Today I finished the last practical exam for the hands-on course in Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine. It was hours of recording findings of physical dysfunction on a partner followed by treatment (all under time and technique constraints). I only mention this because, after two long years of sitting in OMM labs for 3 hours a week, I am more than ready to move on. Funny enough, after all the time I spent resenting the fact that we had to spend so much time doing OMM, I now feel much more sympathetic towards it. Some of that goodwill towards OMM may just be due to the fact that I am elated at being done. Now I have so much more free time to... you guessed it: Study!
So I was studying just now and realized that some of the things I've learned in school are actually really fascinating. Sometimes I forget that I didn't know any of it before coming here. With that in mind, I'm going to combine my studying with my blogging just this once. If you like it, don't praise this post too much or I'll just make this a study blog.
Today's Topic: Maple Syrup Urine Disease
Can you imagine having a baby, and maybe a week after coming home from the hospital you start noticing that every time you change the diaper, you smell maple syrup. This is a real disease that makes untreated babies' urine smell like maple syrup.
What's going on? Some amino acids (protein building blocks) have branched carbon chains instead of straight carbon chains. If you don't have the enzyme 'branched-chain alpha-ketoacid dehydrogenase', your body can't break these branched chains down. They start to accumulate in your body until they start spilling out into your urine. The branched chain amino acids smell like maple syrup.
If this happens, it is important to take baby to the doctor and get evaluated. A baby diagnosed with MSUD needs to spend the rest of their life avoiding foods with branched chain amino acids, allowing them to live a long fulfilling life. Otherwise the buildup causes severe neurologic impairment and death which is very sad.
There you have it. One of the amazing diseases I only learned existed in the last couple years.
Today I found a little time to get a much-needed haircut. The problem I've faced recently is this: Do I go back to the cheap and familiar hair place where half of my haircuts have been mediocre or bad? Or branch out to a (probably) more expensive salon where I will be out of my comfort zone and have no assurance of satisfaction? After going back and forth on this for the last few haircuts and never getting the courage to choose another shop, I called 'A Shear Encounter II' and set up an appointment this morning during a cancelled class.
After walking in and being introduced to my new stylist, my mind was put to ease as she acknowledged the difficulties my hair presents in cutting. We talked for a while about what would work what wouldn't, and why, and then she took me to the sinks at the back to get my shampooing on. Instead of going back to my chair for the remainder of the cut, she asked me to follow her towards a side room. I followed, dumbly.
She asked me to sit for a moment in what looked like a feminine dentist chair. I acquiesced, waiting for her to explain what was about to happen. Pulling out a tiny paintbrush she declared, "I'm going to wax your eyebrows. Don't worry, you'll still look like a man."
I am accustomed to my bushy, overgrown eyebrows. People have occasionally suggested I tweeze or wax my eyebrows, but I have never relented because I haven't trusted what the result would be. I figured, "If not now, when?" So, after confirming that she wasn't charging me extra to tame my brow, I assented.
She leapt (figuratively) to work...
"That wasn't so bad was it?" It actually wasn't terrible. She was done in less than a minute.
The cut went smoothly, and I left, happy to have a relatively inexpensive haircut that I was fully pleased with (perhaps the first time since moving here I have really felt satisfied). As I drove back to campus, I looked in the rearview mirror and saw the red skin on my forehead beaming brazenly for all to see.
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This only made it slightly embarrassing to explain when I got to my lab a few minutes later. "So I was looking for a new place to get my hair cut and next thing I know..."