Monthly Archives: September 2010

today i was taking my daily after-dinner-walk to the end of the street and back. as i passed by a black man lying on the grass, he suddenly asked me with a smile that was missing front teeth, “hey, here’s a trivial question. what element is the sky?”

i stopped. the question was wrong. the sky is not just one element. it’s made up of a bunch of elements and molecules and pollution. “what do i mean? it’s an atmosphere.” i responded

“well, can man ever touch the sky? man can touch the moon, the other planets, but man can’t touch the sky. why is that? what makes ‘up there’ [pointing] blue? ”

“well, only the atmosphere near the earth is blue.”

“what color is farther away then?”


“why is the sky blue then?”

“well, it’s like when it rains and the sunlight hits the water and makes a rainbow. the sunlight hits the air and makes the sky blue.”

“so the air is full of water huh?”

“uh.. there’s some. not so much. there’s oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide…”

“wow, that’s a lot of water..”

“no… there’s some. not too much or we would drown.”

“why are there rainbows?”

“because of light diffraction”

“but why? what is the meaning of a rainbow?” he asked while making rainbow hand motions.

at this point, i felt like he went feynmann on me. so i answered, “i don’t know.”

“HA!” and he jumped up. “that’s a message from God! there’s a reason for everything! that’s his promise that he wouldn’t flood earth again! it’s his covenant. you can find that in the bible.”

well, i guess that answers that. he wasn’t high and asking weird questions; he was just asking theological questions. well, i continued walking. but instead of walking to the end of the road and turning back, i walked the long way around.

since i started pharmacy school, i’ve been trying to think of a way to sort and group the drugs in my head. should i group it by what it treats? but there are so many uses, including off-label uses. eg. cialis is usually used for erectile dysfunction. but if people are getting cialis everyday, then they are probably treating some pulmonary arterial hypertension (acually, i think it is labeled for that use, and insurance might cover the everyday dose, but probably not the “as needed” dose for erectile dysfunction.) another example is gabapentin. it’s used for so many thing in the brain. if the doctor doesn’t know what’s really wrong, but can at least narrow it down to the brain, he will probably prescribe gabapentin. so maybe i guess i should split it into the areas of the body that the drug works in. but there are side effects in other parts of the body. stuff like that. sorting efficiently is a very important field in computer science. after all, it can make a company like google rich without any physical product. just a great sorting and retrieving algorithm. unfortunately i didn’t go into computer science like i thought i would in high school. so i can never think hard enough to get a good sort. but then again, if i went into computer science, i wouldn’t have to worry about this problem with sorting drugs. well, back to memorizing without any pattern. just fabricated ones and mnemonics without any logical flow.

i thought of a good example of my illogical flow while studying for psych. therapeutic levels of carbamazepine is 4-12 ug/ml. oxcarbazepine is 12-30 ug/ml. oxcarbazepine was made after carbamazepine to prevent some of the toxicities. so obviously, the therapeutic levels will continue where carbamazepine left off. …. something like that.

i was walking to school. i guess my presence was alarming to a bee, so it kept attacking me. so i walked faster and was swinging my hands around to try to make sure it doesn’t land on me. i walked past a few people and they probably thought i was crazy or schizophrenic or something, fighting off things that cannot be seen. i wish the bee would take its lorazepam and just calm down.

random drug fact of the day: tolcapone and entacapone can cause your urine to turn brownish orange. just in case you ever have to take these drugs for parkinsons.

today, the quiz was not very hard. the TAs accidentally made copies of the answer key and distributed that as the quiz. so everyone finished in 10 seconds.

i was taking a short nap, and i was dreaming about studying. i woke up and was like “whew, it was just a dream.” then i went to my desk and started studying. seems like a recursive loop. it is really horrible. anyway this was on the yahoo’s main page:

“The latest is Provenge, a first-of-a-kind therapy approved in April. It costs $93,000 a year and adds four months’ survival, on average, for men with incurable prostate tumors. Bob Svensson is honest about why he got it: insurance paid.”

does that mean it costs $93000 a year but they only have to pay 4 months because that’s how long they will survive? or do they have to be on it for a few years to add the 4 months. eh. anyway, apparently the insurance that paid for this cancer treatment is medicare. no wonder taxes are so high. one of my professors once said the most cost efficient treatment for any disease is death. i wonder if insurance will pay for the funeral and cremation and everything if it was billed as a treatment.

i watched “pi” by darren aronofsky. and it’s beautiful! it’s about a mathematician who is obsessed with finding a pattern in the stock market. there are patterns everywhere. beautiful patterns and iterations and all that. so he becomes reclusive and crazy and works on this project. along the way, a jewish religious cult that believes the torah is written in numerical code gets involved with him. and some stock market guys also get involved with him because they are obviously interested. and it’s so beautifully made. he would talk about math and the cream he pours into his coffee would spread like a fractal. the cigarette smoke floats and diffuses like an algorithm. the film was filmed in black and white even though it was made in 1998. it was high contrast film, so the blacks are very black and the whites are very white. it is really artistic. darren aronofsky did a great job on this debut film. it had lots of the visual style he further developed in “requiem for a dream.”

in heart failure, they can use many drugs. sometimes they use PDE inhibitors. sometimes they use digitalis. sometimes they use diuretics. sometimes ace inhibitors. sometimes beta agonists. sometimes beta antagonists. wait. agonists and antagonists both work for heart failure? different approaches and mechanisms of course. but it’s weird. good thing they don’t use both of them in a combination drug.