Sunday, April 4, 2010


Wow, its been awhile.

i know it's spring but i wanted to share how my big ski race went back in february. in a nutshell awesome. i didnt place too high but i did finish the whole 50K and in my goal time of under 4 hours (3:57 something).

(Myself and a few med school friends/fellow skiers, L-R me, Gabe, and Nate)

(A pic from the start. Over close to 10,000 participated in the event!)

lessons duly noted:

1) the birkie is hilly - i had been warned of hills but didnt really appreciate that until i started. the problem with these hills is you go up, expend a ton of energy, and then you're down the back side so fast you have start climbing again before you know what happened. bring on the lactic acid!

2) skate skiing uses your whole body - this was helpfully pointed out to me when my abdominal muscles started cramping around 35K:)

3) I am still a fairly inept descender - my lack of descending skills was not helped by the fact that my wave, wave ten - the absolute last, had to contend with descents that had been carved into tracks where one could not really turn well or slow down. i crashed big time on a sketchy corner to the raucous cheering of numerous heckling bystanders who had trekked into the woods with lots of alcohol and set up camp on the biggest downhills. as i tried to get going my boot wasnt quite in and i went down again. at this point one lady offered to help me while her companion offered a shot of hard liqueur.

right after the birkie things got warm so no more skiing. but, this made for some great tree climbing weather. i hadnt been up a tree since i went apple harvesting in the fall and it was great to get back out there.

we just finished up spring break a few weeks back which i used part of to visit my good friend Luke in Washington DC. Luke and I met the first day of orientation at PLU and even though life has taken us to different parts of the world/country we've stayed in touch. I had never been to DC (or any other part of the east coast for that matter) and had a great time exploring the capital, relaxing, cooking and eating delicious food, exercising and playing copious ping pong.

(Me, Luke and Marci in front of the capitol building)

(They had lots of trees with flowers. This is one of them. I was there for the cheery blossoms as well which were quite spectacular.)

(At the WWII memorial which was one of the most interesting to me.)

now im back in our final block, just 3 more weeks. one event of note is i ran my first ever solo MEDiC clinic recently (the one i co-coordinate on saturday morning/afternoons for uninsured people with acute medical conditions) and it went ok! while we are an acute care clinic in name we are seeing lots of patients with chronic conditions manifesting acutely as they have no other source of care. we have also been seeing a plethora of individuals for dental concerns. we have a few referrals each month but the need greatly overwhelms the supply. im not sure how the mouth was determined not to be a part of one's body for insurance purposes but it's terribly vexing for us and our patients. one man came to us for severe tooth decay and abscess that are causing him sufficient pain that he is taking multiple over the counter pain meds just to get through the day. the kicker? he's a US veteran, gets his care at the VA, but they don't do dental. dah!

oh, and i guess i didnt tell everyone this yet. while mtn biking in the trails by my house i fell hard off a jump and broke my left distal radius (colles fracture).

(me with cast)

JUST KIDDING! we had a workshop for M1s and M2s to learn a variety of skills. i participated in casting and learning how to suture on pigs feet. it was a blast, i could have sat there for hours perfecting the different suturing techniques but i reckon there will be more time for this in the future.

this past sunday the MEDiC council (team that runs free clinics for uninsured of our community) went to do a ropes course to build comraderie and have fun. i think both were accomplished in great measure. having a warm sunny spring day was a definite bonus.

(this cable bridge was tricky to balance on as the cables werent too tight. without some belay tension i think i would have fallen off. the exciting part of this one for me was to get up to the bridge. they didnt have the right rope so i got to climb the angled tree you can see in the left of the image up to the start with no rope! Thy needed someone to do this as the rope ladder normally used to start the challenge was stuck up on the other side that i am heading towards.)

(this was a high ropes challenge where you had to lean in and support your partner or you both would fall. or at least fall sooner as everyone fell eventually:)

(chris and i going for it!)

(our MEDiC team!)

while this final school block has been lighter on the course work i have kept quite busy due in large part to the transfer of leadership for various groups. Joining the MEDiC council has been a big part of this. In addition, myself, Anst and 3 other M1s will be running the Global Health Interest Group (GHIG) next year and we've already been dreaming up cool events. one i hope to run is a workshop to teach how to make thin and thick blood smears and then diagnose malaria by light microscopy. i was introduced to this in Ecuador by Manuel and think other students would find it fascinating.

Also keeping me on my toes has been the ramp up preparing to go to mexico and guatemala this summer. ive solidified travel plans and will be back in seattle may 30- june 20 then mexico june 20-july 25 and guatemala july 25-august 7. in mexico i will based in a small rural community called Tequililla in the state of Jalisco. in theory i will be working with community members in a series of nutrition/cooking classes much like i did with operation front line the year past in seattle. however, the cooking methods, food available (i heard nopales or cactus is a main veggie - anyone have any good nopale recipes by chance?), and manner of acquiring food will all be totally new so i envision i will be doing more learning than teaching to say the least.

well, that is all for now!