Thursday, June 22, 2006

Meet the Residents

I realized that I needed to go out to dinner a few times before my social life was completely and utterly demolished (i.e. the start of internship).

Here is Viki, Sunnie, Monica, and me (and Tracie) – my old team on Internal Medicine at Riverside County Regional Medical Center. =) Two nights ago we all decided to go out to eat at a Korean restaurant in San Bernardino to celebrate Sunnie’s and Viki’s completion from a grueling preliminary medicine year.

Viki and Sunnie were my superstar interns! Viki will be going on to Ophthalmology, and Sunnie will be moving up to Northern California to complete a residency in Anesthesiology.

Tonight all of the new residents were invited over to the house of an attending physician (Dr. Raval’s) for dinner. It has been fun to get to know the other residents. Here is a picture of some of my fellow incoming interns.

Me, Uma, Darin, Sonia, and Socrates

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Most Frightening Countdown of My Life

The countdown has begun! It is difficult to believe that in about 54 hours I will be starting my first day of work as an intern on the Medical Intensive Care Unit. I have spent the last two weeks sitting in a cold conference room of a large county hospital, freezing to death indoors while outside the weather has been over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

What did I do and what all have I learned? Wow…there was so much thrown at us that I don’t know where to begin. Talk about information overload. Here is a quick run-down on what I did and learned during these last two weeks:

ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support): how to save a dying adult
PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support): how to save a dying kid
NRP (Newborn Resuscitation Provider): how to save a dying baby
How to treat our patients with respect
How to manage assaultive behavior (e.g. how to get out of a headlock or a simple arm hold; how to appropriately pin a combative patient to a wall, etc.)
What dental and medical insurance to sign up for
What vision insurance is available to me (I get a free vision exam and up to $85 for a frame)
How to wear our ID badges
What the dress code is at the hospital (e.g. the need to cover all my tattoos with long sleeves or dark nylons, to refrain from wearing any type of denim or jeans, etc.)
What rights I have as a member of the staff at my hospital (e.g. not to participate in the termination of pregnancy, not to participate in organ procurement, etc.)
Where to park (in “physician parking” – finally!)
How to report bloodborne pathogen exposures
How to handle organ donations
What features make our hospital seismically resistant (i.e. it is built to withstand an 8.3 magnitude earthquake!)
What ancillary services are offered at our hospital
HIPAA regulations
How to use the new program for doctors to order all medications online, a trial program which is scheduled to go live in October 2006
How to use the online PACS (radiology) system
How to look up labs and reports online
How to log all of our procedures and hours online (per ACGME requirements, we cannot work more than 80 hours per week, averaged over 4 weeks; and we are prohibited from being in the hospital more than 30 hours at a time)
What electives I can take (I plan to do ophthalmology, anesthesiology, radiology, rheumatology, and hopefully a mission elective at an eye clinic in Africa)
Received a walking tour through the hospital
Received a box full of business cards with my name on it
Received a personalized stamp with my name and "M.D" after it
Met my Program Director
Met with my senior resident
Met with an outgoing intern, who reviewed everything I need to know before I start MICU
Met all my fellow interns, who for the most part seem like good people

All and all, it has been quite an exhausting two weeks. Ready or not, I am prepared for take-off. Tomorrow I will receive my white coat (finally a LONG white coat!). Friday I will shadow the current (outgoing) interns on MICU. Then Saturday (6/24/06) is my first official day of work. Anyone who is reading this (if anyone does actually read these irrelevant, incoherent, uninteresting entries in their entirety)...please pray for me! =)

Riding our Bikes at Newport Beach


By chance, we bumped into my brother, James, at Newport Beach, who took this video shot of us while he roller bladed past us.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Art of Riding a Bike

The old adage is true indeed! One never does forget how to ride a bike! =) I believe the last time I rode a standard bicycle was back in elementary or junior high school. It had been about fifteen years since I had last ridden one. Although I always knew I could still ride a bike, I never had the occasion to prove it to myself.

Until yesterday.

Jenny Park recently graduated from the School of Pharmacy and she will be moving up to Washington state next week, so we wanted to have a Girls’ Day Out at the beach before she left. So yesterday (6/13/06) Jenny, Susie Kim, Lynn Park, and I made our way to Newport Beach. We rented four Easy Rider bicycles from a local beach vendor at $9 per “beach hour” (which is equivalent to about an hour and a half), and we rode up and down the sidewalk parallel to the beach. It was a gorgeous day out, and the sea gulls were soaring overhead (luckily, we were not made easy targets due to our high pedaling speed). I must say we had a great time!

Miso, Susie’s miniature maltese, also came along with us, and she enjoyed her time at the beach immensely as she rode along with us in a little basket hanging on Susie’s bicycle handlebars.

Monday, June 12, 2006

More Marriage

Yesterday (6/11/06), I had the privilege of attending another wedding – the lovely union of two of my Riverside Korean SDA Church members, Andrew John and Cindy Nam. Cindy looked absolutely gorgeous, and...well...I suppose Andrew looked all right as well. =)

Their wedding was held at the Los Angeles Arboretum, a picturesque outdoor venue for a charming wedding.

Although I personally hate playing music for outdoor weddings (there are just too many variables in the great outdoors such as moody microphone systems, distracting airborne animals that make terrible squawking noises, loud vehicles vrooming by), this particular wedding went relatively smoothly. Congratulations, Cindy and Andrew! Enjoy your honeymoon!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Love and Marriage - Part One

Love must be in the air. It is a strange phenomenon. An astute observation was recently made that “everyone” seems to be getting married or engaged! This seems to be an unusually busy summer wedding season. Or maybe it’s just that we’re getting old. For example, yesterday (6/4/06) there were five different weddings or bridal showers that were going on. Unfortunately, I could not attend all five events. I only made it to one – the beautiful marriage of Erwin Gonzalez and Cheryl Paw in Glendale, California.

Erwin is a fellow musician (a violist) and friend of mine who has come through for me whenever I was in a bind. He was always so willing to play in my string quartet whenever I got a call for a wedding gig. He did kind things for me such as playing at a concert with our newly formed Loma Linda University Symphony Orchestra when we were desperately in need of a violist. He even donated his time last year to play at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center for an annual tea party for breast cancer survivors. Playing for his wedding was a privilege and the least I could do for him. Last week on Monday (5/29/06) two of my classmates (also new MDs) Andrea Kuntaraf and Patrick Crane were married. Here is a photo of their wedding.

Weddings are always so beautiful. I always end up fighting back tears (sometimes successfully, usually unsuccessfully) at every wedding….I often think that I am much too sentimental for my own good.

Love and Marriage - Part Two

Perhaps as we are on the topic of love and marriage, I will take this opportunity to share my own personal story of my engagement. Some of you may already know the story, but others may be interested to know the details of what happened.

It was the month of February 2006, and a friend of mine, Susie Kim, suggested that we have a Girls’ Day Out sometime in the next few weeks. I was in my fourth year of medical school in the middle of a rotation – my sub-internship in Internal Medicine – at a notoriously busy hospital in Riverside County. So I checked my trusted PDA – a refurbished Tungsten E Palm that I had purchased on eBay two years earlier – and finally found a good post-call day, the 19th of February, in which to hang out with “the girls.” We decided to go shopping and then to have dinner at the Mission Inn, an elegant and historic landmark hotel in Riverside established in 1902. As February 19 coincided with another friend’s (Kar-Yee Yung’s) birthday, I simply assumed that the dinner would be a surprise celebration for her. I waited with eager anticipation for that day. I even called my friend and classmate, Eunice Lee, to see if she was going to be able to join us for shopping, but she said that she could just meet us for dinner.

Sunday, the 19th of February came, and I was finally excused by my interns (Viki Hsu and Sunnie Lee) and released from the bondage of the hospital. We had finished rounding somewhat earlier than anticipated, because our patient census was quite low (I tend to be a “white cloud” on call days, I am told). So I gave my boyfriend, Paul Yoo, a call and asked him if he wanted to hang out for a little bit before I went to meet the girls. To my disappointment, he told me that he was really immersed in his studies at that moment and that it was not the best time to meet. I had always tried to be supportive and protective of his study time, as Dental School has not been a “walk in the park” for Paul, so I told him that I understood and that we could meet up the following day on my day off.

A few hours later I went to Susie’s house to meet the girls. I had assumed that there would be many girls coming out with us, but to my surprise it ended up just being Susie, Kar-Yee, and me. We spent some time shopping at Ontario Mills, and my only significant purchase was an arm band iPod holder, which I needed because I was training for the Los Angeles Marathon (March 19, 2006). We were supposed to meet the others for dinner at 5 o’clock in the evening, but we were already running behind (funny how time flies when one is shopping). I could hear Susie talking on the phone with her husband, Eli, telling him we would be arriving soon.

When we got to the Mission Inn, Susie began a full on sprint toward the building in her ever-stylish heels. Kar-Yee and I worked to keep up with her as she weaved through the Spanish style architecture and up four flights of narrow spiral stairways to the roof of the building. Fortunately for me, I was in the best shape I had ever been because of my months of training for the marathon; otherwise, I probably would have experienced a syncopal episode with all the exertion and excitement. The entire time Susie was leading Kar-Yee and me through the Mission Inn, she was secretively talking to her husband Eli on the phone. She was acting quite suspicious, and I thought to myself, “Susie is making this WAY too obvious…Kar-Yee is going to figure out that we are planning a surprise birthday party for her!” When we were finally on the roof, in the corner of my eye I saw two familiar faces – those of Eli and Paul!!! They were bent over behind some stone structures, and it looked like they were lighting some candles (Kar-Yee’s birthday cake, I assumed). I instinctively waved at them, happy to have finally found them after the work-out of sprinting up the staircases, but then I realized that perhaps they were still working on the surprise. I halted my voice in the middle of my “Hi,” and quickly put my hand down. Had Kar-Yee seen them? I thought to myself, “Man, I really messed it up this time!”

Susie awkwardly suggested, “Ummm…why don’t we…take pictures together here on this side of the roof?” It was obvious that she was stalling for time! After the photos, we decided to investigate the bell tower that was on the roof. I had a strong desire to explore and see if we could climb up to the top of the tower. But then I realized that Paul and Eli were probably still there on that side of the roof! I looked carefully at Susie, understanding that she would probably give me “the look” if she wanted to give the boys a little more time to prepare, but she eagerly joined in and said, “Yeah, let’s go check out that tower!” Relieved, I began to walk toward the tower.

Suddenly, I sensed that Susie and Kar-Yee were no longer walking next to me. I looked back and noticed that they had fallen behind and were watching me. Confused, I beckoned for them to come with me. They motioned with their hands for me to continue on. I noticed that there was a picturesque hallway, covered with vines overhead, leading to the tower, and I also noticed a few rose petals on the ground at the entrance of the outdoor hallway. Still thinking that this was part of Kar-Yee’s surprise party, I looked back again and asked Kar to come instead. They insisted that I walk forward alone.

Then, I realized what was happening. I saw Paul standing at the end of the short hallway, which was covered with red rose petals and lined with candles along the side. He was standing there with a single rose in his hand. My heart started to pound as I walked toward him. He proceeded to get down on his knee, clasp my hands in his, and say, “It is not good for Man to be alone,…” Everything was a blur after that; I honestly do not remember the rest of the speech. My sentimentalism took ahold of me once again, and tears began to well up in my eyes. Paul gave me the long-stemmed red rose and placed my engagement watch on my left wrist. He proceeded to ask me if I would spend the rest of my life with him, but I was so overwhelmed with emotion that I was speechless. He must have asked me a second time, and I finally was able to nod and say, “Yes.” This entire time, Eli was attempting to capture the moment on video with his digital camera, but it was difficult in the dark as the sun had already set some time earlier. Susie and Kar-Yee snapped away with their digital cameras, and then we headed down to the restaurant below to meet the others for dinner. Many of our friends came out to join us at dinner and celebrate our new engagement with us at the Mission Inn. It truly was a memorable and beautiful experience.

Paul celebrating his victory

Paul and Janie, newly engaged