Happy weekend!

Namaste and Happy weekend folks!

It’s been a while since I wrote a post with random thoughts, so here goes!

First on the agenda —> my Hubby is moving over to Vancouver tomorrow! YAHOOO! Over 5 and a half years of long distance and let me tell you, it feels absolutely great to say this. Yes, it feels very surreal. I truly want to cry. I am trying really hard not to start bawling as I type this. I’ll grab some wine before picking him up at the airport tomorrow night and then we’re just going to come home and relax together. Happy married life to us!!! 🙂

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–> Ever had those days when everything just felt weird? So Thursday was a late start at the clinic. As I was getting ready to work, I got this gut feeling that it was maybe going to be a strange day. I don’t know if it’s maybe that I set myself up for this and approached my day with a different thought process/attitude but it DID, in fact, turn out to be weird. People at work were stressed, running around and openly stated that today was just one of those days. Several patients snapped as me as soon as I walked through the door to see them! It was very strange, they definitely did not want to talk to me, the trainee. Usually, I have a wonderful experience with patients, but that specific day there were THREE of them. What was up with that?? So, I kept calm. Took a deep breath and just let it be. I chose respect and patience. I refused to absorb any negative energy coming my way. I survived the day. 

–> My best friend’s Indian baby shower was absolutely beautiful. 🙂 I was the main photographer for the event so it was absolutely awesome to literally be IN the middle of the happenings! I don’t have any pictures to share of their baby shower because it’s personal but here is one of my bangles! I was to wear an orange saree that day but thankfully I took a salwar along and wore that instead because I was running around taking photos!

There was a part of the ceremony where the mother-to-be has bangles put on her wrists by all the ladies who attend the ceremony. What I DIDN’T know is that she will have another woman sitting next to her who will be blessed by the ladies to have a baby in the near future….guess who that other person/woman was….ME! I was definitely not ready for this but it was such a sweet gesture for my best friend to ask me. So I sat down and the ladies blessed me as well 🙂 The red bangles you see there near my hand were the “baby blessing” bangles! haha 😉

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–> The CaRMS residency application portal will open up next week. Yikes! I feel nervous and I don’t know what to expect this year…but you know what, I realized that worrying is not going to solve my issues. Instead, I will continue to do what I am doing and hope for the best.

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Good night everyone 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend. Sending happy vibes your way!

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Review on Sunmay facial cleansing brush.

Happy Thursday everyone!

I cannot believe that the Fall season is just a month away! Crazy much?? Time certainly flies, doesn’t it? I long for these months to slow down and stick around longer but I also look forward to new adventures in the future!

I had a day off of work today and have started to pack some Indian clothes for my trip this weekend.

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Will be wearing one of the sarees from my wedding. 

I am super excited as I am flying to Chicago for my best friend’s South Indian baby shower, also known as valaikappu and seemantham. During this ‘baby shower’ we sit with the beautiful expecting mother, sing songs and place lots of colourful bangles around her wrists. Then later, the mother and father-to-be, the guests and the priest chant prayers and bless the baby.

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Source: http://www.srivenkateshwaramarriagehall.com/seemandham.html

It will be the first baby to be born amongst our friendship circle of four of us best friends who met in highschool, so it is pretty exciting 🙂 

So recently I noted my facial skin was looking dull and dry. Using a facial scrub cream and moisturizing it just wasn’t helping. I looked into buying a facial brush online and almost bought the facial cleaning brushes with the bristles but came across a dermatologist review. The dermatologist stated that buying the facial brush with the bristles would be harder to clean, so there would be an increased growth of bacteria on the bristles. I would be using the same brush with bacteria growth over and over again on my face and then I would have to look into buying a new brush replacement (not economical). (Kind of similar to a toothbrush… that reminds me I need to change my toothbrush, yuck!!)

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The Foreo facial brush, on the other hand, was a facial cleansing brush made out of silicone, easy to clean and does a great job of gently cleansing my face. The problem…it was over $150!!! I was NOT going to spend that amount of money. Instead I found a dupe called Sunmay (see link) on amazon.ca for just over $30 CAD. It came with the facial brush, cute box, USB charger, a soft carry case, and instructions.

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I charged the Sunmay facial brush for just over an hour, it has been about a little over two weeks now and I haven’t had to charge it since. I use it about 3-4x/week, just before sleeping. I love it because:

  • My face felt smooth
  • the pointy end of the cleanser reached the corners between my nose and cheeks where I am more prone to blackheads
  • the + and – increases and decreases the speed of vibration respectively
  • easy to clean with soap and water or alcohol spray/wipes
  • one side (seen below) is a facial scrub and the other side (seen in the last pic) is a massager!

I use it with my Alba Botanica facial cleanser which does an excellent job but is a bit drying on the skin. After washing my face I spray on my Radha Organics rose water (see link) and then use the Aura Cacia Sweet Almond Oil.

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Completely make up free, I was pretty happy with the results!

This side (seen below) is a face massager to use with anti-aging serum/gels. As you can tell I have three I like to use. I do not know if these three are effective for wrinkle prevention because I may only see results after long-term use. I am not very good about using these anti-aging serums frequently. I am definitely non-compliant 😉 Anyway, but it is pretty cool I have this option!

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Overall I am very happy with the products! If you use any of these products I have mentioned above (gels, creams, cleansers etc.) let me know what you think?

Have a wonderful week & weekend everyone!

** I was not financially compensated for purchasing the products above. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

Adventures as a Medical Simulation Specialist – Part 3

Here’s Part 1 & Part 2

Namaste and Happy Friday everyone!

I ended my previous post with my adventures as a medical mission volunteer in India and working in critical care research!

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Along with my research position, I also worked as a medical simulation specialist for about two years! This was pretty exciting because I was involved in:

  • medical education
  • writing patient scenarios (easy, medium or hard)
  • networking with various healthcare professionals
  • running medical simulation sessions using high-fidelity manikins
  • coordinated all the major (& minor) education events in the simulation lab

What is a medical simulator you ask?

They are high-tech manikins that have heart beats, pupils that dilate and constrict to light, eyelids that blink, imitate breathing by moving its chest up and down, speak, bleed or sweat and even have seizures! These manikins have vital signs that can be changed according to what patient scenario is to be run! You can intubate them, perform surgeries, deliver babies, perform CPR and even shock them!

Health care professionals use these manikins to practice their knowledge and skills on. Better to make mistakes and perfect skills on manikins that have a restart button!

Our sim centre had several adult manikins, baby manikins, pediatric manikins and even a BIRTHING manikin – this was pretty cool! We also had an ultrasound simulator to practice ultrasound skills & learn to read the images.

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I’m seen here with my friend who was the medical simulation specialist before I joined. She matched into family medicine residency and is a practicing doc now! 🙂

I would control these manikins from behind a one-way mirror using a laptop that was wirelessly connected to the manikin! So I would be able to see the participants but they would not see me and what I will do next. I also had a mic that would allow me to pretend to be the patient and answer relevant questions – it was a lot of fun 🙂 I can make the scenario as hard as I want it to be or go easy on them 🙂

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Most memorable days?

I LOVED coordinating and running education days! Queens University family medicine was affiliated with our hospital, so a major chunk of their education session was in our sim lab. Emergency department would hold ED education days in the sim lab. Pediatric Advanced Life Support courses (PALS). Advanced Cardiac Life Support courses (ACLS)…and the list goes on.

Here are some pictures from a few education days: https://www.lakeridgehealth.on.ca/en/trainingandresearch/Events.asp

These education days consisted of planning and coordination that starts MONTHS in advance. I, the education department head and all the team members would have frequent meetings discussing:

  • what scenarios we were going to run (and work on those scenarios)
  • what skills stations are we running
  • what props/simulators are needed
  • if there was not a prop or simulator already in the sim lab that could meet the expectation of the educator, I would have to create one! I’ve made some pretty cool ones – pericardiocentesis models, chest tube insertion models, central line insertion models etc.
  • I would ensure all the rooms are booked, all equipment is ready to go, all people have been informed etc.

ON the day of – I would show up extra early make sure everything is PERFECT, and so far all of our education days have run pretty smoothly, if I can say so myself 🙂 There have been a couple of glitches with our simulators of course…can not expect technology to be perfect…but after some thinking it would be up and working again.

The adrenaline rush I would have at the beginning of the day…and by the end of the day when I see everyone’s smiling faces, knowing they had a wonderful experience I know I did my job well 🙂

After about two years though, I loved what I was doing but I was getting too comfortable. My GOAL was to match into a residency program and I needed to get back to clinical medicine. The knowledge and experience from clinical research & medical simulation education traveled with me as I left Ontario and moved to British Columbia!

It was 7 months ago, I took a deep breath, prayed I was making the right decision, booked a one-way ticket and left my family and friends in Toronto, my Hubby in Pittsburgh…and it was hello Vancouver! 

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Till next time! 🙂 Hope you enjoyed this post!

 

 

Friday randoms

Namaste & Welcome to my Friday randoms…. ❤

  • It’s about 10:30 pm for me here in Vancouver and I am missing Hubby. He is fast asleep in Pittsburgh as it is 1:30 am for him. I am bored.

 

  • I look forward to starting up my new position as a clinical research assistant on a University-affiliated women’s health study that we’ll be running out of the family medicine clinic. I will be using an ultrasound-type probe to detect any lumps, masses, cysts in a subject’s breast(s) etc. The hope/purpose of this project is to test whether this ultrasound device can help detect and diagnose breast cancer easier and be less invasive than other methods. -> http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/sfu-breast-cancer-detection-1.4059666

 

  • I’ve been really into smoothies these days. It’s fresh berry & fruit season in B.C.! There are several generous patients who drop by and show their thanks to the physicians in our clinic by dropping off crates of blueberries, cherries, peaches, strawberries, and nectarines! I don’t hesitate to help myself to some before I leave the office. Nom nom 😀

If world leaders could take some time to chill out and share a smoothie together, I  believe it would solve a lot of problems!

 

  • This video —>

 

  • I am looking for a professional looking vegan/pleather bag to take to the office that will fit my stethoscope, notebook, cell, wallet, lunch etc. I find them to be expensive though. Here are some that I liked, easy to sanitize and wipe outside.

Matt & Natt, Nicora

–> http://corporette.com/stylish-vegan-professional/

–> https://unicorngoods.com/collections/vegan-briefcases-and-professional-bags-for-women

 

  •  I love this –> 19510099_1077414549026499_8943403872213451791_n

 

Peace, love and happiness everyone. Have a wonderful weekend! Grab yourself a smoothie 🙂 ❤

 

 

 

Three-ingredient frozen chocolate dessert!

I didn’t think that this frozen concoction of mine would be so popular! 🙂 So here is a short and to the point post on how to make this frozen chocolate dessert!

  1. Ingredients:
  • 1 cup dairy-free chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut OR chopped peanuts OR hey, why not both 🙂

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2) In a bowl -> chocolate chips and the almond milk

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3) Zap this in the microwave for 1 minute, stir in between. Take out of microwave and throw in the mix-ins (coconut, peanuts or both!). Stir! Resist the urge to eat the whole bowl of ooey gooey yumminess 🙂

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Ummm where was I? Oh yea…..

4) Use two spoons to make little blobs on a tray lined with foil. Freeze for 30 to 45 mins and you can devour! 🙂

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Here is my pic from the frozen chocolate peanut bark. I flattened it and then froze it —>

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You’re welcome 🙂

 

Sweet & Sour Okra curry

Happy Friday everyone!

It has been quite a light week for me as my attending physician is on vacation! I had time to cook, do some painting, update my blog several times, Instagram, go to the gym, watch lots of movies etc. I should also be studying shouldn’t I? 😛

I just finished watching the movie Arrival! I LOVED it! I am into extraterrestrial, SciFi type movies anyway but this blew my mind. It had a very bitter sweet ending and got me teary-eyed.

I also started watching How I Met Your Mother, how have I not watched this until now?? It is hilarious, although Ted’s character annoys me a bit with his dating problems. 😛

Tonight on the menu for dinner is veggie burgers made from kidney beans and a whole bunch of other veggies I have in the fridge (onion, spinach, sweet and hot peppers etc.) I get bored with my meals easily so I try to keep my meals colourful, tasty and different without eating out several times a week. Here are some pics of some of my meals & snacks over the past week or so…

 

This okra dish is also made at home by Mom dearest. I love the sweet and sour aspect of this dish. Usually made in Kerala and Tamil Nadu (South India) by many vegetarian families! No onion or garlic and very little oil!

Sweet & Sour Okra Curry (vegan, no onion, no garlic)

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Ingredients (ignore the lemon juice in the pic)

  • 1 frozen okra bag
  • 3-4 tablespoons shredded coconut
  • 1 tomato chopped small
  • 2 thai green chilli (more if you want it more spicy)
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste (I had seeds in mine)
  • 1-2 tablespoons jaggery or sugar
  • salt to taste
  • 0.5 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 0.5 teaspoon jeera/cumin seeds
  • o.25 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
  • 2-3 cups water

Soak tamarind in 2-3 cups warm water for about 5-10 mins. You are going to use this tamarind water as the “sour” part of the gravy. Take out any of the seeds from the tamarind paste and throw seeds away.

Put the tamarind water into a pot turn stove on medium-high. Mix in the frozen okra, jaggery/sugar, turmeric and some salt. Let it boil.

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While it is boiling, grind the coconut and green chillis with some water. Add this to the pot. Cut tomato and add to the pot. Continue boiling for a couple more minutes. Taste the mixture and see whether it is the right amount of sweet, salty and spicy. If it’s too sour, add some salt, that should help. If it’s not sweet enough add some more jaggery/sugar. If it’s too thick add some more water.

After you have turned off the stove. Heat the oil in a separate pot, add the mustard seeds. These will pop, once they are done dancing around, add the jeera to the same pot. Jeera is ready when it’s a brown and releases a pleasant aroma. Don’t let it burn as it will be bitter.

Carefully add this to the okra curry as it will splutter.

Enjoy with rice or roti!!

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Simple curry to make! Enjoy!!

 

Medical mission volunteer & critical care research experience – Part 2

I backtrack a little bit before I continue from my Part 1: previous post….

Before I joined the research position in 2013, in December 2012 I went to India to volunteer my time with Amar Seva Sangam. The organization is located in Tamil Nadu, India and provides food, housing, education, physiotherapy and medical care to children and adults with disabilities. I was extremely happy to be involved on so many levels! I volunteered my time for several months teaching English, math, learning various methods of physiotherapy and also assisting the physician in providing medical care to the children, adults, and families from nearby villages!

In addition to this, I met some occupational therapy students from Quebec and we became extremely good friends! To this date, we continue to keep in touch! One of them even came to India to attend my wedding! ❤

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Gotta have coconut water when in the South!

All the kids seen above are probably all grown up now! It was an unforgettable experience that touched me so deeply. Once I am an independently practicing physician, I will go to India for a few months every year and volunteer my time serving under privileged communities.

Fast forward to Sept 2013….continuing from Part 1: previous post….

I traveled 170 km total to volunteer at the allergy clinic 5 days a week. This went on for several months and I was starting to become physically and financially drained. I came back after work and spent hours looking for research positions closer to my home. I sent out another hundred or so emails and finally…FINALLY, in March 2014 I received an unexpected response from the head of research at a hospital about a ten-minute drive away from home!

I met with the head of critical care Dr.W who told me that he was looking for a clinical research coordinator for his sepsis study as his previous study coordinator matched into family medicine at the University of British Columbia. In addition to this, Dr. W took me on a tour of the medical simulation lab in the hospital and asked me whether I was interested in volunteering as a medical simulation specialist! At this point, my eyeballs almost popped out of my head and I said YES! I had never worked with simulators before and it excited me!

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Let’s talk about the research study. It was called EUPHRATES: Evaluating the Use of Polymyxin B Hemoperfusion in a Randomized controlled trial of Adults Treated for Endotoxemia and Septic Shock. To explain it simply,  first, we found adult patients who were septic. (Septic patients are those who have an infection that had spread through their blood to the whole body to shut down major organs like the kidney, heart, brain etc.) If the infection was severe and the doctors were unable to control it with their initial ways of handling it (fluids, antibiotics, pressors to increase BP etc.) this study was an option. We were researching whether the antibiotic Polymyxin B would help these very sick patients.

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I would be in charge of roaming the CrCU floor, communicating with the critical care doctors and nurses to find and enroll severely septic patients into the research study. It was difficult because:

1) very few patients got that sick because the staff were so well trained at managing septic patients, so they got better even before I got to review their chart for the study

2) if I did find a patient they would have to fit into some pretty strict inclusion and exclusion criteria to be a part of the study

3) If they met ALL criteria then I would have an OMG moment and then a holy SH*T moment because now the clock starts ticking. I get 28 hours from the time they started their vasopressors to the first dose of antibiotic (abx)….so all of the following had to be done within this span of time! I had to review the pt’s information, calculate their MODS (multiple organ dysfunction syndrome) score, inform my PI (Dr. W) and give a heads up to the nephrologists (you will see why in point 4), track down the patient’s family members (because the patient is usually intubated and sedated because they are really sick), explain the study to the family,  they need time to think about it, read like a 50-page consent, get their signatures, draw the patient’s blood, test it myself in the lab for the level of endotoxin in their blood….if it was high enough then another holy SH*T moment happens because that means the patient can actually start receiving the abx.

4) I won’t go into too much of the nitty gritty details but the antibiotic is not an abx that we give by iv. I would need nephrologists for this because the abx is a cartridge that we stick into the dialysis machine. So a line has to be started on the patient to receive the abx via the dialysis machine…

Oh goodness gracious. It was difficult enrolling a patient for various reasons….I have to find the patient in time, the patient could have been admitted in the middle of the night and already started their vasopressors so many hours could have passed by, the family does not agree to the study because it sounded too dangerous, the endotoxin level in the blood was not high enough…and the list goes on 🙂

It definitely made my adrenaline pump on many occasions, but it FELT GOOD to be around physicians, nurses, critical care, in a hospital working on a really cool study!

I just didn’t like the amount of paper work that came with being a clinical research coordinator 😉

Will continue with part 3 next…

If you are interested in volunteering with Amar Seva Sangam: https://www.amarseva.org/get-involved/volunteer