Monday, July 9, 2007

i need voice recognition software... i don't have to type this stuff. i think that's why i suck at updating. it takes me way too freaking long to type.

where were we?

back to thursday, june 14 ...

i had to go to work at the butt crack of dawn to attend a medical board meeting. the doctors that work here are as a rule, pretty much brilliant. the problem is that some of them are super nice and down to earth, and others have egos the size of china. i spent most of the day shadowing with a dietician in the PICU (pediatric intensive care unit) and CVICU (cardiovascular intensive care unit). it was a pretty heavy day seeing the sickest kids in the hospital. i had the "opportunity" to go on rounds in the unit. i say opportunity in quotation marks because it was pretty much just a painful experience. rounds were so incredibly boring. booooooring. maybe if i was an attending or a resident, it would be more exciting, but i was pretty much bored. one kid must have been a giant wrestling fan because he had about five zillion john cena posters in his room. i learned more about this kid in radiology, but i'll get to that later.

anyhoo, i left work early that day because my aunt from san diego and her family were coming into town for my great uncle's funeral. it was also my cousin julia's 11th birthday. her FABULOUS birthday present cake was a huge hit, if i do say so myself. after the mini-celebration, we went to my great uncle's viewing. i hadn't seen a lot of my relatives in four to eight years, so it was pretty crazy. my family is HUGE, and EVERYONE knows me. i may or may not know them. i had at least ten people come up to me and give me a hug and say "do you remember me?" i replied with a smile while lying through my teeth saying "of course! it's been forever! how are you?!?" it was good though. all of my (used to be little) cousins are super tall and grown up, and all of my aunts and uncles are getting old...or at least they look a lot older than i remember. despite the fact that it was a sad occassion, it was good to see everyone.

friday, june 15

i took the day off for the funeral. i woke up in the morning to everyone getting ready to head to the funeral. i was a little slow to move though because i was driving separately and would arrive late. i had to pick up my mom at the airport. the two girls (julia and katherine) were trying to find shoes to wear. turns out that the two of them (who are both 11), my mom, my aunt, my grandmother, and myself all wear the same size shoe. they quickly became obsessed with my extensive show collection but were somewhat afraid of all my pumps. they tried to walk in them and it was quite hilarious. anyways, after they left, i finally had the chance to get ready and went to pick up my mom at the airport. we drove straight to the cemetery. the cemetery that my great uncle was being buried at includes a list of a lot of members of my family--my grandmother, my first cousin, my mom's first cousin, a great uncle (my grandma's brother), my grandmother's sister, and now my grandmother's sister's husband. while my mom and i didn't catch any of the ceremonial stuff, everyone was still there when we got there. my mom got to say hello to all the family, then my mom's immediate family went to my grandmother's gravesite. everyone was there, with the exception of my brother. this includes my mom and i, my grandfather, and my mom's two sisters and brother and their spouses and children.

a little background info before i tell this story--my grandmother passed away when i was nine. shortly after, my grandfather got remarried to my grandma bing. well, my grandma (my mom's real mom) was buried in a double gravesite with half the plaque empty for what was expected to be my grandfather.

ok, back to the story--we all gathered around my grandma's grave (note: my grandma bing wasn't present at the time, she had to babysit her other grandchildren) to say a prayer. as we were standing there, my mom's sister asked if my grandpa wanted to be buried next to my grandma julie, since there was a spot for him there or if he wanted to be buried with bing and what to do. i was shocked. i mean, it is a valid question and something i hadn't really thought about it before, but that is a seriously touchy subject. i thought it was pretty strange.

after that, we went to my first cousin's gravesite on the other side of the cemetery. i have another girl cousin (andrea) who died when she was 22 days old in the same year that my grandmother passed away. andrea's lungs weren't fully attached and she had to undergo numerous surgeries right after she was born, and she didn't make it.

after visiting andrea, we went over to a restaurant called world gourmet where the reception for the funeral was being held. holy coolest place ever. this restaurant was probably the biggest asian food buffet i've ever been to and it had a huge variety and TONS of great food. it was amazing. after all, what is any kind of filipino gathering without lots of good food?

that afternoon i took my two other girl cousins (katherine and julia) to get manis and pedis for their 11th birthdays (which are exactly two weeks apart). we drove around forever trying to find a place that had the good massage chairs (cause you just can't get a pedi without the good massage chairs) and a short wait. eventually we found a place that did an okay job. i'm not going back there, but it served it's purpose for the occassion.

when we got back, my mom and her sisters and i went over to my mom's cousin's house for a smaller get together. all the kids (by kids, i mean everyone in my generation and their kids) went to boomer's. i had a good time--it was fun hanging out and catching up with my cousins that i haven't seen in a while. we grew up together and haven't been close lately, so it was nice to reconnect. by the time we got back to my uncle's house, my mom and her sisters went home, so i had to hitch a ride with another aunt, one of my mom's cousins. she drove, and a great uncle sat in the front. i was stuffed in the back seat with three great aunts. we had a BLAST. they're all old filipinos that are super funny. they were cracking jokes in tagalog. i was proud of myself for how much i understood. my auntie remy was the funniest--she was all like "oh, nina and i are so sexy we fit in one seat" in her thick tagalog accent. i pretty much died laughing the whole way home, which was about 45 minutes.

well, i got two more days in at least. i'll work on updating more later! paz.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

"ruff," just the way your mother likes it, trebek.

oh celebrity jeopardy. makes me laugh every time. speaking of making me laugh, I heard a new blonde joke recently that I though was pretty entertaining.

how do blonde brain cells die?


haha! so anyhoo, the whole celebrity jeopardy thing was just me being sidetracked from trying to tell you that things have been pretty rough around here lately. basically, my life has been totally nutso since i last updated this thing. i do believe it’s been about 18 days. that probably means that this may very well be the longest blog in the history of mankind, so i apologize in advance. i'll try to keep it mildly interesting. where do i begin?

saturday, june 9 (man, that seems like a gazillion years ago)

i decided i was going to go to work for a few hours. on a saturday. wtf? i mean really. who just decides to go to work on a saturday voluntarily? i think i was on crack. i think i've mentioned previously that there is an amazing shopping center right across the street from the hospital. i decided to stop in a find a cute new shirt to a party i was going to in the afternoon. i did find a cute new shirt, and the best part of it all is that i found the SICKEST new pair of shoes. some cute, cute, cute coach flats. they're normally really expensive, but they happen to only have one pair left and so they were on super clearance -- 75% off. the only pair left. super cute shoes. good brand. MY SIZE! i do believe it was my lucky day. after my short little shopping excursion, i had a renewed sense of spirit. it's amazing what bargain shopping can do for the soul. i headed back to the car and couldn't find the keys anywhere. i freaked, thinking that maybe i left them in the car. when i got to the car (which was still there, thank god) it was unlocked. well, shit. i searched everywhere for the keys and at that point i was starting to panic. how the hell was i going to explain to my aunt and uncle that they keys to their very nice, very expensive convertible jag were lost? i quickly decided that i had to backtrace and visit all the stores i went to to see if anyone turned in my keys. first, i called mall security. no keys turned in. great. i started from the beginning and went to the first place i visited. i must have had a really panicked look on my face, because as soon as i went in, the girl who helped me asked immediately if i left my keys there earlier. i hadn't been more relieved in a long, long time. she saved the day. the whole situation kind of reminded me of when i lost my car keys in high school (electronic keys and keyless entries are ridiculously expensive, just FYI). the funny thing about that was that i only had one keychain on it. the keychain said "keys i haven't lost yet." somebody in my hometown has these keys hanging on their bulletin board somewhere thinking that it's the funniest effing thing they've ever seen. anyways, moving on with the day...i went in to the office and it was deader than a doorknob. (btw, where the hell did that phrase come from? it really doesn't make much sense.) it was so quiet it was almost surreal. i worked for a few hours, then met up with my aunt and uncle and cousins to head to a graduation party. this graduation party was for a family friend from back in the day. when i was in elementary school or middle school (can't remember which), i went to a family camp with my aunt and uncle. my best friend at camp's little sister is the person who was graduating from high school and had this party. it's so crazy how fast kids grow up these days (you know, since i'm so old and all). while i was there, one of the graduate's friends (who also graduated) started playing ping-pong against my uncle. as i was talking to him, i found out that he was planning on going to USD! it's weird that it got me excited. i told him he should look into rowing. haha...recruiting even though i'm an old fart now. the school should be sending me checks for this stuff.

sunday, june 10 (one day down, seventeen to go)

apparently my aunt and uncle have group tennis lessons for their family every sunday morning at the city tennis courts. i got to tag along. i was pretty excited about it since i brought my tennis racket with me and hadn't used it yet. i still had most of the basics down, but my fitness level and quickness level pretty much sucked big time. it was fun though, and it was nice to have some good coaching and good drills. that evening, i went to church with the aunt and uncle and fam. we stayed after because they serve dinner and that week it was baked salmon, roast beef, salad, potato salad, and fruit salad. the dinner was sooo yummy. we ended up sitting at a table with an older couple. the guy and i started talking and it was the usual conversation--what do you do, where do you go to school, yada yada yada. as soon as i said texas a&m, his wife said "uh oh." the guy (thinking that he was sooooo freaking clever) rolled his eyes and said "that's funny. you seem like such an intelligent person." immediately i knew that he must have gone to ut. i was right. figures.

monday, june 11

i woke up in the morning and was feeling rather stiff. i tried to get out of bed and could barely move. walking down the stairs was painful, and my body was pretty much saying "screw you." turns out i am in no condition to run tennis drills anymore. what was worse is that day at work i shadowed a registered dietician all day. she was big on taking the stairs (which i pretty much always do in the hospital because it is so much faster). that's when i slowed down big time. despite the silent screaming from my muscles, i enjoyed the day. the dietican i shawdowed primary takes care of the patients in hematology and oncology. i got to visit a lot of patients and their families, which was a nice change of pace for me.

tuesday, june 12

i was still suffering from the tennis workout, but actually felt better than i was expecting. i guess all the stairs and walking around on monday helped me loosen up a little. a good chunk of my morning was spent watching a webcast, which i felt was mostly a waste of time. the information they provided was an introduction to a new benchmarking tool from an organization that we are one of the owner hospitals of. they could have easily just sent out a short memo, but i guess that would have been too easy. most of the afternoon was spent with another registered dietician who was the service provider for cystic fibrosis patients. can you say depressing? i learned a lot about CF that i never really knew before. if you ever get the chance, you should educate yourself a little bit on the disease. it was eye-opening for me.

wednesday, june 13

after one depressing day came another. i spent wednesday shadowing a dietician in the NICU and almost started crying multiple times throughout the day. one set of preemie twins was being baptized because one of them wasn't going to make it and the other wasn't doing so well. there was also a really cute baby whose story really updet me. he was from another state and his mother had no prenatal care and was a long time druggie. the baby had tons of heart and neuro problems and was a ward of the state. the worst part is that the kid will never be normal and the state won't take him back. the poor thing had nowhere to go. what is wrong with people? i mean really. it's so tragic. i left the hospital that day feeling pretty sad. it sort of reinforced the fact that i'd never really be good at direct patient care. i get too emotional. those few sad stories really hold a place in your heart and often times the happy endings come to be typical and expected, so you almost forget about them. as i was walking to the parking lot, i passed these two big, thug-looking mexican dudes who were trying to look gangsta. there was a cute little girl wearing pink with her hair in pigtails closely following them. as i was walking by, the little girl giggled "teee heee...i faaaaated!" i started laughing and immediately the two tough guys softened up and couldn't help but laugh too. that brightened my day a little. after i left the hospital, i went to the grocery store to pick up some ingredients for my cousin's birthday cake. i made the cutest homemade cake ever, i must say. i used a 9x13 cake pan and frosted the cake with white icing. i then took fruit roll-ups and crossed them over the cake and made a bow so that it looked like a wrapped present. i cut off the bottom of some dots candy and made a polka-dot design for the "wrapping paper." i carved out a "to: julia" in the back of a hershey's bar to use as the gift tag. it was awesome!

okay, i'm tired of typing for today. i'll try to add some more days tomorrow.

Friday, June 8, 2007

i'm easily distracted.

i was very very exhausted today. there wasn't much going on at work again, so i was able to get quite a bit done in preparation for next week. i ended up leaving work pretty early because i was so exhausted. i got back to my aunt's house and passed out on the couch for a while.

i woke up to them starting the movie "last kiss."

on a side note, my iPod is plugged into my speakers in my room right now and "kokomo" by the beach boys came on. i love this song! one of my all time favorites, for sure.

so, back to the movie. it was depressing. i cried. figures. basically, it was all about infidelity and dysfunctional relationships. i've pretty much decided that most relationship problems come down to a lack of communication and honesty. so, the moral of the story is to not watch this movie if you're in a good mood because it will make you sad, and don't watch it if you're depressed, because it will make you even more depressed, which is my case.

it's really quite pathetic, actually. i miss kevin a lot and all these movies about relationships aren't helping. hopefully i'll get to see him before the summer is over.

another side note--what's on my iPod now: "life's a dance, you learn as you go. sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow" i love this song too.

sooo now that i've been sidetracked enough, i think i'm going to go to bed soon. i'm going to get up at a decent hour for a saturday and go into the office since i left a little early today and want to get more work done before the chaos of next week.

GEEZ! another great song. another one of my faves -- "laredo."
"whoooah laredo... don't let 'er go. just take her by the heart and let the wheels turn slow... "
if you've never heard this song, listen. it's good. chris cagle sings it.

hope you had a fabulous friday!

last song : "let's give 'em something to talk about" <-- it's a classic.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

operation garlic powder

this morning i participated in a county-wide disaster drill. i was fortunate enough to be assigned the task of scribe. basically, i had to write down everything and when it happened -- call that came in, supplies that were needed, bed counts, patient census data, when people made reports and what their updates were ... essentially everything. it was definitely a great learning experience and helped me to have a better understanding of what to do and what not to do in a real disaster situation.

on another note, i don't think i've mentioned the fact that there is an amazing shopping center right across the street. i can walk there in 5 minutes. unfortunately, i have zero dollars in the bank, so i haven't really gone shopping. it's nice to walk around though, since it is an outdoor mall. the weather has been phenomenal since i got here (and now i probably jinxed it), so it's nice to walk around and look at all the stuff i wish i could buy, especially at bloomingdales and nordstom. oh, the perils of a negative net worth.

i know many of you (if anyone else actually reads this besides kevin) are amazed at how often i've updated lately. that is simply because this week is a low volume week for me. next week i'll have my usual meetings, plus i'll be shadowing in clinical nutrition with some registered dieticians. on top of that, i'm taking next friday off for multiple reasons -- a great uncle passed away, and my mom is coming in to town (along with another aunt and her family) for my cousin's high school graduation on saturday and my grandfather's surgery on monday. this means that i'll have to condense a fully-packed work week into an even more fully-packed four days. as such, don't expect to get any blog updates from me between the next two mondays.

aaand i forgot to mention that i watched zoolander for the bajillionth time on tuesday night. zoolander is probably one of the most quotable movies of all time. after all, it isn't easy to be so really, really, really ridiculously good looking ;-)

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

my soapbox for the day

Help my hospital save the program that trains tomorrow’s pediatric work force - the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) payment program.

CHGME is the federal program that funds the training of pediatricians, pediatric specialists and pediatric research scientists at our hospital. Since 1999, children’s hospitals around the country have received more than one billion dollars from this program, including more than $24 million for the hospital I work at. Last year, we received more than $6 million for pediatric training in our hospital.

CHGME funding has been repeatedly cut since 2004. It now lags well behind Medicare Graduate Medical Education funding for adult hospitals. Children’s hospitals need $330 million to restore equitable federal GME funding for pediatric training. We need your help today in asking your Senators and Congressmembers to appropriate this full funding.

TAKE ACTION NOW! Please take three minutes of your time to write your two U.S. Senators and your member of the U.S. House of Representatives and urge them to fully fund CHGME.
Type in your home zip code to review a sample letter to send to your Senators and member of the House of Representatives.

is anybody even reading this?

'cause if you're not, then i'm doing this all in vain.

just got out of another meeting. it's always meeting, meeting, meeting around here. non-stop meetings.

learned something cool though. apparently the doctors here developed this thermal patch that you can put on a kid's hand that can tell the difference between skin temperature and blood temperature so that it highlights vessels. this means less unsuccessful poking when you're trying to start an IV on a very unhappy child. how sweet is that? pretty freaking sweet, i'd say...

tomorrow there is a county-wide disaster drill planned, so i'll let you know how that goes when i get a chance. paz!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

i can't help it...

yes, i am really bad at updating. why do you think i've never tried this blog thing before? i get lazy.

work has been pretty crazy. you haven't heard anything since my first day of work, so this is my attempt to fill you in on everything that's happened over the past two weeks and give you an empty promise that i will update more frequently.

where to begin...

tuesday may 22 (two weeks ago today) was my second day of work. it seems like ages ago. i picked up my ID badge, which I wish I could keep once I leave here, since my picture turned out pretty well. good ID pictures are a once in a blue moon kind of thing for me. if you've seen my military ID or my school ID, you'd know what I mean. they're awful. the big event for that day was a planning meeting for the hospital expansion that is scheduled to be completed in 2015. i actually really enjoyed this meeting--seeing the architectural drawings and learning about all the fights for space and figuring out where things should be located in relationship to others.

wednesday, the 23rd, was pretty uneventful, other than the state of the hospital address that was presented by the CEO. i was very impressed by how well he handled employee questions--not showing any irritation from the really stupid questions (and i strongly believe there is such a thing as a stupid question) and expressing a genuine attitude and willingness to respond to employee concerns.

thursday (24th) i went to a presentation in the evening at a place that i did not know was a senior center (yes, i was probably the youngest person in the entire place) until i got there. the presentation was given by some very prominent national health policy professors and moderated by the medical center's two CEOs. it was about the future of healthcare in the community. it started out really well--very interesting and thought provoking, but then it came time for question and answer. this reminds me of a facebook group that i'm in (one of seemingly hundreds) that's called "put your f*ing hand down in lecture and shut up. no one cares." the place became a bully pulpit because they were just passing around a microphone and not screening questions. an hour into people continually just preaching about their cause and not asking any legitimate questions, i decided to head home. people were making me angry.

nothing too exciting happened on friday, so this would be a good day to update you on my traffic situation. I F*ING HATE TRAFFIC. and i know hate is a strong word, so in this situation it is incredibly appropriate. I HATE TRAFFIC. too bad there is no good method of public transportation from where i'm staying to where i'm working, or i would take it. trust me. traffic stresses me out, and i'm naturally stressed out as it is. i guess i got used to the lack of traffic altogether in CS. by now though i've gotten a little better at knowing which lanes are more effective and learning the little ways to save more time. the best way for me to avoid traffic in the morning is to leave before 6:45 am. If I leave at 6:46 am or later, it will add an extra 20-40 minutes to my trip. WORST EVER.

memorial day weekend was great and i actually got monday off, which was really nice. saturday i saw pirates 3. i thought it was too long. if they had cut out about half an hour of all the useless stuff, it would have been a lot better. also on saturday, two long time family friends had their confirmation. i noticed a familiar name in the program, and realized that one of the girls who was sponsoring her little sister for her confirmation was my classmate from middle school. she looks exactly the same. craziness. i bet she wouldn't recognize me at all. i was a total dork in middle school, and now i'm not. HAHA...just kidding. i'll probably always be a huge dork. so, moving on, sunday i went with my aunt and uncle and some little cousins to great america (like six flags). we got season passes, so i plan on going back relatively frequently on the weekends since it is only about 15 minutes away. it was a fun trip--especially since it wasn't too crowded and we got to jump to the front of the lines by going through the exits. my cousin brian is in a leg cast (he ran through a plate glass window and ended up having to get surgery--he went to the ER at the hospital i'm working at when it happened!) so we pushed him around in a wheelchair all day. monday we all went up to an aunt and uncle's in berkeley for a bbq and i got to see my new baby cousin (who is SOOO cute by the way).

the four-day week that followed was killer. by killer, i mean it just about killed me. it was jam-packed with meetings and everything, and i pretty much collapsed in bed everyday when i got home. i think i'm still recovering from it, which is why it's taken me so long to update this.

i spent the majority of my time last week involved in things related to the outpatient heart center and neurodiagnostics. tuesday was mostly meetings, but i did spend a little time shadowing an EKG tech, which was fun--the first patient interaction i'd had since starting at the hospital.

wednesday was more or less the day from hell. i had an early meeting at the ass crack of dawn. didn't hit much traffic on the way up. it took me a lot less time than i had expected, so i popped by starbucks to grab some coffee beforehand. i should have know it was going to be a bad day when they made my drink with regular milk instead of soy. as soon as i got to the meeting, which was at one of our satellite offices, i realized that i left my ID badge at home. FREAKING LAME. luckily, i didn't have anywhere to be for another two hours, so i drove home and back to pick up my ID badge. yes, it is that important. no, i couldn't have just gone without it for a day. simply put, i did not want to look like a jackass in the meeting i was going to have later that day with the COO and my preceptor. security would make me have a visitor badge, and i would inevitably get questioned as to why i don't have my badge on. so, naturally, i hit traffic going back to the house and on the way back to the hospital from picking up my badge. i barely made it in time for my next meeting and had to practically run from my car to get there on time. i was sweating and out of breath and irritated. after that i shadowed different ECHO techs. I got to watch an ECHO on a little two year old girl, as well as a fetal ECHO, which was really cool. technology is crazy! imagine seeing a baby's heart while it is still developing in it's mother's tummy. crazy stuff! after that, i sat in a long evening meeting for the steering committee of the implementation of the second phase of the hospital's EMR roll-out.

most of thursday was spend at the hospital's biannual leadership forum, which was held at the university's alumni center. there was a yummy breakfast and lunch provided, and i got to meet a lot of people. there was a guest speaker who gave a presentation on managing the dynamics of change, and i was very captivated by what he had to say--something that i cannot say for most lectures i've attended.

friday morning probably had the most touching of all the experiences i've had over the past two weeks. the first thing i did was sit in on an EEG with the EEG tech. she performed an EEG on a young autistic child who was non-stop throwing a tantrum. this tech is amazing in the amount of patience she has and her ability to do her job without having to sedate even the most difficult patients. i cannot imagine not only the patience that she has to be able to do this on a daily basis, but the amount of strength the boy's parents had in their struggle to raise a child with autism.

this past weekend, my aunt and cousin katherine and i went to see gracie, the movie about the girl who played soccer. the movie was all right--definitely good for adolescent girls, especially those who are into soccer. saturday we went to the san jose tamale festival, and i felt like i had just stepped into mexico. it was crazy. the sad part is that i didn't even get a tamale because the lines were too long. saturday night, we went to go see the US men's national soccer team beat China 4 to 1, which was really awesome. sunday, katherine and i did a bunch of art projects--we designed and painted two little end tables that we picked up from micheal's and painted a bucket that my uncle hung up to grow an upside-down tomato plant.

yesterday was back to work, and i only had one meeting, so i finally got to spend some time catching up a little at my desk. thank goodness, because i was starting to get behind. it was actually a really productive day. today i went on round with the quality director, an outside consultant, and my preceptor to check on any environment of care issues throughout the hospital. some of the joint commission's rules and regulations are so crazy! after rounds, i spent most of the afternoon catching up some more and was able to get a lot more done, thanks to a little drug that i'd like to call crack...chocolate covered espresso beans.

when i leave work to face MORE F*ING TRAFFIC, at least i'll have a yummy dinner waiting for me, courtesy of my mom's brother who is an AMAZING cook. yay for filipino food!

on that note, hasta la vista, bebe...