Monday, June 29, 2009

Pinch Me. I'm Human.

L. was asking me about one of my previous relationships as she was trying to draw similarities between her current one and mine, in an attempt to elucidate what might become of her and her boyfriend. You see he's not Lebanese, he lives abroad where they met before she moved back to Lebanon for good, and he will be coming to see her in Beirut, in a few days. Just like you and me. Just like us, a year ago. But that's not the point. The point is, as a matter of fact, a general feeling of disbelief and jadedness as to how I could have forgotten all that happened so easily. I'm not sure why and how, I'm really not...

And as I sit and wonder, was it because it was time? Was it the distance? Was it the natural course of things that only a step back was able to achieve? Was it the fact that I got distracted by peripheral events? Was it?...

I just wonder how affectionate and sentimental of a person I can actually be if I was able to throw away four years of my life just like that, with no regrets. I'm not sure what to think of this, that exact feeling of nothingness that I felt when my grandfather passed away, that complete disregard. It scares me...

It even makes me wonder about the times when I really felt passionate and emotional enough to notice. Was it only because I wanted to attain my goal? Was it pure ambition or were there any sentiments involved whatsoever? Is that why I lost interest in some instances where I was actually capable of reaching my target? And will I ever have genuine vulnerable feelings?...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Bliss on Corniche.

The Peace and Quiet of a day at the beach. This little gem, more so a diamond in the rough, is the AUB Beach. And, while in the area, this blogger had the opportunity of stealing a couple of precious hours to lay in the sun, turning from side to side, listening to music, going in for a dip, nothing out of the ordinary, just pure decadent laziness.
What's nice about the AUB beach is how accessible it is, AUB students and staff can go in anytime and they can bring guests, so keep your swimsuit in the trunk and whenever in the area go down for an hour or two.
--Beach Goers Frolicking in the Sun.
Expect to be greeted by fishermen, some foreigners (exchange students) and a few kids learning how to swim. But mostly, expect to savor the un-pretentiousness and simplicity of this place that has been able to withstand the rapid and disproportionate glamorization of Beirut. Here you come to tan, swim, fish, read. Champagne bottles not allowed.
--AUB Beach on a Background of Ain El Mreisseh.
One of the fishermen actually spent four hours on the same chair in the exact same position waiting for providence. Ah the good life. The tranquility. The Bliss.
--The AUB Fisherman.
I secretly wondered what was going through his mind.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Teaching Rounds 101.

So what have I learned about the First week of rotating in the hospital as a Third Year Medical Student?

I've learned that Interns and Residents will want to do anything to keep the hierarchy and thus will occasionally act as your superior to remind you that even though you're just as old, and maybe even slightly more informed about a particular disease or another, they can still get you in trouble if they feel like it.
On the other hand, they can just as well be extra nice and invite you over to their On Call Room when on duty, an offer you should politely decline if you don't want to end up standing awkwardly in the farthest spot you can find, giving a talk about your critically ill patient while the resident is laying on the bed, and you poor helpless medical student, you keep imagining him playing with his toes while trying desperately to withhold hysterical and uncomfortable bouts of laughter.

I've learned that you never know who your Patient will turn out to be. And even though you should treat all of them equally and professionally, you will eventually find out that you should not be using a systematic approach, and not only because of that oath of empathy and sympathy that you pledged (and earned a pin for doing so), but because they might turn out to be enriching to your social and communal network of interesting people you stumbled upon.

I've learned that Nurses seem to be doing all the work and having the most exposure with the patient, so you'd better stay on their good side. That is of course besides the fact that they know the ins and outs of the hospital, along with when and where free food is served. They will also keep your belongings safe, especially in a hospital where not even a private locker is provided to you, regardless of the hefty tuition you're coughing up.

I've learned that the Attendings are, up until today June 23 2009 at 8.17 pm, the friendliest in the food chain and the most accessible. I document this impression thoroughly and with the utmost precision, because I have a feeling this finding might change in days to come. Nevertheless, attending physicians seem to be seeking medical students to bestow upon them all the knowledge they have acquired and some extra rewards like freshly picked berries, (thank you Dr. WGF).

I've learned that in the Operating Room, anything goes. I have yet to witness the urban legends about physicians throwing scalpels at students and residents, but I have already heard them shouting for no particular reason and making sure everyone in the room understands that they are the Kings of the castle, the Lords of the domain, the Alpha and the Omega, although they will be all smiles and winks once out of their scrub suit. So if you have a beef with your resident and you're desperately seeking revenge, follow them to the Operating Room, you can be sure they will get yelled at, at least once, even if their performance is fairly appropriate, it never seems to fail.

I've learned that the constantly lauded and stressed upon Ethical Behavior seldom leaves the classroom. And the lower your rank the more conscientous you are. I will not generalize, but Yes, physicians disclose full medical and social histories in crowded elevators, with names and family members mentioned. Yes, they mistreat OutPatient Department patients (as opposed to private ones). Yes, they will keep the patient for an extra day or two in the hospital if insurance covers their stay. Yes, they will fail to adequately scrub in risking nosocomial infections during an operation. Yes, the most famous ones are the ones who might be a pure source of revenue for the hospital rather than diligent physicians. Yes, some deaths can and should be avoided especially with infection control.

I've learned that I love medicine. I love clinical practice. Heck, I even love surgical procedures although I was very skeptical about the latter to start with, seeing how I hated the Anatomy course, and my surgery summer elective in Barcelona. (Which might be explained by the lack of proper communication, since for some weird reason, Catalans have taken it upon themselves to refuse to master proper English).

I've learned that your most potent tool is People Skills, People Skills, People Skills. Whether you are communicating with the resident, the intern, the attending or the patient.

I've learned that the best communication should be among your group members to keep a unified front and a consensus regarding sharing tasks and responsibilities.

I've learned that I have yet to Learn, that this is only the Beginning, so Here's to Medical School and to a successful Medical Career. Chin Chin and Salute.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A New Episode. A New Chapter.

A New Episode:
Tomorrow night (Thursday June 18, 2009) at 7.30 pm. Catch the Flying Kebab team and their loyal (even though somewhat recent) fans at Kababji on Bliss Street in Hamra, for a screening of the Third Episode in the Kebab Saga, and a Brazilian male duo singing Fairuz? (not sure if they will deliver on that, and frankly not even sure I want them to). If you can't make it, watch the Third Episode Online.

A New Chapter:
So much to rant about! This humble blogger has moved up in the world of Medicine and is now a certified paperwork filler and filer in the American University of Beirut Medical Center (or AUH), otherwise known as a Med III Student. Ok, so let's bask in the glory, I have patients! And yes, I am part of the Medical Team that roams the corridors of a 10 stories high hospital, occasionally with high heels. I will be tackling this subject a bit more seriously in the next few days.

--Actual Depiction. True Story.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Of Listening and Lessons Learned.

When you decide to listen closer and deeper, just listen, you can't help but realize how much people actually talk about themselves and complain about everything else. And then when they ask you, two hours into the conversation, how you're doing, you can only reply with "Everything is fine"...

I am truly grateful for my blessings. And the biggest one of all: Satisfaction, Fulfillment, Contentment...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Point and Cry.

What difference does it make now to say I told you so and to gloat in poetic justice? You proved worthy of your misery!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Flying Kebab. Shooting Stars.

The Flying Kebab group is picking up on Facebook. Join to get the latest news and behind the scenes photos and updates. If you haven't watched Episodes 1 and 2 yet, what are you waiting for? Go to Flying Kebab.
For some weird reason, my instinct tells me these guys are gonna have quite the fan base in Lebanon (and Brazil?), I'm loving the idea!
Yay for more documentaries about Lebanese culture as seen in the eyes of foreigners. (Because foreigners can pick up details that Lebanese might take for granted). And yay for the collaboration with Lebanese artists who can add a true local spirit to the series.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Je T'aime...Moi Non Plus.

What's in a blog? Yes I've had my share of rants here, but when it really matters, when it's intense enough to hurt or bewilder in delight, when it enslaves me and shakes me to the core, I can't seem to be able to reproduce it in words for everyone to read, I can't seem to be able to be that transparent, and maybe I shouldn't be. But then what's the point? Is it merely the writing itch, expression fever, the communication bug?

Something happened yesterday, but I can't get myself to name the protagonists, to recreate the entrancing scene, to draw the intricate details that made it so... I can't because then I will become vulnerable, I will have to admit to what happened and what lead to it. I will have to admit to the world but even more so to myself what it really felt like, how I perceived it, risking misinterpretation and disillusionment. No. So I resort to expressing myself in these cryptic declarations. Maybe hoping for the message to go through, maybe hoping for the feelings to get transcribed, to transcend this page...

I loved every minute of it. Getting out of bed at 2 am, turning my computer on, finding you. How I love that we're not together.

Listening to:

--Je t'aime... moi non plus-- Serge Gainsbourg