so i had a doctor's appointment at MGH this morning. nothing serious, routine annual checkup, getting a prescription refilled. what is it about going to the doctor that always makes me nervous? probably the needles. i wanted to take the motorcycle but there was a slight drizzle. figuring i was better off staying dry, i grabbed my umbrella and went to porter square to take the subway.

now that i have blue cross insurance, i can once more return to MGH. would it have been better for me if i picked a doctor that was closer, say, cambridge? yeah, probably, but since this is my own health we're talking about, it's nothing but the best! i take a certain satisfaction in knowing i'm being treated at the world-renowned massachusetts general hospital, a famous name brand of medical care. besides, i've been seeing the same doctor since i got out of college, so this wasn't anything new for me. the past 2 years when i've been bouncing around from doctor to doctor because of health insurance reasons, that's more unusual.

for some reason i was afraid they wouldn't let me see my former doctor. i called up MGH earlier in the week to schedule the appointment, and when i told the woman on the phone that i didn't have my hospital blue card, she went into shutdown mode and told me, "we don't see anyone without a blue card." "okay, i did have a blue card, i just have to find it," i told her. "even if you did, you still can't see doctor lester, he's not taking any new patients, you'll have to get a resident, who will rotate every few years." that wasn't the response i was hoping for. after a few seconds of pause, i asked her to transfer me to the records department. there, a more helpful gentleman found my files and gave told me what my blue card number was. i called back the front desk and managed to book an appointment, as if nothing happened.

even then, i was nervous. since technically i did switch to a different clinic, would MGH still have my medical records? so i was surprised when i arrived and noticed they already have a thick manila folder will all my medical files (minus the 2 years i was away). i waited about a minute before a nurse called me inside, took my weight and blood pressure (140/87), and led me to a small office.

for some reason i thought all doctors at MGH had luxurious offices with nice views of boston. even the general practitioners - the lowest common denominator of medicine - would be provided with comfortable corner spaces, worthy of an MGH doctor. i found out this wasn't the case. perhaps i was spoiled by my old doctor, harvey simon. he was one with the nice office because he was somebody big and important at the hospital. however, the doctor i have now, doctor lester, he's still climbing the ladder. so naturally his office would be a little bigger than a closet.

is it just me or do you also have this urge to take a souvenir from the doctor's office while he makes you wait? i'm not talking about anything expensive, but something like a tongue depresser, or a bandaid, or even a fecal blood test? anyway, i was a good boy today, and kept my klepto urges in check.

10 minutes of waiting went by before doctor lester showed up finally. i'd forgotten how much he resembles comedian patton oswalt (and i *love* patton oswalt). i knew he didn't recognize me since we'd only met once before 2 years ago, but i knew as soon as we started talking he would know who i am. "hi, i met you 2 years ago, i was the guy who just came back from southeast asia." the light suddenly went on in doctor lester's brain. "okay, yeah, i remember you now!" he told me my burma recommendation was a key reason why he went and visited burma last year (including a $275/hour hot air balloon room in bagan with his girlfriend). we were like two travelers sharing travel stories again. he logged into his hospital computer and pulled up flickr, where he showed me all the photos he took. apparently he's quite the photographer as well. i didn't say anything at first, but then i told him, "hey, i've got some photos on flickr too!" he immediately added me as a contact. so for half the time i was there, we were just trading travel anecdotes again. i'd forgotten he taught in beijing before, and when i told him i went to china last year, we had even more things to talk about.

but i wasn't there to hang out, this was a doctor's visit after all. there's only so much a doctor can do at these annual checkups. besides taking some readings, that's pretty much it, unless you tell him otherwise of some other ailment. i was feeling fine and i was only really there just to touch base and to get a new prescription. he asked about my diet and gave me a pep talk about eating more fish and the multi-benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. he listened to my lungs, and looked inside my mouth. "i want you to feel that you're getting your money's worth!" he said. as i was leaving his office he told me, "this is probably the highlight of my day!"

"i'm a giggler," i heard a woman say in the lab clinic, as she was getting her blood drawn. suddenly there was the loudest laughing i have ever heard, to the point where the whole waiting room just suddenly became silent to listen to this woman cackling. apparently it's her nervous reaction to stress - a rather noisy and unpleasant reaction. doctor lester forgot to give me my prescription but i saw him walk outside the office leading a woman who was crying behind him. i'll get him when he comes back. when it came to my turn in the lab the nurse had me rest my arm on a pillow. she tied my bicep with a rubber tube and told me to squeeze this thing that at first i thought was an enormous walnut but turns out it was a grey foam ball in the shape of a brain. she felt the crook of my arm for a vein, swabbed the area with alcohol, and stuck me with a butterfly needle. 3 test tubes of deep red blood later, i was done. i bumped in my doctor and get my prescription before leaving.

i haven't been to the charles/MGH stop since they renovated it. it's pretty nice now, i'd go as far to say probably the best station on the red line, with it's open-aired design and a view of the boston skyline if you stand at the end of the platform.

i didn't notice it when i left this morning, but when i came back home i saw the SUV that'd been parked in front of my place had its passenger side window completely smashed. nothing seemed stolen however so i'm not sure what the motivation could've been. some ecoterrorist fed up with gas guzzling sports utility vehicles? if that's the case, there were plenty more SUV's nearby that escaped vandalism. could it have been the out-of-town NY license plates? who knows. inside my upstairs neighbors had left a note, saying how they were up until 11pm last night and didn't hear a thing. i was up until 3am and i didn't anything either. however, i did call the police, who promised they would but never sent a cruiser to come down and investigate the incident (they probably figured the insurance would take care of it). later in the early evening i saw the owners of the vehicle inspecting the damages and taping up the window with plastic wrap.

dried blood looks so colorful!

my microSD memory card for my sansa express mp3 player finally arrived today. i wasn't quite prepared as to how small the card actually was. and to think it can hold 2gb worth of data! i remember my first external hard drive for my mac plus back in 1986, it held 20mb and was bigger than a metal lunch box. to think this little "paint chip" can hold 100x more data than my circa 1986 external hard drive - that just blows my mind!

for lunch i had some leftover pasta and for dinner some hot dogs. i watched as eric gagne blew a 5-1 lead over the orioles and lost the game for the red sox. did we keep the receipt? is there still time to return this canadian? to make matters worse, the yankees won tonight, so now they're 5 games back behind us again.