Friday, 13 January 2012

Bogor Presidential Palace

This morning I went to the central post office in Jakarta, hoping that they'd have a neat philately corner that sells better postcards. Well that was a disappointing visit overall, but the old man who takes care of the philately shelves (SHELVES!) happened to have this card.

This is the Bogor Presidential Palace. It's not the main palace, because the main one is in Jakarta, whose name is Istana Merdeka (lit. "Palace of Freedom"). But this is the second in popularity after Istana Merdeka. I have had some luck to get inside twice. The palace itself is quite nice. It's white, clean, and full of artworks, mostly paintings and statues. Our first president, Soekarno, was a huge art fan. His favourite subject? Nude women. Tasteful nude women, I must say, because Soekarno was a painter himself so he must knew quite a bit about art. Additionally, he was much of a flirt, so I bet he understood one or two things about feminine beauty.

Si Denok, the most popular statue on the palace grounds.

A bit of history: The Bogor Palace was built on August 1744 during the Dutch colonial era. It was named Buitenzorg (Dutch: "without sorrow", after the French summer palace Sanssouci) and served as a retreat mansion for the Dutch governors. After the independence, it was largely used by Soekarno, and since then the palace has seen a number of international guests.

The palace has a vast front yard and an even bigger backyard, the Botanical Gardens itself (which merits a separate post). The front yard is filled with deer (and deer dungs). There are also foreign vegetations, gifts from foreign presidents, kings, and ministers. It's sunny and peaceful, very unlike the Jakarta palace. Of course, Indonesia being Indonesia, there are some local horror stories surrounding this palace; reputedly only our fourth president dared to spend a night there.

The deer of Bogor Palace. The large gap is to separate the yard from
the pedestrian outside a tall fence (invisible).

Inside the palace, there's the Hall of One Thousand Mirrors. It's really a pair of mirrors, but placed face to face, so that when you stand between them, you will have endless reflections. It's cool but kinda creepy.

If you happen to visit Bogor, West Java, I'd be happy to take you to see the palace. It's right across my old school so I used to pass it frequently (and still do, when I'm home).

Monday, 9 January 2012

Final Thoughts on Anesthesiology

1. I love the action parts. Got some pretty good lessons on CPR, intubation, and LMA. For the last two, I had the chance to perform them on actual patients. Not to mention I looked movie-cool while doing so :p

2. Critical care is complex. Naturally, I might add, because people don't end up in the ICU for simple problems. There's one case where a patient has type 2 diabetes, ARF, CHF, grade 2 hypertension, AND bronchopneumonia. There's also a patient with both liver rupture and kidney rupture due to road accident. These are mind-stimulating for learning, but I'm not sure if I have to handle them for the rest of my life.

3. Anesthesiologists, and nurse anesthetists, are mostly relaxed laid-back folks. This, I admire.

4. I don't like parents of babies who are hospitalized in the ICU. They (the parents) are very pushy and interrogative. Of course, I understand their concerns, but it really is irritating sometimes.

5. Although I like the OR actions, I don't very much like the beginning (prep) and the end (post-op follow-up). Plus, I don't really get the logic of anesthesiology. Or maybe that's because I haven't learnt the theory sufficiently. See, I would make a lousy anesthesiologist.

In conclusion, theory-wise anesthesiology is not my cup of tea. Experience-wise, though, it is my absolute favourite because it has taught me a lot of things that I had been looking forward to since I saw them in movies (hehe).

My credits shall go to every member of the anesthesiology crew but especially to the following two:

dr. Riza M. Farid, Sp.An, the head anesthesiologist my surrogate daddy!
He's a compassionate man and physician, and always maintains his composure. Witty when you get to know him better. Terrific teacher too.

Subarni, the head nurse anesthetist our big uncle.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

A last look at 2011.

Before the dust of time sweeps away the footprints behind, let me just pause for a moment and glance back at that older realm not so long ago.

2011: the Year of First-Times.

It was my first time experiencing winter. I went to North America by myself (okay, with a group of people, but they're not my family, so still...). I saw the United States of America for the first time. I also saw Canada for the first time. It was admittedly a strange experience, like I had known and lived in these countries for ages. I guess thanks to the media?

2011 was also the first time I wore a graduation robe and earned a scholarly title. I earned my 3.5-year-worth Bachelor of Medicine. The robe was a fine thing too.

Then of course I finally entered the clerkship years. This in itself was a BIG first-time, consisting of smaller first-times. Read on.

I made my first non-UPH medical student friends. Call me antisocial, but I had rarely gone out to a medical students convention or things like that. My friends were mostly from the non-medical community, and of course I'm very happy to have them because they keep me grounded [read: sane]. Fellow medical people, however, have the obvious common grounds with me, and we can talk in the same language, laugh at the same nerdy jokes. We know how grave or how trivial a medical situation is, we don't have to talk about it, we just look at each other's eyes and we'll understand. There's this indescribable comfort of being in the mainstream, when other times you are in the minority.

Along with medical students, it was my first time personally relating to full-fledged physicians and nurses. I did have sort-of doctor friends, but they are actually my mum's friends or colleagues, so I could never really be sincere with these people. But the doctors I met and engaged with during my clerkship, well, they were for real. It was astonishing, but also nice, to see, for the first time, that I could talk to these people without having my mum beside me. I felt great. I felt belong.

I met Virgilio, my first Timor Leste friend. I'm getting good at recognising people from the region :)

The first time a CENTIPEDE was found in my bathroom. I certainly hope this would be the last.

I did all these for the first time: suctioning, taking off the NGT, tracheal intubation, LMA, antibiotic skin test, independently prepping patients for anesthesia, actual venipuncture on a patient instead on a classmate, bagging, installing IV line infusion, operating various ICU machineries like the EKG, ventilators, and auto-injectors, getting over my fear of ampoules, and adjusting myself with the "OR culture". Thanks to the anesthesiology rotation for most of these.

Saw my first jaundiced patient. I used to wonder how yellow these patients can be. Answer: unmistakably, abnormally yellow.

Joined Postcrossing. A long time lover of handwritten postcards and letters, I am now officially a Postcrosser.

First time spending Dec 25 AND Dec 31 at the hospital. This made me realize that while both dates only happen once in a year, they are really not very different from other days. People put meaning to a certain date, celebrate it, and that's that. Life goes on. And the ill is still ill.


Looking back, 2011 was a year full of accomplishment. I think I have become more independent, more confident, more obedient, more resilient. I feel overwhelmingly blessed and especially thankful for it. I hope yours is also filled with stuff, small things, big things, worthy to be told to the next generation.

Now let us step forward to a brave new world of 2012! Happy New Year!