Cartoon Heroes

May 29, 2007

Ah the good old days. Lately I have been reminiscing all the old cartoons (pre-anime era of mine) I used to watch. Thinking about it suddenly makes me feel kinda old. Well I’m still relatively young, it’s just that time flies and suddenly I find myself a few months away from my graduation and then it’s the working world.

But I simply refuse to grow up. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t intend to retain the tantrum-potential of a small kid but more of keeping the sense of wonder we all used to have when we were lil’ kids. Those were the days where we could just laugh at anything (we still can now, except that sometimes it is socially inappropriate). Those were the days where we find entertainment in the most mundane of all things because in our minds, we added the magic ingredient known as imagination.

Below are some of the cartoons which I used to follow when I was much younger. In fact if I have the entire series now I’d watch it all over again.

Thundercats

Some of the characters from Thundercats

Ah the famous emblem

I remember they reside in this high tech facility with an ethereal guardian as their overseer (forgotten his name, oops). When crisis strikes, Mr. Lion-o would whip out his Sword of Omen and utters the very famous line of Thunder…thunder…thundercats! Hoooooo-!! And that number one badass, Mum-ra. The mummy who’s usually “docile” and sneery under the red cloak, but gets all angsty and threatening when he’s out of it. I think he had 3 sidekicks too…somehow I only remember the monkey guy.

 

Captain Planet & the Planeteers

 

I remember the 5 kids (and the lil monkey too!). They each possess a ring that summons Captain Planet when combined. This cartoon has a good message behind it; save the Earth from pollution. Each episode would show them some way or the other battle against some of the scum-bags who threatens to destroy or upset the Earth’s ecosystem. If I remember correctly, at the end of every episode there’d be a short scene carrying lessons on environmental preservation too. Amazing how 5 rings can save the world ya?

 

Biker Mice from Mars

 3 mice on motorcycles (Throttle, Modo, and Vinnie) who made their home in Chicago after stowing away from Mars. They looked so cool on their bikes, especially Vinnie (I think he’s the white one). I couldn’t really recall all of their main opponents but I think I remember one overweight pompous brat by the name of Lawrence Limburger. He’s some alien who disguised himself as a human to exploit the Earth’s resources. Both his name (Limburger) and the character stinks as much as the cheese.

 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Clockwise from left: Michaelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello

4 carapaced reptiles each named based on the 4 famous artists of the Renaissance era. A Manhattan sewer as their hideout-cum-headquarters, these pizza-loving turtles train under their rodent sensei known as Splinter. Energy-packed fun for all each week as they kick the butts of those who threatens the peace, namely in the armoured humanoid form of Shredder and his bunch of goons (Bebop and Rocksteady – can’t remember who’s the porker and who’s the rhino). And lotsa foot soldiers.

There’s a recent release of the Ninja Turtles as a CGI-animated full-length feature movie.

Yup. They still do kick ass. COWABUNGA!

 

Speedy Gonzalez

Senór Gonzalez

A-ri-ba!! The fastest mouse in all Mexico. I love this guy man. The sombrero, the scarf, everything about this critter looks cute to me. I like the episodes when his cousin visits too. The cousin is everything Speedy isn’t; goes by the name of Slowpoke Rodriguez who is also the slowest mouse in all Mexico. Have you heard Slowpoke speaking in a Mexican accent? I laughed my butt off each time he speaks. It’s hilarious! Ahh..love ém all.

 

Pépe Le Pew

L’amour

Permanently living in springtime Paris, this eligible skunk in all of France is I think by far the most romantic being on cartoon history we will ever come across. For some reason, some poor cat would be striped white along the back by some way or another – and then comes Monsiéur Pépe. Amorous by nature, he sees the newly-painted cat as nothing but a female skunk and of course, tries to court the feline. The cartoon is spoken entirely in either French or pseudo-French. I recalled vividly that at one point when the cat was out of breath due to escaping from Pépe, she goes “Le pant….le pant”.  How French is that?

 

Road Runner & Wile E. Coyote

Desert population: 2

Beep-beep! The lovable road runner and the silly coyote. This is one of the greatest non-speaking cartoons there is out there. No unnecessary talking, just full on humour. The way the cartoon goes it seems as if there’s only two of them in the entire desert. I guess that’s why the coyote just has to catch the road runner for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I remember that the catapult is indispensable, used to launch anything and everything. From getting a boulder across a canyon to launching yourself into a cactus, nothing goes without the old catapult. But honestly, for the coyote’s sake, I think he should stop getting his stuffs from Acme. The amount of malfunctions he has sufferred should be obvious. But then again, it’s him we’re talking about.

 

Chip & Dale : Rescue Rangers

 *sings* “There’s no case too big, or case too small” Hello folks! It’s everyone’s favourite pair of chipmunks from Disney! Before they got their own show as part of a rescue team on the Rescue Rangers, they were formerly making appearances on Disney’s Mickey Mouse & Pluto series where they’d antagonise the skinny dog to no end. The two chipmunk cuties are none other than the cool and intelligent Chip (the one with the black nose) and the blur and goofy Dale (the gap-toothed red-nosed one). Put these two together and you’d have 1 and a 1/2 of chipmunk brains and an awesome load of fun!

 

Mummies Alive!

From L-R: Rath, Nefertina, Set, Amon, Presley, and Scarab in his two forms

I remember this one. The story is in a modern setting with this boy named Presley who’s actually the reincarnation of the Egyptian Pharoah. 4 guardians in their mummified form were sent to the future to protect him from the evil Scarab’s clutches (who, of course, would like to rule the world as always). Prior to each battle each of the 4 would undergo a transformation, each morphing into the likes (and taking on the skills) of one of the 4 revered beasts in Egyptian mythology. Looking back, the huge fuss about their transformation scenes appear a bit corny now but hey, it was gold back then. And it may very well still be.

 

Gargoyles

The cover of the Gargoyles comic book

‘One thousand years ago, superstition and swords ruled. It was a time of darkness. It was a world of fear. It was the age of the gargoyles. Stone by day, warriors by night, we were betrayed by the humans we had sworn to protect, frozen in stone for a thousand years. Now in Manhattan, the spell is broken, and we live again. We are defenders of the night. We are the gargoyles!’

Who could forget Goliath’s rugged-sounding voice? His voice puts Sean Connery to shame. This is notably one of the first English animated-series on TV to have complex story arcs and in-depth character development. A pretty serious and dark looking cartoon, I think it is by far one of the best English cartoons that I have seen. Back then, sophisticated and complicated plots were rarely the backbone of most cartoons as they thrive mainly on humour and visual gags – this is where Gargoyles stood out.

I still miss this series till today. And oh I just noticed, don’t you think Illidan Stormrage (from Warcraft III) bears some kind of resemblance to Goliath?

 

Looking back at what I have written, I can’t help but to smile in nostalgia. These were the cartoons that I grew up with, and I am feeling pretty good that I still haven’t lost the appreciation for them. Coupled with some imagination and a sense of wonder, they are capable of bringing you back in time to when each of us were a little kid once. It’s like having a secret magic stone in our pocket which opens up our minds to the land of dreams and magic. It’s a wonderful thing to have.

 

We are what we’re supposed to be
Illusions of your fantasy
All dots and lines that speak and say
What we do is what you wish to do

It’s all an orchestra of strings
Doin’ unbelievable things
Frame by frame, to the extreme
One by one, we’re makin it fun

We are the cartoon heroes
We are the ones whose gonna last forever
We came out of a crazy mind
And walked out on a piece of paper

from the song Cartoon Heroes-

 

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It’s that time of the year again where the application for intern vacancies are open to final year med students. Suddenly for the first time in my life, I need to write a resume. I never had a job before this so this is going to be something which is quite new to me.

For a first-timer, there’s a lot of uncertainties about what to write and what not to write. And the formatting, ah that’s another thing we all newbies would develop a few wrinkles over.

I certainly couldn’t tell for sure which is the best way to write a resume or CV, but I think most of us could agree on how NOT to write one.

________________________________________________________________

RESUME

Dear Sir/Madam,

Attached below is my list of achievements over the past few years. Kindly consider me as a suitable candidate to fulfil the vacancy advertised, as my mother had always told me I am destined for great things.

EDUCATION

  • Awesome University (2003-2007)

    • Bachelor of Awesome Medicine/Bachelor of Awesome Surgery

    • Groomed as a superior doctor-in-training

    • Ability to administer medications while maintaining the superior cool of an extraordinary trainee

    • Active student leadership, led a 10-student strong campaign advocating the rights for Big Bird to actually fly on Sesame Street

  • Elite High School Of Great Things

    • Head of prefect board for 2 years consecutively

    • Voted “Most smart-looking prefect of the year”

    • Looks spanking brilliant in a suit and tie

    • Straight As student, no questions asked. My father, who’s the head of Parents-Teachers Association, could testify to this.

 EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

  • Track & Field

    • Winner of the Best Smile on Field award

    • Enthusiastic and highly motivated athlete; holder of the most number of false starts in the 100 metres sprinting event

    • Proud title holder of “Most Photogenic Student” in spandex

    • Gold medal winner in the 2002 Elite School Sports in the high jump event

  • Arts & Languages

    • Winner of the “Best Debater” award; record holder of the longest speech ever clocking in at 35 minutes 29 seconds

      • Our team went ahead and won the championship

      • Opposing team conceded midway during my awe-inspiring speech

    • Director of the annual school play night, entitled “Why did the chicken cross the road?”

    • School representative for the nationwide “Long live Elton John” tribute forum

  • Personal Development

    • Author of self-published book entitled “Self-promotion for beginners”

    • President of the local Youth Leadership group – we aim to bring out the best in every youth that walks past our doors

    • Single-handedly printed and distributed 100 T-shirts to the underprivileged children in the local district as part of the “You’re a Star!” campaign

      • This campaign is to boost the children’s morale and motivate them to realise their dreams

      • My picture on their T-shirts would be a constant reminder of how you can achieve so much, yet remain so humble

and many many more…

With this application I hope that you would see me as the perfect candidate to be part of your elite institution. I hope to hear great news from you, as you would of great things from me.

Thank you very much. Kindly contact my secretary should you have any queries.

Mr. High-Achiever

 

________________________________________________________________

I hope that made an entertaining read!

 

Sunlight peeked from between the frames,
In the dark room a figure hastened,
Every step he took was sure and the same,
Another self he must adorn for the world beckoned

In the mirror he saw, stood he
Fingers of his hand traced his face,
wondered when will it be truly just me?
As the other hand moved towards an ivory case

A slight creaked escaped as the top unfolds,
And a weary hand slipped inside,
Out came a mask for his face to behold,
Obscuring everything save for his sight

Glancing at the mirror once again,
When he tranforms into another self,
A carved and painted smile to hide his pain,
As he secures its strings with familiar stealth

Out on the velvet stage he takes his step,
Soft theatre lights caressed the porcelain mask,
Inside his chained soul the tears were wept,
But to the world the frozen smile is all they ask

Who is the man behind the smile?
Whose smile we could see but could not feel,
Who enliven the figure beneath it all,
Whose moving presence is real, yet so unreal

He takes a bow; they smiled in recognition,
The show is over and the curtains are in motion,
As the world marvelled at his stage impression,
Am I the pawn of my own creation?

Once again at the end of the created dream,
A gloved hand closed upon the facade,
With a swift move the eternal smile left him,
An animated face lives behind the art

In the mirror again, stood a worn he
But different is he after the thousandth view
His spirit now lost and no longer free
As the cold mask becomes the face it holds true

 

-The man behind the mask by lil’ whirlwind

 

Some act to live, some act to please, some act to spite, and some act to survive. So deep we may be with the stage till we lose ourselves within. The curtains vanish until we find ourselves again for that is when we remove our masks and call it a day; take a bow and truly smile for yourself.

Specialists 101

May 16, 2007

Specialists and their quirks. Why they do the things they do *grins*

Anaesthetist – He who numbs your pain

Gets to walk around in scrubs (surgery theatre attire) all day. Spends most of the time sitting in front of multiple monitors keeping track of the patient’s vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen saturation, etc.) during surgeries, after putting the patient to sleep and making sure they wake up promptly after to pay their taxes of course. Often on first name basis with the surgeons, the anaesthetist is the number one when it comes to resuscitation skills (surgeons are occupied so someone has to jump on the patient to perform CPR) and the delicate art of IV cannulation. They are often summoned as some form of divine intervention when no one in the wards has been successful in securing an IV line in a patient.

Anaesthetist’s most common nightmare: Having the patient waving at him in the middle of surgery.

Emergency Medicine Physician – He who befriends you during a heart attack

Business-like. Straight to the point and no room for beating around the bush. Possessing the best nerves (and maybe bladder and bowels) in the medical business, the emergency medicine physician is someone you don’t wanna see so often – for good reasons. Highly authoritative, they often have low tolerance for incompetence and can’t stand anything in slow motion. This guy manouvres around the jungle of tubes and cables suspended around the cubicle with the ease and fluidity of a figure skater. Often the tallest person in the team (genetic predisposition for this job), his eyes hawks over every single minute detail in the midst of all the chaos. In general terms, everything is alright till he panics. 

Dress code: Anything airy and flexible to allow maximum range of movement. Skin-tight pants are a strict no-no considering the fast-paced nature of this job. No one would appreciate you scooting off to patch your pants when the patient’s gaping wound needs to be patched.

Neurologist – Probably the only person you can be 100% sure that it is your brains he is after.

The often skinny bespectacled physicians. They know what’s going on in your head better than you do, and you know it. Probably the most entertaining physical examiners voted by the patients, these guys are often seen getting the patient to perform a colourful variety of tests. No movements left undone, no area left un-pricked, no reflexes left un-tapped. Often seen dual-wielding a tendon hammer ( a circular piece of rubber attached to a long plastic/metal stalk to test reflexes) and a long metal pin (to test sensation). I  thought instead of running through the extensive neurology testing on each patient, why not get them to do the salsa? I’m pretty sure every single nerve would be tested by the end of the routine. But of course, if salsa is possible to begin with then hospitalisation is hardly ever needed anyway.

Pet peeve: When their patient turns out to be a psychiatric patient. So near yet so far.

Obstetrician + Gynaecologist He who knows all about menstrual problems + He who introduces you to the lil’ cutie who’s soon at the receiving end of your life savings.

The women’s best friend without a doubt. All-knowing and ever so wise on the baffling mysteries of the menstrual cycle, these doctors also double as the agony aunts. Their job sometimes entails in extensive idle banter with their female patients; from the variety of different menstrual cramps to what to cook for dinner. In the position of honour to introduce the patient to their offspring, they are often showered by thank-you cards and baskets of goodies in appreciation for their services in caring for their bundles of joy.

Most common anxiety-provoking task: Diagnosing a patient with menopause when she’s in denial.

Gastroenterologists He who has an interest in what you put in and what you give out unlike any other

Often a fairly chubby bunch of doctors, these guys have an unbelievable interest in all things that an average person would deem as a bit excessive – from the colour of your puke to the consistency of your stools. I think they are the only bunch of people you would ever come across in your life who have a keen interest in the number of burps and farts you manage per day. The physical examination includes all manner of probing and poking at the abdomen; anything from tapping for masses to jiggling for fluid. In the event needed for a more conclusive form of testing, these guys would utilise fibre-optic technology and would not hesitate to train a tube down the patient’s throat (gastroscope) or up their arse (colonoscope) for a better look.

Colour of the day: Different shades of brown

Paediatrician the kiddy doctor, for more than one reason.

The easiest doctor to spot from a mile away. Cartoonish ties and stethescopes lined with tiny soft toys from Speedy Gonzales to Kermit the Frog, these doctors are the clowns and jesters of the medical field. Armed with a good sense of humour and an exceptionally phenomenal tolerance for all kinds of kiddy tantrums, this is the only job where amusing and playing with the patient is mandatory. Almost a magician in nature, these guys store mini toys of all sorts down their pants pockets which they often whip out in a flash to temporarily transfix the kid so the doctor could have a listen at their chest. The paediatrician is the only kind of doctor whom possesses the privilege of speaking in a squeaky Bugs Bunny-like voice during consultations without being thought as having a screw loose.

Most common time-wasters of their job: When the kid refuses to give your stethescope back. And your mobile phone. And your car keys.

Psychiatrist – He who earns a living by listening to everything you have to say. Everything.

The shrink. Armed with a penetrating gaze, no aspect of your life escapes him. He won’t allow it. Everything that you have done, thought, mentioned, and felt, should be known to him. Good listening skills is a top criteria in securing a position in this training. Possesses the uncanny ability to keep a straight face regardless of how extraordinary the patient’s state of mind is, for example when the patient reports of having a poker game with Chow Yun-Fatt just last night while Al Pacino bakes muffins in his kitchen. Partly due to the doctor’s professionalism but also for the doctor’s own safety, this is one field of medicine where a good sense of humour may not be appreciated.

Dress code: Psychiatrists are usually the most casually dressed amongst the doctors. Makes it much easier for the doctor to go from a sitting position to an immediate sprint; either running after the patient or away from the patient.

A hero is often what we make them out to be. If one thinks about it carefully, a hero isn’t a hero until he or she receives recognition or appreciation for whatever they have achieved or believed in. A “hero” is spawned or created when society decides that one should be deserving of the title. Most of the time the reasons for it were justified due to their actions resulting in a greater good for the people, or overcoming overwhelming odds which re-evaluates the true capabilities of the human being. What happens when the person in question possesses the same qualities of what most “heroes” shared; with the exception being that he/she is standing by a different ideal compared to the society’s?

When heroes are made.

War is a good example of illustrating my current thoughts on the subject. When you have a leader on both sides and both with their legions of followers, how do we determine who is right and who is wrong? Their objective and motives could be a good reference point to gauge if what he or she is attempting would actually bring a desirable result in the end. The problem here is when both sides do not share an agreement in what would be deemed as a “desirable result” to all. The very reason why conflicts happen is when both sides intend to protect their own interests.

If it is true that for one’s achievement and beliefs to be recognised and appreciated by many is what makes the person heroic; what happens when we have a similar degree in the magnitude of followers on either sides? Does having more people agreeing with you makes it seem you have a higher chance of being on the right track (then again how sure are we that it is the right track?), due to the assumption that the greater the number of people hence the greater their representation of the society in general?

I think one possible reason why certain individuals are more accepted by others for their efforts and beliefs is due to the shared protection of interests by others. I don’t think you’d support someone if you find that his/her beliefs would become a “threat” or may compromise your current or future position in any way, ya? It could be assumed that the more the benefits of a person’s objective would extend to others, the more believers or followers the person could have. Makes a lot of sense too since who wouldn’t side with you if you’re attempting something that would bring them some benefit too?

It’s every man for himself, but if someone opts to champion to your gain then why not?

Funny how the collective support gained in the end originated from each individual’s plan to protect their own individual interests. Everyone is watching out for their own, but somehow it may be easier if you poll the effort with the rest.

When one sees something not visible to others, how is he to make it apparent when no one shares the same vision as he?

Why do you think so many visionaries and ‘heroes’ of current time are only recognised either post-humously or long after their time? This is most likely due to the society’s failure in recognising their contributions until much later, where the positive outcomes are more applicable then. A lot of leaders and inventors that we know of now were mocked and ridiculed at when they first came up with their brilliant ideas and insights. I don’t entirely blame the society then…to be honest, as long as they could not visualise how something could be beneficial to them – they just won’t do. Given that time and era we were all in then, most of us are guilty of only able to see what we are attuned to. All others that we are not familiar with, most of the time we chose not to be receptive to.

Man fear what they do not understand.

The tag ‘hero’ is as labile as the tag of a ‘genius’. The very voice of the society determines who in their eyes are deserving to be recognised as one and vice versa. This, i feel is a double-edged sword. If one is thought upon as a ‘hero’ or a ‘genius’, one could be pretty sure that for you to be one you need to have at least a significant group of people who believes in you. On the other hand, if society just doesn’t agree with you and your ideas are thought to be ‘bizzare’, ‘ridiculous’, or even just plain weird then you would be collectively denounced by the same hand that is capable of honouring you. A lot of geniuses of our time were formerly labelled as “eccentric”, (although it is definitely a more flattering term when in comparison to a variety of other substitutes ) it just goes to show how misunderstood one could be by the rest.

The reason why people turn out to be a genius or a hero later on is when their contributions are finally for once being seen the light by others. But what happens till then? Some just disappeared quietly, some kept sharing their ideas only to be turned down or mocked by some, while some even shed blood over their beliefs but in the end took their revelation to the grave. The problem with mankind is that there is a certain degree of fear accompanying all things that we do not possess an understanding of. Baffled and fearful, although sometimes I feel that we fear our own ignorance more than we fear the ‘threat’ that we believe in an entity. It is always easier for one to say ‘that is absurd’ than to give words of recognition to something that may be potentially brilliant. But then again, what one doesn’t see – one doesn’t even have a chance to appreciate. When you make that decision not to see beyond your lack of understanding, it all ends there.

When a heretic and a genius are two sides of the same coin.

A person, in all their own individuality, is still at the mercy of the society to how their image is projected. When one is poorly understood, there is a tendency to be isolated by others. The reason why so many geniuses suffer through their time is due to the people’s ignorance and their own shortcomings for failing to recognise what is extraordinary in a person. Sometimes it appears to be a crime if one thinks ahead of his time. So brilliant and novel in thought that very very few would share the same insight and ideals as he.

Take the standard IQ test. It consists of a humoungous amount of questions centred around memory, arithmetic, spatial/visual, and sequential/pattern-recognition assessments. I am guessing the reason why these areas are the ones deemed most significant when it comes to assessing one’s intelligence is due to their indispensibility when it comes to survival of the fittest. A person who is able to perform better at the test could be concluded as having a relatively greater ability at problem-solving, which is an essential skill in day to day living and more. But what happens when a person possesses a high level of ability in another dimension of thought that has yet to be recognised?

Nothing reveals more than time itself.

Given that we are trying to make the best out of our current pool of knowledge, the current IQ test would remain the most accepted method of gauging someone’s intelligence until a better represented method of assessment comes along. Those ahead of their time would on and off remain hidden under the radar. But having said that, one must be aware that it doesn’t take a genius to succeed in life. Better equipped at the starting point maybe, but nothing would work until you make something out of it.

A man, no matter how brilliant of a mind he has, is no genius until he sees that capability within himself.

But for all those who has, follow through with your ambitions. Let not the shortcomings of others dampen the light you see in yourself. Have pride in your beliefs for there is no greater satisfaction nor motivation when you get to stand back and admire your piece of work, regardless of how minute someone else may put it to be. There are days where we all would feel the entire world is against us; where it is just you against everyone else. I believe it is good to keep an open mind, and anticipate that one still has room for improvement no matter how much faith you have in yourself. Faith, when paired with determination and perseverance, is a powerful combination. You dream for you believe you could; you strive for you believe you should.

A humble bow to the invisible heroes.

”One’s dignity may be assaulted, vandalised, and cruelly mocked, but it cannot be taken away unless it is surrendered” – Michael J. Fox

p.s. Happy Birthday lil’ bro of mine!

Tales from the table

May 6, 2007

Ah Saturday!

Since the start of this week, I told myself for goodness sake please tidy up my desk. It’s riddled with papers and tiny handbooks and snacks and what not. But somehow I get by each day not even the least bit bothered by how messy and disorganised it is; then again this is not the first week I kept reminding myself to clear it either hah!

It’s now cluttered to the point where the area of the exposed wood of the table is really scant. Papers are everywhere, cables strewn everywhere, and bits of chocolate-wrap foil shining through. Pig.

It’s no fun clearing up the table myself, so I thought I’d turn it into some kind of entertainment. This is gonna be some junk-by-junk analysis of the task. On with the show!

1. Old phone bill which is already mashed up beyond recognition. Trash.

2. Okie, my scrunched up phone bill has just bounced outta my trash bin. Time to empty the trash.

3. A copy of customer’s satisfaction survey from some car dealer. Has the usual stuff like “How did you obtain your new car?”, “How satisfied were you with the salesperson?”, etc etc. I thought since I have no intent of entertaining it and am about to trash it anyway so why don’t i make a mock reply instead for my own amusement.

Q. How did you obtain your new car? I walked in and told them I have a bomb.

Q. How satisfied were you with the service? Very, I got a car at no cost. Plus the staff kept urging me to take the car as soon as possible and don’t bother with payment.

Q.  Would you recommend us to your family and friends? Sure, but they’d have to bring their own bomb. I dropped the one I was carrying earlier into a puddle of water and the paint got washed off the styrofoam.

Q. Overall, how satisfied were you with your experience in purchasing and taking delivery of your new car? Pretty good. Next time please peel the price tag off the car for me thanks.

Hahahahah!! Oops. I should get back to what I was doing.

4. My stack of course modules. I’ll put them aside for later.

5. A letter from some insurance company offering cover for medical professionals. I’ll worry about covering my arse later.

6. A little small notebook that I used to jot down important notes during lectures/classes/etc. Flipped the pages and saw a myriad of stuffs. Some pages with good handwriting (must be the days where I thought I could save the world), bad handwriting (the days where I resign to letting someone else save the world instead), and lotsa cartoons that I have drawn. I realised that half of the drawings that I have were actually poking fun at my tutors/lecturers. I must be really bored then.

7. A thick handout that I have printed regarding a variety of skin disorders that I was supposed to read about but have yet to. How does one know if I had read through a handout or not? Simple – this handout has yet to be artistically defaced by my doodlings.

8. Found a strip of funny pig stickers. I meant to paste some on my ID badge and stethescope except my patients may not take me seriously.

9. My mobile phone charger with the cable all wrapped up around it. I grabbed it quickly and suddenly my desk phone came flying towards me. The charger cable got tangled with my phone coil. Lesson learnt here. Primary prevention: Must keep cables neat and tidy. Secondary prevention: Don’t pull at anything with cables too quickly, you’ll never guess what may come flying after.

10. I found a toy car! It’s a free gift with a meal set from McDonalds. It’s been parked under my stack of papers.

11. Hmm…a small packet of spare buttons. It definitely came together with one of the shirts that I bought. Stared at the buttons for 3 minutes and still doesn’t ring a bell to which shirt it belongs to.

12. A container filled with banana snacks. Looks weird, tastes weirder. I’ll clear it later.

13. I found this really nice desktop calendar. Each page has a specific type of flower to accompany each virtue it describes. Just what I needed.

14. Ehh…the calendar is actually for the year 2005. But I think the pictures are nice so I’ll keep it on my desktop.

15. This stack of blank recordable DVDs that I bought just a few months ago. My laptop’s hard drive was lacking space due to the massive amount of memory space used to store my anime so I thought it’d be a good idea to cram all the episodes into DVDs. I kept putting off burning the episodes onto DVDs as I was too lazy to wait around for it to be done, so the idea is always re-queued at the back of my head each time. One day I bought this new computer game and was so eager to free some space to install it that in my haste I deleted all my anime episodes. I thought OH CRAP there goes my anime, but I consoled myself saying that I could always re-download the episodes and burn them on DVD. Being the anime fan that I am, I re-downloaded the entire series…THEN I realised that my CD-ROM is NOT a DVD burner. What an idiot.

16.  More papers. Some of them dated back to my first year of uni. I’m seriously lacking space to keep them all in so I think I’ll take them out and dump them all into the recycling bin.

17. Oh gawd, one mini ball of tangled and knotted cables. I didn’t realise my USB mouse cable is entangled with my headset’s dual lines, which is tangled up with my webcam cable, which is  further entangled with my power cord and also my cable for the external CD-ROM. To untangle I’d have to unplug everything, which is a hassle at the moment. I’m gonna take the Zen approach and let it be. Inner calmness is the key. To be honest I’m just plain lazy.

18. My mug. Suddenly I have this craving for a mug of hot milk tea. It’s raining outside and it’s fairly chilly tonight. I think I should just make myself a nice cup of hot drink and go hide under the blanket. Sounds good.

Well at least I could see more of the wood finishing showing through now that my desk is half cleared. I thought, since I intend to do some paperwork tomorrow anyway so it’s bound to get untidy again. So for practical reasons (really?) I’m leaving my desk as it is for now. Feels great to revert back to doing nothing but relaxing on a weekday, hah.

‘Hard work pays off in the future, laziness pays off now’- Anonymous

“Good day Mr. Sunshine*, now you need to have an IV (intraveneous) drip put in and this medical student needs some practice…” 

There is always a split second of uncertainty before the patient semi-reluctantly utters “okay”. Either that or I’m delusional. 

Don’t get me wrong. Not all patients are like that. Some are more than happy and in fact very inviting for us medical students to have a stab (hoho pardon the pun) at putting an IV drip/doing a cannulation for the patient. Some just inhaled sharply by reflex and shook their heads vigorously. Some just look at you blankly. 

Bit of background info: The purpose of an IV line is to create an open communication to the patient’s blood vessel (vein in this case) for the purpose of infusing either fluids, medications (some drugs are only meant to be administered intravenously as they could be inactivated by the liver/stomach post-ingestion hence needing to bypass the digestive system), or blood products (transfusions).  IV infusions are also used when fluids/medications are urgently needed as the IV provides a direct access to the body’s circulation. Okies that’s the lil’ bit of info. 

 I’m currently in a pretty busy ward and have the good fortune of practicing doing a few IV insertions (usually the interns does them, but they’re always happy to let medical students have a go…that takes one mini item off their humongous to-do list) these past few days. Not every patient is the same of course; some pleasant, some not so pleasant. To be honest, I don’t blame the latter because…well being in the hospital is not pleasant to begin with, ya? 

Let me recap the scenarios on my recent attempts. Some are the usual, some are funny at first sight, some are not funny till you have a think about it when you get home, while some are definitely not funny at all. 

 Patient 1: Mr. Sunshine* 

Mr. Sunshine’s an elderly Italian gentleman who was sitting by the room window admiring the sunshine outside when I knocked his door. He seemed really nice and understood that I’m a med student who’s gonna put in his IV line for him. He speaks mainly Italian and luckily we got by with basic English. This was my first attempt in quite some time so I was a lil’ bit anxious and the Mr. Sunshine was reassuring me on and off (I thought I’m the one who’s supposed to reassure the patient, hah!).  I needed two tries before I finally manage to secure a patent IV line on Mr. Sunshine. At the end of it all, he was genuinely happy for me and even did a little clap. I thanked him for bearing with my inexperience, and suddenly he leapt out of his bed and beckoned me to look out of the window. “Look, look!” he said. I looked. All I see were random houses and trees.  “No..look look, big tree!”. I peered out of the window again and yes indeed there was a hulking tree roughly a few miles away. I looked at him and said “Oooh big tree…” He beamed and pointed to himself. “My house!”  I did a double take at the tree. After a few “my house” and “big tree” turns out that he was happily showing me his house, which is not visible from the window except for that huge tree in their backyard. I patted his shoulder and grinned. “Nice house”. 

 The following day a staff member informed me that the cannula (drip line) I used was a tad too small. It was actually meant for paediatric patients. Oops.  At least I now know he is a proud owner of this sprightly tree in his backyard. 

 Patient 2: Mr. Now You See It Now You Don’t*  

 This patient is interesting. He was curled up in his bed when I approached him with the trolley full of IV equipments and asked for his consent to put a drip line in. He agreed and laid on his back while I set up the materials. I took a few minutes to prepare the antiseptic swabs, cannula, etc and then promptly pulling the blanket away from his arms so I could find a suitable vein. Then it struck me.   

The patient has Parkinson’s disease, which means he has a tremor.   I did not notice at first as both of his arms were under the blanket when I first arrived. It was when I went inspecting his arms that’s when I notice the tremor (and it is pretty noticeable too). I put on my gloves and took a deep breath. Alrighty, just do it.  Tourniquet (the adjustable band that goes around the arm) on, my left hand held his arm down firmly while my right hand was hovering over his vein with the cannulation needle. The only equivalent that I could think of to describe how it was then was to imagine trying to insert a needle into someone’s vein while the both of you are inside this car along a road riddled full with pebbles and rocks. The vision is bumpy and soon I had to stop to laugh cause I realized my head’s starting to bob a little in sync with his tremor.  

 Ah, the attempt was successful. The best part is, I was focusing so hard on the procedure that I didn’t realize the patient has fallen asleep throughout it all. You could stick a needle through this guy and he’d be snoring away. What a hero. 

  Patient 3: Mr. Moody*

I didn’t think too much about it. I just wheeled the trolley right to the patient’s cubicle and set up the stuffs. Just as I was a bout to draw the curtains around the bed, a nurse poked his head between the curtains and said this: 

“Let me know if you need help holding him down.” 

 Beautiful. I certainly didn’t expect that. I soon found out that the reason why I had to put in a new IV drip for him is because in an agitated and volatile state that morning Mr. Moody became something akin to the Incredible Hulk and ripped off his IV lines. Well, work still needs to be done so the show must go on.  Mr. Moody seemed alright when I explained to him that I need to put an IV access line on him. Unfortunately, his patience and courtesy deteriorated after two non-patent lines (in other words, failed attempts) and he started muttering something in Greek (he’s Greek) in a not so pleasant tone. I actually intended to give it another go when the image of the Incredible Hulk flashed through my mind and I thought okie I tried, now lemme go get someone more senior and experienced to take over.    

 I grabbed the intern and told him sorry nope can’t seem to get the line in and I would appreciate it if he would show me how he does it. The intern spent some time telling/advising/coaxing/pleading with the patient not to yank it out again this time round. Patient agreed and the intern prepared himself for the procedure. He whipped on his gloves and voila, like a seasoned pro he gets it right on the first try.   

 “Nice try man”, I beamed. The intern smiled back and modestly waved and went “Aw no you’ll learn the trick after some getting used to and practice”.  We were both clearing the trolley and heading back to the unit office when a nurse came to inform that Mr. Moody would be changed from IV medications to oral tablets.    

 The intern and I looked at each other and we both sighed.

*names have been obviously changed to protect patient’s privacy