Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween High Jinks

October 31st began not as Halloween, but as the Day of the Doctor, a chance for first year medical students to shadow a physician or surgeon throughout the day. We were warned well in advance that it was not advisable to wear our costumes to the hospital...

I had the opportunity to shadow an enthusiastic and cheerful Cardiology PGY4 (fourth year resident). Most of the day was spent seeing patients on the Wards together with the senior physician, our PGY4, two additional residents (a PGY2 and a PGY1), and of course, myself and my partner. At the beginning I was sort of basking in the whole "doctor train" of white-coats lined up two-by-two following the senior physician. I felt like I was in an episode of Team Medical Dragon - part of a huge mob of slick doctors with their white-coats fluttering as they marched down the hall.

In all seriousness though, the day was quite an exciting learning opportunity. Although it was almost frustrating just how vacuous our medical knowledge was (our PGY4 had to keep reminding the senior physician that we had barely been exposed to real patients, and that we were still learning to use our stethoscopes), it was really neat to spend a day in the life of a Cardiologist. Before we knew it, we would be trying to interpret electrocardiograms (ECGs) and wrapping our minds around the difference between a STEMI and non-STEMI myocardial infarction (heart attack). We also got to see some pretty incredible examples of ultrasounds of the heart where we could actually see the cusps of the heart valves flapping open and closed in rapid succession.

Plus... I got to use my stethoscope. Muahahaha.

After the Day of the Doctor was over, Halloween was ready to begin in earnest. I went downtown to meet with my friend "Maximus" at his apartment and to get ready. Our other friend, who as a result of his flagrant pink shirt, will forever be known on this blog as, "Stewie" (after the Simpsons' Disco Stu) also met us there. Max and Stewie had coordinated their costumes to both include oversized afros, "bling", and Kanye West style shutter shades. However, they had radically divergent themes on these items. Stewie put himself together to resemble more of a fruity hippie type personality, whereas Max painted his face and arms black to resemble... well... a black person. As for myself, I had supremely spiked my hair into three dangerous weapons, applied tattoos to my arms and face, and put on some punk rocker bracelets to provide myself with a punk/rocker/emo look.

We made our way down to Century Club on King Street, which is where our class had arranged for us to party the night away. The class reps had brokered a deal where we could get into the club for $10 cover versus the usual $20 if we arrived before 11 PM. However, as it turned out, the club staff treated us really crappy and made us wait outside for quite awhile without letting anyone in (until well past 11), all the while trying to narrow the line down by moving people from the front to the back of the line. There were quite a number of confrontations between students and staff as the line became increasingly squished together. Eventually we made it in only to have the staff lady tell us that we needed to pay the full $20 cover. Luckily, one of our important class people made his way to the front of the line, told the lady off, and ensured that UofT students got their agreed-to deal.

So let me admit my uncoolness and tell you that prior to this year, I had never been clubbing. Having gone a couple times now (including my disappointment at Koi in Hamilton), I have decided that I really wasn't missing out on much. Despite keeping company with a lot of fun and outgoing people and the fact that I really do enjoy dancing (despite the fact that I likely look like a dork), clubbing is just not that fun for me. I mean, there is kind of a thrill to the atmosphere - dim lighting, heavy beats, a crowd of people packed in close together. But the same factors also can make for a pretty unenjoyable experience - a bunch of strangers standing around in a room, random peoples' rumps making contact with yours, and a bunch of elbows and arms jamming into you as people shove their way through the crowd. Part of it was probably that the music wasn't very good... in fact, Yuffie downed a number of drinks just to keep her going to cruddy beats wafting around. After about two hours, we got pretty bored and decided to do something else to entertain ourselves.

At this point I'd like to pause for a minute and talk about costumes. I mean, it was Halloween! While I'll admit, my costume and those of my friends were hardly of Grade A calibre, I think we injected a fair bit of effort and originality. On the other hand, I was largely unimpressed with most of the costumes I saw last night. I mean if I could count the number of policewomen, sexy nurses, and devils walking around... And then of course, there are a number of women who seem to think of Halloween as simply and excuse to run around in their underwear. All I can say is, provocative as that may be, underwear is not a costume. It's just underwear. There were a couple of particularly interesting costumed characters running around. One person from my class dressed up as a Bell Ringer (an exam where anatomical specimens have tags attached to them and students have to answer questions about the tagged structures). Basically, he dressed up in a fleshy zombie-like suit and tied tags to himself. It was rather clever.

After leaving the club, the bunch of us went back to hang out at Yuffie's. We went a little crazy taking photos and played Nintendo GameCube, which Yuffie had secured as a consolation prize from one of her failed romantic endeavours. For my part, I completely creamed Stewie at Need for Speed: Most Wanted, although he destroyed me in Super Smash Bros Melee. We finished off the night by eating what was possibly the very worst pizza I had ever had in my entire life. It was a grilled chicken and barbecue sauce from Pizza Pizza; except that the crust was thin and hard, the pizza was cold, and toppings were sparse, and there was barely any barbecue sauce. It really boggles my mind how variable the quality of Pizza Pizza can be from one franchise to another (since I generally find it one of the better pizza chains out there).

Unfortunately, we eventually succumbed to our weak minds and bodies and called a close to our inspiring collegial bonding experience at around 3:30 AM, heading back to our respective habitats to crash for the night before waking back up to the real world. Rock on.

On the subway home in the morning, I noticed a guy with a sketchbook in his hand looking furtively up and down between the passengers on the train and his sketchbook. I have to admit, I was very curious and wanted very much to move over beside him and ask him if I could take a look. As things go, my mind often wants me to satisfy my curiosity but my body is too shy to be compliant. I did eventually get a glance to see that he was mostly just sketching postures using some basic shapes rather than trying to put together accurate portraits of subway passengers. That's rather a shame since I thought it would have been neat so see a sketch of myself. But what almost equally intriguing was wondering whether this guy was aware of my watching him watching so many other people... Dun dun dun...


Anonymous said...

should have gotten your partner to take a phone-video of you walking down the hall way with ur un-buttoned white coat... then play it in slow-motion on your blog... that would be cool

so you are talented in the area of spying.. last time it was taking photo of the demented lady on the subway, now secretly approaching the stranger to see his album without him noticing... well done!

Anonymous said...

dude where's your nov2 blog entry

a_ndy said...

I did write one, but probably not one that is of interest to most people.