Blog Archives

PAX Medical Trip to Dominican Republic

For the record, I absolutely hate soliciting people for money. Things are difficult enough as it is, and I know money’s tight, but since we are rather short on our goal, I thought I’d put this out there…

If you have anything at all to spare, please consider donating to PAX! Every dollar helps!
If you do so happen to donate, please write that it’s to benefit Farrah. (We’re each supposed to raise at least $100, but I’m definitely trying for more.) The money donated doesn’t actually go to me since I’m paying my own way there, but we’re using the money we raise to buy medications + supplies for the people we’ll be treating there.

This was us at last year’s international festival!

Our biggest fundraiser (aka International Festival) has yet to happen, and I’m planning on hustling a billion different businesses tomorrow, but it’s kinda difficult since it’s such a small town and every time the school has an event, we’re dispersed throughout the community to solicit for donations. I feel terrible about it. Publicizing events isn’t as much of a problem (to me) because at least they get something in return, but straight-up donations? sigh. :[ I fully intend on trying to convince everyone at my church/chorale/places I volunteer for to come to the International Festival (at least with that, I can promise them awesome food and performances?).

I’m pretty excited for this year because we’re making our own costumes! I taught a Tahitian/hula medley of sorts this year, so we’re going with a sort of hybrid Tahitian/hula costume. I ordered all the material yesterday night and am crossing all my limbs in hopes that it’ll come in this weekend, so I can get to work on em’! (In all the spare time that I have. hah, hah, hah.)


women in medicine

Our school often has lunch lectures/talks where we get fed and learn something that’s not necessarily required/included in our curriculum. About a week and a half ago, one of my favorite professors gave a lecture on “Women in Medicine.”

Here are a couple highlights that jumped out at me:

  • In the 17th century, society (aka men) thought that female brains were too “soft + cold” to think.
  • In the 18th century, they thought female craniums were too small to give us the capacity to think.
  • In the 19th century, they believed that exercise would “cause our brains to atrophy.”

I’d like to think we’ve come a long way, but there’s always room for improvement, especially because this was pretty upsetting to me.

On a related note, I think Agnodice was a total badass. She was apparently the first female Athenian physician and attended medical school disguised as a man. She practiced for a while still disguised as a man, but revealed her gender to a patient who refused a male physician and became a really popular physician for all the women in the city. The city got suspicious about her popularity (they thought “he” was seducing “his” patients), but she ended up getting into even more trouble when they found out she wasn’t actually a man (apparently, it was more acceptable to seduce your patients than to be a woman). They wanted to execute her, but the women of the city came to her trial to praise her awesomeness as a physician and yell at their husbands for being stupid. They ended up letting her go (and changed their laws to allow females to be phsyicians :).

Other food for thought–if you ever have spare time, Something The Lord Made is a great film. They don’t go into as much detail about how amazing Helen Taussig is in there, but she’s basically the founder of pediatric cardiology and developed the procedure to help extend the lives of babies with Tetralogy of Fallot (right to left shunt! pulmonary stenosis! overriding aorta! ventricular septal defect! right ventricular hypertrophy!).


This is all I have for today.


Once upon a time last week, I went out to dinner to celebrate my friend’s 1-week return. We had sushi and it was awesome, and I caught up with a bunch of people that I hadn’t seen in a year or so.

Half of us also got struck down by pretty effing severe food poisoning.

Hooray for Shigella.

(I mean this with all the sarcasm I can muster.)

On Monday night, I started getting a severe, stabbing headache, but thought perhaps that I was just dehydrated. I was also hit by a sense of overwhelming fatigue and full-body aches, but I mistakenly thought that was because I’d done a double workout that day. That night, however, I was so tired, I couldn’t even convince myself to walk up the stairs to sleep in my own bed, so I instead passed out on the couch downstairs, where I remained for 11 hours.

I woke up in the morning to drink a bunch of coconut water/water in an attempt to combat the dehydration I thought I had, then went to take a shower and started feeling slightly better, except that no matter what I did, I just felt cold. My cat sensed that all was not well and climbed on top of me to lay on me, so I decided to try to go back to sleep. Despite my 14-pound cat (yes, she’s tubby. no, I can’t get my mom to stop feeding her treats), 2 blankets, and a bunch of clothes, I couldn’t stop shivering.

I’ll spare you the more sordid details, but I basically spent the day lying in bed with a 103.3 degree fever with the worst recurring headache of my life. It was horrible, but while we’re at it, here’s a lesson on Shigella!

  • Spread = fecal-oral – can be from infected food handlers, contaminated vegetables harvested from a field with sewage in it, contaminated water…(it makes me sick to think about this ._.)
  • More common in the summer than the winter
  • Symptoms include fever, stomach cramps, often bloody diarrhea
  • Usually treated with antibiotics, but they may be resistant
  • Try your best to prevent dehydration (most common complication)


What do you value about EXB?

Last year, for some unbeknownst reason, Davis decided to temporarily suspend EXB (Exercise Biology) as a major. I am fully aware that I’m completely biased, seeing as how that was one of my majors, but [to me]  it was quite possibly one of the stupidest decisions the school has ever made.

EXB changed my life, and I’m very sure that I’m not the only one. I loved almost all the EXB courses I took (with the exception of biomechanics, but that was due to the fact that I hadn’t taken the prerequisite or the recommended co-requisite yet due to my quarterly attempts at academic suicide), and I still carry the things that I learned from those classes with me today. My decision to change my original major to EXB was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The teaching and instruction that I received from the amazing professors in that department remain unparalleled, and I’ve taken a crap ton of classes (105 different classes in my four years of undergrad alone >_> let’s not factor in grad school and med school), so I really think that’s saying something. It’s 1/2 of how I started exercising regularly (so I wouldn’t be a disgrace to my major, and also because my ex offered to be my free personal trainer, so why the hell not).

I’m actually lying about not having a clue as to why they suspended it as a major. Word on the street was that people thought it was “just another premed major, and the school already had enough of those.” Seeing as how I’m a poster child for that very reasoning because I’m currently in med school, I can’t argue against the fact that it is indeed an amazing major to be under if med school is indeed your goal, but it’s also produced a whole ton of dentists, pharmacists, physical therapists, athletic trainers, personal trainers, physician assistants, nurses…(I could go on, but I’ll stop there.)

Please don’t take that major away. :[ It’s honestly one of the most unique majors in the school (with the funnest, most informative and applicable classes, I might add).

Loosely related, but I helped out at a women’s health fair the other day and while I was there, I decided to check out what my bone density was. (I also got to see just how sun-damaged my face had gotten. Apparently, it’s not nearly as terrible as I thought. Mayhaps all those years of my parents telling me to keep my face out of the sun so I wouldn’t get any more freckles/get any uglier weren’t all for naught after all.) Anyway, back to bones. Once upon a time (senior year of undergrad), Dr. Shaffrath called me out in the middle of EXB 117 to say that I was an awesome human being. (I still wish I’d recorded that lecture, because I’m pretty sure it’d cheer me up even on my worst days.)

His reasons for doing so were because I’d somewhat recently volunteered to be the test subject for the hypothermia lab (it is just as it sounds; I basically submerged all but my head in a tank of cold water for an hour so we could monitor how my body responded to it vs. someone who exercised on a cycle ergometer next to me in the same tank). Usually, shivering is the beginning of the end and once you start doing that, you’re done for if you stay in said conditions for too much longer. But! We discovered that I was at the perfect body fat:muscle ratio that my shivering actually managed to raise my core body temperature. Pretty sweet. (Super-fun labs, didn’t I tell you? It’s been 3.5 years but I still remember all that pretty effing clearly.)

I’m really bringing this all up to preface my bone density results. I did a presentation in Cantonese for PHAC that year too, to educate the public (e.g. our patients) about osteoporosis. As an Asian female with a fairly small frame, a family history of osteoporosis (although I think it’s due in part to the fact that she’s sedentary/had to take corticosteroids for a while) and possible low calcium intake (I may be lactose intolerant, and I haven’t been eating/drinking much stuff with Ca lately), I have several risk factors for osteoporosis.

But hooray for weight-bearing activity, right? Your calcium stores peak at around the age of 25, so start building em’ so you’ll have farther to fall (especially if you’re female)!

I guess 0.9 isn’t too shabby. (My friend was at 1.5, so I’m really curious as to what she does. Mayhaps I should increase my calcium intake and start kicking telephone poles.)

  • 0 to -1: normal bone density
  • -1 to -2.5: osteopenia (early osteoporosis)
  • -2.5 or less: osteoporosis

So this is my public service announcement to everyone:

  • Prevention is key!
  • Make sure you get adequate calcium + vitamin D.
    Up to 1 yo: 210-270 mg
    1-3 yo: 500 mg
    4-8 yo: 800 mg
    9-18 yo: 1300 mg
    19-50 yo: 1000 mg
    51+: 1200 mg
    Vitamin D
    400-1000 IU/day for adults (it’s safe for anyone older than 1 yo to take up to 2000 IU/day)
  • Weight-bearing activity!
  • Don’t smoke!