Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Doctors' Opinions on the Financial Bailout

(Cutting and pasting doesn't really count as "blogging", right?)

The Allergists voted to scratch it, and the Dermatologists advised not to make any rash moves.

The Gastroenterologists had sort of a gut feeling about it, but the Neurologists thought the Administration had a lot of nerve, and the Obstetricians felt they were all laboring under a misconception.

The Ophthalmologists considered the idea shortsighted; the Pathologists yelled, 'Over my dead body!' while the Pediatricians said, 'Oh, Grow up!'

The Psychiatrists thought the whole idea was madness, the Radiologists could see right through it, and the Surgeons decided to wash their hands of the whole thing.

The Internists thought it was a bitter pill to swallow, and the Plastic Surgeons said, 'This puts a whole new face on the matter.' The Podiatrists thought it was a step forward, but the Urologists felt the scheme wouldn't hold water.

The Anesthesiologists thought the whole idea was a gas, and the Cardiologists didn't have the heart to say no.

In the end, the Proctologists left the decision up to some assholes in Washington.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sorry, Friends...

...but I have an exam coming up Friday, and with all I've been doing (including all the posting here!) I'm a little behind in my studying. So, I'm really really going to try to focus on that this week. Odds are you'll still get some posts, since I don't think I can quit cold turkey. But, I doubt you'll be getting 4 a day still :) God Bless!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Implications?

I'll be the first to admit that I don't know that much about money. I've long lamented that I wish I knew more about economics. That being said, I'm not sure what the implications of this are. The Senate voted down an emergency loan to the automobile industry last night. Here's my few thoughts on that:


  • Didn't we GIVE hundreds of billionsof dollars to the banks?
  • Shouldn't we rather have LOANED these few billion dollars to the auto industry?
  • Wouldn't it serve the country better to invest money in industries vs banks?

I could be wrong; I don't know much about economics. I do know that GM and Chrysler are threatening to go bankrupt in about a month if they don't get relief somehow. Ford says it'll do fine if GM and Chrysler are ok, but will fall if they do. Outlook continues to be poor!


ALSO, I found this report on a study that investigated why certain Amish people were able to metabolize triglycerides much more quickly than the average American, and its link to heart disease. Very interesting study with positive implications in the future! (I like talking about hopeful things!)

OOH! And, this blog post/video is very appropriate, considering our current economic problems.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A few issues in health

Some articles I read today include:

this one that talks about how the state of our economy is causing the state and federal governments to cut back funding on emergency preparedness, making is less able to deal with a crisis, such as a disease outbreak or terrorist attack.

Also, this article reports that cancer is expected to become the #1 cause of death in the world by 2010. This is thought to be linked mostly to the population overall becoming older, and the increase in cigarrette smoking globally (although now only 20% of Americans are smokers, and it appears to be decreasing!) Less developed countries are less prepared to deal with cancers that arise from smoking, however, and that's what we're seeing.

I'm thinking about getting involved with "Tar Wars" next year. Prevention is the key! If we could focus on prevention, it would dramatically decrease the financial burden on the healthcare industry.

Also, thisis a report about a study showing that selenium and Vitamin E have no effect on prostate cancer.

Monday, December 8, 2008

EXCELLENT Healthcare Article

I read this article today, describing exactly what one of our healthcare system's biggest problems is. As the article quotoes Newt Gingrich as saying, "There is more than enough money in the system. We just are not spending it well."

Enjoy!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Naughty People

Alright, you forced me to do this :-P I told you to stop voting "Other" on my poll!! Now I had to take it down and make a new one. So, go ahead and vote again. ONE time. And you'll find that there is no other, muahahahaha!!!

Thank you :D

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Prince Caspian: A Brief Review/Rant

I dearly love The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. I have either read myself or had them read to me probably a literal dozens of times. When The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe was made into a film, I was ecstatic, and overall I would have to say that I greatly enjoyed the movie. I have a few quibbles with it, but it was very satisfactory nevertheless.

Prince Caspian was an entirely different beast. It may surprise you to know that last night was the first time I watched the movie; it will also be the last. What a wretched movie from the very beginning! I have so many problems with the movie I don't even know where to begin! It was such a disappointment.

SPOILER WARNING!


  • Probably 2/3 of the movie was shot "at night", and the camera work was so terrible that I couldn't even see what was happening most of the time. Various shades of blacks and blues moving around the screen.
  • I could say the same thing about the audio. Most of the movie was done in whispers, and the volume has to be cranked up to maximum to even hear what was happening!
  • Just about the ONLY similarity between the movie and the book is that they have the same title, and NOT for the better! They debase High King Peter from a noble, honarable boy/man to a fight-picking bully. Trumpking the dwarf, one of the dearest main characters in the book, is just a grumpy sourpuss. Caspian is...ugh just totally ruined. They actually have him IN ON the plot to ressurect the White Witch!
  • They ATTACK the Telmarine castle?! What?!
  • The entire relationship between Caspian and his mentor, establishing his character as future king, is absent.
  • The ESSENTIAL plot development between Lucy and Aslan, rebuking her for not following him, regardless of what the others did, is twisted and lame.
  • What's UP with the Susan/Caspian thing?!

Ok, my rant is running out of steam. I am so disgusted by what they did with this movie, that if they ever make a Voyage of the Dawn Treader, I'll consider not even watching it.

To Sum Up: What a disappointing waste of time.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Watching You

One of my favorite songs is "Watching You" by Rodney Atkins. It's such a poignant reminder, particularly to parents, that you are being watched and EMULATED!

Something I cringe to share is a somewhat humorous-but-not terrible thing I have taught my son. We have sloping ceilings in our bedroom because we live in the attic, and I used to lie down on the bed, hold my son, and (very gently!) raise him up until his head touched the ceiling, and say, "Bonk!" He loved it!

Well...you can see where this is going. The other day, he was sitting with his back to a wall, and he lost his balance a little bit and bonked his head on the wall behind him. And........then he proceeded to throw his head backward over and over and over, bashing his head against the wall and giggling like a madman. You can imagine the horrible semi0humorous guilt I have over this!!

Anyway...be careful what you do, for many reasons, including that you are being watched!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Belated Thanksgiving Post


Well, I had meant to write this on Thanksgiving. Having failed that, I meant to write it the day after. Well, here I am finally writing it on Saturday, but hey...I've been having good times with my family :) I enjoy Thanksgiving a LOT (and it's not JUST because of the food). I love taking the time to just enjoy all the MANY things I have to be thankful for. God has really blessed me!

A lot has happened since last Thanksgiving. One thing I'm particularly thankful for is that I'm living in my own house this year. Last year, the day before Thanksgiving, my pregnant wife's and my apartment burned down. And yet, even in the ashes of things, there was so much to be thankful for. My wife and I had been writing journals to our son since we found out he was in there, and, while VERY crispy on the outside, the words were preserved. Her wedding dress was barely even smoke damaged, even though the rest of the clothes in the closet were destroyed. Most of our pets died, but we weren't even home at the time. Most of our worldly possessions were lost, but people were lining up to have us stay at their houses, give us clothes and food and all other manners of goods. It really taught us faith in God and reliance on our fellow man. Family, friends, the firefighters, our church...SO many people donated SO many things to us. We really learned that having God, family and friends is the most important thing. We learned to give thanks in all things, as Paul tells us to.

My son, Charles, was born in January of this year, and I'm so thankful for him. He's such a cute, sweet bundle of joy (when he's not hollering about something!). He has two cute little teeth, his first word was "Dada" and he's a healthy happy kid (well he has a lazy eye, but that should be easily corrected). He's such a joy to come home to...always SO excited when I bound up the stairs and scoop him up!

My wife, Amanda, and I celebrated our first anniversary this June. I appreciate so many things about her: she put up with me dragging her all the way across the country from California to Ohio so that I could go to medical school. She takes care of Charlie all day while I'm at school, and is pretty much the only one who deals with him at nighttime! I have learned so many things from her that I probably would not have otherwise. She really brings a fresh perspective to things.

I started medical school this year, and this brings to mind SO many things I'm thankful for! Thankful for the people who made the move possible (my father-in-law for working on and giving me the truck that I drove all our stuff over in, my dad for coming along and keeping me company on the long journey over, and paying for most of the gas haha, my grandparents for providing a home for Charles and Amanda while I made the drive and paying for just about everything else haha). I'm thankful for God blessing me with a mind that excels at school, because somehow, with all I have to do, I'm maintaining a 91% average in class, which puts me at the top 10-20% of the class (if I'm doing my statistics right).

This last year (particularly with the cross-country move), I have gotten back together with a LOT of family that I haven't seen in a long time (ranging from years to over a decade). This year has seen a lot of heartache as well, as all years do. As my dad notes, you have to thank God for the bad things, too.

Most importantly, I thank God for His gift of salvation. I may not be a "bad person", but I fall FAR short of the perfection that God requires. But, He loved me enough to pay the penalty for me, at a cost I can't even comprehend. Now, I am proud to call Him my Lord, my God, and my Father. I thank Him when He blesses me, when He reproves me, when He refines me through the fires of trials. As Job said: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD." At the same time, Jesus says: "If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

Amen, and praise God. Let us be thankful this season, especially as we begin our special time of year for remembering the precious gift of Jesus, and remember that we serve a great and merciful God.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Oh, And...

...you people who are voting "Other" on my "What Should Matthew Specialize In" poll, apox upon you!! :) Explain yourselves! I knew I shouldn't have included "Other" lol.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

California Here I Come, Right Back Where I Started From...

...where bowers of flowers bloom in the spring,
Each morning, at dawning, the birdies sing an' everything
A sunkissed misss said, "Don't be late,"
That's why I can hardly wait.
Open up that golden gate
California, Here I Come!!

Sorry, I didn't know I was going to write out the whole chorus when I started that :) Anyway, we're flying back to California on December 23, and will be there until New Year's Day. A fair amount of that time will probably be in Colfax where my father-in-law lives (since he's paying for us to fly out!) but we'll be in Sacramento/Elk Grove at least a few days. Just giving a heads-up to all my Sac-buddies out there...we need to make plans to hang out!

That's all for now :)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Before You Point Your Finger...


So, a couple of nights ago, my wife and I rented The Other Boleyn Girl. I had heard good things about the movie, and I'm a big fan of history, so I thought it would be enjoyable. The movie did not disappoint.

For those of you who don't know, the movie surrounds the involvement of King Henry VIII of England with two sisters of the Boleyn family. It is historical fiction, and as far as I can tell, it is a fairly accurate portrayal of the historical events.

Now, if you know the story, you probably are wondering where I'm going with this. I could certainly do a bunch of different posts on the grace, mercy and forgiveness of Mary Boleyn, or on the greed, selfishness, cruelty and misery of Anne Boleyn, or on the nauseating self-serving, thoughtless, greedy, corrupt ambition of their father, or on a whole host of other topics. But that's not what caught my attention the most, even though it wasn't the focus of the film.

No, what caught my eye was the utter humanity of Henry VIII (masterfully played by Eric Bana). We so quickly find ourselves looking back at King Henry, wagging our fingers, and so easily condemning his actions, thinking that's something WE would never do. I'm here to say not only are you capable of it, not only am I capable of it, but I submit to you that I have done it. The heart is desperately wicked and deceitful, and even godly men (King David!) can act as if they were downright mad sometimes. This is not an easy post to write, but it is what was on my heart during the movie, and what I feel burdened to share with you, whoever you may be.

The king had character traits that I see in myself. He wanted to be a strong leader, and he had the potential to be strong and kind; he was intelligent. But he loved his women, and he'd literally do anything it took to please the one he was after. He was quick to relegate even his entire arsenal of kingly power over to a woman to please her.

He was tired with his Queen Catherine. Instead of pouring himself into strengthening the marriage, he sought solace by bringing others into his bed. The evil Boleyn father convinced his (already married!) daughter Mary to lie with the king, and she more or less quietly gave in and became the king's mistress. As history tells us, she eventually loses Henry's interest, as she fails to bear a son. Interestingly, though, she continues to have his respect.

In comes the strong-willed, ambitious and manipulative Anne. She had seen how Henry had cast her sister aside when he lost interest, and she was determined to wrap him around her finger. She toys with the king, seducing him yet actually sending his gifts back to him, purposefully driving him mad with desire for her (like I said, I could write a lot about Anne). In any case, he allows Anne to have this power of him, and from then on he becomes her puppet.

Anne wants Mary kicked out of the castle? Done, even though she had just given birth to the son that Henry had so desperately longed for.

Anne demands to be married to Henry before she'll give herself to him sexually...to secure her position. But oh wait...Henry is still married to Catherine! So what happens? Henry trumps up LAME charges against Catherine, and ends up annulling the marriage. But even THAT isn't enough. The Church of Rome won't allow him to marry Anne, so he goes so far as to throw off all restraints and authorities in his life, save for Anne. He breaks with the Catholic Church, and Anne has the audacity to soothe his frustration and anger over all he's doing for her by saying basically, "You should be glad I made you do all these things! It's for your own good anyway!" Completely blame-shifting and making excuses. Anne finds out in the end that she bit off a LOT more than she could chew, and that manipulating kings is not a wise idea. But, this post isn't about her.

I say this to say: I've been there, done that. Now, I didn't get anyone beheaded over my actions, but I sure left a train-wreck behind me, which I am still working very hard to clean up. There was a time I took leave of my senses, threw away advice of fellow Christians who were trying to see the madness of my actions, I lied and made excuses to myself so many times that I truly honestly thought I was acting nobly and righteously at times. I threw away all authority in my life except for this woman that I was trying to please, at the expense of my family, friends, myself and my God.

Most people who know me would say I'm a pretty grounded, godly spritual guy, and I do certainly hope that I'm growing in God's grace. But "even" I was able to fall so far. I did unspeakable acts that caused hurts which will never fully heal. It can happen to all of us. That is my warning to you:

It's easy to see the "bad" guys in history, point fingers at them, and separate them from ourselves. But they were just people, same as you and me. From King Henry VIII and Hitler, to King David and Samson--no one is immune from the influence of our sin nature. Let us cling so tightly to our Lord, and let us also be completely open and honest to fellow believers who will challenge us and hold us accountable.

"There but the grace of God go I."

I'm Back!! (Sort of!)

Haha so I have been on a hiatus here because I had a pressing exam on my mind. The exam covered such topics as biochemistry, bioenergetics, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, histology, cell structure, proteins, enzymes, apoptosis, vesicular transport, cell injury, a slew of metabolic pathways and their diseases, and a list of 30 drugs to memorize. Praise the Lord, I got 92% on it!

Now, I have about 5+ posts that have half-formed in my head, and I'm going to have to figure out what order to put them in. Odds are, I'll end up too busy with other stuff and won't even get around to writing them, but I'll do my best!

I'd REALLY like it if we could do a bit more discussion on the validity of the Rapture doctrine, because it's very pressing on my mind. I can't find a way to Biblically prove it, and especially at this time of human existence, I find the difference to be absolutely critical!

So, I'm back. As much as I ever am :)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Time for Something Different!

But don't stop discussing the Rapture post below!

I read an article this morning (ooh see how high tech I am with that whole link thing?!) on AIDS and I thought I'd share it with you.

This is basically a case study where a bone marrow transplant gave the HIV-positive patient immunity to the AIDS virus. I don't know exactly how important this will end up being in finding a cure for AIDS, but there it is!

Friday, November 7, 2008

In a Different Vein (perhaps, the brachiocephalic v.?)


I recently FINALLY finished the wonderful book The Shack by William Young. It was recommended to me by a good friend who never recommends books, so I knew I had to check it out (this was months ago, and it's only like a 200 page book, which is really sad). Anyway, I

ABSOLUTELY RECOMMEND IT TO EVERYONE.

Read this book. It reminded my of some of C.S.Lewis' work in that it was concise, clear, VERY readable, and yet contained a lot of truth that our culture has lost touch with. The basic premise is that a man who is dealing with an intensely horrific personal tragedy and is struggling to deal with it and make sense of it receives an invitation supposedly from God to go meet him at this shack for the weekend. The book attacks the stagnation of modern religion, challenges our ideas of who God is and what He wants, and deals with issues of tragedy and God's sovereignty and will.

It's only 200 pages, and really shouldn't take you anywhere near months to finish :)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Nerdy T-Shirts

So, to relax sometimes, I look up nerdy science and math T-shirts. Here are some of my favorites. They run from what the average person will get, to what only people in calculus will get, with a few non-science ones :-D

^o^ The ether bunny

Got mole problems? Call Avogadro!

Hiesenberg may have been here.

[Front of shirt]: Shrodinger's Cat is Dead. [Back of shirt]: Shrodinger's Cat is Not Dead.

Curse your Sudden but Inevitable Betrayal!

(1+2i)(1-2i) Get Real!

Does the name "Pavlov" ring a bell?

May the m*a be with you.

Biology: The only science where division and multiplication are the same thing.

Resistance is Futile! (if <1ohm)>
And, my favorite:




+C, of course :)

Jehovah's Witnesses

My friends and family have been writing a lot of good blog posts/notes lately! Here's one from my friend Daniel about some points of differences between the beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses and Christians.

http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=41087356982&ref=nf

Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Marriage

I've been thinking a lot about marriage lately, and reread this post on my dad's blog:

http://bibchr.blogspot.com/2005/03/marriage-is-not-really-about-happiness.html

I think there's a lot of truth in it, and enjoyed rereading it, so I thought I'd share it!

P.S.

If you follow my blog closely (and I'm sure there's tons of you out there, haha!), you'll notice that I say things that conflict about "my dad." That's because I have a biological father and a stepfather who adopted me, and they are both "dad" to me in different ways, and so unless clarification is required to differentiate which one I'm talking about, I'm just going to say, "my dad."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

You Win Some, You Lose Some

As I was telling my dad the other day (who lives in California and is paying around $3.60/gal), I just filled up at $2.52 a gallon!!

It was also 42* walking to class this morning. Brrrrrrrr.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sir Rattigans


So, I bought some mice for my pet savannah monitor lizard, Al. (I named him Al Gore because I made him a cage with two heat lamps, and he looked at me with beady lizard eyes saying, "You're contributing to global warming." :D) Anyway, I got him 4, but he only ate 2 right off, so I just let the other two run around the cage until he felt like chasing after them. The problem came when my wife looked at the cage. And named one of them Sir Rattigans. Rats (pun intended).


Anyway, she and one of our roommates took them out, made a little cage for them, and named the other one (I had laughed, rolled my eyes and walked away at this point, so I don't know what the other one is named).


That's all. I figured since this is the test week of my LAST anatomy exam (the entire human body in 10 weeks...whew!!) that I would do a light post :) I won't be getting Al live mice anymore.

Friday, October 17, 2008

End Times!

I must confess that I don't know nearly as much of the global political scene as I'd like. Of course, that's true of a lot of things. Also, I used to delve quite a bit into Biblical end times prophecy, but havne't done so very much in the last five years or so.

Recently, however, I have been crash-coursing in both, and the things I have learned have astonished, enthralled, and even scared me. The fulfillment of Biblical prophecy is all around us. I hadn't realized how much Vladimir Putin had been doing to militarize Russia again (although the invasion of Georgia should have tipped me off). I didn't know about the astounding ties between Russia and Iran, let alone Russia's unlikely alliances with the countries prophesied in Ezekiel 38.

The slow rebuilding of the Iraqi infrastructure, combined with the attempted resurrection of the ancient city of Babylon, as was foretold in the book of Revelation. Egypt's peace treaty with Israel, explaining why Egypt is mysteriously missing among the nations invading Israel in Ezekiel 38. The gathering and manufacture of the items necessary for use in the Third Temple when it gets rebuilt, as foreold in Revelation, including the pursuit of the pure red heifer required for purification. The financial disaster occuring here in the United States, perhaps explaining why the US doesn't stand up for Israel when it gets invaded. Catastrophic natural disasters. So many things.

I've been reading lots of books, including trying to delve deeply into the Scriptures myself, and reading lots of newspaper headlines. I finished "Epicenter" by Joel Rosenberg, and I'm rereading LaHaye and Jenkins' "Are We Living in the End Times?" I found "Epicenter" absolutely fantastic; Rosenberg definitely did his research. I've added his blog http://flashtrafficblog.wordpress.com to my list of websites to check daily.

I say it has been "scary" to me because I have also begun to question the Biblical basis of the Rapture doctrine. I've always believed in it, but I'm definitely on the fence. I hope to write a good post on that once I've researched it more. The thought of having to live through the Tribulation, particularly with a family, is a sobering thought. Even if our Lord does take us up, though, living through the rest of the "birth pains" of the Earth is going to get increasingly difficult.

It is clear that we must do as our Lord said, and watch for His coming, for it could be any time!! We must be good servants and be found doing His work when He comes.

-Even so, come Lord Jesus!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Psalms

So, apparently I need to keep my postings short, or they either don't happen or they end up cut short. So, very quickly, I submit to you:

Lately, I've begun reading a praise Psalm at the beginning of dinner with my family. A while back, we committed to sitting down and eating dinner together at the table, which has been amazing. My wife and I tend to pray in very different ways, so our mealtime prayers weren't working for both of us. Then God gave me the idea to read a Psalm of praise at the beginning as our prayer. It has actually been an incredible experience: it's very powerful to passionately read aloud the enthusiastic, genuine praise that God's people have been speaking for thousands of years.

Ok, lecture is starting, so as I promised, I'm leaving now!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

"The Final Category is 'Potpourri'"

Ah, gotta love Jeopardy. It's my favorite TV show, actually. 7pm every night, in Ohio at least :-D

Anyway, I haven't had time to post recently, and I have lots of half-baked thoughts stewing in my mind, and I haven't thought out what this post will entail, so here goes! I warned you earlier, you read this blog at your own risk!!

First, my moment of vanity: not only did I pass my insanely difficult exam, but I ended up getting 90.5% on it! Making a lot of statistical assumptions, I calculated that I am in the top 15% of the class, give or take quite a bit. In any case, I'm doing very well. Praise be to God! Two more weeks on head and neck, and anatomy will be over! I'm actually really excited. I love anatomy, but this has been a whirlwind, and my brain needs a change. The monotonous straight-up memorization only uses one portion of my brain, and it's getting tired!

I've been doing a lot of thinking this last week or two, and I have a LOT of ideas and desires and dreams. I have so many things I can do in this life! As so many people before me have lamented, there's not enough time, either in the day, or in my lifetime.

For instance, I have been having a lot of interaction with the homeless recently. Apparently I walk through homeless territory on the way to and from class, because I've been asked for money at least 5 times this month. In one particular example, on my way home from class, a sweet woman named Marleen asked me if she could have some money for food since she hadn't eaten in two days. I truthfully told her that I didn't have any cash on me, but I offered to treat her at the sandwich shop down the street. On the way there, she told me how she'd been asking for food money all day, and I was the first person who had so much as acknowledged her existence. She thanked me profusely, and I told her the same thing I told the cashier who told me it was really nice of me to do this for her: "I'm just trying to spread some of God's love around. If everyone who had the ability did this, there'd be no need for welfare." Well, after we got Marleen a roast beef sandwich and a Coke, I noticed that she only had a light windbreaker, and it had been getting cold. I asked her if she stayed warm enough at night, and she dug into her little knapsack and pulled out a KJV Bible, saying, "This is what keeps me warm." It was really touching. I really had to get going, so unfortunately I couldn't talk more with her, so I gave her my sweater, asked God's blessing for her, and went my way. One really awesome thing was, a week later I ran into her again, and she was wearing my sweater, and she stopped and gave me a hug.

Anyway, I'm running out of time, so I'll just say...I feel an urge to provide care for the homeless. I have visions of all sorts of things I could do, but, I'm only one man, and I need to focus my strength and energy in only a few places. It'll be interesting to see where those are!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Saturday, October 4, 2008

This and That

So, I passed my anatomy exam. I don't know how well I did compared to everyone else, but I was well above passing. I'll keep you posted when I know more. All I know right now is it's over! I can have sort of a life again!!

Quick thoughts on the VP debate: Biden is very charismatic, has a lot of charm. Palin doesn't play the media's game, but just speaks straight to the American people. She plays a dangerous game, with her responses and attitudes walking the line between ditzy naive hicktown girl and genuine rising above the pettiness of politics and keeping an optimistic attitude. I know she's the latter, but I thought once or twice in the debate she came across as the former. Also, I wish she could hit harder on some issues, but then again, she's running with McCain.

REGISTER TO VOTE!! This could be the most important election of our lives. I've voted in every single election since I turned 18, no matter how small or "inconsequential." At least in Ohio, the deadline is the 6th, so go do it!

Big shoutout to my little brother. Happy Birthday Josiah!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Briefly

I was happily watching the VP debate tonight until Palin said the dreaded "N" word.

Nuc-yoo-lar.

And then she said it again.

And I thought my head had exploded.

Not again!!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Answers (or, "Because I need a break from studying")

So, this last week I've had to come to terms with the fact that I'm not going to know all the answers for my huge anatomy test on Friday. I took the practice practical, and one of the structures was a sagittal section through the pelvic region, with a pin stabbed into something and a label saying, "ID organ." So, I checked it out, and there was a hole in the center of it, which led to the outside, more towards the front of the body, so I promptly wrote "vagina" on my paper. I go back and check it later, and the word "prostate" glares at me. Yikes. So I go back to that body to check it out, and sure enough, if I'd looked over on the side of the table, I would have spotted a testicle. I'm definitely writing "Check The Sex!!" on the top of my exam sheet first thing on Friday.

Anyway, like I said, I've had to realize that I'm not going to have all the answers. In fact, even when I'm living forever with God, I'm not going to have all the answers. (To be honest, I think that's part of the draw of heaven...being able to learn and learn and learn in heaven forever. Ahh, sounds so amazing! But maybe that's just cuz I'm a nerd ;) The problem I have with this fact is that it makes it nearly impossible for me to make decisions. I am definitely a perfectionist, and that plays out in my decisions as well. In order to make a decision, I have to know absolutely every piece of information that might be even slightly pertinent to it. I agonize, for minutes, hours or days, if possible.

That's definitely been a big problem for me. It's amusing because my adoptive dad is the same way, so we are at least able to empathize with each other. But it's gotten me in a lot of trouble, because what I forget (and the key concept of this post) is that NOT making a decision, IS a decision. A lot of times in the past, because I haven't made a definitive decision, the choice has been made for me, either by default or by someone else. The crazy and annoying thing, is that almost always, any conscious decision I would have made, even if not the perfect decision, would have been better than what ended up happening.

Case in point: I was looking at this crazy structure on the practice practical. It was a huge mess, and the entire mass was tagged. Even though I had never actually seen this structure before, based on its location, size and shape, I wrote down the only thing I thought it could be: inferior hypogastric plexus. I ran over to check it and sure enough! I had identified it correctly. Now, had I left it blank, because I wasn't sure that I was right (had it been a real exam), I would have gotten no points. My making no decision on the structure would have ended up as a default blank.
Relatedly, and perhaps more harmfully, often if you don't make a decision yourself, someone ELSE will make the decision for you. That's something that happens with me a lot. My nature (as my biological dad's) contains a strong disposition to just go along with the strongest current, regardless of where it's going. I don't like to make waves, I hate confrontation, and I like to make people happy. What I forget (either with or without quotation marks) is that God often calls His people to make waves, and that often the strongest current will lead you to a whirlpool of destruction. Broad is the path, so Christ says.

I could go off on a thousand tangents at this point, but "you" my non-readers don't want me to, and I have to get back to the hypogastric plexus. So I'll try to wrap my thoughts up. 1) Often you really just need to make a decision, even if you're not absolutely positive that it's the perfect choice. There often isn't one. 2) Don't misread me to say that you should follow your first whim. When taking a test, I'll often jump to an answer in my mind before I even finish reading the problem, and it's about 50/50 whether it's right on the money or utterly wrong. I need to finish reading the problem and give it some thought to make sure I'm on the right track. On the other hand, once I come up with an answer after some thought, SO often I'll go back and overthink and second-guess and change my answer, and about 90% of the time I change it FROM the right answer to something else. It's a balance.

I'm definitely working on employing this in my life. I have lots of things going on that, to be honest, I'm really not sure what the perfect course is. But I'm not just letting my boat sit on the water, floating where the tide takes me. I'm unfurling my sails, pointing my rudder in what I think is the right general direction, and trusting God to help me figure out the details as I continue my course.

And now, back to studying.

Monday, September 29, 2008

It's Crazy...

...for ALL my MANY avid readers out there (lol) I just wanted to let you know I'm not writing because I have an exam on Friday regarding the anatomy of everything from the armpit down, which we covered in 3 and half weeks. So...I'm stressed! I'll try to take it easy but I'm pretty much going insane. Later! :D

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Welfare

Well, one thing you should know about me is that I tend to obsess over things. I started this blog today, and I just felt compelled to throw out my first real post. Even though I should be studying the ischioanal fossa right now (who doesn't want to study the butt, come on now!) I'm going to write my thoughts on welfare.

Keep in mind that I and my family are currently on welfare, and have been for almost a year now. For the majority of the time my wife was pregnant, neither of us was employed, and since she was already pregnant, we weren't able to get health insurance from anyone. What I did at first was use a service called Maternity Card, which in hindsight I would recommend to NO ONE. Not actually insurance, you basically pay them a monthly fee, and in return they take any medical bills you get, and negotiate with the clinic, hospital or lab to get you a better rate. Note that you still have to pay the total of this new rate, plus their monthly fee. Their only guarantee is that you'll break even, or your money back. Also, once you've signed up, you can't terminate until the pregnancy is over, unless you can show that you're covered through someone else. It's such a gimmick. Anyway.

After awhile of being involved in that stupid program, it dawned on me...what about Medi-Cal? (We were living in California at the time). I felt like such an idiot for not thinking of it before. Well they ran me through the loops because I had finally found a job, and I wasn't able to actually come into the office and complete the forms, so we did the paperwork all by mail. Long story short, many months later we finally got approved and cards in the mail. They backpayed 2 months, at least. That saved us thousands on prenatal care and especially the delivery.

We stayed with Medi-Cal until we moved to Ohio so that I could go to medical school. One of the first things I did when we got here was bike down to the Department of Job & Family Services and fill out an application. Turns out we were eligible for food stamps as well--expedited even! So now we have our medical bills and food taken care of each month...a huge relief I can tell you! I'd already taken out the maximum amount of loan money I could for my first quarter, and still running up short to pay basic monthly needs (medical school is EXPENSIVE!!)

So having said all that, you might think that I'd be all gung-ho for things like Medicaid and food stamps. Truth be told, I'm not at all. For a bunch of reasons, I'd MUCH rather see a simple system of he who has, give to him who has not. I'm a guy who likes to see as little government involvement as possible. We could ensure that 100% of every dollar went straight to needy people. It's a system I'm also very familiar with...my little family has been very financially needy this last year, and I'm certain we wouldn't have survived without ALL the amazing help from SO MANY friends and family members! I eagerly look forward to the time when I'm in a position where I can turn the tables and help out someone else in need. Still, I've been stopped while biking to class and asked for money for food or whatnot, and I give them whatever I've got in my pocket. Odds are they didn't spend it on food, but I don't feel obliged to verify their stories before giving money to them.

Anyway, my point is that, if everyone just did that, we would eliminate the need for government sponsored welfare, and, more importantly, the government taking its "cut." As far as supporting this idea, I try to do my part to support things like free clinics. In fact, next week I'll be starting orientation to get trained to volunteer at a free clinic in downtown Columbus. My plan ultimately is to do a bunch of pro-bono work, but I don't need to (and shouldn't) wait until I'm a big shot doctor to start doing my part.

I know the odds against eliminating government-sponsored healthcare are astronomical, but if we all do our part to start giving back and stop being so selfish, who knows what could happen? As Mr. Potato Head said so famously: "Hey, I can dream, can't I?"

It's My Birthday!!

So I said to myself, "Self, let's start a blog!" I'm not sure at this point what my purposes are going to be in writing this blog and, truth be told, it's quite likely that my posts will be very rare and sporadic. You can be assured that the blog will be eclectic. I am many things at the moment: a Christian, father, husband, son, brother, conservatively moderate (registered non-partisan but usually vote Republican) first year medical student. And each of those personalities will spill out from me at one time or another. I'm not writing primarily as a Bible study, but there will be times when I discover something in God's Word that I just have to share. I'm not writing this as merely a venue for my research, but I'll be throwing ideas out here. You get the idea. Anyway, I hope that in some point in time, my musings will turn out to be beneficial for someone. I always love talking to people, so feel free to zap me an email at any time. Till next post (Lord knows when) I remain your faithful:

"Doctor" Matt

P.S. Birthday shout-out to my adoptive dad. Happy Shared Birthday Dad!