Sunday, September 2, 2007

COAMS #38 - My first post-mortem forensic experience...

The Professor made us went down, One by one, we stood in a line, ‘warm’ he said, smiling at me, as if reading the fear written all over my face, as he took my hand and held it longer against it. I guess pretending to touch it didn’t work, and I totally lacked the enthusiasm my coursemates had, and the fear, I wasn’t faking it. I was so obsessed and compulsive, I washed my hands over 10 times that day…

The Professor took a knife and made an incision across the scalp. Then, he pulled the skin outwards and downwards, until the skin of the forehead touches the nose, like peeling a coconut husk. The mini electronic saw made an eerie ‘eeeeee…’ sound as it cut through the skull. The skull pulled apart, the brain removed. ‘No hemorrhages’ my friend whispered, but I was so shocked to actually rationalize anything, anything…

My friend, reading my fear, warned me, this part is even worse, she said, ‘the chest would open like a pod, and every internal organ removed’…The Professor, ignoring my fear, continue his carpentry work through the ribcage. I appreciated the emotional preparation, but somehow, I was still stunned.

Come on, you have seen numerous of cadavers(corpse) before at anatomy dissection, my inner voice tried to rationalize,.. ‘but this is fresh, it’s less than 4 hours!’ another voice argued.. and I wondered whether they were just thoughts or hallucinations…

‘Pop’, the chest cracked open and the mini saw stopped. In silence, he went through the intestines, as if searching for something. He tied one end of the gut, and later extract the whole gastrointestinal tract, from the tongue all the way to the colon, the lungs, the heart, the liver as well.

Then, they moved to another table. The brain was inspected and weight. Then the cerebellum divorced from the cerebrum. He sliced through the cerebellum. ‘Ouch!’ I shouted inside me… Although I understood well that the central nervous system has no nocicepters (pain receptors), and on top of that, it is already dead, I just couldn’t help feeling the pain… Then he sliced the cerebrum(forebrain), 1.5-2.0cm apart, sharply, skillfully and steadily,… spreading each out for signs of stroke, hemorrhages or infections. ‘Clean’, he said. At this point, I have a sense of déjà vu, as if this was a scene from a horror movie,.. I was already peeping through the narrow slits of my eyes.

Later, he started weighting the other organs, one by one, slicing them, analyzing them, like as if it’s the most interesting thing to do in the world – The tongue, the lung, the heart, the liver, etc..

He commented, ‘You should get used to the smell, no covering your nose and mouth with your hands’. He looked up at me, followed by another 30 pairs of eyes (of which belonged to my coursemates). I swallowed a gulp, it regurgitated back. It wasn’t just the smell, this, this was entirely gross… yet, I could tell no one… I cannot imagine me being on the table, and I vowed never to let it happen, and was already making plans to clearly state it in my will… I guess I was shallow, despite my profession background. But hey, I bet you would have thought the same back then if you were in my shoes.

Then, they sew up the body, halfway up the chest, shoved everything back into the body, including the brain and sew it tight. The head was filled with cotton and sutured.

And I, I could not eat any meat that day.


I stared down from above. A group of curious students looked at me, with cruel glances and disapproving expressions. I was not sure whether this should be done, I am not capable of stopping them anyway; I just had to get through with it.

The doctor recorded the bruise marks on my body, the cigarette marks and the multiple old scars from the slashing of my father’s belt.

I was hurt before. And so, I fled to Malaysia for employment, or rather, for new hopes, for a better future. My new employee was very nice to me. Despite not having any blood relationship, they treated me like a relative. I taught their children to read, played, and raised them as if they were my siblings… Here, I found home.

Then one day, my chest hurt so much, I could not breathe… and that was the last thing I could remember.

I feel guilty having my employees now being suspected for abusing me, for my death. How can I tell them, they were kinder to me than my very own flesh and blood? Would anyone believe it?

The doctor sliced through me. Funny, I felt no pain at all. Yet, I felt like I have lost something. That is me, or rather, that was me… Seeing this only restrengthen the fact that I can never return to it. So, that’s it, that’s the end.

As he sliced through the heart, he nods affirmatively, as if he found eureka. ‘Fibrosis- the scar tissue’, he explained to the students, ‘Look, the left ventricular wall is much thicker than the right, left ventricular hypertrophy’. The students nodded in unison while I understood nothing at all. ‘Here, another strip of fibrose tissue’ he continued speaking Latin and pointed to some grayish-white section of my heart. ‘The cardiac enzyme stain confirmed it. She had a heart attack’

I had a heart attack.

Finally, that answered everything. I died from a heart attack, like my mother, which left me to my cruel abusive father. My employees were free of charges.

And I, I was free too…

(Note: all identities are confidential)

Written on September 02, 2007 at 12:51 PM

AMSC SEOUL 2007 - Cancer In Asia : Incident, Suffering and Prevention


My last conference of medical school was at AMSC SEOUL 2007… It’s sad having to say goodbye and not having to say ‘See you in next EAMSC, Thailand’ or ‘see you next summer in Japan’… I totally understood why Ryan attended so many conference, even after graduation, but considering my final year schedule,.. I knew pretty well that it is not possible…

Nevertheless, AMSC Seoul 2007 was certainly an unforgettable experience. Group 5 was the most happening group, still is… With our really nice GMs – the Pretty Vivian Park Young Jean, Cute Kate Choi Ye Ra, Cool June Park Jong Jun, Beautiful Kathy Kwon Su Hyon, Nice Robin Kim Seung Bin, Talented Edwin Shin Jung Hyun and the awesome members, Adorable Mary Toumura Misato, Wonderfully Happening Angela Chang Chih Hui, Sleeping Beauty Joanne Chan Pui Kwan, Magical Hamilton Chan Ho, Funny Xiang Salim, Crazy Yoshi Muto Yoshinori, Friendly Yessica Stefanie, Always-smiling Ooi(Ayui) Singsumpun Nontouch, Sweet Nic Thongdeethae Areeya, Stylish Ava Lee Sou Wing, Adventuress Daniel Su Chiung Jui, Musical Damarkusuma Arditya and of course my good-old-buddy-Aland Shum Koin Lon… Group 5 ROCKS!! ^_^

PreConference: Upon arrival at the airport, I met Hyerim. She cut her hair, but she’s still as sweet as ever… so nice meeting old friends again.. We checked in at Olympic ‘Parketel’.. The weather was great,.. summer felt cooling, unlike Malaysia. I went to Lotte World that day… it was AWESOME!! The rides were so scary, even watching it alone was scary.. I wished we had more time there… Visited
DeokDuGung Palace the next day...

DAY 1: Welcoming Party- To think that AMSC Korea 2007 welcoming party was at a pub,.. we had too much expectations… free flow of alcohol? You wished!! There were free flow of soft drinks and we had lotsa fun playing games…. And modifying games… ;)

DAY 2: Paper Presentation, Opening dinner.
Paper Presentation- With this year’s theme, Cancer in Asia, Incident, Suffering and Prevention, it’s really interesting to learnt about how each fellow countries struggle through in overcoming leading cancers in their country… This year’s paper presentation past unusually quick… I guess being in 4th year, I could follow the presentation and discussion easily… but i'll cut the academic-related-part off the blog so not to bore you ^_^

Opening dinner- Hmm.. delicious!! Performance by Arcadia was cool!! And the musical performance was impressive…. I never knew music instruments can be played in such a way…

DAY 3:Poster Presentation, Cultural Experience, Bimbimbap, Clubbing
Poster Presentation - it’s fun hopping around and looking at each country’s poster.. I still remember clearly of Hong Kong’s colon…

Cultural Experience- The organizing committee arranged this session so well, we got to play most of the Korean games… hopping on seesaw(Nolttwigi) was scary, I thought, nearly got off balance, played Yut-nori(with enormous dice), Kulrongshoe(hoop rolling), T’uho (arrow throwing), P’aengi Ch’igi (spinning top), Chegi ch’agi(kicking shuttlecock, similar to sepak takraw)… we drew Tal (Korean mask), Takbon (tapping patterns on paper with an ink pad), and making Deok(Korean rice cakes) the traditional way!! I thought Poong-mool, Sah-mool-nori Percussion best! I enjoyed playing the Jang-gu very much!!

Bimbimbap party in the rain… - Honestly, I was a little kimchi-phobia,.. but bimbimbap is a must experience,.. the rice design was rather impressive…

Clubbing- yeay! The Korean style!!

DAY 4: Hospital Visit, The Blue House, City Tour, Insadong
Hospital Visit- Interesting to visit and learn about Korean’s paperfree hospital...
Seoul National University Hospital, one of the most distinguished hospitals of the country!

The Blue House – Thanks to Kathy, we got to visit the President’s house!! It’s a very calm, serine’s place… but we could only take limited pictures though… national security… it’s okay,.. coz we even had souvenirs! From the President!! Yeay!!!

Insadong – Beautiful street famous for its many street performance and souvenirs…

DAY 5:Lecture at Seoul University, GyeongBokGung, Cheong Gek Chung River, Seoul Towel

GyeongBokGung- A Magnificent Palace!!

Cheong Gek Chung River- cooling river…

Seoul Towel – yeah, the one from My Girl,.. couldn’t find Lee Dong Wouk there though… ^_^

DAY 6:Closing Ceremony, Take off to Soong Woo resort…, AMSA Exhibition, AMSA Quiz

DAY 7: Rafting, Sauna, Cultural Night
Rafting was FUN!!

Cultural Night, was like always, the best event of the conference!!

PostConference: NamDaeMun, SinChon

Last minute shopping and good food…

Words are getting restricted towards the end, as i get sleepier... be continue...


I do crazy things in Korea

… I can’t believe I ran on stage and sang with an awful sore trout in front of over 300 audiences… WHAT WAS I THINKING?? And the weirdest thing was I actually got shortlisted, C-R-A-Z-Y!! My group people, especially Angela shouted like mad,.. May Luu and Queck was yelling down there too.. CheeYong commented, ‘Don’t do anything stupid again, you made me shout like mad!!’ and I was sorry for the other girl who obviously sang better, but I was just fishing votes from The Malaysians, the Indonesians and my group people… Aland managed to get thru while forgetting his lyrics despite having his cellphone playing the song on one hand, haha! poor Ricky… I still blame Aland for bursting my adrenaline and preventing me from chicken-ing-out,.. people think I was brave, I thought I was just stupid and crazy… arGhhh… thank God no picture was taken and I shall repress it for the rest of my life!!

The Sauna experience with Vivian, Kate, Kathy and Mary was another CRAZY one I find it hard to repress,.. but I shall not elaborate further on it…

Reuniting with old friends, way back from AMSC Kuala Lumpur 2005,.. friends from AMSC Hong Kong 2006, EAMSC Taiwan 2007 (Group 9 yeah!) all the way to AMSC Seoul 2007… it has been one HELL of an experience, I shall not exchange for any other…

(written on September 02, 2007 at 11:45 AM)

Author's Note

Dear friends and readers, Thank you for dropping by and leaving comments/ shoutouts. More importantly, thank you for being there... please accept my apology that, lately, i may be busy with work and not have time to reply youir messages/comments, but rest assured, each and everyone is read, and highly appreciated :) have a nice day! ^^

of love

Today, i heard a story which was not a story of falling...
of living in the dark end of winter turmoil..
instead, it was a love story..
of a couple who did not live happily ever after...
but they live, loving each other..