Author: paracetamol


Reasons why I like science: there is a clear black and white of what’s wrong and right, the facts are absolute instead of relative and there is minimal contact with people.

Or so I thought until now.

More than halfway through medical school, I realized that the things I mentioned above are almost completely wrong. Yes, it’s true that there is a clear answer to what would be a correct response or an incorrect response. However, there are a lot of situations where these facts are applied differently. For example, in treating hypertension, one class of drugs you could use would be a beta-blocker. Say there is Drug A and Drug B, both are beta-blockers. One doctor might prefer drug A over drug B, while the other might prefer drug B. I guess this ‘preference’ is now limited with the various research being done, the so-called evidence based medicine where studies are done to figure out the efficacy of treatments. Even so, there are still a lot of variety in terms of management plans.

‘There is minimal contact with people”. This statement couldn’t be more wrong. If I were to divide a doctor’s day in activities, it would be 70% talking to people (patients and other health practitioners) and 30% paperwork (prescribing drugs, writing notes, etc). As you can see, communication is quite a big part there. I guess it would be less if you’re a surgeon as you’ll mostly  be operating, but they still need to talk to their patients afterwards.

A lot of work has been done by the faculty to emphasize the importance of building rapport with patients, to empathize and treat them as people. Personally, I find this really challenging as being sociable and friendly is not my strong suit, you see. It takes me a while to connect with people and somehow it is hard to put myself in another person’s shoes. Doing it in the second language is just a tad bit harder.

Sometimes I’m not sure what to say because I simply don’t know how to react. Sometimes I’m silent because I don’t know how to say it in a proper way in English. Heck, I don’t think I would know how to do it in my first language anyway.

Another point would be on how most people in who got into medical school are those people who spend most of their days studying and less on socializing (which is where you would develop your social skills.) So the majority of us are not really big on socializing.

A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to be following one of the consultants for a week. Watching her work made me realize what  a good doctor is. With 30 years of experience, you would guess that she would have good working hours. Well, she doesn’t. It was quite a busy week and being an obstetrician she has to always be ready if someone were to deliver a baby. I’m at least 30 years younger than she is and I was tired after a day’s work, so I would guess that she would be more tired than I was. Amazingly, she is cheerful through out the week, always full of smile and oozing with vibes of friendliness (yes this is a thing now) towards both patients and nurses, and of course other doctors. And surprisingly, also to me, the insignificant medical student.

No matter how patient someone is, there are some things that would tick one off (a fact I have learned to come to term recently). So there was one instance where she was not in her best mood, but she didn’t let this interfere with how she interacts with the next patient. She switches back to her normal cheerful, friendly self within a minute. You would think this is how a professional should be, but no no no no, I’ve seen quite a few who let their emotions got the better of it. But that’s a story for another day.

Anyway, that is only one thing that I learned from her. Communication is vital in medicine. One reassuring comment, one smile, one supportive nod could mean a lot to patients and it could actually make them feel better without one giving drugs or doing stuff to them. LOL, stuff, a very academic choice of word.

Other skill that I learned is keeping up to date with new discoveries. Medicine is an ever-changing world, there’s always something new waiting to be discovered, made and it will change how one would practice it. I used to think this was blah, too bad it’s true. A lot of things have changed since, say 10 years ago, and it is essential to keep up with new research. Yes, I shall end this post with a note to self that I don’t have a choice but to never stop studying until the day I die………

Ha. Quite morbid, hey.

I was just kidding. The point is: GOTTA POLISH MY COMMUNICATION SKILLZ. It’s gonna be hard work, but practice makes perfect so that one day I could be a good doctor.

Is more better?

10 months out of the 12 in a year, I have one dog. The other 2 months, I have four dogs. Technically, they’re the family’s dogs and as I go back home once a year, I help out by taking care of the dogs.

What is involved in the so called dog-sitting?

  1. Feed them
  2. Pick up their poos and pees (even more effort needed if they do their business inside the house)
  3. Bathe them
  4. Give them their vitamins/meds
  5. Walk them

And last but not least, daily dose of affection and love. This is the easiest part.

With one dog, it was not much work. Life was easy. Food is dry food plus occasional wet food or raw meat. Like it or not, when my dog gets hungry, she’ll eat it.

So, I spare 5mins in the morning to give her her breakfast and morning meds then I go live my life. After uni, I reach home, spare one hour-ish to take her to the park and let her have her run, followed by dinner and night meds. Done for the day!

Since she’s the only dog in the house, there is never any problem with other doggies stealing other doggies’ food. Nor is there any problem with too much poop that I gotta pick them up every single day. Nor is there any problem with sharing my love as all my love was for her. Sounds funny, but it’s true!

Now that I have four dogs to take care of… Things started to unravel…

Meal time is a time for strategy. So one of the four is a senior dog who needs lots of extra nutrition so she eats half of special intensive care canned food plus the white of one boiled egg (cause she needs the protein). Quite a hassle compared to the one dog above…

One down, three to go. They eat dry dog food, problem is they fight. So I gotta put one in the backyard making sure the other one stays in the front yard so they both would eat separately and peacefully. And then… the one in the front yard wouldn’t eat so I gotta wait for him to eat while squeezing my brain out on what to mix in his food so he would eat it voluntarily. And I gotta wait for him to finish his meal to make sure he eats all his food as the other dogs would happily finish his food. See the problem?

Luckily, there are people who cleans up after the dogs, takes them for a walk, and bathes them regularly.

Using doggies as analogies.. I thought about talents and problems.

Let’s talk about talents first.


Moving on.

I’ve moved on.”
What comes to mind when you read that? What does it mean to move on from someone?
When’s the point where it is right to say that you have moved on?

Is it when you’ve stopped comparing other guys to him?
Or when you’ve stopped checking your phone in case he texted you?
Or when you’ve succeeded in not stalking visiting his Facebook?

Or it might be when you don’t take a look at pictures of him and you any more.

Personally, I think it’s when you’re alright seeing him with someone else. You might not be able to be happy for him yet, but at least it won’t break your heart to see him with another girl.

And now, I’m glad to say that I have moved on.

Long gone and moved on? Not yet.

Moved on? Yes.

Roller coaster ride.

“It’s about the journey, not about the destination.”

And blah blah, we’ve all heard that before.

As someone who is unhealthily obsessed with planning, I like my plans to go smoothly, fast and uninterrupted. Each and every one of them. When they don’t, I go mad.

Well, after 22 years of existence I have finally come to agree that.. life is unpredictable and you can’t plan everything. One way or another, the plan is bound to get tweaked here or there, or even cancelled.

So, you see how I might not grasp the meaning of the quote above.. For me, it’s all about the destination, how I can get there faster. Quick, quick, quick. Don’t waste any minute. On top of everything, do not wait for anything on the way, just gotta get there ASAP.

I like all things fast. Fast food, fast cars, fast exchange of words (slightly slower in languages which are not my first language), fast responses to jokes, anything fast is good. Fasting makes me hungry and slow though. Geddit? Sorry, bad pun.

Even for theme park rides, I prefer the faster ones. Roller coasters, tower of terrors, more roller coasters. They’re perfect, they’re the soul of theme parks. Shooting games, 4D movie theatres, water-related rides are alright. Ferris wheels, however, are stupid. I hate them. They’re slow and I’m scare of heights. Why would someone wanna be trapped in a sphere of transparent glass while being elevated very slowly off the ground while making stops every second or so, just to make that sphere tremble and make your heart feel like it’s gonna stop any minute? (Yeah, you get it, I’m just scared).

What I realize in all of those rides though, is that it’s all about the journey and not the destination. Because… the destination is the place you start, it’s a circle. Same thing with life. It’s a circle of life. You were made from dirt and when you die you will go back to dirt.


Just kidding.

I have never thought about it that much really, you know, the end of age and stuff. All I’ve been doing is trying to get to my short-term goal ASAP. All I’m saying is, sometimes it might be good to take things slow and just enjoy it.

Currently I can’t drive, so public transport, you’re my best friend now. Thing with public transport is, you have to wait. And with Melbourne, you wait more. It’s not easy when before I could go anywhere I want anytime I want, I can make it a 10 mins trip or a 15 mins trip if I decided to take this route instead of that route.

With trams and trains, I have to wait for my first one. Then get off and wait for my connecting tram. And if my first tram was late, guess what happens? Yes, I would miss my second one, which means more waiting.

At first, I can’t bear waiting. It feels like I’m wasting time. After a while though, I learned to enjoy the trip.

Enjoy the weather, enjoy the bumpy stops that test your balance (it’s kinda fun actually, just make sure not to fall on your face), enjoy getting my ticket checked, enjoy the different people I see on the tram.

Maybe, taking things slow is not as bad as I thought. After all..

“It’s about the journey, not about the destination.”


People’s purpose.

Heh. People’s purpose. Sounds cool, two words that start with the same letter. Doesn’t quite show what I’m trying to say, but eh, good enough for a title.

Have you ever stopped to think why there are certain people in your life? Why sometimes it seems like you’re always faced in situations with this ‘type’ of person again and again and again? Or, more specifically, why does it seem like God placed them around you even though you might not like them?

Well, in my opinion they are there, at certain periods of my life, to make me a better person.

They might cause conflicts; which was the case all through out my high school years. It took me a while to understand how to deal with those friends I regard bitchy, annoying and not worth talking to. After a few years/a few encounters with similar personalities, I felt like I kinda ‘graduated’ from that level and now I know what to do if I have similar problems.

They might also be my source of admiration; which is the current case. I am currently in a state of awe of these two friends that I just got to know better. Why? Because they are bold, they’re not afraid of going out of their way to get what they want, and they can stand for themselves. While I, on the other hand, is too self-conscious and worried about what others will think of me if I do this or do that. Will I offend them if I phrase my sentence this way? Will I come off too strong if I volunteer to do stuff first? And the list goes on..

I can always stand in their shadows and stay inside my sphere of admiration for them forever if I want, or I can learn from them. You’ve heard plenty enough of  “learning by imitating” by now, and yes I am going to test that theory to see if it works.

Just kidding, I know it works.

Things that make me :)

  1. Seeing my family. More like my parents. More like hearing their voice at this point. It doesn’t even matter what we talk about, since most of the time it’s mainly pointless. For example, I stared at my phone screen waiting for my mom to vacuum her room. I never thought that those little things that remind me of home are this priceless.
  2. Watching my dog do her mommy’s-home-i’m-so-excited dance after a long day. Never fails. Most of the time she doesn’t even get out of bed though, which still makes me smile.
  3. Talking to my best friend after countless days where I feel socially inadequate. It’s good to know that there’s at least a few people that gets you.
  4. When strangers smile at me. (Or less often, when I smile at them and they smile back.)
  5. When I understand what the doctors are talking about. And yes, by understand I mean 5% of it, at least I understand the words. Probably more like a smile of relief.
  6. A nice hot shower on a cold day. Wonderful.
  7. Getting to know your new friends. Which… I recently realized is through conversations. Clearly, I’m not a big fan of them. But sometimes, when my mood is right, when their mood is right, when the timing is right, the conversations would flow naturally and I don’t feel them as a responsibility to be a more social being.

The Deceptive Salary of Doctors – an infographic


Tea with MD

An often hotly debated topic in med-related forums is physician compensation. I’ve read countless articles written from a doctor’s perspective, and those articles are usually filled with math and long sentences. I found this infographic particularly refreshing, as it puts the numbers into pictures that, well, a middle school student should understand. After all, when I was working at NBC, I was told that anything you write news-wise for public consumption should be tailored to a 6th grade comprehension level. That is why I love infographics. Enjoy!

Salary of Doctors

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