Saturday, 31 March 2012

Me not Healthy: Always Tired (Part 6)

I think enough has happened that would allow me to give an update to this particular arc. Last time I left the specialist needing to get the specialized mouth guard called a Thornton Adjustable Positioner (TAP) 3.

For those of you who forgot or didn't read the last post, here's how it works. Basically my problem is that my jaw falls onto my throat when I sleep, causing me to choke, wake up and ruin my sleep. The mouth guard prevents this by having a hook on the top piece that locks into a slot in the bottom piece. This prevents my jaw from really moving and crushing things. Also to kill two birds with one stone, it also prevents me from grinding my teeth at night because my teeth can't even touch each other now.

It comes with a key so you can adjust the position, hence the name.

But as anyone who has gotten any form of oral appliance should know, first, they need to take a mold of your teeth.

It's not bad, it's um, unpleasant? I'm really not sure how else to describe it. Basically, the technician takes a tray of goo and crams as much of her hands into your mouth as possible so she can fit said tray into your mouth. Then the two of you sort of sit there in awkward silence as the goo begins to set. You're probably going to breath through your nose so you don't swallow excess junk by accident. Repeat twice and you're good to go.

Unless you move. If you move even the slightest bit during the procedure the mold is no good and they have to repeat it. You're also probably going to have goo all over your face making it look like you vomited goo.

All that work to get this ugly thing.

After the two weeks it takes them to make the mouth guard from the molds I finally get to try them.

And I barely use them.

Seriously, if I'm not going to get at least 5 hours of sleep that night I don't even bother wearing it. It's such a pain to place and remove from my mouth.

It's like I'm purposely not sleeping. I have things that are keeping me up at night.

So yeah, hard to say if this thing is really helping at the moment.

I'll sleep when I'm dead.

But I can share some details based on the nights I have used the appliance. Firstly, it's not a good idea to cough when the mouth guard is locked in place. Believe it or not, your jaw actually moves significantly when you cough and now that it's locked in place you just end up performing a half-hearted cough that doesn't clear your throat and hurts your mouth.

Second, I'm not sure if anyone else reads through my comments but what Nurse Myra said is true (also I can't link to your blog or view your profile as of this post, Blogger error?). The mouth guard does trap a significant amount of saliva during your sleep. I mean, I guess you'll never wake up with a dry mouth again, but it's also REALLY gross taking it out in the morning when you drool all over your chin and there's a puddle in the sink.

So attractive.

Hopefully this is the cure to my sleep apnea. But unless I start using it more consistently I highly doubt that. I'm seriously running out of options, if this isn't a solution, what else could be? I am not going for corrective jaw surgery. Recovery takes way too long.

I really hope this works out.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Too Tired to Think

Computer issues are solved temporarily (a.k.a. reduce overheating by turning it on its side) but I think it's best that I take my laptop in for repairs or something after the term. I don't think computers are supposed to shut down due to being too hot.

Nah, I just worry too much.

But lately I haven't been sleeping. No, not just to sleep apnea but thanks to school work. Due to technical issues with my research project I've had to redo various things over and over and over. I've probably wasted over 20 hours with just one portion of it. It doesn't help that I suck at Photoshop.

Oh, and there are still other parts of the experiment that I need to get done that have only been further delayed by these problems. The end of the term is coming and I've barely made any progress at all. It's infuriating and I'm wasting my nights redoing things.


And then we have the endless reading, writing, editing and presenting of papers. I've been staying up all night doing these things as well. I'd like to think that my writing ability improves as I become more sleep-deprived but that's probably the crazy part of my brain doing the talking.

The sad thing is that my body is reaching it's limits. I can't recall the last time I was fully rested and I'm forcing myself to stay up even later. I've been trying to get by with powernaps but even with those I'm still passing out, essays half-written and papers barely skimmed.

I use way too many of these images.

A plus side to staying up all-night? I actually wake up in time for breakfast. Ok, technically I didn't "wake up" but now I'm able to make myself something respectable for a meal. You know, instead of eating nothing like I usually do.

I'm not sure if anyone else notices but toast in diners and restaurants always taste different. It tastes better than using the toaster at home. And for years I couldn't figure out why but apparently what they do is they fry it in a pan instead of using a toaster. And when I tried this for myself at home it tasted just like I ordered it at some place.

Now I refuse to eat toast at home in any other way. Butter in the pan, fry for a minute on both sides, butter the toast, and eat. I don't care that it's way more effort to do it this way, the buttery goodness is worth it.

Damian, 10 years from now.

Tonight, I've had enough. I'm going to sleep after this post. And I'm going to try and enjoy it before the next wave of school related crap comes to try and kill me.

Also, this post wasn't written in advance. So I'm hoping that everything I just typed was coherent and grammatically correct.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Technical Problems

Yeah, having a few computer issues over here that are preventing me from making a complete post and has stopped me from commenting on other blogs all weekend.

Hopefully this issue will be resolved by Wednesday, I'll see you then.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Me not Healthy: Intestinal Adventures (Part 1)

I alluded to my potential intestinal issues back in this post. Since then I have gone for two tests in hopes to figure out what's going on with me.

And what exactly is wrong with me? Well, where do we start. Bloating and discomfort whenever my lower gut feels like it, I have not been able to eat yogurt or drink milk since High School without fear of the first problem. But the really annoying thing is my reduced appetite.

To give you an idea of how little I eat in a meal compared to when I was younger, 8-9 year-old Damian could eat 2 Big Macs, a large fries and a large drink.

21 year-old Damian can barely eat 1 Big Mac, a medium drink and half a box of medium fries.


Note for all these tests they ask that you don't eat anything prior to going in. The first test I went for was an ultrasound. Yes, the same test that pregnant women go for. That was fun, stripped to my underwear while a technician squirted gel on my stomach and pressed the scanner thing against me.

I couldn't see what was going on on the screen though. And before I knew it I was shooed away to my next test.

Here's a generic ultrasound picture in the meantime because I don't know what mine looked like.

Next test was a fluoroscopy. How this works is that they make you drink barium (which has the consistency of a melted milkshake and tastes like one gone bad) and then they run you through an x-ray to see where the barium goes.

Oh, and they make you eat something like pop rocks to create gas which inflates your stomach. So during the entire procedure you feel the need to burp but you can't. Otherwise your stomach deflates and they can't see anything.

Also the barium causes constipation so have fun with that.

So, all done and good, they said send my doctor the results and we'll go from there. But unless it's something serious I doubt my doctor will want to book an appointment with me.

Oh wait, less than 24 hours after I'm done the tests my doctor gives me a call.

This is lovely.

The last time he wanted an appointment with me it was because my lung collapsed.

Not this garbage again...

So we'll see where this goes, probably no where good. But hey, it makes for good blogging material I guess.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

My Obsession with Piano

Most people can easily name a genre of music that they like, their iPods filled mainly with songs and artists in that category. I can't.

For whatever reason I'm really picky with the songs I add to my library, only enjoying a song or two from any particular artist. I probably add 1 new song to my playlist every month or so. So I thought to myself, what do most of these songs have in common. And then it hit me.

A lot of them contain piano.

Huh, what do you know.

This could stem from piano lessons back when I was a child. I wasn't really any good at it though, that would be my sister.

But due to this piano obsession it results in an interesting medley of songs on my computer. It seriously ranges from dubstep (which I normally dislike) to Korean pop and a lot of video game covers:

The piano starts at 3:30 if you don't want to listen to the whole thing.

My brain likes this song enough for me to download it due to a chunk of piano at the end of it. That strikes me as odd.

But it gets worse. Sometimes, I'll wonder why I'm liking a particular song and then suddenly I'll notice the piano in the background. An example is the next one. My girlfriend loves Korean pop music which I also cannot stand. Except this song:

And when I mentioned that there was piano she and her friends didn't even realize it. They've listened to this song way more than I have and yet after a few play-throughs my brain had picked up on the piano and decided it liked it.

The last example I want to share is from an app. I don't know how many of you play Tiny Tower but I've downloaded it and I was enjoying it.

Then I realized that part of the reason why was because I loved watching the little pixel people yawning.

Oh and the piano in the background music.

There's probably some genres that I lean towards, but for whatever reason adding a touch of piano to it will generally make me like it more.

And I've never found anyone else with a remotely similar taste in music.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

How Ponies may have Saved my Relationship

Back in this post I alluded to how Theresa was avoiding me. I attributed it to the stress that Pharmacy school causes and maybe she just didn't have time to talk to me. But then I see that she's talking with other people online on Facebook and what not. And I get thinking, lately, all we've talked about is school and stress and that's pretty negative. Maybe she's tired of talking about such depressing stuff with me.

Or maybe she's thinking of breaking up with me.

Uh oh.

I know some of you are thinking "Damian, you silly derp. That's quite the jump you're making. Why would you assume something like that?".

Well you see, Theresa is known for her cold shoulder. She can ignore someone for months on end and have no problems with it. That's actually how she broke up with her last boyfriend. She just stopped talking with him, avoided him for a couple months and they just drifted apart.

I couldn't let the same happen to me. There had to be a way to get her to talk to me again but also make it a positive occasion.

But how...


And then I notice something on Reddit. Something from the My Little Pony subreddit.

My Little Pony toys were being offered at McDonald's.

Theresa loves My Little Pony. Theresa loves Happy Meals.

I was going to go get her Happy Meals with My Little Pony toys and everything will be better.

I am a genius.

Unless it's Pinkie Pie. Good lord does she hate Pinkie Pie.

So I run out one afternoon and make my purchase at the nearest McDonald's and somehow manage to get a few words out of Theresa. Enough to convince her to meet up with me after class so I can give her this stuff.

And you know what? It worked.

It was nice to see her smile and laugh again. Seriously, she's been miserable for the last two weeks due to all the exams, presentations and seminars that Pharmacy has been throwing at her. Though I think she was more amused that a grown man walked into McDonald's to buy Happy Meals for the My Little Pony toys.

And then we sat down and watched her favorite pony be mean to her least favorite one.

She's still teasing me about buying the Happy Meals but whatever, she's talking to me again. And you know what, maybe I did overreact a bit, I'm probably too paranoid for my own good.

But better safe than sorry. Lack of communication is a killer to any relationship.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

6th Grade Intestinal Problems

Back when I was in Elementary School there was one field trip that all the students looked forward to. Every year the 6th graders would go and spend several nights at a Science Center. Think of it sort of like a sleepover with your classmates where you spent each day doing hands-on science stuff.

Or maybe I just liked it because I'm an Asian nerd.

They also fed us which was great. Due to the structured menu I think this was my first time having various "Caucasian" foods other than hamburgers. Back at home, Mom cooked everything and that meant Chinese food pretty much all the time. Thus, I rather enjoyed my first time eating something like roast beef.

That is, until something didn't agree with my stomach.

Uh oh.

On the last day I wake up in the middle of the night with a burning feeling in my gut. I hobble to the bathroom and then my intestines explode.

And then my stomach explodes.

And they both take turns exploding for the rest of the night.

Use your imagination I'm not using a picture here.

I was kind of bitter that I got sent home on the last day due to being sick. They ended up playing games and having fun which I missed out on. But that wasn't all that I would lose out on.

See, there's a psychological phenomenon called taste aversion. Basically how it works is that if you feel exceptionally nauseated or sick, your brain might attribute it to something you ate earlier, generally something unique or new. From that point onward, anything to do with that particular piece of food will make you feel sick. Sight, smell even thinking about it can make you feel sick and you'll want nothing to do with it.

It's a good idea in concept, brain is preventing you from eating something that might get you sick again. However, your brain doesn't understand that correlation does not equal causation and will blame whatever it thinks made you sick. And for me, it blamed the roast beef.

Not so delicious now are you?

And the thing is, I would end up avoiding beef for about half a decade. No hamburgers, steaks, and even meatballs depending on what was in them. Eventually I would get over it but I know people who have avoided certain foods for decades thanks to taste aversion.

But there's a reason why I'm sharing this little story with you. Not just because it's a funny thing that happened to me in the past, but because it also makes a nice segway into the next arc of the "Me Not Healthy" series that I've been doing. As if allergies, lung cysts, and sleep apnea wasn't bad enough I might have intestinal problems as well.

The lack of appetite, bloatedness, general discomfort and lactose intolerance development has finally pushed me to get some tests done. And when those results get back, well, I intend on sharing them.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

The Second China Trip

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my Dad wants to take the family on a second trip to China. At the moment there seems to be two main ideas that are being tossed around. They are as follows:

Option 1:

There's a city in the northern part of China called Guilin. It's supposed to be extremely scenic with mountains and rivers, that sort of stuff.

Classic image of Chinese scenery.

That's the thing. I'm not that big into scenery and nice mountains, birds chirping in the trees and the wind in my hair. Mother Nature hates me, causing me to be allergic to a ton of flora (amongst other things...) and I burn in the sun very fast. I love urban areas, big, crowded cities with skyscrapers.

But then my Dad got a phone call, which leads us into option 2...

Option 2:

My parents are fairly devout Buddhists. And recently a monk they used to pray with gave them a call. He's actually going to be visiting various temples in China in the summer and invited them to come along. My parents got excited.


See the video of this cat here.

This means more nature as we'll be climbing mountains, no meat and no internet. I'm sorry, but I'm a carnivore and I love my technology. Take both away and I'm reduced to a shell of my former self. Plus, if I'm suffering from heat stroke or having an allergy attack it's only going to help the "Zombie Damian" look.

But another thing that really bothers me is that it's another really expensive vacation so soon. My parents are willing to pay for everything again for another overseas trip that's going to last several weeks. Those aren't cheap and it doesn't sit well with my conscious having them pay. Even though I couldn't pay them back immediately if I wanted to.

Being a student sucks.

But last time I received quite a few questions. In no particular order shall I try and answer them, hopefully in my rambling below I'll have gotten to your particular inquiry.

We did go to a lot of places, I can't remember every single museum or historical area (doesn't help that so many of the names are in Chinese and my Chinese is kind of terrible) but one of the museums that really stuck out to me in Shanghai was wonderful. The entire building are sparkling clean, beautiful art in every room and what do I see as I'm walking? A man holding his daughter over a garbage can so she can urinate.

There was a bathroom not 5 meters to their left and they opted to use a garbage can. I think this was probably the clearest example of the difference between the mindsets of the rich and the poor. That, and some of the rural areas are kind of run down. One of the tour buses stopped through a town called Chengde and we nicknamed it "Creepy Town" because of how degraded and old the buildings looked. Meanwhile Shanghai and Hong Kong have gleaming 5-star hotels and massive malls.

But while we're on the topic of toilets I was surprised not to see any of the famous doorless bathroom stalls. Maybe we didn't go into any really rural areas, maybe they're being phased out, who knows. Beijing had these really funny bathroom rating system though. Based on how clean a bathroom was it would get a rating from 1-5 stars. From experience, 3 stars means clean but it still stinks, 4 stars is clean and little smell, do not enter anything less than 3 stars.

Use at your own risk.

Like at the Great Wall, oh the smell. We could smell the bathrooms from 10 meters away. And for whatever reason, female bathrooms are always, ALWAYS, worse than the male ones. Don't ask me why. The Great Wall itself is relatively hard to climb. The steps are uneven and you're going to have to lift your leg quite a bit even if you're as tall as me. I feel sorry for anyone short climbing this thing. Oh, and like any of the historical monuments in the Beijing area, expect cigarette butts and discarded water bottles all over the place. Maybe segments of the Great Wall are cleaner elsewhere but the part we visited was filthy.

As for cultural differences I didn't notice any in terms of physical contact. Though if someone brushes against you it probably be a good idea check to make sure your wallet is still there. But if you become squeamish at the sight of animals on display for food, avoid the live markets. They have frogs, turtles, fowl, fish that are priced differently depending if it's dead/half dead/alive and they will butcher the poor thing for you in seconds if you're interested.

And that's it for now. The trip is still tentative (aka. Dad is looking up airline tickets as I type this) and he wants to go for about three weeks starting at the end of June. I just hope I have internet...

Thursday, 8 March 2012

My Little Rant

I'm just warning everyone beforehand that this post is going to be somewhat whiny. I've had my monthly quota of nonsense and I really don't want anymore. So if you don't enjoy hearing blog posts about people venting about their lives, ignore my post and leave a comment below about sea urchins.

Because they're delicious.

But the source of my irritation comes from people. For whatever reason I appear to be the go-to person whenever someone has issues with their life. Maybe it's because I'm getting a degree in Psychology. And you know what? Usually I don't mind.

But a friend of mine has a problem, actually, he has numerous problems. And he's kind of a drama king. Imagine if the Annoying Facebook Girl was Asian and male and bam, you have this guy.

. . . .

See, the thing about him is that it's partially not his fault, so he claims. He probably does have some form of mental or anxiety disorder that causes him to be like this. HOWEVER, this does NOT justify posting your every thought or whine on your Facebook wall. And then texting me how the girl you like doesn't like you and going into detail about your session with your psychologist.

And he exaggerates and/or lies a lot too. So I half the time I'm doubting what he says. One moment he's telling me he's going to run away to Montana, next minute he tells me that the police broke into his house because they thought he was going to commit suicide. Then he's going into detail about how smoking medicinal marijuana is awesome because it helps with his schizophrenia.

Sad thing is, half the above is true and/or happened. I'm not telling which.

But then I had another friend who was depressed and suicidal. And it's not fun, often dealing with both these people simultaneously. It's very draining especially when when one guy clearly just wants attention and the other guy refuses to seek professional help. Usually all I could do was sit, listen and offer my unprofessional opinion on what to do.

After a few weeks, 1 guy is better (I hope), and the other guy is still talking about devices to enlarge his various body parts. Myself, I'm growing apathetic to people's problems.


Oh and to make things better Theresa is refusing to talk to me. I'm receiving her infamous cold shoulder for whatever reason. Normally I would just attribute it to stress and schoolwork but I can still see you being active on Facebook talking to other people. And even when you were really busy you'd still send me a text or instant message. Meanwhile I haven't seen her in a week and she hasn't communicated with me in days. It's clear she's avoiding me.

And you know what, fine, be that way. I'm tired of dealing with people and the apathy is spreading to other parts of my social life. Whenever you're ready to talk with me again I'll be here waiting. I'm not going to you and finding out what the problem is. I've had enough of other people's problems.


I'll have a post about the China trip on Sunday, including answers to a majority of the questions people asked. I just needed a post to vent about personal problems because I really don't have anywhere else to. Normally I'd talk to Theresa but I can't go to someone who currently wants nothing to do with me.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Vacations, Vacations Everywhere.

I'm not sure what it is with my Dad but he's always taking us on vacations whenever possible. To be honest, I'm not certain if it's because he likes traveling or if it's because he found an amazing deal on airplane tickets. I mean he clearly likes the time spent with us but I know he gets a certain joy out of getting good deals.

A specific example comes to mind which goes like this:

Dad: Hey, I found cheap tickets to Tokyo, who wants to go to Tokyo for a week?
Us: Uh, this is rather sudden.
Dad: Come on, who knows how long these tickets are going to be available.
Us: Um, oka-
Dad: We're going to Tokyo.

And for years I personally have been hoping for another "good deal" to Tokyo.

The reason why I'm bringing this up is because my Dad is trying his hardest to have another trip to China. I'll be honest, we went there for a month last year so going back so soon is a bit sudden for me. We were on tours mostly and allow me to summarize my trip for you.


Dirty, grungy area. Locals litter everywhere and relieve themselves in the streets. Historical buildings are everywhere but it doesn't matter. They'll crap in the middle of the Forbidden City or leave cigarette butts on the Great Wall if they want. Don't bother coming here unless you're into seeing dirty historical monuments.


I loved this place. Easily my favorite city in the entire trip. Nice, urbanized area. Lots of Asian shopping malls and stores. Also, the Terra Cotta warrior exhibit here is amazing. The pictures you see online or in books? Doesn't even compare. This is something you need to see in person to appreciate.

I want to see some Asian hick try and take a dump in there...

Yangtze River:

The "cruise" down this river was the longest three days of my life. We sat in our cabin for most of the time with nothing to do. And we were supposedly on the largest boat on the river too. I can only imagine how boring it be on the smaller boats.


Like Beijing except way cleaner, much more urbanized and no historical monuments. If you don't care about history, come here instead of going to Beijing. I will forever refer to Shanghai as the Improved Version of Beijing.

Hong Kong:

My Mother was born and raised here and we have relatives so there's some sentimental value to this city. It's like, a mix of Asian and Western culture. If you're scared of being overwhelmed by Chinese culture and products I'd recommend stopping here for a bit to ease your transition into the rest of China.

I would also recommend NOT coming here in the summer. I nearly got heatstroke multiple times. The relatively close 7-11's saved me. I have never been more grateful for air conditioning in my life.

My inner thoughts in Hong Kong.

A few general notes. Food and clothes are really, really cheap there. I was buying fairly nice dress shirts (because all I wear are dress shirts) for like, $10 Canadian. My brother would go to McDonalds and order a chicken burger meal with fries and a drink PLUS 20 chicken McNuggets for $8 Canadian. You spend $2+ for a vending machine drink here, I spent less than half of that over in China. The prices are crazy. Oh, and there are ways around the Great Firewall. I was on Facebook the entire time updating my statuses and making photo albums.

But even with 1 month, you can only see so much. Hence my Dad's excitement to go again. It all hinges on whether the jobs my sister and I get. Assuming I get a job...

If there's enough interest I can go into further detail of any singular part of my trip. Leave a comment and feel free to ask anything.

And repeated again for those who only look at pictures.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Resolutions Update 2

Thanks to everyone for the positive comments and well wishes. I'm feeling somewhat better? I just need a bit of time to mope.

But it's the beginning of the month, so let's check up on how well I'm following my resolutions since last month.

Here we go...

Goal 1:

I enter the 4th week of the 100 push-up guide. I've learned a few things such as push-ups are really hard to do when you're tired. That's my excuse for the slow progress on this guide. Not going to blame my scrawny physique if possible.

Also, strange unintended side effect, the constant push-ups are slowly giving me a six-pack. I don't know if this is normal, or if I'm getting abs because I'm so thin and lack any fat but hey, I'm not complaining.

No I am not using one of these. (Bonus points to anyone who gets the reference).

Goal #2:

Well, we all know how well the Internship Program went. Meaning I'm still left hunting for a job of some sort, preferably something research or Psychology related because that's all I've done for the last 4 years. But I'll be honest, if it pays well, I'll do it.

Like I said at the beginning, one place that I really wanted a job yet currently doesn't have any positions but they're willing to keep in touch with me and answer any questions I have in the future. It's pretty nice of them, really hoping something opens up within the next few months.

Goal #3:

Instead of finishing up a certain project,  I actually ended up starting another one with my friend Jean. I'm not going to say much on it until we're done. But if this actually if this works I plan on maybe posting a video of it in action.

I'm not sure how many of you are familiar with Pat Hatt's catch phrase "Enjoy your winter, smash a printer", but I will hopefully be melting through a printer with ease.


Goal 4:

I did a book review of Pygmy by Chuck Palahniuk and I for those of you who read my review you'll know that I didn't care much for the book.

Also, that was supposed to be my January review. I'm still a bit behind on my February one so bear with me here. Depending on how closely you read things, D4 may have revealed the title of my next review.

BUT WAIT. This month I was given my first awards. A very big thank you to Vapid Vixen for The Charlie Sheen seal of Win. And then I was so very lucky to get awarded this:

Are you jealous? You should be.

Lord Phrozen describes this honor better than I can so hop on over to his blog to read the descriptions for everyone.

If you've given me an award and I haven't acknowledged it please leave a comment below. I love these things, validates my existence as a blogger.