Two Choices

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Around the corner, I heard a soft, but labored, panting.

Curious, I walked into my patient’s room to find him breathing rapidly.  I took his vital signs: blood pressure was a little high, pulse ok, temperature ok.  His respirations were fast, but his oxygen saturation was 100%.

Normally, when I call a doctor to report a patient’s worsening condition, I’m ahead of the game.  If my patient’s short of breath, I hook them up to oxygen.  If they have ‘as needed’ medications available, I give them. If he’s aspirating (choking on fluids), I raise the
head of the bed, I shove a yankauer in their mouth and suction the crap
out.

But this time, I was empty handed.  Continue reading

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First Day on the New Job

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Spring in Boston. 2017.

April 2017

Tucked into the front pocket of my scrubs, I carried a fresh, blank notebook and pen for scribbling notes and responsibilities.

“Welcome,” my coworkers greeted.  “Glad to have you here.”

“Thanks, I’m happy to be here.” But hiding behind my toothy smile, my knees were shaking, like a new student on the first day of class. Continue reading

The Reason Behind My (Blogging) Absence

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Spring 2016. BIG news, the beginning of a new season of our lives…

A few quotes from my patients over the course of the last several months…

patient #1: “Whoa. You’re finally gaining some weight. You look good, stay this way!”

patient #2: “Aiyah.. Your face got fat!”

patient #3: “Look at you.. now did you swallow a watermelon or what?” Continue reading

Flinging Gloves

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Remembering & Looking Forward. (Hong Kong, 2013)

After hearing some news today, I felt like flinging my gloves in the trash.

Not in an angry manner, but in a different way…

*sigh*

~ ~  ~

August 4, 2005

“I can’t find a pulse…” he said, with urgency in his voice.  The nurse was scrambling around the bedside trying to get the patient to respond.

“YOU NEED TO START CPR, it doesn’t matter Continue reading

The Secret

September 12, 2012

“Once you decide on your occupation…you must immerse yourself in your work.

You have to fall in love with your work. Never complain about your job.

You must dedicate your life to mastering your skill.

That’s the secret of success… and is the key to being regarded honorably.”

– Jiro Ono

The greatest sushi chef in the world, Jiro, in Jiro Dreams of Sushi, works relentlessly to master his skill.  Everyday, for the past 70 years, he has committed to making sushi that tastes better than the sushi he made the day before.

How much of my own life have I dedicated to mastering my skill?

For 12 years, I played piano.  Continue reading

When Little Buds Bloom

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Bern, Switzerland ~ May 2015

“Is it going to hurt?” she asked.

“Mmm… it is a needle,” I answered. I like to keep things real, especially when it comes to pain. “But you can think of others things.”

“Like Hawaii,” her little sister pitched, as she watched me near her big sister on the exam table.

“Ahh.. yesss.. like Hawaii,” I affirmed. Funny how she’d suggest that, while we were in the dead of winter. I lifted her sleeve to get ready to give the vaccine.

“You’ve been to Hawaii,” she chipped in.

I gasped. Continue reading

Autumn’s Concierto

IMG_2078It’s supposed to snow tomorrow, but oh, how I have autumn written on my heart! Christmas just passed, and autumn has come and long gone, yet I never had a chance to write about it.

This year was the first time I realized that autumn has its own soundtrack.  During my lunch breaks, I circled around the park, listening to the seasons change. When the wind blew, I imagined a conductor lifting his arms, inhaling with a large gesture, and signaling the orchestra to play. There was a dissonance, as the wind carried certain branches in one direction, and other branches in an opposing direction- they were flutes, clarinets, oboes, playing different notes on a minor chord. Then when the conductor cued all the leaves, collectively, to play at the same time, the rustling was like the string section of an orchestra. The violins played a somber melody. (Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks autumn sounds like violins, so did this famous French poet!) When the wind rushed quickly past my ears, I heard ringing like the hollow sounds of a vibraphone. Continue reading