Sunday, February 22, 2015

H is for Heme

AssalamuAlaikum ^^

Only one week has passed since this new module but I've had some great experiences! We had three practicals this week and all three of them were very interesting. Apart from that, I think I can safely diagnose someone who has jaundice *-* (this may sound really ridiculous to you, cause jaundice is such an obvious looking sort of disease, but hold right there! Jaundice is of two types! And it's important to know which type you're dealing with!)

The first practical I had was called "hemoglobin estimation" where you basically take a sample of blood and hemolyse it. To hemolyse, or hemolysis is when you break down the membrane of the red blood cells so the hemoglobin can come out and react with the acid, changing the color of the solution from red to brown. You compare your blood sample to a standard and keep diluting the blood until the sample is the same color as the standard. The total volume of the sample is now related directly to the amount of hemoglobin in the sample. You could find out if youre anemic if you compare your blood Hb to the set health standard, which is different for males (13-18 mg/dL) and females (12-16 mg/dL).

The next practical was genetic counseling where we basically watched this really emotional video which was produced to create awareness about thalassemia (a blood disease where- check this out- thalass means "sea" and emia means "blood" so basically, patients with thalassemia need oceans of blood to stay alive since their hemoglobin is defected right from the start. Regular blood transfusions or a bone marrow transplant is the only solution). After the video, we had to try counseling our peers.
It did not turn out very good.
Doctor: Assalamualaikum, I'm going to be your genetic counselor for today. I saw your Hb report and-
Patient: Yeah, yeah, here's my Hb report, I just got it from the lab *throws invisible paper over to student pretending to be a doctor*
D: Uhh.. Okay. *pretends to read report* It appears that you have thalassemia major and-
P: Am I going to die?!
Other Students: He can't have thalassemia major, he'd have been dead long before coming here!
Teacher: Ugh, start again and make him a thalassemia minor patient.
D: Assalamualaikum, I'm going to be your genetic counselor for today. I saw your Hb report and it appears that your have thalassemia minor.
P: Am I going to die?!
D: No, luckily for you, thalassemia minor is a symptomless condition where you are merely a carrier.
P: What does carrier mean?
Teacher: The patient is supposed to stay quiet and let the doctor do the talking.
P: That's not fair! It doesn't happen in real life though.
Teacher: The patient you'll get in your exam will not be asking questions.
D: Anway, carrier means that your children have a chance to get thalassemia if you get married to-
P: I'm married.
Teacher: No, you're not married.
P: Yes I am *throws arm over male student sitting beside him* this is my wife and we even have a kid who doesn't have thalassemia.
Wife: Mere bachay ko thalassemia ho sakta hai?! (My child can have thalassemia?!)
Teacher: Stop manipulating the scenario. There is no wife.
P: But whyy.
Teacher: I said you're single, that's the end of this story.
D: Ahem, so you just have to bring in your future wife and have her tested. If she is also a thalassemia carrier, you have a 25% chance to have a thalassemic child and you probably shouldn't get married-
P: Okay so-
Teacher: NO. This scenario is over.

The third practical was just about looking into slides on a microscope and drawing them. The slides were about bone marrow tissue, which was divided into two types being red and yellow bone marrow.

Apart from that, we also had a bakesale this week and I also signed up for a research program being conducted by a urologist and a volunteer program where the college students go to set up medical camps. Apparently, we (first years) get to learn the basic stuff from our seniors like checking vitals and prescribing minor drugs so we can use it on the patients who come to the camp! That sounds really exciting and I can't wait to start learning this stuff! Then I could actually say out loud "Yeah I know a bit about being a doctor- I prescribed some *insert long pharmacological name of drug here* to the patients at the camp I set up B|" (I can pretend, can't I >_>)

That's about it for the major stuff that happened this week ^^ my result came out too but I don't want to disclose it. It's a good result, I did better than 70% of my class but still. I guess I've totally forgotten about my new year's resolution where I was supposed to not take grades seriously. Oh well.

How did your week (end) go?

Ps. I forgot to write about jaundice. I guess I'll write it in some other post if you guys are interested in reading about it ^^.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Take a Look at my Notebook?

"Wow, those are amazing notes!"
"They look printed!"
"Your handwriting is amazing"
"I just love your notes"

Now since I've had my ego fed to contentment by several classmates this week, I've decided to spam you guys with lots of pictures until I actually type out the post I had in mind! So just enjoy these pictures from the journal I'm using for this module. It's different from the ones I used in the last modules.

First Module: Loose sheets and a binder
Second Module: Margin-less local brand of notebook (I love the fact that there's no margin and the paper quality is fantastic)
Current Module: Five-Star wide ruled notebook (the paper looks really flimsy but it's actually pretty strong- my pointers don't blot on it)

Anyway, I just took pictures of the mildly interesting pages.
The writing arsenal- pencil, pen and pointer!

I love sticking on the colored tabs.

Tables are cool.

Yes, I love tables.

Messy stem cell family tree.

Some random drawings of Hb and stuff cause I didn't want to write it all out.

What is this random piece of paper doing stuck on the page?

Well, it's just some more stuff I had to fit in after I had written the notes.

Oh look, sticky notes are really cool too~

Yes, I have lots of colored sticky stuff.

And there you have it. A gallery of my notes. My writing size is slightly small, normally, but it looks even smaller here. That's because the page is wide ruled. Also, I leave lots of space everywhere so I can add more writing/sticky notes on the sides.

Oh, by the way. I'm going to be puking highlighter rainbows on these when it's time for revision- so they definitely aren't going to stay perfect like this forever!

That's about it- have a great weekend!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sorrow Not Mine

You know how you think about something so much, you feel as if you've started obsessing over it? That is exactly how I'm feeling these days. There's just so much violence on the news, I can't help but realize that it has become a sort of lens for me. I can't see anything anymore, without thinking about death and loss.
I have become obsessed, it appears. I cannot tell if it is self-inflicted or media-induced.
A school going van reminds me of Peshawer APS students.
A group of laborers sitting on the roadside, jobless, reminds me of the lives lost in the factory burnt in Karachi.
A man walking along the road alone reminds me of the daily toll of lives lost by unknown persons hitting and running on personal vendettas.
I want to do something, so I decided to write about it.


What if I told you

that every breath you took

meant Someone died

Would you stop for 

maybe one second

and feel a Sharp

Pain in your chest

What if I told you

Someone died

in your backyard

Would you Stop for 

maybe one second

and feel a sharp 

pain in your Chest?

The Impact their departure

should leave on Us


beneath stamped words on

Cheap sheets

fluttering on the Roadside

maybe even

your own backyard

A mere Annoyance

For them, I take up 

my Pen

in the hopes that They

are Remembered again

Every life unjustly Lost

should not be mourned

by loved ones Alone

What use is it to be human

If we do not use our Hearts

to feel Pain that is not ours?

For them I bleed

on Pristine white paper

and mourn for

a Sorrow 

that is not only mine

but all of Humanity's


I'm writing it >>here<<. Would you like me to upload the chapters I write on this blog? Let me know.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Embryology: The Origin

AssalamuAlaikum ^^

This post is not for the squeamish (yeah, embryology is a bit... fascinating and horrifying at the same time)! Also, a word of warning- mild language quoted ahead! Read at your own risk. And if you do read, please remember I'm quoting my embryology professor, so it's not really my own language.

Anyway! Embryology! This was the newest thing I studied in med school so far. I mean, yes Anatomy and Physiology and Biochemistry all sounds very new and interesting but the basics of each of these subjects has already been touched in high school and pre-medical classes. Embryology was that one subject that no one had ever read up on before (I'm not talking about super curious people who decide to do some extra reading on their own to find out the origin of their existence). (I have a feeling you guys are about to fall into this category by accident).

We've had five sessions of Embryology in this module of "the cell" and these five sessions basically covered the first eight weeks of development. So yes, we went through meiosis and maturation of germ cells, the menstrual cycle and the events of fertilization- stuff repeated from high school. And that's where things suddenly picked up pace.

The newly formed zygote starts undergoing cleavage, then it becomes a morula, then it becomes a blastocyst when the zona pellucida has disintegrated and this is called hatching and then the blastocyst implants in the uterine wall and suddenly there's a bunch of cells that are differentiating and you have the cytotrophoblasts and the syncytiotrophoblasts (sin see shi oh tro fo blast) which form the primary villi, literally digesting maternal tissues which are full of lipids and glycogen, and all this digested material is used to supply the blastocyst which is also divided into the embryoblast which gives rise to... (I'll stop here)

The first time I read this, I had no idea what was going on, or how to pronounce the various names. I was also panicking about how I was going to remember this (but I typed the above with ease so I've got it memorized I guess). After the first two sessions, I realized that as I kept on going, the things started fitting together themselves- and that's when I actually started thinking about what I was studying.

"You used to be a morula" I tell my friend.

"You digested your mom's decidual cells layer" is the reply I get.

"Glycogen and lipid rich, I couldn't help it" I shrugged.

It was all fun and games at the start because really, you can't associate a microscopic blastocyst which was pretty much parasitic with a living, breathing human who now has a soul and feelings. But as we moved on to see how the oropharangeal membrane was a marker for what would be the mouth, the primitive streak to create our mesoderm (muscles, bones) as well as the notochord and neural tube to become the spinal cord and the somites to create the vertebrae in our back, the text started carrying a distinct element of something dark and terrifying.

"The neural tube starts closing up from the middle of the embryo" narrates the textbook. "Oh, by the way, if the neural tube fails to close, you have a spinal condition known as ____"

(I don't remember the name of the condition, also I don't want to open the book or google it because the condition comes up with A LOT of gruesome pictures of poor little babies with their spinal cord sort of bulging out of an opening in their backs)

Now, as amazing as it is finding out that your spinal cord and vertebrae and mesoderm and everything comes out one by one in this amazing sequence that actually makes sense, and all of this out of a structure smaller than the nail on your pinkie, isn't it frightening thinking about what could go wrong in such a delicate little thing that doesn't even look remotely like a human yet? (It doesn't help when the text is consistently accentuated with little blue boxes containing clinical conditions and sometimes accompanied by pictures).

Studying embryology made me realize how infinitely blessed I am to have a perfect body- although this is no personal feat of mine. If any one thing had gone wrong at such an early stage, I would have been messed up for life and it would never have been in my control to start with.

The lesson here? Be grateful of the body you have. Stop standing in front of the mirror wishing you were thinner or had better facial features because honestly, you are made absolutely amazing just the way you were- you just haven't realized how precious it is because you don't know the hard work and the perfection and the whole delicate procedure that went into shaping you out of one cell. One cell. And that one cell went through so much to give a living, breathing person sitting and reading this post.

Do you even realize how amazing this is- you are made of millions of cells and they have different functions and they look different and they all make this one person who is intelligent, has a personality, has a life and responsibilities and is an individual with a soul and you're a human. You've made it so far- you're definitely worth way more and you need to aim higher because honestly, if you could come out from one cell, you can do way more. Way more.

Anyway, that's it for my personal rambling on embryology. I'm going to describe my Embryology teacher.

He seems like a really nice fatherly sort of person, but he won't stand a bit of talking in class. He'll pause the lecture and start what I call a mini-lecture. These mini lectures span from modern education, to billboards, to profanity, to SnapChat.

"Schools today don't teach their kids any manners- they exist simply to milk money" is a statement made after a student was caught at doing what he does best- talking to his neighbor. The statement continues- "Coming to this prestigious institute wasn't going to make you a better human being than you are. We can polish you, but you know. We don't like to keep spoiled fruit in the basket. Can we compare humans to fruits? Hm?"

"Girls need to dress modestly if they want to be respected because first of all, you need to respect yourself" he said, apparently starting from something the author did not see or find out about. "And when you speak to boys, you need to squish any silly thoughts they have in their heads. See the women on the billboards- do you think anyone respects them? Or do they respect themselves?"

"Kids today spew a lot of foul words. You know, I hear this word in the hallways all the time- you know this word? It's called ess ech ai tee. Do you even know what this word means?" is the question put forward to the class suddenly between the lecture. "No? Let me tell you- you know about cattle manure? The faeces of the cattle? It used to be stored in ships, high above the floor so that the stench wouldn't get stuck in the vessel. So you know what the boxes used to say? 'Store High In Transit' and that's where your precious ess ech ai tee comes from. Yes? And you all have this word incorporated into your language, and you know how? You watch all these Western movies where actors are paid use these words so they become a part of your language, so you end up saying ess ech ai tee instead of Astaghfirullah!" (yes, he said "ess ech ai tee" every time except once)

"You guys know what is SnapChat?" is the next question right after the mini lecture about profanity. "SnapChat, yes? The thing where you send pictures and they get deleted? One of my students added me on SnapChat and I said okay. But apparently her picture didn't get deleted and I saw this picture of an embryology book with two very foul words written on it. Dash this dash? I was so sad, I didn't expect this sort of behavior from my students- and to think a girl would use such foul language! I was really sad. Anyway- it doesn't matter. Back to the lecture"

He's a really good teacher though- I went to him with my friend a few days after his lecture and he was really enthusiastic about helping- he tried explaining from the textbook, then took out his lecture slides and then went through the animation video to help clear everything up. He even offered to let us see an actual embryo he had so we could get an idea of what was going on.

Every time he goes on one of his mini lectures, I feel a bit sad though. He always brings up some little bitter truth in every session and makes you think twice about repeating your mistake again. Unfortunately, the kids in my class love giving him an excuse to break his lecture and start his soliloquies.

I've been told this is all we'll study in first year and that we won't see this professor for a few months or so now. But these embryology sessions have been pretty interesting and I really liked them (now that they're over, that is. While they were happening, I was mostly in a state of panic).

So what has your experience been while studying a completely new subject? Do you think the teacher's style of going over the topic really matters when you have to self-study everything yourself?

On a brighter note, I'd like to have some guest posters for my blog ^^ Are you interested? Let me know at and we'll start something. Have a wonderful day.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

January 2015!

Isn't this amazing- we're already through 1/12th of the new year! Does this year still seem "new" to you- cause it sure does to me! I felt that time flew by too quickly- so I'm going to quickly go through what happened this January.

Posts I wrote on Blogger:
Better Than Before 2015
Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award
App Review: Momentum
How to Turn Your Life into a Pakistani Drama: The Jerk Mom Edition
How to Be a Jerk: Tutorial 101

Pictures I uploaded on instagram/tumblr:
Cause candy.

Started studying Embryology- definitely going to write a blogpost about this!

The most magnificent flow chart/mind map I have ever made.

My dad's office desk.

Caption: 4gut 4brain and I'm too cool 4you.

Because I couldn't help it- Four Fours- get it? LOL

Journal Entries I wrote this month:
January The Second, 2015
We always talk about the things we want to do, the habits we want to inculcate and changes we would like to see implemented but we don't really take the initiative. Since it's 2015 though, it's a good excuse to dust off this journal and start writing.
I'm currently sitting in a library and just finished going over my notes for this first module of medicine. It's a bit tough because it's more of an overview so the information is vast and scattered. 
Med school is supposed to open on the 5th of January- whereas other schools here have been closed down for another week. "The terrorists have succeeded in terrorising us and shutting down education all over the country", says Amee.

January the Third, 2015
Mornings sound really productive, like get out of bed and make yourself a cup of coffee and then get down to work until it's actually morning.
This picture is very appealing- except when you actually have to get out of bed.
I've been thinking about it all week but haven't succeeded in doing it at all. Perhaps I'm lacking in motivation or maybe I'm lazy or I just love sleep too much.
I'd be okay with getting up late if I actually studied the nigt before. Unfortunately, I go to bed at eleven pm and feel like I'm awake till 12 am because it takes so long to go to sleep.
The only solution I've thought up so far is mental exhaustion for instant KO sleep.

January the Fifth, 2015
There are people out there that I probably can't get along with so how exactly am I supposed to deal with it? Maybe it's time to go through a rerun of some random "10 Habits/Tips/Advice of Highly Sociable People" or something off of the internet.

January the Seventh, 2015
People blab stuff on the internet that makes no sense at first glance then you sit down and beat your head with it to understand it because loads of people are like "Dude, that's so deep! I love it!" and you really don't want to be the only stupid one.

January the Twelfth, 2015
I'm writing this and thinking and breathing and this is the now, this is the present. 
There will be a day when I'll be thinking and breathing and the now then would be the Day of Judgement and there will be no short cut and there will be no escape and that one day will be like a thousand years and horror would cause children's hair to turn white and pregnant females to drop their loads.
Are you ready?
I'm not.

January the Sixteenth, 2015
I have poured in
Too much of my essence
And soul
The Internet

January the Twentieth, 2015
I don't like talking because what I usually say seems pretty useless unless when I think about it in retrospect, but that's it, isn't it. No one thinks about what other people say in retrospect. But I do. Not just my own speech, but other people's too.
How many people reply the day's conversation in their heads over and over?
Or even play it once?

There's no entry after that but I really want to motivate myself to write more this month!

Other Unrelated Achievements:
I got my grades for the first module and I passed! I'm on the 89th percentile- meaning I scored higher than 89 people in my class.
I also reached 200 followers on tumblr (I'm so happy :D) unfortunately, both my blogger and bloglovin follows have been stuck for a while. 
I'm also getting involved in a research program- had a meeting on Friday. I'll try writing a bit more about it when I get enough information.
I've volunteered for SIST (Shifa InterScholastic Tournament) which is a 2 day event on 7th and 8th of February- and it's going to be awesome! If any of my readers happen to be from Islamabad- you really need to come here! It's going to be mind blowing!

Well, that's it for this post! I'm going to add a section about notable blog posts I read or new blogs I follow for next time ^^ Oh, and if you guys want to see my planner pages for this month (or have me add a section for them in February) comment below. 

So how has your January been? Have you managed to accomplish something in the 1/12th of 2015 that's gone by?
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