Eh-team Menu

31 March 2009

Life Continues

I now have been at my new job for 4 weeks now.  Everything is going fairly well.  Pretty good place to work.  For the first two weeks it was really busy, but it has slowed down in the last two weeks.  I think some of the old customers were a nervous about the change over and were ordering extra toners and servicing.

The lastest news from Australian Immigration is that they will start processing my class of visa application after May 30.  Hopefully mine should be fairly close to the top of the list because I have been on the list since last July.  If all goes well I should be in Australia by August.  I guess we will see.

This has been an odd adventure.  Barb & my latest catch phrase is "It is what it is".  We could be terrible upset about waiting six month (or more) but it is what it is.  We have to just live through it.

Well that's all I have to say.  God bless.


19 March 2009

When the mouse is full, the grain IS sour!

"Wan daut Mustje saut ess, ess daut Kuarntje betta" This is a quote my Grandpa Klassen used to say.  It is basically used to refuse yet more (fabulous Mennonite) food. Translated, it means "when the Mouse is full, the grain is sour".  Who knew that he was right? I found a paper demonstrating that leptin, the hormone which indicates "uncle" to the brain and tells it to stop eating, actually dampens nerve impulses from sweet receptors in the tongue (in mice)!! Here is the Abstract:

Kirio Kawai et al.  Leptin as a modulator of sweet taste sensitivities in mice.  2000 PNAS.
"Leptin acts as a potent inhibitory factor against obesity by regulating energy expenditure, food intake, and adiposity. The obese diabetic db/db mouse, which has defects in leptin receptor, displays enhanced neural responses and elevated behavioral preference to sweet stimuli. Here, we show the effects of leptin on the peripheral taste system. An administration of leptin into lean mice suppressed responses of peripheral taste nerves (chorda tympani and glossopharyngeal) to sweet substances (sucrose and saccharin) without affecting responses to sour, salty, and bitter substances. Whole-cell patch-clamp recordings of activities of taste receptor cells isolated from circumvallate papillae (innervated by the glossopharyngeal nerve) demonstrated that leptin activated outward K+ currents, which resulted in hyperpolarization of taste cells. The db/db mouse with impaired leptin receptors showed no such leptin suppression. Taste tissue (circumvallate papilla) of lean mice expressed leptin-receptor mRNA and some of the taste cells exhibited immunoreactivities to antibodies of the leptin receptor. Taken together, these observations suggest that the taste organ is a peripheral target for leptin, and that leptin may be a sweet-sensing modulator (suppressor) that may take part in regulation of food intake. Defects in this leptin suppression system in db/db mice may lead to their enhanced peripheral neural responses and enhanced behavioral preferences for sweet substances."

so, w00t!  Grampa didn't even know he was on to something!
We are in the midst of studying metabolism and nutrition, in the context of cases of Enzyme deficiency, Anorexia Nervosa, and juvenile diabetes. And my partner in crime, Brady and I, are currently attempting a low/slow carb diet.  So that gives me a good excuse to read up from both directions.  There is an amazing amount of conflicting nutrition information published. And I don't mean just on the lunatic fringe of cyberspace, but in published journals on PubMed. Everybody's got a theory, but nobody knows for sure. All I know is that I've tried everything from Jenny Craig to Weightwatchers to Nutrisystem(lost my gallbladder over that one) to the Cabbage Soup diet to Xenical to lose the pounds, and they just seem to roll right back on. But I can't give up yet, I'm not dead! Either the fat or the diets will kill me. Stay tuned.

08 March 2009

Saturdays Rock

small-intubation-pic.jpgToday I did a skills learning day. I learned to cannuate (stick honking needles into a big fake rubber arm with Kool-Aid running through its veins- to set up an IV drip), venipuncture (how to take blood with smaller needles for lab tests), suturing (the medicalese term for sewing), plastering a wrist fracture and intubating (a very "HouseMD" moment). Fun to the extreme level. If learning medicine was like this everyday, I would explode with happy. But usually there's a lot more reading and a lot less sticking things into people. Oh well. Those days will come.  Then again, it's propbably far easier working on patients who don't smell funny, won't wiggle, aren't drunk or argumentative, and don't complain if you don't get it on first try.  Those days, too are coming....The pics are on Facebook, and Rob might upload them to our site too.

Rob and I celebrated the condo possession date with "Celebratory Whoppers", a tradition we've had for a while now. In Australia, Burger King is called "Hungry Jack's"  but they still have Whoppers by the same name.  We webcammed (Hey! I just verbed a noun!)  so we could do it together (3 pm my time, 10:00pm his time).  Rob will upload his side of the story soon. YAY! Condo is gone!!!! Thanks, Jesus!

Lastly on the news front, There is a cyclone winding down the coast of Queenland.  Brisbane is so far unaffected. But about 3 hours north us is going to get wacked pretty good.  It actually hit Category 5, which is as bad as they come.  However, by the time it hits land, it should downgrade to a Cat 3.  Which is still bad, and they are estimating there may be up hundreds of millions of dollars worth of damage.  Part of me wants to see a cyclone in action.  Which probably only proves I have no idea how scary they can be.  Yikes.

02 March 2009

Happy Fall! (in the Southern Hemisphere)

Well, February rushed by like a freight train.  And still, the story of my life is “I’m not ready!!”

Thanks to everyone who expressed their condolences on my crummy week last post.  Update: The cat lives($100 later), the car lives ($350 later), the parking tickets are paid. And my outlook is up.  I have been reading Psalms: " I don't trust my bow, and don't count on my sword to save me- You are the one who decrees victory for your people." (Ps. 44).  thanks for the prayers and thoughts.  I am part of a good group of folks here that meet on Thursday afternoons for prayer and support.  It's gonna be OK.  And I got a real bed on Friday. no more sleeping on pull-out couch cushions. YAY!! That by itself is enough to chase the grumpies.  Rob even posted my photo of it.  The only catch is that I need new sheets, as we bought double sized in November.  I can live with that.

           Actually, I have to admit, at the moment I am merely ‘whelmed’, not over or under.  We finally got past most of the introductory lectures, and began the real meat.  Lucky for me, the first system on the menu was Immunology.  The trick with this module was to scale back on detailed explanations and just cover the basics.  I guess if they wanted it at the level I understand, it would take another 4 years! I’m sure my colleagues who specialized in GI are in the same situation now. 

I am in a Problem Based Learning group of 10 students, and we are given a weekly problem to wander through. The point is not to find out what is ailing the patient (as in real life), but to show us what we don’t know, and then go dig it up.  And then hopefully figure out what is ailing our poor patient.  So far we have dealt with severe Acne, a baby with Severe Combined Immuno-Deficiency (SCIDS), An MVA with hemothorax and lacerated femoral artery, going into shock, Giardiasis (The Canadians proclaimed : “Beaver fever!”  The Aussies had no clue what we meant),  and Hep A.  Luckily, they schedule our anatomy, microbiology, physiology and histology labs to cover what we are dealing with in group session.  So for this week dealing with Giardiasis, we did a micro prac on parasites. And yes, among things that can kill you, they have venomous ticks here.  Good grief.  A gal on the micro bench next to mine had a relative die of a toxic tick bite only 2 weeks earlier.  It makes our ticks and Lyme disease look like patty-cake.

            I am really enjoying the Anatomy pracs.  They have lots of specimens to handle and look at.  Two retired surgeons, 2 anatomists and a radiologist assist us, and it has been really helpful working with people who know what they are looking at and why it matters.  We also look at imaging in these labs (hence the radiologist).  I still find it somewhat difficult to convert the MRI slices into a 3-D person, but I enjoy looking at the xray films, and half a clue about what I am looking at in ultrasound pictures.  I think I need to make up a table of what happens at what vertebra, since everything seems to use those reference points.

            Regular classes have started for undergrad students, and the ghost town campus is now packed.  I have started swimming at the pool weekly (I met a very nice Dutch gal studying Sociology, and we keep each other accountable)  

            I have one elective in first year, and I have paired up with a Palliative care specialist.  I have been interested in this for years, and I would like to find out early in the game if I can and/or want to do this for a career.  The elective is a four week stretch in November.  I considered doing the elective in a rural or remote placement, or overseas, but at that point, we are still going to be weak on procedural skills.  I would rather wait until 3rd year when I can do more to be an asset to wherever I am going, and for longer (2 month placements).  Also, if Rob can only move here by that time, there’s no way I’m taking off for a month.

Oh, and of interest, express courier to Canada is $45, and takes FIVE days.  I found a lawyer who could halp me prove that I am who I think and say I am, and then got the Condo sale documents to the lawyer in Edmonton.  Hopefully the rest goes off without a hitch, as possession is March 6.

01 March 2009

That’s a wrap.

Well, today was the last day for the Panasonic Document Systems Direct - Edmonton branch.  It is a bit wierd closing down an operation.  Most of the copiers & stuff were shipped back to the Richmond BC branch, computers & stuff to Toronto, and the old ancient fax machines to the garbage bin.

We had a wrap up party.  Some of the former employees came back for one last hurra.  The photos are here. It was an odd day.  Dan, Saied, Lorie & I will all be going over to the new company and doingmostly the same thing, so this isn't really an end.  On the other hand, There are several people I'm not going to see much again.  Just wierd.

Because we got a good severence package, I now have money to blow on things like hair cuts & oil changes, and maybe a couple things for the computer.  The condo is now one week from being sold.  Hurray.  The new Job starts Monday morning at 8:00. That means I am only unemployed for 53 more hours.  Since it is almost 3:00am, I should probably go to bed now.

Good night all.