Wednesday, March 28, 2007
book report: Deadly Decisions
by Kathy Reichs
This was not my favorite Temperance Brennan novel, although I was caught up in the story. This time, Tempe is investigating the murder of a 9-year-old who was caught in the crossfire of a biker gang war. She gets drawn into various other biker issues (apparently motorcycle gangs are a big problem in Quebec? And North Carolina? I did not know this. And have my suspicions about its accuracy) including an old unsolved murder from decades before.
Maybe I just don't care about bikers as much as nuns, but this plotline didn't do as much for me as Death Du Jour. It's pretty exciting, though, especially if you like motorcycles and people shooting each other.
Labels: book reports
book report: Death Du Jour
by Kathy Reichs
I am currently reading the 4th book in this series (Death Du Jour is the 2nd) and so far I think I have liked this one the best. The book begins with Tempe Brennan looking for the buried bones of a Quebecois nun in a Montreal churchyard - she's up for sainthood so they need to find her bones! But the nun's bones are not where they are supposed to be. Next up on Tempe's caseload is a horrible house fire that has killed a lot of people... soon followed by the disappearance of a young graduate student who may have been sucked into a cult.
The revelation about the nun's personal history is the most interesting bit of the book, although there were lots of good twists and turns in the story. That's why I'm still entangled in the series.
Labels: book reports
book report: Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
by Haruki Murakami
This is, I believe, the second Murakami book I've read. The first was Kafka by the Shore, which was just... weird. This one was also weird, but more satisfyingly so. And it wasn't quite as disturbing, or the distubing bits seemed more normal to me, or something.
The main character is a "calcutec" - someone who does freelance data processing with some kind of brain implant - who gets caught up in an adventure with a crazy neuroscientist and his odd granddaughter. These chapters alternate with a parallel story set in a fantasy land of the Town, where people must separate themselves from their shadows and then their shadows die. Ordinary objects like paperclips take on an unusual significance, as do musical instruments.
It's all very creative but I ultimately found the book a bit unsatisfying. It was like eating a highly seasoned snack that really didn't contain any nutrition. That said, I'll probably pick up more Murakami books just to see what other crazy ideas he's come up with.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
book report: Electric Michaelangelo
by Sarah Hall
I'm really behind on my book report list. I read this book like a year ago. The strange thing is that I remember not liking it very much but finished it anyway. I just went back and read the Amazon reviews of the books and now I remember - the writing was really beautiful and the book introduced me to a world - a couple, actually - that were completely unfamiliar to me. But it was a sad and dark and disturbing book, and I think that's why I remember not liking it very much.
Cy is a child of a single mother in a small seaside town in England early in the 20th century. His mother runs a hotel that is more of an infirmary for tuberculosis patients who have come to "take the sea air" in hopes that it will help their disease. When Cy gets a little older, he becomes the apprentice of the town's tattoo artist, an engaging and creepy character. He teaches Cy all there is to know about tattooing, including how to give oneself a tattoo with ink and a hammer and a nail.
Cy ends up in New York City and gravitates to Coney Island, where he meets an entertaining assortment of carneys. One of them is Grace, who does an act with her horse that she keeps in her apartment. Yes, really. Grace gives Cy the opportunity to craft his masterpiece - a tattoo that will cover Grace from the neck down. He agrees and falls in love with her... but their romance is not meant to be.
It's a sad book. Sad things happen to nearly all of the characters. I suppose that is true in nearly everyone's life, however...
Labels: book reports
The day after the final, I spent most of the day cleaning house because my parents came into town and spent the night at our house. I know it doesn't sound like much fun to clean the house on my break but it's awfully nice to have a clean house again.
Friday morning we got up super early and went down to the waterfront to catch the Victoria Clipper to, uh, Victoria. Upon arriving, we cabbed over to the Empress Hotel and checked in. R* was dissatisfied with our allegedly upgraded room and went back to the desk and asked for a new room - so we ended up in a little suite with a harbour view and a lovely sitting area. I would not have asked for a new room if it were up to me because I'm embarrassed by things like that - but I have to admit that our room was gorgeous and we were much more comfortable there.
After moving into room #2, we went downstairs and met my parents for afternoon tea. It was posh as it always is at the Empress. I started my tea collection there, as the waitstaff pass out boxes of "Tea at the Empress" tea bags to each customer. We went back up to our room and changed and relaxed for a little while, then went down to the spa and had massages and soaked in the mineral pool for a little while. I felt so much better afterward. I've been really tense! We had a nap and then all 4 of us went for an early dinner at Cafe Brio. We had a really good time and the food was terrific. The only letdown was that dessert was not as stunning as the previous courses had been. R* and I had been there for dinner several years ago and I was very happy to find that the restaurant held up to my fond memory.
On Saturday we wandered around and shopped and lunched at an Irish pub which was fabulous - best fish and chips I've ever had - and took a nap and had a delicious seafood dinner. Then we went back to the Empress and had cocktails and dessert and listened to a jazz trio which was actually very good, not "hotel jazz" at all. During my shopping I loaded up at Lush and at Murchies... in fact, I'm having a cup of Queen Victoria blend as I type this.
Sunday we went on a tour bus out to the Butchart Gardens and strolled around and had tea again in their restaurant. Then we caught a bus back to the Empress, where we had left our bags to be taken over to the Clipper terminal, and discovered we had a couple of hours to kill. So my parents and I went to the Victoria Bug Zoo, which caused R* to announce that he would meet us later and hightail it for the bookstore. He doesn't like bugs very much. :) My folks and I had a great time, though - I guess we're kind of weird that way. R* found some jazz CDs in the sale bin and a book he'd been wanting, so he also had a good time. We went into a deli and bought sandwiches for the boat trip home - the one major problem with the Clipper is that the food on board is awful - and then strolled over to the terminal. We got home without incident and hopped in the car and drove home. It was a very nice vacation and I remembered why I like Victoria so much - it's friendly, pleasant, has plenty of things to do and isn't too far from home.
Now I've got just a few days off before school starts again. I actually have a CPR class all day on Friday and then regular classes start on Monday. Sigh. I need a longer break. The good news is that I don't have to get up so freaking early, though, since my earliest class this quarter is at 9:30 AM.
In other news, R* and I have decided we need to get back on the health kick again. Our plan is to have oatmeal, yogurt & fruit, or cereal for breakfast (maybe smoothies as well?), salad for lunch, and protein (chicken or seafood) and vegetables for dinner. I think I'll serve fresh fruit for "dessert" at dinner time. I went to the grocery store today and got a bunch of salad ingredients and chopped them all up and stashed them in the fridge for easy salad packing. Hopefully that will make it easier to stick with the plan.
Saturday, March 17, 2007
I'm studying, I swear.
Mr. Hypo Thalamus was watching the monitors in his office, keeping track of the temperature, the hunger level, the thirst level, and several other screens. Suddenly, there was a knock on his door. "Come in," said Hypo. The door opened and a messenger stuck his head in. "Hey, Hypo, it's Osmo Receptor. Got a note for you. It's getting kind of salty out there, I think the company has lost some fluid." "Thanks, Osmo," replied Hypo. "I'll get right on that."
Hypo Thalamus picked up the telephone and punched the button for overhead paging. "Attention, everyone, we are going to Thirst Level 1. Let's drink some water out there!". He then dialed the extension for the pituitary department down the hall. "Hi, Pituitary? I've got a message for the back office. Yeah, Posterior Pituitary. Can you have him release some ADH? You know, antidiuretic hormone? Thanks." Hypo Thalamus hung up the phone and stretched. His work was done.
Posterior Pituitary had his feet up on his desk when his secretary came in. "Hi, Posterior," she said. "I've got a message for you from Hypo Thalamus upstairs. He says you need to send out some ADH right away - I guess things are pretty salty out there." P. Pituitary swung his feet down from the desk and opened his filing cabinet. Taking out a wad of ADH, he handed it to the secretary and said, "This ought to do the trick. Go ahead and tube this down to the kidneys. Tell Hypo to call me if he needs more ADH down there. Thanks!"
The secretary dropped the ADH into the pneumatic tube system and punched in the extension for the Kidney department. When the shipment of ADH arrived at Kidney Central, the foreman passed the ADH around to all the collecting ducts and distal tubules in every nephron unit. "Listen up, everybody!" the foreman shouted. "We've got salty conditions out there and we need to keep more water in the major water treatment system. No clean water should be flowing out to the storm sewer at this time." Each nephron unit readjusted their settings to allow the distal tubules and collecting ducts to get more permeable. Soon, water started splashing through the tubules and out into the utility pipelines, diluting the bloodstream back to normal level. "Nice work, everyone!" the foreman said. "You can take it easy for a while now. Good thing this company doesn't have SIADH or we would have to be on permeable settings all the time - imagine what a hassle that would be!"
Meanwhile, the Adrenal offices upstairs from the Kidney department were monitoring their own screens. "Hmm, looks like the company is reabsorbing some water down in Kidney," said one Adrenal officer. "Yeah, we'd better remind them to retain some sodium, too, or else we're going to have hyponatremia problems," replied the other Adrenal officer. "I'll send out some aldosterone, that should do the trick." The Adrenals sent a shipment of aldosterone downstairs to the Kidney department. "Thanks!" the Kidney foreman called upstairs. "I'll get some renin sent out right away!"
The Kidney foreman shipped a batch of renin out into the utility pipeline along with the water. While floating along in the plasma, the renin ran into some angiotensinogen on it's way out of the liver. "Yo, Angi!" called out Renin. "Good to see you, man! Wanna go talk to the Adrenal department with me?" "Sure!" replied Angiotensinogen. "Just let me change into Angiotensin real quick, Adrenals never listen to me if I don't change." After swapping his Angiotensiogen team jacket for the Angiotensin II jacket, Angi headed back to the Adrenal offices. "Hey Adrenals, how's it going?" said Angi. "Kidneys sent Renin to tell me that the company is having problems with the sodium levels. Can I help you with that?"
"Thanks for letting us know!" replied the Adrenal officers. "We'll send out another batch of aldosterone to the Kidney department right away."
There, now wasn't that more fun than reading about the renin-angiotension-aldosterone mechanism???
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
children's stories for nurses
The war against the Bacterial Invaders was going poorly. The captain of the White Cell Guard took stock of his troops and realized that they were down to less than 5000 soldiers. "Troops!" he shouted. "Our numbers are getting low! We're going to have to send in our kids!" The troops replied, "But captain! The kids are not mature, and won't be as effective against the invaders." The captain sighed and said, "I know, but we don't have any other soldiers to put on the battlefield right now. We'll have to make sure we give the kids clear instructions."
He turned to the kids and shouted, "Kids, ten-HUT! We're marching out. Left! Left! Left, right, left!"
It would be easy to write something similar for the rest of the immune response. I just haven't gotten around to it. Other topics I've considered writing children's stories about are insulin and glucose (they have to hold hands to enter the cell!), different hormones, and fluid/electrolyte balance. Maybe after I finish school I'll have time for such things.
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
We got partial word today about next quarter's clinical groups - I know I'm not going to Downtown Private Hospital, which is good in the sense that it means I'm probably going to be in the Awesome University Hospital group, but very sad in the sense that Classmate M* who lives inside my head is not with me next quarter! We have been inseperable at clinical for the past year and it's so strange to think of being on the floor without her. She is equally bummed out and left me the cutest voicemail after class today telling me so.
As a further sign that the quarter will someday end, today we turned in our research papers. Now all that's left is two regular exams, the last bit of log-writing for clinicals, and our final clinical conferences with our instructor. Oh yeah, and a final exam. And then, Canadian vacation!
Labels: nursing school
Thursday, March 01, 2007
next to last night
And tomorrow is the LAST night of clinical for this quarter. We're going to go in for a few hours and then we're all going out to dinner together. I can't wait to be done. I guess I'm not really done until next week, though, because I still have a surgery observation day. But no one will expect me to do any work that day!
Finally, my mom sent me a new white pair of Airwalk closed-toe clogs (like Crocs but Airwalk brand) and I wore them for the first time at clinical tonight - and it was the first night on the floor that my feet didn't hurt. I am thrilled.
Labels: nursing school