Sunday, August 31, 2008

I see the light!

So, after one failed attempt at sharing internet with a neighbor and several weeks of troubleshooting my internet connection with another neighbor, I am finally connected!!!! Yipeee!!! All thanks to my wonderful and patient friend Horace, who I now owe for bringing me into the modern age twice (he also helped with my first, now failed, internet connection).


Homo canines

I'm at my parents' home, which explains the blog posts and the frequent email-checking (yeah, still no internet at home) and as I'm doing some late-night work on the computer, I hear some snoring in the background. It's not some small snore, as you would expect from my small dogs, but rather a big snore, as you'd expect from a grown human. Of course, it's from one of my small dogs, albeit the largest of the small dogs (coming in at a whopping 16 pounds). Yeah, she probably has the canine equivalent of obstructive sleep apnea secondary to her obesity. You gotta love dogs.

"Politics" and things related

It's been a long time since I've said anything about politics. Not that I haven't been paying attention (in my once-daily check of the New York Times or in between my wrangling exercises with my television's bunny ears). Rather, I keep on forgetting to write about it. So, this will be a rather rambling post.

First, can I say how I've gotten angrier about the fact that Senator Clinton is almost always referred to as "Hillary" while other politicians (i.e. male politicians) are noted by their title and last name. Maybe it was self-imposed, since Senator Clinton did campaign on her first name and such, but I just find it really weird and almost demeaning in a way. She has worked just as hard as any other person of her stature and doesn't she deserve to be recognized for doing so? I mean, I don't even refer to my friends' parents as their first names, why would I do so to a woman who was a major contender for the presidency? It just doesn't make any sense to me.

Secondly, I'm appalled by Senator McCain's choice for VP. Yeah, it's good that it's a woman, but if it's a woman who so anti-feminist that she might as well be a male, does it matter at all? I applaud her for not aborting her child with Down's Syndrome, but I think that that's a deeply personal decision and I think it's a difficult decision nonetheless. I think that most pro-choicers would have as much difficulty making the decision as most pro-lifers because it comes down to a decision that most people think they never have to make (it's a classic case of, "it will never happen to me" thinking).

Thirdly, however much I support Senator Obama, I have to say that I'm a bit disappointed with his acceptance speech. First, the whole thing in a stadium was rather weird. It didn't seem like a political speech that was meant to touch the hearts of farmers in the Midwest as much as it was to reach out to the thousands of youth who are used to seeing Madonna concerts in huge stadiums. Secondly, the speech was meandering and lost its aim at points. Even I, who tried as hard as possible to pay attention to the overarchign theme, found it hard to keep my focus and find that overarching theme. That's not to say that it wasn't a great speech - because it was. However, I was, along with thousands of others, expecting an extraordinary speech on the level of Dr. King's "I Have A Dream" speech and was disappointed.

Lastly, all this convention talk has been totally jazzed up for November. I can't wait for it to happen, but at the same time, I'm very anxious of what it may hold. My hopes are that the Democrats win seats in the House and Senate and win the Presidency with a large margin (enough to say that it was definitive... none of this, "half the nation didn't vote for the man who we call President" crap anymore). Fortunately, I'm hopeful that this will happen (at least the President part... I'm still trying to get my hopes up on the Congressional part). However, that's not to say that I'm not anxious. I think that it's possible, albeit less likely, that Senator McCain wins with a large margin and the country goes on the course it's on. Whoever is out there, Democrat or Republican, who thinks that the election is already won is deeply confused and needs to really consider that anything is possible at any time. Just makes me want to get out there and work for a candidate - but then I am reminded that I have no time to even check my mail everyday.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Staying the straight and narrow

I'm currently on outpatient medicine, which means much much better hours (more like "normal people" hours) and a much easier workload. I see about 10 patients a day, which is unbelievably light considering I would see at least that many, including deliveries, on Labor and Delivery (otherwise known as L&D). However, the work can be a little less than stimulating. Actually, a lot of it is for diabetes or high blood pressure management. I have enough Spanish in me to deal with uncomplicated diabetes and repeatedly say, in my psuedo-Spanish, "Es muy importante para usted chequa sus sucres cada manana porque los doctores cambian sus medicinas por los sucres. Tambien, es muy importante para tener ejercisio una media hora cada dia." Ahh, my wonderful Spanglish. Basically, I just tell them that it's important for them to check their sugars daily and to exercise half an hour a day (boy, only if I listened to my own advice!).
So, yeah, just a demonstration of my wonderful Spanglish skills. It's funny because half of the people completely understand what I'm saying and then the other half look at my like I'm speaking Chinese to them. The ones who do understand then nod their heads and say yes, I promise I will do that, doctor. And then they turn, leave the room, and laugh at the ignorant Asian doctor (or at least that's what I imagine happens). But then, I had one yesterday who said "God bless" as she walked out - which is infinitely better than laughing at me.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


It's been such a long time since I've updated you, dear reader(s). Unfortunately, not much has happened. Let's see what I have been up to:
  • Work
  • Camping at Kings Canyon National Park
  • Work
  • My friend Kelly's wedding in San Diego
  • Sleep
Unfortunately, as I am typing this, my TMJ is acting up. I find myself clenching and unable to stop myself. And it's not like sitting at the local Barnes and Noble is really stressful or anything. And I just did my last call night on OB for two months, which is exciting. It was a crazy night, where I got 6 deliveries! Now, my next rotation is outpatient medicine, which is practically a vacation given that I don't take call, meaning my nights and weekends are my own! How out of control is that? With all this time, I have so many plans. I want to go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Santa Cruz, spend some time in San Francisco, find a local pool, organize my papers at home, catch up on readings for residency, go through my surgical curriculum, and so many other things! Ahhh, the excitement!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Yo hablo Espanol

"Hola. Como esta? Soy Doctora Truong."

I say that one line nearly every hour of everyday that I work. More than half of my patients are Spanish speaking only, so it's a nice way to be thrown into speaking Spanish. Now, that's not to say that I know how to speak Spanish well. The last time that I spoke Spanish, prior to two months ago, was more than ten years ago, in high school. And that's not to say that my Spanish then was good, or even mediocre. So, now, I speak a good amount of Spanish, or at least "vaginal Spanish" (I'm much more comfortable asking, "Tiene sangre por vagina?" than I am about much more ho-hum things). The other day, I realized that a good half of the day, I'm speaking and listening to Spanish. I like it because I think that it's nice to be able to communicate with my patients without using an interpreter (yeah, you can go through the whole argument of "why don't they learn English?" but unless you figure out a way for a laboring woman to learn English when she walks onto Labor and Delivery, I am going to continue speaking Spanish").

One weird side effect of my Spanish speaking is that I have been tempted to write my histories and physicals (H&P's) in Spanish. Many times have I written, "No sangre, dolor, o flujo" and then realized that most people reading the H&P (e.g. medical professionals) are not Spanish speaking. Another weird side effect is that I assume that everyone is Spanish speaking. I even walked into a Bosnian patient's room and was tempted to speak Spanish... I guess my mind just assumed that since they don't speak English, they must speak Spanish.

On a related note, I realized that my medical Spanish is much, much better than my medical Vietnamese. I had a Vietnamese patient yesterday who spoke only Vietnamese and I ended up using the Vietnamese nurse as an interpreter half the time. I mean, when you learn to speak Vietnamese at home, you don't learn phrases like, "How long have you been having contractions?"

All this said, most patients are very appreciative when you speak to them in their native language, especially considering that they are particularly vulnerable when I see them and they just want to feel comfortable (which is hard when you have your legs open for the world to see for hours on end, sorry for the imagery). So, my goal will be to be able to speak Spanish and Vietnamese well enough to not need an interpreter, ever. Then, maybe learn Chinese (yeah, I know it's ambitious).

Friday, August 8, 2008


I never thought that being assigned to read could be so liberating, but boy, does it feel good. For my ultrasound curriculum, we have a lot of reading involved and luckily, I get to do it during the day! Granted, this is the only time that I have for reading that it outside of my normal duties (let's just say that reading when you get home from a 12 or 26 hour shift is nearly impossible). I'm enjoying it, nonetheless. I've got my Weepies and Josh Ritter playing in the background and reading away, at least when I'm not blogging or checking the New York Times.
It's these kinds of days where it's good I don't get Facebook on my work computer because then I would really get no work done. But all of that means that I don't get to check Facebook at all because I have yet to hook up internet at my apartment. Yes, I still live in the dark ages of no internet and no cable TV. However, I do have one of those handy dandy antennae digital converter boxes. Works pretty well if it's not acting up, meaning that it only works when it wants to. However, I don't get NBC, which means no Olympics for me. I just may have to disconnect the box and use a plain old antenna to get the Olympics though. We'll see.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sad day...

A few days ago, I had my intrauterine fetal demise, commonly referred to as an "IUFD."  It was really sad and it took all my energy not to cry with my patient.  It's a reminder that though it's a great joy to be with people on one of their happiest days, it is also a privilege to guide them through one of their darkest.