Thursday, February 23, 2006

Mama Said Knock You Out!

I'm doing anaesthesia at the moment. I had my biases and preconceptions before the week started but I've got to say that the experience has changed my views on the subspeciality. To us, the medical students, the anaesthetist is the guy sitting on a stool in the operating theater doing a crossword puzzle and occasionally writing down a few things. The surgeon would ask for more sedation, an infusion bag would need to be changed, an antibiotic would need to be pumped into a vein or necessary measures would be needed to control an escalating heart rate or a decrease in blood pressure.. and then its right back to 5 DOWN: "a river in egypt - 4 letters".

To the student, the surgeon is "the man/woman" (gotta be PC these days).. the anaesthetist is simply backup staff, much like the scrub nurses. Now I don't mean that to be derogatory in any way, because without the backup staff the surgeon would just be an idiot standing around in an empty theater holding a scalpel over an awake patient who's screaming and bleeding to death. Unfortunately, power and authority are seductive.. and since the surgeon practically runs the OR, us little ones (within the heirarchy) can't help but compare everyone else in that room to "THE MAN". And so the anaesthetist is just that quite chap in the corner whom we don't really think we can learn much from.

Big mistake. You'd be surprised by the amount of knowledge those doctors have. They drill you on your physiology and pharmacology, your drug interactions and side effects.. things that you thought no one could possible recall off-hand and at such a fast pace. Drug measurements and efficacys, the ability to tailor the choice of drug for each highly individual situation.. they really need to know everything about everything because what they do involves.. EVERYTHING. Not just one part of the body, but every single tissue, every single cell and every single chemical within those cells.

What I found truly intriguing was the prep room, a little room attached to the operating theater where the anaesthetist reigns supreme. They wheel the patient in as a fully conscious human being, chatting away.. either allaying their fears of the impending surgery or in good spirits with a positive outlook on the outcome of the next few hours. Next thing you know, little old lady O'Brien is counting backwards from 10 and she stops at around 7.. and then she's dead. Well, sort of. She has a machine breathing for her, you can cut her open and she wouldn't feel a thing. She gets picked up and placed onto the operating table, people are prodding and poking at her and she just becomes..... work. That's what really struck me the most, how the anaesthetists can be talking away to the patient, and then the next thing you know that person is pretty much gone for a few hours. I just found it all a bit disconcerting at first.

Anyway, still doesn't change my opinion about ruling out anaesthesia as a future career path, but it sure does change the level of respect which I have for the job. Still though, if I were in that field of medicine then I just would NOT be able to restrain myself from having that LL Cool J song blaring in the background before every patient is sedated. Bad practice? Maybe.

Don't call it a comeback, I been here for years.. I'm gonna knock you out!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A Medical Discovery

This post here is dedicated to my better half.. thanks for the assistance with the research, sweetness.

I was thinking of actually publishing this in a medical journal, but I thought I'd run it by you guys first.

I believe that females have an undiscovered anatomical diversion. Yes, that's right. Undiscovered. What they swallow is not immediately destined to head into the stomach, instead there is an alternative route downwards.

You see, depending on the type of food ingested, tiny little female follicles in a woman's gullet automatically divert the food either towards the stomach (for sustenance), or towards the uterus (for comfort). Let me explain with an example:

Specimen A: a salad (i'm assuming that's what chicks eat)
Specimen B: chocolate

Now, specimen A gets ingested and the esophagus takes it directly down into the stomach where it is digested and then sent to the small bowel, where all those good nutrients are absorbed. It then moves to the large bowel and is eventually excreted a day or two down the line.

Specimen B, on the other hand, is swallowed but is then pushed into a special passage (which I've decided to call the mosophagus, just to make things easier) and makes its way down and into the uterus. From there it coats the inside lining of the uterus, resulting in the release of feel-good hormones that generate an overall feeling of pleasure, relief and contentedness.

I can see you squirming in your chairs, wondering how I made such an amazing discovery. Well, you see, it all came about the other day when we went to this place to have some hot chocolate. Apparently they served it in the form of melted chocolate in a mug.. like someone had taken a chocolate bar and liquified it. I found this all pretty interesting (in a very uninterested, "heh" sort of way) while she was just absolutely in love with it. Had a few spoonfuls and it tasted alright I guess, so that's when I started thinking about it.

You see, being that I've got a Y chromosome, I never developed a mosophagus (and subsequently, a uterus) therefore there's only one place that chocolate could go.. into my stomach. In there its all acid, waiting for a burger or meat of some sort.. and instead I deliver some melted chocolate. You can imagine how unimpressed my stomach is.

Her uterus, however, is actually physically HUGGED by the chocolate coming through the mosophagus, and the resultant hormone release delivers feelings of happiness that are much appreciated by her brain.

By the time you've finished reading this I will have finalized my flight and hotel bookings to Stockholm. Time to get working on that acceptance speech!

Saturday, February 04, 2006


I'll break from the overall theme of this blog for just this once.. only because this whole situation has been making me chuckle every morning for the past week.

Its like one of those bush fires.. someone lit a campfire during dry season and the whole forest just went up in flames. Started out with a little bit of smoke, but there's nothing better than a little overzealousness coupled with some dry leaves to spread the fire of hatred at such velocity. Being far away from the situation is giving me a more detached view of the whole affair, but I don't doubt that if I was back home then my opinions would have been slightly skewed by the general bad vibes in the air.

I've never seen anything like it before. The Muslims of the world have united together. They've actually set aside their differences and banded together to face an issue. What's terribly disappointing is that its all happened over a bunch of... cartoons. Honestly now..

Let me make this clear from the outset: I don't condone the cartoons. I don't find them funny, I don't find them true, and I certainly don't agree with the messages that they convey. I also find them insulting and extremely ignorant. So please, don't question my faith and don't declare Jihad on my ass because I've already got enough things to worry about.

Looking at pictures of all those people in Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt, Iraq and a few other countries was just astounding. You can almost see the thirst for blood in their eyes, but I'm convinced that the photographers go around looking for the most crazed bunch to come out with the most sensational possible picture (hey, its their job.. can't blame 'em). Pictures of flag burnings, flags being placed as doormats to stores and homes. If it were my flag I'd be pretty damn pissed off about the whole thing, to tell you the truth.

And we have to remember, amid all the calls for apologies and demands for respect, that THE DANES as a nation didn't draw or publish the cartoons. It was the actions of a few cartoonists and a handful of newspaper staff. The Danish people as a collective might not agree with what was printed at all, yet they recognize the fact that their country gives them the right for freedom of expression. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that the Danish people are NOT on a mission to degrade Islam and humiliate Muslims, therefore we have no right whatsoever to show such little respect for an entire nation of people based on the actions of a few of its citizens.

Setting aside the question of who to blame and what to do to gain revenge for the tarnishing of our great prophet's image and reputation (which honestly cannot be touched by a bunch of silly little drawings anyway), I think it is our duty to sit down and figure out why some people out there interpret our religion in such a manner. It is my understanding that the cartoonists were initially asked to draw their understanding of Islam as they see it, and they came up with a few provocative (and inaccurate) drawings. But where does the inacurracy stem from? Isn't it from the unfortunate way that Islamic fundamentalism has made world news in such a fashion that it had sullied the image of the religion as a whole? And I'm not just talking about the terrorists with their distorted views on life and all things spiritual.. I'm talking about the rigid, inflexible and illogical way that a sizeable portion of the Islamic world interprets the Holy Quran and other religous teachings.

Instead of boycotting Danish products and trying to "hurt" them financially, we should call for greater communication between our countries and an exchange of culture and ideas that enrich both sets of people. Its with mutual understanding that we can get them to respect our culture and religion (not by beating them with sticks and calling them infidels), and that means that we should also make an effort to understand why exactly a few of them see our great prophet in the light that they do. Progress will only come with an honest effort to solve the issue in a civilized manner, and not by further antagonizing the Danes and the rest of the world by calling for boycotts, blood and martyrdom.

Besides, this whole deal is hurting the Bahraini Danish Dairy Company (100% Bahraini since 1993) and I really love their strawberry milk. It reminds me of my childhood.

Alright, that's that. No more of this now, let's just move on.