Thursday, February 28, 2008

life IS demanding without understanding.

I'm so tired of DOING stuff. I want to sit on a raft or beach or basically anywhere that has sun and drink a margarita or some kind of colada or daquiri and just stay there for like five days without moving. I guess I would be willing to move to put on sunscreen or to adjust my towel to the angle of the sun, or to motion for another icy beverage. But instead I'm going to go ahead and continue to half-heartedly study neuro while complaining to anyone in earshot about how little I want to be studying and they'll agree because we all are tired together. But in a week and one day I'll be on a plane to Turkey, where I plan on drinking Raki (or whatever the local specialty is) and smoking hookah.
The title is in reference to the Ace of Base song "The Sign", which I will be singing and attempting to play guitar to tomorrow at the UTSW multicultural (read: South Asian dances with occasional other cultures) show. I didn't realize how bad I am at playing the guitar until I did a dress rehearsal today and heard it on microphone. I'm really very bad. I think someone will be videotaping the show, and if that happens I'll try and post my ode to Sweden up here for the world. I debated dressing as if I were from Europe in the early 90's, but I just don't own any clothing that tragic.
Tomorrow after the show I'm driving to Austin. On my drive down, I'm going to listen to Bat out of Hell and sing as loud as I can. Then I may listen to Aretha sings the Blues and sing that as loud as I can. If you ever pass a white Camry with a Duke sticker on the back window, take a look at the driver; it will probably be me looking like an ass and you'll have a good laugh.

PS yes that is my own brain on MRI at the top of the post. I did a study for $50.00 and they gave me the resulting images.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sugar Sugar

In the name of science (and earning a few hundred dollars for my upcoming spring break trip to Turkey), I enrolled myself in a medical research study about diabetes and heart disease and glucose tolerance. The study is fairly rigorous; I had to eat a fixed menu for four days, get my fat levels tested with skin calipers and underwater weighing, do a VO2 max test on a treadmill, collect a 24 hour urine sample, have my cholesterol and fasting blood glucose levels tested, get a fat biopsy from right above my hip, do an oral glucose tolerance test (get blood drawn before, during and after drinking a sugary drink), an insulin clamp (having insulin infused into me while variable levels of glucose are infused at the same time to see how well my body responds to insulin) and get three MRIs; one of my abdomen, one of my liver, and one of my leg. I also had to stay overnight in Parkland Memorial Hospital, which is perhaps the scariest part of all. The diet was supposed to be weight-maintenance, but it seemed like a lot more food than I normally eat. These were my drinks for the day, along with 1540 ml of deionized water:Breakfast; sausage and eggs, two pieces of toast with apple butter, grapefruit with sugar, and pineapple juice
snack: graham crackers with peanut butter and raisins, 7-up
Lunch: chef salad with twice as much meat as lettuce, strawberries with sugar, a brownie, and lemonade
dinner: baked potato with bacon and butter, three broccoli spears, chicken with some kind of white sauce, an apple, two peanut butter cookies, 7-up and pineapple juice.
My favorite part: most of it came in reusable containers which I saved so that whenever I cook a big batch of something in the future I can portion it into serving-sized meals and just grab one for lunch.

On Saturday I made the mistake of putting off lunch until almost 4 pm, when I had to be finished eating ALL my food by 6 pm. I had to eat two full meals including desserts in around 2 hours. It was a little exhausting.

My VO2 max and fat caliper pulls were done by Peter Snell, who won gold medals and set world records in 1960 and 1964 representing New Zealand in track at the Olympics. So that was a little intimidating. He remains the only man to have ever won the 800 and the 1500 in one Olympics. To have an olympian tug on your fat is very humbling.

Sunday and Monday mornings I had different kinds of glucose tolerance tests. They took around 3 or 4 hours each and they stole quite a bit of my blood (more than 30 test tubes, a little less than when you go to donate), which I’m now worried about because my blood tests showed that I was a little anemic in the first place. whoops...

Things I learned about myself during the study:
My VO2 max is 40.2
My maximum heart rate is 196
I have abnormally fat calves. They were 1.5 times as fat as my thighs, which doesn’t ever happen. Your thighs are supposed to be fatter.
I have baller cholesterol levels (total 115, HDL 43.2) but not enough red blood cells.
I probably won’t ever get diabetes.

Monday, February 18, 2008


This morning I went to the eye doctor because I've had my current pair since high school. I have ambiopia, which means roughly that I only use one eye well. I got a pair of really awesome Gucci glasses (I figured if insurance was covering a portion of my Gucci I may as well spring for the remaining cost):
The downside was that after I left the office, I had to wear sunglasses to class because my eyes were dilated, and I couldn't read what I was writing for about two hours for the same reason. So I felt like an ass and I couldn't see. This afternoon we had to go practice our interview skills on a random Parkland patient, and we had the BEST PATIENT EVER. Why? because she was perfectly healthy up until she had sudden onset of a very classic presentation of disease.
That NEVER happens. usually patients are a mixed bag of diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, heart failure, and maybe a stroke or kidney disease or gout or schizophrenia mixed in (seriously. last week a patient began giving us recipes for yogurt smoothies and then his wife told us how he stopped up the toilet and it took her two hours to unclog it). People never have simple disease process at a county hospital that serves the destitute for free. They wait until they are vomiting blood or feel like their chest is ripping into two pieces before they come in. Then they get put on 10 or more medications and a morphine drip and stay in the hospital until they are at some acceptably reduced risk for imminent death. The system makes very little sense and it's hard to sort out and try and diagnose five problems that are all intertwined. So the simple patient was a blessing.
We started Neurology this week and it's pretty terrifying. 40 lectures in 3 weeks, with about 120 drugs. yikes. pray for my patience.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

happy valentine's day!

Friday night at Gingerman, 10 pm.
I guess love is in the air.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


If you live in the same area as me, you should know that Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market Grocery store is a sham. Its prices are not low, and their rollbacks are still more expensive than just going to Kroger. Evidence: they charge ten cents more per lb for bananas than Kroger, and 70 cents more for a box of pre-flavored Quaker oatmeal packets. They also don't 2x/3x coupons like Kroger. As a side note, they pay their workers minuscule salaries (such that many of the people employed there are forced to work two full time jobs) and they don't offer a good health care plan. And they are STILL more expensive. And let's be honest, I'm a cheapskate and if they had substantially better prices than Kroger I would probably overlook the social injustice because I'm just not that good of a person. But they don't and it is a house of LIES.

Please excuse this; I've been studying kidneys for several weeks and my brain is probably going to explode soon. When you're as consistently and intently bored as I am right now, small discoveries seem like epiphanic revelations.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

how bazaar.

Last night was Ryan's Middle-Eastern potluck extravaganza. As usual, there was ten times too much delicious food and . I made a Lebanese Lentil Salad which was easy and pretty tasty. I will be eating it all week because I made a double batch (just in case!) then decided I had a ridiculous amount (about 4-5 quarts I think) and took only half of it to the party.
Highlights included two varieties of baklava, six or more different kinds of hummus, some kind of meat filled fritter, yellow curry (not strictly region specific but still delicious) , mousaka which I am for sure spelling incorrectly, and two different kinds of birthday cake. Happy Birthday x 2! Me and Matt Ryan dancing/looking in the mirror. If you can call the movie reference, you win! I'm not sure why this is linking, but I think if you click on these words you will end up (again) at a recipe for Lentil Salad.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

I am all that is woman.

In case you were wondering how the $1.00 (or less) per meal plan works, I will shed some light on my grocery shopping techniques. I buy the Sunday paper exclusively for the coupons (I prefer to read my news online because I don't like how the newspaper turns my fingers black). I shop at a grocery store that does double/triple coupons, and I read the ad online every week for a few different stores to see what's on sale. If something is both on sale and has a coupon, I will almost definitely buy it. If I need something for which there is no coupon, I buy the store brand. Today I went grocery shopping and for the first time, I saved more than 50% on my final bill (I payed $20 for what would have been $42.) Highlights included a jar of liquid hand soap for 4 cents and a box of Quaker flavored oatmeal packets for 88 cents (11 cents/ meal). I felt like a baller.
Dinner this week: I made 6 dinners of pasta primavera for around $3.50: I bought high-protein pasta for around $1.75, a jar of Ragu light Alfredo sauce for $1.00 when it was on sale a few weeks ago, and a bag of frozen vegetables (of which I used about half) for $1.00 on sale. I put my own herbs into the sauce to make it taste nicer. It averages around 55 cents per meal.
Besides not eating out unless it's an occasion, and spending as little money on groceries as I can, the other keys to the $1.00 per meal or less plan are that if I make something gross I have to eat it anyways, and if there is free food I have to eat as much as comfortably possible. I did, however, refrain from grocery shopping in my mom's pantry last weekend while I was at home.
Here is a picture of my sister and I from the weekend: