Bleary Eyed

~Bleary Eyed

Friday, February 27, 2004
In reflecting on a recent dialogue on government and particularly in rethinking Rousseau's theory of greater equity and justice in simpler systems, I remembered a village I had read about in Palestine- Wahat (Oasis) al-Salam (Peace) or Neve Shalom in Hebrew. It's a wonderful example of how peace and cooperation is attainable, at least on a smaller scale, even in a place like Palestine/Israel. Maybe it's too good to be true...
I have the book linked on the right, and More on "the Oasis of Dreams" at

Thursday, February 26, 2004
"The Nobodies" by Eduardo Galeano

The nobodies...
Who are not, but could be.
Who don't speak languages, but have dialects.
Who don't have religions, but superstitions.
Who don't create art, but handicrafts.
Who don't have culture, but folklore.
Who are not human beings, but human resources
Who do not have faces, but have arms.
Who do not have names, but numbers
Who do not appear in the history of the world,
but in the police blotter of the local paper.
The nobodies, who are not worth the bullets that kill them.
coming soon....

I finally found out a means to get web space at my school so I can make a "real" website. lol or at least have a place to store all my photos that i want to post on my blog. I'm hoping to make a site on my areas of interests in international health....on my "causes" as well as my interests. would it be too disjointed if I threw in my medieval medicine stuff too?
anyone have any suggestions?

I'm excited :) new project....just need to finish studying for my exam then I can get to work.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004
Another semi-productive and unsatisfying day of work. Exam in 7 days...clock is ticking, and I should be studying!!

I'd rather work on my 15 min presentation on corruption in the international health field. It's going to be the dose of cynicism to taper my new found enthusiasm in the field :)

btw...anyone know someone I can crash with for a weekend in toronto? or allyson Dzidzic's (sp?) new email address?

Tuesday, February 24, 2004
Not for the faint of heart....

Ok, well I think my limits have been reached in lab. I actually had to run out of lab today b/c of the unbelieveable nausea the overcame me. It started out ok, but it proved more than I could handle. I did the dissection of the dorsal surface of the penis...greusome..disturbing, but not TOO bad....but then we had to do the hemisection. *yech* NO ORTHOPEDIC SURGERY for ABI

*Please do not keep reading if you find these things disgusting*

We were given hack saws....and we had to do a mid-thigh bilateral amputation, followed by a transverse amputation above the pelvis, and finally a midline cut across the pubis. I made it through most of the lab....almost lost my cookies though when we had to lift up the section we cut out...belly button to mid the table into an upright position to saw it in half....ugh.....I'm not going to survive this exam. i have 3 more anatomy lab sessions in the next 2 days.....I'm not sure I can stomach it. After this exam we're dong with anatomy til august. I'm worried I won't be able to get through head and neck in fall. If I couldn't stand a will I stomach a decapitation?

Monday, February 23, 2004
In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
May I just say to all you lovely folks out there....Get off your butts and do something :)
I just spent a half hour today haranguing (in a very open, friendly, non-confrontational manner), one who shall remain anonymous, about become active in his/her community.

Yeah I know I'm probably just riding this wave of high ideals that are the after effects of such a fantastic conference, but I do feel compelled to push my dear friends to become voices of activism in their local community. Americans need help too :) hehe...don't have to go to a Zambian refugee camp to battle malnutrition and infectious disease in order to make an impact.

Ok there's my plug. I'm done.

Saturday, February 21, 2004
Well I'm just exhausted....
Our conference today was amazing, inspiring, and thought provoking. I have to say though that Paul Farmer, the very man I had been anticipating hearing, was quite disappointing as a speaker. He wasn't dynamic or inspiring...he was just a man who, aside from doing some amazing things in the global health scene, loves to hear himself talk and loves to bask in the insipid comments and bright eyed admiring gaze of the medical students who make up his cult following (myself including I suppose). The highlight of my morning turned out to be a Case grad...Dr. Jack Geiger who told us amazing stories of his work to increase health care access and work against apartheid. As a young physician he organized a 2000 student walkout/protest b/c local hospitals were refusing to treat black patients, he developed a food program for his malnourished patients in clinics he helped set up down south by writing prescriptions for food for his patients and having the groceries bill the pharmacy for the food. He was simply inspiring in terms of the work he's accomplished both nationally and internationally. He was one of the founders of the organization hosting this event (physicians for human rights). after Dr. Geiger was a panel of 4 more amazing speakers. A fulbright scholar working on healthcare access in south Africa who told us about his first encounter with chronic poverty and medicine with dominican republic immigrants in Chicago and his fight to change the social determinants of health for his patients. We met a nurse who worked first with migrant workers in Indiana and in California who then became coordinator for a health clinic in Zambia at one of the largest refugee camps in the continent.

It was just mind-numbing to hear all these stories. All our goals and idealism for international issues of chronic poverty, social injustice, AIDS relief, and health care access for all seemed so tangible and potentially realizeable in these few hours. Here among us were physicians and healthcare professionals who have made a difference, who have fought for change and for awareness who seem to be making a dent in the world. 600 students attended, all wanting to contribute to our cause....not sure what to think, but I hope it's all good.

Everyone always leaves these conferences jazzed up for the next new cause, only to find "real life" awaiting them after the return trip home with schedules and timetables too busy to accomodate their new found idealism and fervor. I always get roped into more commitments than I can handle at these things. Thjis time though I did ok, didn't do too much networking...the only real new contact i made was Dr. W. Smith who heads up the International Rehabilitation Center and who is part of the Committee to ban landmines..he wants to meet with me to discuss possibilities for senting up a LandMine Rehab Program in the West Bank!!! So, exciting stuff :) time to get to work on that soon....

Well, I hope you all are well....I'll have to hear all about Rangeela soon :)

Thursday, February 19, 2004
Tulips and Lotus Blossoms
Here's a fun site about tulips:

As for stereotypes (this is for mr. guam) in response to his post. I reached no real conclusion in my discussion on stereotypes....I do think it's rather odd that we have two overlapping stereotypes of Asian women in particular. the "submissive" lotus blossom and the "fiery" dragon lady. hehe...i find them amusing in movies:

1931 - In Daughter of the Dragon, Anna May Wong gives birth to the "Dragon lady" to the chagrin of Asian American actresses thereafter.

1956 - Teahouse of the Moon, set in post-WWII Okinawa, has Michiko, the soft-spoken demure "Lotus Blossom."

Then there's the every popular Asian-woman/White man "syndrome" or "asian fetish" if you will....yet nothing much in popular media on the Asian-man/White-woman type of couple.

Whether you like them or not these stereotypes seem to shape a lot of western conceptions of the east and we certainly have our misconceptions of the west. It's not even suprising to hear commentary perfused with these stereotypes on's easy to make assumptions about something you consider "exotic" and foreign, too far away to look at or appreciate for it's uniqueness.

Not sure where this blog has gotten me...except confused....
Much Thanks to Ms. Hwang for assistance in updating my "look". :) So much happier with the color and layout.
Well 20 min spent tweaking this, I should get to work!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2004
Ok, I've been given orders to POST. Hmm...but I really have nothing too interesting to post these days. THe next 2.5 weeks are insanely busy for me, and I can barely fit sleep into my agenda book, though I still find time to waste on miriam webster's site playing "fowl words" Really need to prioritize!

Not much going on around here....extremely boring lectures on the pelvic cavity and hormones (you'd think they'd be interesting) *sigh* I miss history class. At this point I'd even take 19th century American history. The only thing keeping me sane is my international health course. Yesterday we spent 2.5 hrs discussing Depleted Uranium issues in Kosovo and Iraq and Child Soldiers. Depressing topics, but something I can engage in and at least see myself applying a Medical Degree to sometime in the near future. Let's see what else...will be going to general surgery clinic tomorrow morning (instead of class)....will be going to a live donor kidney retrieval and transplant friday morning (also instead of class)...and Friday afternoon it's off to Chicago to see Megan and Yuka and attend the PHR conference.

OH yes, will be starting a booklist/reading list and would welcome suggestions. Topics ranging from politics, philosophy, history, public health, and medicine. It's for myself and some fellow activist/international health oriented/politically-minded medical students.

That's it for now. It's 10am, and my lab group has skipped out on me, so *darn* i don't get to do the pelvic cavity dissection of my cadaver (now there's a blog topic)

Thursday, February 12, 2004
squirrels and tails.

I was walking back from school today when I noticed that all the squirrels are back out again :) THey're so cute! Fat and twitchy, scampering around trying to remember where they put their stockpile of nuts. aren't they adorable?

another thing i noticed...people have tails in the winter time. It bugs the heck out of me! People wrap their scarves once around their neck then put their coat on..the result= tails made up of the fringes of their scarves. It bothers me to no end. I saw white, purple, multi-color, and striped this a new fashion trend I haven't heard about?

well, that's all for now. I'd better get back to studying. ETA 20 hrs and counting down.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004
well, I too took this so called "which leader are you" test and came up with:

At 9 questions: Adolf Hitler (not sure what to think about this one)
At 18 questions: mother teresa
At 45 questions: mother teresa

what can i say? I'm a world domineering paranoid....nun?
May I get your opinions on something?

I just tacked this onto an email to someone in my class ( i wrote it this morning in an effort to procrastinate):

On a different note, thought you might enjoy a little something from renal physiology from a few centuries back:
It being the months of winter- those months prone to an excess of phlegm (the humor not the by-product) that has the qualities of cold and wet, it is best to counter it with foods that are of choleric qualities (warm and dry). For this I would suggest some white and refined sugar with your next meal. It is by nature warm in the first degree and dry in the second and is useful for purifying the body and good for the kidneys and bladder. Be careful of taking it in excess however for it may cause excess thirst and moves bilious humors. If all else fails, you might want to try some carnes camelorum (the meat of a camel) useful for those engaged in heavy work and suffer from melancholia. (derived from Tacuinum Sanitatis - medieval health handbook)

Was it over the top? Will I be labeled odd forever? I guess I'm just not sure about the audience....what type of person would respond BADLY to this type of email? :)

-insecure in cleveland

Tuesday, February 10, 2004
to the pseudo-giraffe living in the warm blue swamp.

ehem, regarding the turnip comment...Just how many turnips do you know?


Cloaca-- the pinnacle of modern art or just a piece of shit

So I was sitting in lecture today (yes, miracles do happen) on integrative Gastrointestinal Function and Dr. Post brings up some photos of a project by Belgian artist Wim Delvoye called Cloaca. Get this. It's a room-sized computer operated simulated digestive tract. The mouth is a food processor and the rest of the GI is simulated by a series of beakers containing actual digestive enzymes extracted from animals. At the end of this digestive tract you have a "rectum" which produces authentic (smelly) feces, which are then sold as "art" for 100 dollars/turd. The source of the food? Chintzy new york gourmet restaurants. (no photos on the site, but there are drawings, and I'm sure you'll be able to track photos down on the web of the exhibition in NYC)

With all this said, it is back to my own personal journey through the histology of the jejunum.

Good day dear friends.

Friday, February 06, 2004
Title: Reality Hits- the pEE AND pOOP Committee

so, as you may have guessed this month's committee is renal and gastrointestinal physiology. Homeostasis certainly does odd things to people. Just today I walked into the "green room" one of our med student rooms ( and saw on the white board:

Nora has to pee --> glomerular filtration rate is 180L/min, and Nora's pee looks concentrated.
ADH must be up....therefore increased water permeability in the distal tubule nad collecting duct and increased Urea permeability in the collecting duct.

*GROAN* TOO MUCH INFORMATION!!! That's what I say.

I have been finding out (as I have aged and matured...*ehem* no laughter please) that reality is a rather STRANGE and rather surreal experience. It's not at all like i expected it to be. From this heavily idealized and romantisized "JOURNEY of BECOMING--a PHYSICIAN's PATH to HER MEDICAL DEGREE" to my own personal spiritual life. Nothing in my present reality as a medical student really resembles the picture I've had of medicine based on my past conversations with physicians or from the numerous physician personal narratives (from all eras of history) that I've read. It's all about personal fulfilllment, "helping people", heroic procedures, intense and high pressure experiences....not medical students mistaking kidneys for livers, spending their weekends pondering the color of their urine, or presenting hastily made posters to prominent members of the medical community and being made to feel like a 4 year old showing their drawing of easter to the members of hte congregation after sunday school class.

Does anyone know what i mean??!! Or am I just imagining things.

I find the same thing about my faith. I was just talking to DC about this(...i know i know...i am supposed to be taking a nap, but my severely sleep deprived mind has had so little sleep that it's forgotten how to do it). My personal walk with Christ has always been a constant struggle. A "gnawing at the soul" if I may quote the honorable ms. dickinson. It's never like "it's supposed to be"....but then I stop and look and wonder, what IS IT supposed to be like? Is what I see and interpret as good Christianity, just an outward face? I see people who appear confident and assured in their faith, who've passed the struggle and prioritize Christ in their life like it's 2nd nature...but is that real? or am i just seeing things? I'm never satisfied with the state of affairs in terms of my personal religious life. It's never good enough, and God always feels distant and mysterious. Not to mention the ever nagging question, "why am I doing this anyways?"

anyways, i think i'm just exhausted. sleep need need to's the coffee...this is my goes through my head throughout the day...everyday :)

Wednesday, February 04, 2004
What a lovely end of my guts...not misplaced/dislocated kidneys, just Vonnegut.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004
Studies in international health can be summed up in the words by our dear historian, Herodotus:
Of all men's miseries the bitterest is this: to know so much and to have control over nothing

Monday, February 02, 2004
hehe....lab this morning was interesting to say the least.

3 med students peer into the eviscerated, gray, green, and brown all around.
Our Mission: "Guts on the Tray"
Cut the colon and esophagus and all the associated arteries.
We're nearly done. Just one more to find: the all elusive Inferior Vena Cava as it emerges from the Liver.
Student 1: Where could it be?
Student 2: I don't know...maybe we cut it already?
*Head scratching and muttering continues*
Student 3: is it that?
Students 1 and 2: nah...can't be...let's lift the liver out first
*Liver is emancipated partially from under the diaphragm....student #1 grunts and pulls and finally frees the mass from captivity. *
Student 3: how about that? that looks like a vein, it's really thin....
Student 1: ok...let's cut it.
*vessel cut....liver lifted up and out....students peer in once again.*
All 3: Uh...oh....what's THAT?
Student 1: i's the inferior vena cava...but then, what did we just cut out?!
Professor: What's happening here?
Students: um...we're not sure, what is this?
Professor: that's the IVC, just cut it.
Student 2: then what's this *as he points to the severed vessel previously cut out
Professor: that? oh, it's the ureter.
Students: the ureter?!! but why is it coming out of the liver
Professor: the liver? kids just pulled out the liver AND the underlying kidney.
*Students *peer once again into the body....scratch their heads**
Student 3: oh...we took the kidney out? oops....well, we have another one on the left side, right?

This folks is the Future of MEDICINE in America

Books: Fiction

Anil's Ghost
Michael Ondaatje

The Alchemist
By Paulo Coelho

Books: Non-Fiction

Oasis of Dreams
By Grace Feuerverger

Betrayal of Trust
By Laurie Garrett

Pathologies of Power
By Paul Farmer

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