Monday, March 9, 2009


Saturday night I saw the highly anticipated movie Watchmen. I really enjoyed it.  Not everyone I went with felt the same way though.

Here are the few cons I have heard from people so far. Its about 2 hours and 45 minutes long. The movie is also all over the place as it tries to tell its story through an interweaving path of past and present using retrospective flashbacks.  

Before I mention all the things I liked I just wanted to point out that this movie is based on a graphic comic strip series/novel.  Zack Snyder, who also directed another graphic novel known to everyone as 300, supposedly used the comics as his bible for making this flick. He did the best job he could to interest your average movie-goer, while still trying to satisfy the comic afficionado that will be sure to knit-pic every detail of the movie.  Synder also made sure he didn't pull any punches with blood and gore.  The comic was filled with fighting, blood, and that's how the movie goes as well.  The action sequences are amazing, filmed with that 300 and Matrix style of mixing stop-action photography with real-time frames to make even the smallest detail of the fight choreography seen by the audience.  

As for the long running time, I can see how some people could get a little agitated after sitting in the same place for so long, but for me the time flew by. The beginning starts a little slow for a few minutes as they introduce the characters and some of the back story, but they make up for it.

 I really love talking about it, but I definitely don't want to give anything away for those who have not seen it. I will just say that I like that they are able to make a super-hero movie that is a little different than the rest. Are they heroes? Are they vigilantes?  I can promise you one thing though, the movie will not go to where you think it is taking you.  

Will it win an Oscar? Not in one of the major categories, but it definitely is a visual and auditory cinematic experience to see.  Enjoy!

How Can You Say Scientific and Medical Progress Is a Distraction?

Parkinson's Disease. Diabetes. Cancer. Spinal Cord Injuries and Paralysis. These are some of the most debilitating and prevalent diseases of our time.  They are also some of the disease or injuries that could possibly be reversed or even wiped out if stem cell research progresses as we hope.  Now there are no promises, but without trial there can be no success.  Some of the greatest medical discoveries ever, such as penicillin, were discovered by accident or by tinkering towards another goal. 

What am I babbling about? Today President Obama overturned President Bush's law that limited stem cell research to only the 60 embryonic stem cell lines that were currently available. This was never enough.......not nearly enough.  Now I know the theological and ideological argument about using and creating embryonic stem cells for research. I can appreciate the argument against it, the same way I can appreciate someone's pro-life arguments. For me though, it's all about the science.  

My grandfather Morton was one of the biggest influences in my life. I look like him, I got my humor from him, and to this day he still inspires me.  Unfortunately, Morton was taken from us WAY too early by complications from Hepatitis C. What he really needed to keep him around was a new liver. With a SEVERE shortage of livers to be transplanted, lets just say a 70+ year old male was not high on the national list. What if we could just have grown him one?  And that's just one example of my own personal family experiences with such diseases.  With almost 24 million Americans with diabetes, 1.5 million Americans with Parkinson's Disease, and almost a half of million US deaths from Cancer alone just last year, we NEED this! And this is just the US!

Is stem cell research the answer?? I don't know that yet.  I do know that some amazing things have already been done with stem cells that nobody thought was possible.......see my previous post. If you could keep a loved one healthy, if you could keep Alzheimer's from degrading someone's mind to the point of being unable to recognize their own child or spouse, if you could give back the power to walk to someone who feels trapped by a wheelchair..........wouldn't you?

I know the issue is about it being embryonic stem cells and not just stem cells in general, but for now this is our best chance for such advances. So if you are just totally against this, then there is nothing I can do and I hope for everyone's sake that you never find yourself in one of those horrific positions that might change your mind.  However, to Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia who said, "Why are we going and distracting ourselves from the economy? Let's focus on what needs to be done"................I say we are trying, stop trying to get in the way.  You know what's distracting...... death and disease and losing the ones we love. Look around man, nobody is saying the economy is stable or secure and that it should be ignored. In fact, it's safe to say IT IS our national #1 priority.  But since the economy and money seems to be the only thing on your mind Mr. Cantor......this act will even bring new jobs as well. 

Friday, March 6, 2009

Finally, Doctor on the Rise!

Nope, not a physician yet. I still have two years (plus a few months) before I can throw the D.O. behind my name and start to actually be considered a doctor. However, this semester has definitely made me feel better about the path chosen.......that there might actually be a light at the end of the tunnel, one that leads me out of the classroom and library and into the hospital.  

The first great experience this semester was the autopsy. We did not get to actually perform one, as most of them are government/county positions, but we did get to watch four or five performed.  It's not pretty. In fact, it's actually pretty gruesome. I have colleagues who claim to have the most steel-lined of stomachs who had to take a few moments and head outside. It could be the smell, it could be the way the bodies are cut up to find the pathology behind the death, or it could be that they had loved ones who had to go through the same thing. All valid reasons to be a little queasy. For me though, it just made things seem all the more real. You hear about all the ways that people can be killed, or kill themselves, but when it's posted on CNN or heard on the radio it seems very removed.  We saw deaths from motor vehicle accidents, drug/alcohol overdose, suicide, and many more. Please careful, be doesn't make you lame.

The next experience was the trigger point lab.  A trigger point is a hyper-irritable place on the body, related to the musculoskeletal system, that usually manifests as a palpable nodule made up of taut muscle fibers. A trigger point injection is usually a combination of an anesthetic and steroid that lasts in the body for about 3 months or so.  Now I have a lot of experience giving shots when I was a medical assistant, but this is slightly different. You have to give about 4 or 5 injections, all around this trigger point, without taking the needle back out of the body. So the key is to take it out of the muscle, but still leave it in the skin.  This was no big deal with the huge lumbar back muscles, but when you have to do it into the muscle or ligaments around an ankle or elbow joint things get a little more tricky. However, musculoskeletal pain is so prominent that this will be a great tool to have in the 'ole doctor arsenal. 

The most recent experience was getting to draw some blood from my fellow classmate. Phlebotomy is something that I, and I am sure most people, take for granted. Nobody likes giving blood, but when you go to the doctor to do so, you never really think about what is involved. Most of the lab technicians, medical assistants, or physicians are quite good at it, but most people have had that one experience where they cannot find a vein and you get stuck multiple times. I was able to get it on the first stick on my partner, but he had some very prominent veins to use. It is going to be a scary experience that first time I have to do it on a hospital patient who is extreme pain or discomfort or a someone whose veins are hard to find.

The best experience of all though is when we go to IGC. It stands for something silly, but basically it is when we go shadow a doctor once a week. Depending on who your doctor is, you might get to do most of the patient exams. And my doctor is the shit. He basically hands me a chart and I get to do everything from the exam, to the diagnosis, and even start writing the prescriptions. Sure he checks my work and makes any changes he needs to, but when those patients leave the office, they tend to thank me as much as the doctor himself. That feels good.

So starting in July, I get to start rotations. This will be a month or two in each of many specialties in medicine including: Internal, Pediatrics, Family Med, ER, Surgery, Psych, Rural med, OB/GYN, etc.  I might even get to work at a prison for a month or so. This is when the real education will start.  I will keep yall updated about stuff, like delivering my first baby. Well, not MY baby.......oh you get it.