice person, and he's a music teacher who used to coach a school choir. What more do you need to be an American Idol?! :)

P.S. The female contestants suck. Except Nadia, of course.

Work Issues

A little disturbing sometimes. And I don't mean the patients.

Can someone please tell me if a positive Murphy's sign has any value anymore? A person, who shall remain unnamed, told me the other day that a fever MUST be present in order for acute cholecystitis to be EVEN CONSIDERED. So a strongly positive Murphy's in an afebrile patient = DEFINITELY NOT ACUTE CHOLECYSTITIS.

Since when?

SP, since you read my blog and are well-placed to answer such a question, perhaps you can provide some answers? Thanks. :)

In the book, The House Of God, by Samuel Shem, the protagonist's stint in the ER mentions prominently his attempts at being a Wall, aka a Gatekeeper, who tries his darnedest to prevent the wards from overcrowding with gomers and other assorted unwanted or unwarranted admissions.

I tried to be a good Wall the other day.

Elderly man, just discharged 4 days ago for pneumonia. Perfectly well at home until that morning when he was brought to the hospital for a blocked urinary catheter. Found to have a very low-grade fever <38 degrees. Chest Xrays and urine combo negative. Just completed a course of Augmentin. Sitting on the bed and grinning at me. Tells me he's okay and keen for home. Family also wants to take him back.

The niggling temperature bothers me a little, but I didn't want to subject him to an unnecessary inpatient stay, with all its nosocomial infections. So I decide to do a simple full blood count to assess his total whites. If it's significantly elevated, he has to stay, no question about it.

Patient and family agreeable and happy with above plan. Besides, he has a clinic followup in just 3 days' time. I draw the blood and put him in observation. Only thing is, I'm going off shift, and need to hand the case over to a fellow colleague, who shares a similar rank, but has a few additional years of experience on me.

I tell him about the case, and when the FBC is mentioned, my colleague suggests I admit the guy immediately, BEFORE the results are back. I explain that the patient's problem was NEVER a fever, but the ?blocked catheter, which has now resolved spontaneously. We debate the issue for a few minutes, and at one point, I ask ( a little loudly ), "You mean you WANT to ADMIT the patient?!"

Not sure how that came across. I wasn't being rude or disrespectful, just simply shocked. I didn't think it was justified. But my colleague was being insistent, and try as I might, I couldn't give in. Perhaps if HE wanted to admit the patient, HE should go tell the patient and his family that, and leave me out of it.

Silence for a few seconds, then he relented. Okay, we'll wait for the FBC. Not sure what happened, since I'm off today. But I'd like to think I had good reason to at least wait before taking up another bed in an already busy hospital.

And if the colleague in question does read this, please don't take my reaction the wrong way. He's a good guy, and I enjoy working with him. But doctors often disagree, and I was only trying to present the merits of my case. After all, I was the one who saw the patient and spoke extensively with his family, who swear that he's absolutely fine at home.

The 3rd issue: Referrals to a certain department ( or more specifically, certain junior members of that department ) are being mismanaged. To put it nicely. People getting admitted to other disciplines because this one regularly rejects them, then being referred again after they're sent up to the wards. Diagnoses made late. Treatment delayed. Outcomes not very good in some cases. Then the ER docs get blamed in "closed door" meetings. C'mon... don't any of you have a conscience anymore?

All hell breaks loose tomorrow. Monday morning, and I'm on shift. Sigh.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

A Few Updates

Amazingly, The Straits Times didn't use some unflattering statistics about the medical profession to their own advantage -- ie. flog a story in the wrong direction for the purposes of sensationalism, THEN refuse to accept any responsibility for the consequences.

Not that I see a point in publishing ER "waiting times", whatever those entail, since from all indications, these figures were garnered over the 2004 period, and have no meaningful breakdown in terms of peak periods of the day or year, detailed patient circumstances surrounding the discrepancies, the corresponding manpower differences, etc.

I mean C'MON, if ( and this is based on personal experience ) THREE of the A&E department's fastest doctors can't clear a Priority 3 queue even when they're on shift TOGETHER at 8am in the morning, it's obviously a PATIENT issue, right?!

The way I see it, if you (1) didn't come to the hospital via ambulance, (2) don't have an URGENT condition as specified by another qualified doctor ( GP or OPS ), (3) have stable vital signs, (4) are not in severe pain of any kind, and/or (5) can watch American Idol on the ER's television to the point of not hearing your name being called -- you can afford to wait, dammit.

We actually have people who register at the counter, leave the hospital to run errands, then return 2 hours later ( with the assumption that they'll have to wait that long for their turn anyhow ). Others stroll off somewhere to have hour-long dinners, despite presenting with complaints of "nausea and abdominal discomfort".

Singaporeans. You just can't beat 'em.

But why harp on something I have no control over? The past 3 days have been absolutely terrific, thanks to an Advanced HAZMAT Life Support Course conducted by 2 world-renowned American Disaster Medicine Specialists who came down with the specific purpose of conducting this inaugural event.

One of them, who hails from New York, even does consulting work for the long-running ( and IMHO, unbeatable ) TV series Law & Order. He's been on the set, met the stars, the works. Call me easily impressed, but WOW. :)

Also, great things are in store for Singapore's profile in the emergency medicine arena, as our country will be hosting the International Emergency Medicine Conference come 2010. Woohoo! :D

And if that weren't enough to send me into the stratosphere, I've managed to convince my usually reticent mother to let me do my HMDP in the USA, instead of the UK as previously discussed. Yes yes, I know I'm an adult and shouldn't have to get anyone's permission for anything, but I'm not the sort who relishes upsetting my mom, whom I respect and love. It just isn't my style.

But, back to the issue at hand. The choices are limitless. Mass Gen, the CDC, Connecticut, Georgia, or how about NYC ( consolation for not winning that trip on Class 95 )? :)

Of course, this also means I'll need to take another exam ( if I intend to do some clinical work ) -- the dreaded USMLE. Sigh. Back to the grind.

Norah Jones & The Handsome Band World Tour -- A review of her performance at the SUNTEC Convention Centre, 27th February 2005

Isn't it funny that there was no mention of this concert anywhere in the papers? ( No press conference either, hmm. )

Some inside info on that mystery later in the post.

Okay, I just want to state for the record that I AM NOT A NORAH JONES FAN. AT ALL.

I have her debut album, Come Away With Me, bought eons ago at the suggestion of a salesperson at That CD Shop. I listened to it maybe 5 times at most, before relegating it to the shelf to collect dust.

I didn't buy her subsequent albums / DVDs, etc, but did catch her on TV numerous times ( a bit of an overkill really )-- at the Grammys, a Ray Charles tribute, the American Music Awards, and so forth.

I realized a long time ago that even though I find her studio recordings rather dull ( who knows why she's picked up EIGHT Grammys so far ), she sounds a lot better "live". And this being her 2nd stop in Singapore in maybe 3 years ( plus the fact that I'm trying to "live it up" a little before my 30th birthday ), I thought what the heck, let's go see her. Just once.

Did I regret the decision? Initially, yes. I had very good seats -- 5th row slightly to the left, with excellent views of her at the piano -- and her voice was pitch-perfect and quite lovely despite the venue's icky acoustics. But... her musical style holds no appeal for me whatsoever.

Maybe I'm the sort who favours high-energy jazz, the sort only men can provide. The crazy creativity of Jamie Cullum, the adrenaline-pumping zest of Michael Buble, the cheekiness of Robbie Williams. Or maybe jazz is a genre where women HAVE to listen to men, and vice versa, in order to enjoy the experience. ( Although I do like Renee Olstead, Paula Cole and Barbra Streisand. )

In any case, I don't remember much of her performance, which featured the standards ( well-known pieces such as Don't Know Why, Sunrise, Come Away With Me ), some country songs and the smattering of obscure new compositions.

The good parts? Seeing her in a different light -- she actually stands up and dances quite a bit, her solo performance ( meaning just her and the piano ) on the mesmerizing The Nearness Of You ( the one truly magical moment of the evening ), and the encore, where she obliged with THREE songs, and allowed fans to run to the stage to snap pictures and gawk.

Where was I during the finale? Right up front with everybody else who had a brain. I mean, this is Norah Jones, never mind whether she's really that great or not. She's sung with a lot of famous people, and is probably going to win another 10 Grammys at some point in the future. I wasn't going to stay in my 5th row seat!

So I slinked through the throng and finally inched my way right up to the stage, where lo and behold, Norah was swaying right in front me, just an arm's length away. Other cameras were already flashing, but as I whipped mine out to snap a few photos, she suddenly noticed me, and smiled right into the lens. I couldn't believe it!

Before we knew it, the show was over, and she disappeared with her band to be whisked away to her hotel. I had her CD with me when I sneaked forward, but she isn't the sort to grant autographs ( unlike the very easygoing Michael Buble ).

And here's the "insider information" garnered from someone in the entertainment industry: when I told him about my failed attempts at getting her signature ( first during the encore, then later when I approached her stage crew with a request -- but was nicely turned down ), his reply was "It isn't management. It's HER." Seems she isn't too friendly off-stage, a far cry from her girlish giggling and cutesy comments during the performance ( e.g. "Wow, it's so dark here. It's like a black hole! And those lights in the back look like a spaceship!" ). Food for thought eh?

Well, that's it for now, folks. I've got another 2 days ahead spent attending the local emergency medicine Annual Scientific Meeting, interspersed with FULL Registrar shifts. Gulp. Stress of a different kind. Thank goodness for the ample Consultant cover. :)