Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Santa Closed

Date: Today, Christmas Day.

Place: IHOP Restaurant.

Reason to go there: the only open place that sells food.

Place's capacity: 150

Number of people present: more than 150.

Nationality of people present: 90% Mexican, 10% Mexican-American.

Hareega's order: meat omlette to-go.

Time to get that order: 50 minutes.

I was sitting on the sofa waiting for my omlette, and as time passed the restaurant quickly started to empty up. The last couple next to me were delighted when the cute latina waitress told them, "Your table is ready , follow me pliss, taank you"

Nobody was waiting but me, and next to me sat Santa.

I Couldn't help but notice his wrinkled skin behind the fake moustache.

He looked at a waitress standing behind the cash, "Leslie, can I leave now?"
"No, you have to stay for 40 more minutes"
"But I wanna see my granddaughter before she leaves"

She didn't answer but grabbed a menu and faked a wide smile at the new customers arriving at the restaurant that moment.

A little kid then came rushing from a table and went towards Santa grabbing his pants,
"Quiero tomar un foto con Santa"- I wanna take a photo with Santa

Santa, exhausted, took good ten seconds before he stood up up and looked at the camera to have his photo taken with the happy kid.

Santa then sat down and started looking anxiously at the clock.
I told him, "You know something, you're the first Santa I see this Christmas!"

He looked at me and didn't answer, didn't even nod his head.... totally ignored me.

He stood up and started walking towards the empty space outside. It was pretty clear he was limping, couldn't tell if he was faking a Santa limp or if it was real.

He returned in five minutes and saw that I was sitting there. He asked, "How's your Christmas?"

"It's alright, yours?"

Again, he turned his head away and totally ignored me. I was hoping he'd treat me like a little kid and ring his bell at my face or throw some candy at me, but he remained silent.

Forty minutes passed and I finally got my omelette. Santa went to the cashier and gave her his small bag of candies and for some reason didn't take off his moustaches or beard, maybe because it would protect his frail body from the cold weather outside or maybe because he liked this new person he's hiding behind, one that people cheer to see and kids love to take pictures with.

By the way, Merry Christmas everyone :)

Monday, December 24, 2007

The right to exist

I believe in human rights...
You have the right to education, health care, and the right to vote.
I will add another right: the right to exist.
This is a right you're given retrospectively, meaning I believe that you had the right to exist after you've already existed.

However if you're over 12 and you're someone who sends e-mails/letters/funwall posts thinking that you'll be rewarded or punished based on forwarding these messages, you're someone who should not have existed.

If it was to me, I would have denied your right to exist.

Have a great holiday

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Just a dream....

Some people are not enjoying the holidays this time of the year, and they have a good reason not to....

Oh, life is bigger
It's bigger than you
And you are not me
The lengths that I will go to
The distance in your eyes
Oh no, I've said too much
I set it up ...
That's me in the corner
That's me in the spotlight,
I'm Losing my religion
Trying to keep up with you
And I don't know if I can do it
Oh no, I've said too much
I haven't said enough ...
I thought that I heard you laughing
I thought that I heard you sing
I think I thought I saw you try.....
But that was just a dream
Try, cry, why try?
That was just a dream
Just a dream, just a dream.... Dream

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Journey

People know that it takes a long time for a doctor to graduate, but they don't know about the whole process. I'll give you a brief description of how a clueless high school graduate ends up a doctor.

After high school, the lucky (or unlucky) ones get into medical school. In Jordan it's six years. The first year is "the general sciences" with chemistry, physics and biology. Years 2 and 3 include medical sciences with no clinical experience. During years 4,5,6 students rotate through different clinical rotations in clinical settings, and they sit for exams at the end of the year. It's during these years that a student decides on the speciality s/he's interested in.

In the US it's a bit different. Students do not go directly into medical school but they have to get a degree first in something like chemistry, biology, economics...etc and they spend as long as it takes to finish these studies before doing the MCAT exams. If they did well in college and scored well on the MCAT, they get an acceptance into medical school.
That's why thousnads of Jordanian high school graduates have joined the AUB to study medicine but those who actually graduated from its medical school are fewer than 50.

After graduation from medical school, these "doctors" are still not allowed to practise medicine in the US, while in Jordan they're allowed to open their private clinics or join the hospital of their choice under the title "general practitioner".

In the US, they have to go through residency. There are dozens of specialities. Residencies last between 3 to 7 years. Residents start as interns, then they progress to more senior residents. Residents in general do the most work and they are supervised by an attending physician (specialist). The most senior residents are almost completely independent and comfortable working without supervision , however they cannot get patients in or out of the hospital or make major decisions without their attending physician's approval, and they need to give him a daily update on the patient and discuss the treatment plan with them.

The residency system is not much different between Jordan and the US, and at the end doctors can practise on their own or choose to do something called "fellowship", or a sub-speciality. For example a doctor who specialized (did residency in internal medicine) can choose to to become an internist or do a sub speciality in lung or heart or kidney disease. A surgeon can choose to stay a general surgeon or specialize in heart surgery and so on.

In general people who decide to do fellowships spend extra years but at the end become the experts in a certain area they truly enjoy doing, and earn more money. In Jordan fellowships have very recently started to emerge but they were nonexistent when I left Jordan in 2004.

That is a very general idea on how it works.

I joined medical school in 1996, finished residency in 2002, did a year of "imtiaz" that was a total waster of time, started residency in internal medicine in 2004, finished residency in 2007, and started the fellowship in infectious diseases last July. I will be done with fellowship in June 2009. Although I currently have my own patients in the clinic that I follow, and I make most decisions on the ill patients I see in the hospital, I am still always under the supervision of a specialist and I can't even leave a note on a patient without his signature on it.

I started in 1996, will be done in 2009 !!
I was 16 that time, will be 29 when I'm done
..... 13 years
totally worth it.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ho Ho Ho!

I got a call from a psychiatrist.

He goes, "Are you with infectious diseases?"
"I want to consult you about this lady, 30 yr old with psychosis. She's hallucinating ....etc"
"Ok what's the infectious problem?"
"She tested positive for syphilis, I don't know if it's the cause of her psychosis"
"OK I'll come and see her in a little bit"
"She's at risk of having syphilis"
"Why is that?", I asked
"Well, she's a professional sex worker"
"A professional sex worker"

I started wondering what a professional sex worker exactly meant.
"What kind of job does she have ?", I asked
"She's a professional sex work... has sex for money"
"A prostitute?"
"Yeah..... Yeah....."
"Ok thanks."

It's amazing how the political correctness in the US has now affected the world's oldest profession.
I wonder if we're going to start to call alcoholics "booze admirers" , intravenous drug users "needle lovers", and murderers "end-of-life fans".

Monday, December 10, 2007

And no religion too?

A lot of people were murdered, slaughtered, and tortured in His name, in the name of God, in the name of religion.

Do you think the world would have been a better place without religion? If Moses, Muhammad, Jesus, Budha and the rest didn't come to the world, wouldn't have people made their own prophets and fought over them?

Give me your 2 cents

Sunday, December 09, 2007

The best ten non-Arabic non-English songs

Here's a random list of songs that I think are the best ten songs sun in languages other than Arabic or English. I almost can't understand any word other than amour. The choruses are in italic.

1- Sono l'italiano !
A great song by Toto Cotungo

Lasciatemi cantare con la chitarra in mano
Lasciatemi cantare una canzone piano piano
Lasciatemi cantare, perché ne sono fiero.
Sono un Italiano, un Italiano vero

2- The blind man makes you see magic.
Andrea Bocielli singing Vivo per lei with Helene Segara. She sings in French.

Vivo per lei da quando sai
la prima volta l'ho incontrata
non mi ricordo come ma
mi è entrata dentro e c'è restata
Vivo per lei perché mi fa
vibrare forte l'anima
vivo per lei e non è un peso

3- Lambada!
Always reminds of a stupid juice commerical, but the song is great.

A recordacao vai estar com ele aonde for
A recordacao vai estar pra sempre aonde for

4- El Comanadnate.....
Hasta Siempre, a very old song for the memory of Che Guevara. I love Nathalie Cardone's version the most.

Aquí se queda la clara,
La entrañable transparencia
De tu querida presencia,
Comandante Ché Guevara.

5- Nocturne.
Magestic music. This song of few words won Norway the Eurovision song contest in 1995

La dagen f
Sin hvile n
Og natten vil vke for den

6- Aicha.... Aicha
by Khalid.

Aïcha, Aïcha écoute moi,
Aïcha, Aïcha t'en vas pas
Aïcha,Aïcha regarde moi,
Aïcha, Aïcha réponds-moi

7- Para bailar la bamba.
Los lobos's greatest work.

8- Macarena!
This should be the world's eighth wonder, it made Al Gore dance!
Unofrtunately, couldn't find the Spanish verison on youtube, here's a semi-Spanish one.

Dale a tu cuerpo alegria Macarena
Que tu cuerpo es pa' darle alegria y cosa buena
Dale a tu cuerpo alegria, Macarena
Heeeeey Macarena

9- La Copa de la Vida
This was the official song of the 1998 Mundial. Good job Ricky

Tu y yo! Ale ale ale
Go, go, gol! Ale ale ale
Arriba va! El mundo esta de pie
Go, go, gol! Ale ale ale

10- Voice from the skies
Bocielli again, with con te partiro...

Con te partiro
Paesi che non ho mai
Veduto e vissuto con te
Adesso si li vivr?
Con te partiro
Su navi per mari
Che io lo so
No no non esistono pi?
Con te io li rivivro

Other great songs are Caruso (recommended by caroline), The mass-era (recommended by Majd Batarseh), X simarik (kiss kiss) recommended by Hala, and a random but good Turkish song -actually in English , by Gowaider.

Hope you liked them

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The five seconds of silence

On the phone with the secretary.

"Hey Judy, I need 1/1 off, I'm going to New York"

Judy, "Awesome, I'm going with husband and in-laws to New York too. We're gonna watch my sister in a play! If you go to that play watch for her, her name is Amanda."

I asked, "Are they gonna introduce her?"

Judy, "Yes, I'll be happy to, and she's single too, 32, has a kid"

Hareega, "Oh, I meant are they gonna introduce her to us, the audience, so we can know who she is, I didn't to me".

Judy, "Oh...."
Hareega, "Uhmm....."

then came the five seconds of silence......

"So can I take 1/1 off?"

I was talking to my attending physician (kinda my boss) about a patient whose first name is Benito, as in Benito Mussolini.

Hareega, "It's the the first time I meet someone whose name is Benito. He's 36, so he was born after the (second world) war! Why the hell did his parents name him Benito?"

Boss, "Well Mussolini wasn't that bad, not nearly as bad as Hitler. They say at least he made the trains run on time in Italy."

Hareega, "Ha Ha Ha that wasn't easy, Italians can't get anything done on time"

Then I quickly remembered something. I looked at my boss's badge and noticed that his name was as Italian as fettuccini alfredo.

There were five seconds of silence, then we proceeded to talk about the patient.

I'm technically on-call 24/7. I can get paged anytime and I have to call back immediately.

It was 10 pm, I was leaving the hospital, and decided to use the clean bathrooms they have for doctors inside the hospital to release my products of metabolism.

As I was inside, I got paged. I pick my cell phone and call back the number. It was the neurosurgery resident who is also a not-so close friend.

I called back.
She goes, " Hey Ferris you didn't mention in your note how long you wanna treat Mrs. Green for."

"Oh, 4 weeks."
"How long?"
"4 weeks"
"I can't hear you well!"
I realized the signal inside the bathroom sucked. I wasn't in a good position to leave the bathroom.

"I said 4 weeks, FOUR WEEKS, FOUR, CUATRO. FOUR"
"OK, 4 weeks, hey where are you?"

From previous experiences, I realized that it's not a pretty thing to tell people on the phone that you're calling them from the bathroom. It's even worse to tell them you're sitting on a toilet seat.

So she asked , "Where are you, there's a lot of echo around you"
"Yeah I know."
"Are you in a wear house?"

I said, "Oh yeah, in a wear house"
"What are you doing at 10 pm in a wear house!!"

Five second of silence........
Ten seconds of silence.......
then I hung up.