High Mountains And Deep Rivers

1 Week of Cardio done. 

Cardio is interesting. Patients with way crazy conditions, some quite unwell, some where there’s just not much you can do. 

It’s been quite busy for me. Not quite finishing on time. But hey the day goes by quickly.

I had a lovely registrar this week. And it was actually his final week as a cardiology registrar. He was nice and included me in discussions and even helped out with a lot of the jobs. 

Today, on his last day. Though we had only been working together for 3 days, he told me that I’ve been a great House officer and he wanted to give me this.

He said he had been saving this book to give to someone who was really good. To use and help them study. He said he wanted me to have it for being so great this week. 

Then I found out that the charge nurse on my general medicine ward last rotation, had nominated me for House officer of the month. 

I didn’t win of course. But it was nice to be nominated.

From my low point last week where I thought I was just the worst House officer in the world having nearly killed someone with my prescribing blunder, this was quite the opposite feeling.

It was nice to feel good about the things I do. And be grateful for people who seem to appreciate me. 

It really is having the highest mountains and having the deepest rivers.

You can have it all but life keeps moving…. 

Goodbye To A Friend

It’s always hard to say goodbye to a friend.

After 4 years, my beloved Kindle stopped working. 

I’ve had a rough week back at work. Which I might talk about later, but I wonder if you get tired of my whining about not very significant things. 

But anyways.

This is one of the more tragic things that has happened to me.

Every single moment in the last 3 years where I have felt lonely or bored or neglected or awkward, my friend Kindle was always there for me. 

It held my most favourite books of all time. 

It always comforted me with its light up screen that was so easy on the eyes and easy to read while turning in bed at night.

It’s small and sleek build meant that I didn’t have to go anywhere without it. Fitting in virtually any bag I was carrying, and sometimes even my coat pocket, meant that any time, was kindle time.

It educated me when I read a word I didn’t know. Simply tap on a word and both an online dictionary and wikipedia would be right there to teach me the meaning of words too complex for me to comprehend. And I didn’t even need to move to find a dictionary.

And it’s battery life was practically 4 weeks. Meaning one charge was enough to read all 15 volumes of my favourite book series. 

I must say that no person has ever been as reliable and dependable as my kindle has been.

It was finally time for it to die.

The screen went away first. No longer displaying proudly the letter “A” or newspaper stacks or other premade Amazon screensavers. 

Goodbye forever, old friend.

Until I get a new kindle of course! 

Vitamins as Medicine. Yay or Nay?

So I started my holiday reading with a book called¬†What your doctor doesn’t know about nutritional medicine may be killing you

My mum’s recommendation. And as all med students probably would, I scoffed at the title. Now I’m not a big believer in vitamin supplements. I had a lecturer who quoted studies that showed taking vitamins increases risk of heart attack. He said “You want to be the person who wants to take vitamins, but doesn’t.” My mum makes me take OTC iron tablets and vitamin C tablets because I get periodically anaemic. After arguing with her about doses and studies that suggest their uselessness, I gave up and started swallowing the tablets. She later on gave me this book to read because of my repeated crying.

Anyways! This book was written by Dr. Ray D Strand, (an American general physician) and mainly talks about the importance of nutritional supplementation not only to maintain health but also to reverse effects of many diseases such as fibromyalgia, heart failure, diabetes, asthma, macular degeneration, etc. He mentions many live cases including that of his own wife who suffered from chronic fibromyalgia. She made a stunning recovery after going on a vigorous nutritional supplement program. This prompted the initially skeptical Dr. Strand to start his own research in the field of nutritional medicine.

He goes on to quote studies that show a definite correlation between certain diseases such as heart failure and deficiencies of nutrients such as coenzyme Q10, etc. He talks about preventive medicine and studies that show that the deficiency of certain nutrients may be involved in the pathogenesis of diseases such as Alzheimers and Parkinsons disease.

Another major theme in this book is that of oxidative stress. Dr. Strand talks about oxidative stress as the major cause of many organ pathologies and insists that taking antioxidants will slow down and prevent these pathologies. While I knew that oxidative stress is one of the main theories of aging, a lot of the cellular changes mentioned in this book caused by oxidative stress were a real eye-opener for me.

Now this isn’t like those boards you see at pharmacies suggesting you should take Vitamin C around flu season to get fewer colds etc. I’m sure that isn’t conclusively proven. But there are trials and case studies suggesting that things like Vitamin C, coenzyme Q10, and grape-seed extract improve symptoms in diseases such as asthma, macular degeneration, emphysema, rheumatoid arthritis. Things that can really bring down patient quality of life. Worth looking up!

The disclaimer is ofcourse that this supplementation does not Cure any of these disease and is Not an alternative to any prescribed medication. The idea is that it is complementary¬†medication. Take with your regular meds, you won’t be cured, but you’ll feel a hell of a lot better.

While I can’t say I’ve been fully converted into believing in taking vitamins, I will say this book has sparked my interest in ‘nutritional medicine’ because a lot of what we’re taught about in med school consists of advising patient to “change their diet and exercise’, we’re not taught what exactly this “change of diet” should be and what benefit we’re actually supposed to be looking for in patients. And clearly, when you throw that vague statement at them, I don’t see anyone making “the change” straight away. I for one, would actually like to know what I’m actually supposed to be recommending to people. And actually have enough evidence and knowledge to believe in it myself.

Overall, I think this book is worth a read! Not just for med students/doctors but everyone really (my mum who is very health-conscious). It’s really quite interesting. But I’d love to hear what others and skeptics like myself think about nutritional medicine. How important is it really?