Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Year of the Intern, Robin Cook

Certainly nothing fancy about this one. And certainly not meant for non-medical folks due to the large amount of medical terminologies and medical corollaries that comes with it. But even if you do appear interested, the large bulk of medical patois would eventually put one off as it drones on and on without a halting reverie. The novel regales a microcosmic artwork that represents what interns have to go through, at least during my time back when I was still one. Interns are the equivalent of house officers in Malaysia; while their residents are our fellow medical officers. Senior residents or registrars would be our senior medical officers who are training for a post to become a specialist. Although the description that blurts out every now and then brings up the old and fond memories of my own internship, I can’t deny the fact that exhaustion was one of the main issue that stems up like an ugly thorn throughout my early youthful life. It spoils almost everything and it devastates my own social being. Fortunately, I had only to endure one full year before stepping into the shoes of becoming a resident-in-training. Nowadays, it has been prolonged into two gruelling years. Thankfully, with the increasing amount of graduating medical students stepping up annually to fill and then over-fill the vacant spots, the burden has since started to decline. Yet a new problem stems into the wheel - that of quantity over the lack of quality.

Such is the spoils of medicine. For those who are keen to get a glimpse as to how an intern or a junior doctor operates throughout their lives, this non-fiction novel would tell you exactly what you need to know. Dr Peters step into his internship as a young Ivy League medical school grad (one of our UM graduate equivalent), one of the cream of the crops, but soon is about to find himself drenched with a whole bunch of shit, pee and goo. Academia has nothing to do with the real laborious clinical work and the grave amount of mental and physical exhaustion he is about to bear. And that’s just the beginning of it all. With the ongoing vicious cycle of stupendous amount of work, sleep and sex with varying partners to satisfy his own primitive instincts, he is about to hop onto the bandwagon of becoming a walking zombie in a white coat. And this is one zombie that is about to explode with all the hidden rage, frustration, self-consciousness and a whole pissant personality waiting just to emerge.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Cure, Robin Cook

This is one book that deviate grossly from Cook’s normal habit. And that would be the involvement of the more than the usual norm of characters that would usually range around 10-15 majors with anywhere between up to 20 minors. Cure was an extensively thought out novel for a typical Stapleton-Montgomery series, making it one of the most researched work that I’ve read on Cook’s work up till now. The series of events took place between two countries, each in major townships of their own. The story opens in a university research lab in Tokyo and as it pans out, a favour was done to extradite an uprising Japanese researcher-talent from the more disciplinarian and strict country to a more free one in the US of A. As the novel shifts its lens towards the bustling town of Manhattan, two major forces colluded in an event that would shake up the normal routine of our two ME protagonist. This is one that is bounded out of proportion as more excitement could be tasted from the burning pace of the story. It’s definitely one that you would have difficulty putting down once you get started. I finished this one in less than a day pouring into the twists of the events as it gets more exciting from chapter to chapter.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Terminal, Robin Cook

If you were wondering which book to get started off when it comes to Robin Cook’s medical mysteries, then I’d suggest this before going on others. The latter choice would sort of dilute out the striking events that Terminal has to tell. A tight story line with potential possibilities that kinda winds around a cool character that seems to have a clever retort to everything that is thrown at him. Partnered off with a hot beau to which he has difficulty in committing the relationship to a higher level due to his social ineptitude, his intelligence makes up for what he lacks. And the intelligence was what sparked off this interesting tale of the Terminal.

With extremely good cure rates for an astoundingly poor prognosis brain tumour, Sean was intrigued to learn more as to the treatment protocol the research centre used especially when his interests lies within the confines of oncogenes (tumour promoters) and proto-oncogenes (tumour suppressors). Coupled with his background third year medical student knowledge on biochemistry and medical microbiology, he made it a point to find out what the fracas was all about by getting himself acquainted with an elective program in Miami GH. What he discovered was not only mind-blowing, but eccentrically adrenaline-packing as Cook regales you with the tale of an idiot savant on a run to discover potentially ethically damaging secrets.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Brain, Robin Cook

An apocalyptic read. Brief and right to the point. A mysterious myriad of odd symptoms were presented in an otherwise healthy young girl in her 20s. Staggering at pace with an ataxic gait coupled with some out of place neurological signs, Katherine Collins went into a bout of temporal lobe epileptic seizure. Collapsing by one of the doors within the confines of a gynae clinic, she was hustled into what looks like an operating theatre to which she was never heard of again.

Several more missing cases went by at such a staggering pace coupled with some oddities that went unchecked for some time. This wasn’t up to the point until a famed assistant chief to the department of neuroradiology discovered something eccentric that led him on a path of strange discovery. The latter would have cost him his life after taking him through jeopardising events before the final twist and the unravelling of the mystery was elaborated and clarified.

Though it strikes the chord of a potentially thrilling medical mystery, the culmination towards the finale and the revelation was somewhat abruptly ended although apropos towards the buildup from the pieces of the story gathered by the protagonist. It may not be much for anyone’s cup of tea especially the ending, but the pace set out by Cook would nevertheless intrigue those that are searching out for a thriller that keeps its readers on their toes. Perhaps when read during its time of publication it would have jolted a couple of nerves more than the current 21st century era which has seen more ethically deranged maniac experimenting on humans.

Then again, it does make up quite a good read with a finesse of Cook’s predictable writing provided that you have read most of his past works. He tends to recycle certain platform of medical dilemmas and issues for his novels and that could sometimes be a giveaway.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Monuments Men

Seeing the movie poster evokes response to a film filled with wartime criminalities; where based on the synopsis alone regales the tale of Hitler participating in a major looting of art pieces throughout Europe. A Fuhrer museum was his plan should the Nazis retain their command through the large piece of European invasion but that was not to be. Stricken with the possibility that Hitler would stop at nothing to demolish the vital pieces of art (should he lose or gets himself killed) that makes up the broad perspective of European culture and history, a group of men were tasked to make sure that such was not to be.

Despite its ominous outlook to war crimes, the film has got its luxury to stir some comedy into it and one couldn't help but to enjoy the repartees in exchange between famed art aficionados and qualified art graduates. Though, these aren't to the extent of professional exchange of words that praises the 16th century Leonardo da Vinci's multitudes of art pieces nor his fellow compadre Michaelangelo's Madonna of Bruges, it nevertheless gives the audience a hearty relaxation that escapes the more profound technicalities involved in Robert Langdon's adventure (where a lot of googling and studying up needs to be done to get a visual cue as to what Dan Brown is trying to say).

As a result of phasing out the mountainous recollection of these cultural pieces (which were given cursory glance), the sole standout that this movie portrays are that of the Ghent Altarpiece and that of the Madonna of Bruges. The script thus pans out largely only to focus back on these two distinct adventures in rediscovering them amongst the hiding places of the German Army. Though not one of those A-list movies where a handful of famous Hollywood actors make it big to the Oscars, one could still appreciate the effort in vividly painting the significant events that the US government take in cooperation with their fellow European counterparts in preserving art, culture and the rich extent of history that represents a group of people that without these, all would be lost.

NB: This is a true story based on true events.

Movie Rating:- 6/10