Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pelvic Anatomy

So I don't wanna jinx this, but I'm fairly certain that I passed the Anatomy flag race examination this afternoon. And that makes me ecstatic, because:

A) I feel like I have studied less than half of what I would back home
B) Anatomy is not my forte. Second only to histopathology.

But I now feel a sense of relief. I don't know why I got so stressed about the stupid Anatomy exam...I guess it's in our nature to stress for exams, focus, get it over and done with, then move onto the next task. But you'd think that after so many years of practice, I'd sort of get better at it. Apparently not. [Refer to waste paper basket in room, currently filled with biscuit wrapping, two packets of chips (consumed), beer holder cardboard, other miscellaneous traces of consumed food]. But seriously, today was like a game of naming Sacral Plexus and Levator Ani. My word, if I have to write the name Levator Ani one more time... Prostate gland was also a recurrent theme, as was Internal Iliac Artery.

Onto more exciting news, next week I will be going to Tromsø (Northern Norway). Fingers crossed, and if the stars align (both figuratively and literally), we will get to see the famed Northern Lights. Today, after the anatomy exam and post waffle consumption, I found myself caught in the most bizarre situation. There we were, 4 Spanish and I, standing outside Martin's building in subzero temperatures, and Anna was huddling over this little booklet with José. It turned out to be a booklet on the waxing and waning of the moon in Norway, as in an actual calendar - the sort of lunar calendar that the ancient Chinese such as Confucius used - like she carries these sorts of things around in her pocket, just for a rainy day... Apparently our likelihood of seeing the Northern Lights can depend on the moon, but honestly, I'm more concerned about those huskies/wolves that will be pulling our sleigh, and the effect of a full moon on them. No seriously, apparently we're gonna rent some wolves...

Another thing I learnt today is that the Spanish have EXCELLENT pronunciation of the Chinese consonants. One of the biggest challenges faced by foreigners learning to speak Mandarin is the correct pronunciation of 'b' and 'g'. In English, 'b' and 'g' are soft consonants, with their plosive (hard) counterparts being 'p' and 'k' respectively. The Mandarin 'b' and 'g', however, lies somewhere in between 'b' and 'p' for b, and 'g' and 'k' for g. Not as soft as 'bale', not as hard as 'pale', not as soft as 'gate', not as hard as 'Kate'. The Spanish, however, naturally pronounce these 'in-between' consonants in their language, and thus have no problem whatsoever with reproducing these sounds. In fact, they have more of an issue with pulling out the plosive p's and k's. So Kevin becomes something slightly more plosive than Gevin, but not as hard as how I would pronounced Kevin myself.

Another, very distressing, event that recently took place is the mental black hole I developed. Despite having used, sans problems, my NAB ATM card for the past 15 weeks, I suddenly find myself in the peculiar and embarrassing, if not disturbing, position of being unable to recall my 4-digit pin code. For God's sake, I've been using this pin for 15 weeks!!! It's never been an issue. Why then, have I suddenly forgotten the combination, and still fail to recollect it?!? I tried so many times that I had to eventually call NAB and ask them to send me a new pin code. I wonder how these memory black holes develop, and what I would do if such a black hole were to develop in future and it was about something critical like which vessels lie in front of the thyroid gland, and I'm standing there assisting in a thyroidectomy.

Anyway, sleep beckons. I need to catch up on life again, post exam.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Boy Interrupted

Today I started my first clinical day in paediatrics. Babies are so cute - is what I've learnt. To be fair, Norwegian babies aren't particularly cuter than any other babies, for example Australian babies or Malaysian babies or Jordanian babies. All babies are cute (unless they're not...) and I totally understand why parents say they'll do anything for their child. Heck, these aren't even my children and I'd do things for them.

So recently we've had lectures about childhood diseases like epilepsy, and it really does break my heart to see some of these kids suffering from uncontrollable seizures or perhaps more dramatically, atonic lapses where their bodies lose all tone, as if someone had flicked off a switch, and causing these kids to face-plant onto the ground where more often than not they injure themselves. Many of these children, previously healthy and thriving, become in a sense, interrupted. Henceforth they may grow with mental retardation and other disabilities and if you plotted them on the percentile charts, you'll probably see a sharp drop.

Acquiring a disease can be a heartbreaking process, but for me this holds true particularly in children because they never even stood a chance. Without dissolving into a clichéd, day-time soap, these infants truly are helpless, dependent on us, learning, reaching, grasping. They are, let's face it, learning adaptive techniques they will require in future to combat the world as they slip awkwardly into adolescence and later, adulthood. I love life, but life can also have its harsh moments which are testing to even the most robust kind. The rest of us have trouble enough juggling it with two good hands - when these children have debilitating diseases, I really wonder how I would be able to cope if put in their shoes. Of course, I can't do that because if I were in their shoes, I wouldn't be thinking the way I do now. And whilst society makes a big hoo-hah about not letting a disease define a person, in some respects it does influence your psyche, let alone your physicality.

Unless you're some sort of child abuser, something about children brings out the best in us. We become kinder, and shed the inhibitions that normally dictate social etiquette. We laugh more, smile more, feel warm and fuzzy in the chest, we feel a sense of responsibility to protect this child from harm, at least to the best of our abilities. And you know, they might not feel it or believe it, but some of these children living with handicaps are the strongest and bravest people around. And so are their parents, who support, nurture and love them like any other child, even if this child mightn't reach its full potential. Okay, what is this, some Hannah Montana rally-talk??? But seriously, I think we could all benefit from taking a moment to ponder upon the things in our lives that currently bother us, such as the absence of milk in the fridge or the shitty weather in Oslo, and compare that to what these children put up with every day. And then, as if I were in a tampon-ad and rain is pouring down, light shines through the parting clouds and some chick-rock song about a Beautiful Day is playing in the background, I realise I have a lot more to be thankful for.

Why do you have to be so cynical, Kevin?

Actually, why are you referring to yourself in third person?

Okay, that was officially a conversation now. This is getting a bit creepy.

Stop typing.


Haha... that was a joke by the way.