30 September 2011

Of Positive PPD Skin Test Results and Nine Months Therapy

According to the World Health Organization's Global Tuberculosis Report in 2009, the Philippines ranks ninth on the list of 22 high-burden tuberculosis countries in the world. On the other hand, in the United States, the annual incidence is approximately four per 100,000 population. See the huge difference there?

Anyhow, approximately two years ago, I had a positive skin test result for TB. (To read more about the TB skin test, click here.)

Please do not get freaked out just yet.

A positive skin test for TB does not mean that I have TB. What I mean is, I have been exposed to the bacteria and now they are "sleeping" inside my body. Therefore, the TB bacteria is not active. I do not have the symptoms for tuberculosis which includes persistent cough, fever, night sweats, weight loss, lack of appetite, and extreme fatigue. (To read more about tuberculosis, click here.)

Anyway, the test for TB does not end with having a positive skin test. After your doctor or nurse determines that you have a positive skin test, you would have to go to a clinic or radiology center to obtain a chest x-ray. Thank goodness, my chest x-ray was clear. This means... I. Am. Not. Contagious.

Please keep in mind that I had my positive skin test result and my clear chest x-ray TWO YEARS AGO.

Last Wednesday, I went to the Public Health Center to get my free checkup, blood test and medication. The very nice doctor reviewed my records and it turned out that she was doubtful about the result I had two years ago. I had exactly 10 millimeters of induration back then. And according to the doctor, that is a borderline result because a positive skin test is 10 mm or larger. And I had exactly 10 mm of induration. Nice. Bottom line is the doctor gave me a free TB skin test and told me to come back after two days.

So today, which is Friday and two days after the doctor gave me the skin test, I came back to Public Health. Guess what. I had a 10 mm red induration on my left forearm where she injected the medicine intradermally. At that moment, I just thought, "Borderline... Again!"

I was sitting in her office and for a moment, she debated whether it was a negative or a positive result. In the end, she said that it was a positive result and that she would prescribe me a medication. Here is a picture of what she prescribed me with:

This is my free 300 mg isoniazid (INH) that I would have to take for nine months. This meant nine months of abstaining from alcohol. Not that I have a problem with that anyway.

After getting my free blood work and my free one month supply of prophylactic medication for TB, I realized that I am very blessed to be able to have these privileges. In Philippines, I believe part of the reason several people die from TB is because the government could not provide their citizens with free checkup or free medications. If only Philippines could have the same system US has, then maybe, just maybe, not many people would die from tuberculosis.

Twenty-Day Writing Challenge

Day 1: Hand write your full name.
Day 2: Hand write your city and country of birth.
Day 3: Hand write your Tumblr URL.
Day 4: Hand write your best friend’s name.
Day 5: Hand write your girlfriend’s/boyfriend’s/crush’s name.
Day 6: Hand write a website you visit frequently.
Day 7: Hand write whatever you want, using black pen and capital letters.
Day 8: Hand write “hello”.
Day 9: Hand write your favorite word.
Day 10: Hand write your favorite quote.
Day 11: Hand write three favorite songs.
Day 12: Hand write three favorite books.
Day 13: Hand write your lucky number.
Day 14: Hand write your Tumblr crushes.
Day 15: Hand write your full name in the hand that you do NOT normally use.
Day 16: Hand write whatever you want, filling up a whole piece of paper.
Day 17: Hand write whatever you want, using something other than paper.
Day 18: Hand write the first ten words that come to mind.
Day 19: Hand write a few words that sum you up.
Day 20: Hand write a letter to somebody.

Let the challenge begin! :)

13 September 2011

Guam on BBC-Travel

I came across this article a couple of weeks ago. It kinda inspired me to look at Guam in a different light. I hope it does the same to you. :)

There are a few good reasons why Guam, a former Spanish colony and the biggest island in Micronesia, is so rarely visited. From North America or Europe, only a few airlines will take you to this US territory in the Pacific Ocean and almost every route has stops in either Honolulu, Tokyo or Seoul. And with round-trip tickets starting at $1,500, it is not exactly the cheapest place to get to either.

But you will forget the long, expensive flight once you set foot on the island, which is one third of the size of London and has year-round temperatures between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. One million Japanese tourists flock here every year for the predictable weather, white beaches and crystal-clear Pacific Ocean. They swarm the theme-park style hotel pools, beach-side wedding chapels and the luxury shopping malls that feel like an air-conditioned, less-crowded version of Fifth Avenue.

These distractions make for a happy few days away from reality, or a honeymoon, but it might be missing the point. Guam is not just about tourists offerings. The real draws are the local food and culture.

Read more.

07 September 2011

A Review of a Frozen Treat: Marble Slab Creamery

Guam, an island territory of the United States, is located near the equator which gives its citizens a year-round tropical weather. That said, people in Guam, unlike in the mainland US, enjoy only two types of weather - sunny and rainy.

Today, it was scorching hot and even though I really wanted to visit the Two Lovers' Point as I promised in my previous blog entry, I deferred the trip. Instead, I went to Guam's newest ice cream shop - Marble Slab Creamery.

Marble Slab Creamery is located near the office of the Department of Revenue and Taxation in Barrigada. The building of the said ice cream parlor is adjacent to the building of Submarina. Nonetheless, the store's sign is pretty huge for someone to miss.

As I entered the building, I was a little surprised that there were only two customers. With its radio advertisement and being a new ice cream parlor in a hot place like Guam, I was expecting the store to have, at least, more than two customers.

To make a long story short, I ordered two ice cream flavors - Avocado and Pecan. The nice man inside the counter mixed the two flavors and put them in a medium sized cup. As soon as I got into my bench, I quickly took a spoonful. At first, I thought the pecan flavored ice cream tasted good. I also thought the same for the avocado. However, after eating a couple more spoonfuls of my ice cream, I became aware of the skin and chunks of avocado. Thinking that they were supposed to be part of the "smoothest ice cream on the island," I ignored them and continued eating my ice cream.

A couple spoonfuls more of the ice cream and I was starting to feel thirsty. The pecan flavored ice cream that I picked was too sweet for me and the avocado was just stale. It was too bad Marble Slab Creamery don't offer their customers a free cup of water. And they didn't have warm waffle either!

If I were to rate the ice cream, I would probably give it a two out of five stars.

My experience in here was nothing compared to Singapore's Tom's Palette, or to Guam's very own Dolce Frutti.

But then again, I only tried two of Marble Slab Creamery's ice cream flavors. Maybe their chocolate, vanilla or coffee tastes better than what I have tried.

Note to self: next time I eat ice cream in Guam, I will not forget to bring a bottle of water.

Anyone tried Marble Slab Creamery yet? What did you guys think of it?

Of paperwork and movies

For the very first time, I came home early today. It's only two o'clock in the afternoon and I'm done with my classes and my prep time from the hospital. Last semester, I usually come home at around six o'clock in the afternoon after doing my prep in the hospital.

I know it sounded like the day is done for me, but it's not. After collecting my data for my patient tomorrow during prep, I now have to type out all the information that I have, make two care plans and a patho map. This would probably take me around three to four hours.

That means, if I finish with my paperwork early today, I might be able to go to another tourist spot close to my home - The Two Lovers' Point. And who knows? If I have enough time today, I might tell you one of the most loved Guamanian myth/story. It is related to the place that I'm planning to go to (hint, hint).

For now, here are digital posters of the movies that I'm excited to see in theaters very soon.

I know I've seen The Lion King movie so many times when I was a kid, but I really want to see it in 3D. It's a classic, after all. It deserves the few bucks that I will spend in the theaters. 

I have been a Shrek fan since its first movie. And Puss is actually one of my favorite characters from Shrek. I am so not going to miss Puss' movie!

"How many cats can wear boots? Honestly..?" - Shrek to Puss in Shrek 2

06 September 2011

Uncanny Detox and The Tanguisson Beach Park

While at school today, I had this weird realization that I am very addicted to this popular social networking site called Facebook.

Just yesterday, if I remember it correctly, I posted three times on the said website. Come to think of it, I could have used the time I spend on Facebook reading my ridiculously thick nursing books. After all, as one of my professors said this morning, "Junior year is a killer year." And I believe him. This morning too, I have confirmed that my class lost three of it's members for reasons that are not being formally  disclosed to our class. My point is, dismissal from the nursing program is as real as it could be. It is difficult to get into the nursing program that I am in (Not that I'm bragging). However, I feel like it is more difficult to stay in the program and finish on time.

So for the sake of me to survive this hardcore nursing program and also to hopefully lessen my addiction, I have decided to take a two weeks detox from Facebook. For fourteen days, I promise not to even type the URL for Facebook. I know this does not sound very challenging, but hey, I'm setting a realistic goal in here. And in case I survive two weeks without Facebook in my life, then maybe (just maybe), I would extend the detox time for another week.

Enough said about that.

This afternoon, I went to one of the closest beaches to where I currently live - The Tanguisson Beach Park. If I am not mistaken, it probably took ten minutes to drive from my house to the beach. Well, Guam, being a small island in the pacific, is surrounded by beaches. That means, tourists come here fnot just for the tropical weather, but also for the beaches, beaches, beaches and more beaches. I just hope you pronounced the word beaches correct. Because if not, then that was a lot of "beaches" you said right there. Kidding.

Anyway, here are some pictures that I took while I was on the beach.
I only like graffiti when it's done with creativity

I hope these pictures give you an idea of how Guam beaches look like. By the way, if I'm going to post more of Guam's scenic views, it will probably be a beach or it has a view of the beach in it. LOL. :)

04 September 2011

The GLEEk in me is back!

I'm not too sure how long it has been since I last watched an episode of Glee. It was not because I was too busy. After all, last year's Christmas break and this year's summer break passed. I guess I just kind of lost interest in Glee.

However, last night, for some odd reason I could not explain, I suddenly felt like watching Glee again. So there, I watched Glee's season two episodes ten and eleven, and loved them!

Not only that, I also came to the conclusion last night that Kurt (played by Chris Colfer) has a very awesome voice. Why did I just say that? Simple. It's because he could sing very well as a boy and as a girl! Also, I think that Blaine (played by Darren Criss) also has a very nice singing voice too. And I just loved the duet they did with the song "Baby It's Cold Outside."

A good to know trivia: NY Post referred to Blaine and Kurt as "one of the most beloved TV couples of the millennium."

Here's another song performed by Blaine. This one is from the eleventh episode of the second season.

Now I feel like watching the Glee movie but I'm not sure if it's still showing in theaters here in Guam... And if I can fit it in my schedule.