Burning Out?

It is no secret that I am studying again for yet another licensure exam; heck, even if I wasn’t preparing to tackle another licensure exam, as a physician, I will still be studying, day in and day out, nonetheless.

Anyways, the exam I am talking about is the USMLE. I am originally an American Citizen, but has since become a dual citizen, adding my Filipino Citizenship into the mix in order to be able to take the license here locally and maybe train here.

Since passing the licensure exam here in the Philippines, I have been a bit confused as to where I should go next: Should I train immediately? Should I moonlight? Should I go on vacation?

A year went by and then I suddenly decided to move back to the States and tackle the USMLE so I can also be a licensed physician in the States, as well as being a licensed physician here in the Philippines.

It took a year to decide because I really didn’t know where my heart is… As much as I want to stay here and train and eventually have my private practice here, I feel as though I will not be able to live up to my full potential as a physician here. I feel that the language barrier, although I am able to speak a lot better Tagalog now than I ever thought I would be, is gonna be a huge factor in my training. Something as shallow as that is a real fear because in the world of medicine, there are no compromises… Not having to know the translation of a phrase and missing out on the diagnosis, no matter how benign the diagnosis is, is not a valid reason. And I want to train without having to worry about silly matters.

Thus, I decided, it is high time I move back home. My real home.

I have been studying leisurely since April just to get the hang of studying again, and come September, I will go full on study mode like when I was still a student. However, I have been losing interest in reading lately… I feel worn down… I feel burnt out.

Nothing can see to make me smile lately as my mind is always about USMLE and studying. Even when my heart is not into it, I force myself to read, and force myself to stay up in order to finish a certain number of chapters.

This is not really a good strategy as I am already feeling the effects of burning out and my exam date is nowhere near just yet.

As much as I want to cool down on some days like today, I end up feeling very guilty and then I start reading again.

I just wish I can read without feeling brunt out and I also wish that I can take a few days off reading, just playing games or whatnot, and not feel the guilt of skipping a few days or even a week.

I am in a very fragile complicated state right now and I thought of putting into words to let off some steam.

Did it help? I can’t say… But it feels good enough just to type some of these stresses of mine.

As always, I will just have to breathe in and breathe out… and pray. Better things are in store for me… I just can’t really see it or feel it just yet… but I just have to relax somehow and believe.

Til next time! PEACE!

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Lost in the Suburbs or so I Think

I may not have that many friends in total, but the number of friends that I do have, I feel are the most real and closest friends I can ever have.

Most of my close friends are from my college days and my post graduate days in medical school. Just yesterday, I finally got to catch up with my closest friend, my brother, in medical school, and obviously, fellow physician, Doc Joed.

This was a long time coming as we have made plans to hang out for months on end, but things happened to make us cancel it all the time.

He is my brother in medical school as we both we from B.S. Biology (though different universities), and we share the same passion for research (experimental more than descriptive), and finally, the 1st letter of our surnames are close to each other in the alphabet that we usually land in the same group for the 4-5 years we were in medical school (5 years if we include post graduate internship), thus it is no surprise we are close like brothers.

Such is life in that planned activities never push through, but spontaneous plans seem to push through by way of sheer adrenaline, hence, when we just decided to hang out in the country’s capital just to roam around the city and malls, we made it happen albeit the gloomy skies that opened up and rained pretty heavy.

Braving the rain, we arrived at our stop, SM North EDSA…

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Yes, I look like a mess.

After lunch, we decided to shop around; as usual, my number 1 priority in shopping would be for my hobbies… action figures, PC parts, etc. The least of my priorities was shopping for new attire, which was Doc Joed’s main priority apparently. Needless to say, he bought a lot of new clothes and such, then with out really thinking much, I bought some clothes too that I found were nice… something you don’t here me say everyday, “I bought new clothes”, as I seldom really do so; I let my mom or sisters take care of that for me as they know my fashion style (or the lack thereof).

After looking around some more the mall, we had the chance to hang out and catch up with one of over very 1st residents that took good care of us and taught us well during our clerkship days, Doc Anna!

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Next was perusing the mall again and also its neighboring mall, Trinoma, looking for at everything and anything we may actually purchase; not to be outdone by my brother, I was on the hunt for a Logitech Driving Force Shifter to add to my ever growing passion of Sim Racing (we can’t have him just spending alone now would we?) and to pair it with my Logitech G920 Driving Force Wheel and Pedals.

Having bought the things we want, fairly satisfied going around the malls, and having caught up with everything that needs to be caught up, we decided it is time to head back home.

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The humble haul: some clothes from Perry Ellis and a Logitech Driving Force Shifter

Honestly didn’t get nearly all the things I was planning to get in this trip, but what matters to me was that I got to see my former mentor/resident, Doc Anna, and finally got to hang out with my bro, Doc Joed. Things like just talking about anything under the sun without having to pretend you’re someone else makes it quite liberating especially in this world right now where you have to think twice what you say (I usually don’t care about thinking twice anyways) lest you want to insult someone.

Looking forward to another hangout/trip like this in the near future; a geek like me, though truly an introspective and less outgoing, should consider seeing more of the world… helps to de-stress…

Anyways, I will most likely make another post about the Logitech Driving Force Shifter just to give my thoughts on it. I will no longer be reviewing my peripherals as in dept as I used to as it is now time consuming and I don’t have the luxury of time since I need to prepare for USMLE and I still have jobs as a physician to give more of my time to.

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Getting knee deep into racing simulators

Alright then!

Til next time! PEACE!

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Recovery

Last Saturday, I twisted my left knee, now let us go back in time and remind you guys that my original injury was my right knee. My right knee also was operated on. So, why is my left knee twisting similarly to my right? Well, truth be told, both my knee are not in top shape since high school, where my right knee took most of the beating. Having to rely mostly on my left knee thru the years made it just as bad as the right, and last Saturday it showed how tired it was of being relied on.

Thankfully, it is starting to feel a lot better and I no longer need to use my cane. However, with that said, I haven’t had a real check up yet with my orthopedic surgeon to rule out the possibility of ligamental or miniscal taear, I will do that some other time. All I did was skip a few days of work, for which I’m returning tomorrow and quite excited to be a doctor again. Staying at home and just relaxing did the trick.

What else did the trick other than meds as well?

Well, this!

Wednesday Drive
A Drive Around Monaco

This is a good rehab for my knee in a way; sure it is not like the real rehab nor is it similar to riding a bike or doing my squats, but hey, it is giving my legs a workout in a way and in time I can return to my usual home exercises for my knees to truly recover.

This is just a short post, where I wanted to share my recent injury and a glamour shot of my racing in Monaco in F1 2015 (Waiting for F1 2017 so I skipped on F1 2016).

Til next time! PEACE!

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There and Back Again: A Trip to Singapore

Truth be told, it has been 11 years since my last air travel; it was way back in 2006 when I last traveled to and from America, so I was definitely excited, and a bit confused, while travelling to Singapore a few days back.

I was excited, simply because it has been 11 years since I boarded a plane, and excited because Singapore is one of the countries I have yet to visit, and by golly, I heard great things about it.

I was confused, since I don’t remember how to travel; I don’t remember where to go, what stations to pass by in the airport, and I don’t know the process for me to travel nowadays since I have a dual citizenship (I am both American and Filipino citizen, but only had a U.S. Passport). Luckily, my sister, who is also a physician, and also dual citizen, happened to have traveled to Thailand a month ago, and she got first hand experience when it comes to the extra paper works we needed as dual citizens.

Now, skipping the boring airport procedures, let us begin with me waiting to be board the plane: like I mentioned above it has been 11 years since I boarded a plane, let alone be in another country entirely, and with that thought, I guess I was a little too excited for my own good and wasn’t able to sleep the night before. This lead me to be a bit off the day of the flight, unsure if I can really stay awake during the duration of the flight. It also didn’t help that the trip to the airport didn’t help me sleep either, so here I am, being a wake for effectively 36 hours since I had work the day before, trying valiantly to enjoy my first air flight in 11 years.

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The waiting game…

When it is finally time to board the plane, I was right smack down in the middle of the plan, the middlemost seat, which in theory is the best as most people would say that you’d feel less of the effects of the flight there, of course, I would rather have the aisle seats, more specifically, next to the window, even if in fact, by the time you take flight, you’d see nothing but clouds and the body of water, but hey, I am easily entertained.

Thankfully I sat next to one of our friends also on the trip, who happens to also be my mentor during medschool, so it was cool that I had him next to me for the flight.

Overall, I am happy with the trip, it helped that it was just a short flight of 3 hours, so it was a perfect reintroduction to air flight as I plan to either visit Japan later this year or visit back home in America, also sometime later this year.

My only qualm from my first flight in 11 years is simply I ordered a certain breakfast in flight meal, and they got it wrong, it was tough to have it switched to the right one seeing that I am seated in the middle of the flight, so I let it go, but I made sure on the flight back home, I will have the right meal.

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At Changi International Airport with my sister

And so, we landed in Changi International Airport, and I know that most airports are better than NAIA, but wow, I was impressed by Changi, and all the more impressed when we were on the road; the lack thereof of traffic jams, the cleanliness, the overall beauty of Singapore, scream everywhere. I was blown away.

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Doc Jap showing the way to our chosen hotel as Doc Edwin looks unto the distance

Right off the bat, I will mention that we are here only for 3 days; the main reason we all went here is that my sister and our 2 other friends wanted to catch Coldplay in concert. I, on the other hand, just wanted to go around so I didn’t bother with a ticket. That is not to say I don’t like Coldplay, I do, I have a lot of songs that I like from them, but I am not a concert kind of guy. If it were The Cure, however, I will definitely watch them. I digress.

Being obviously a tourist hot spot, most people understand English, thus making it very easy for me to order food and whatnot, and feel very confident when the time for my sister and friends will inevitably will leave me for the concert. My confidence is further increased when the area, overall, seems to be a safe place, unlike here in the Philippines when the sun goes down, you have to constantly look over you shoulder and be vigilant. I am not trying to ruin the Philippines in terms of safety, but come on, people that live here will know what I mean… don’t pretend you don’t know what I mean.

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Looking for food
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A complete stranger… But I like her getup
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Lunch at the nearby Hawker with Doc Edwin

As the trio set off to line up for Coldplay, I decided to explore. I don’t plan on using the Taxi or anything of the like seeing that I wanna spend less on the commute and more on items, plus it makes it easy for me to see the actual sights and sounds, so to speak.

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Since I play lots of video games that are open world, I was not to worried about getting lost, and again, it helps that everyone speaks English very well. What worried me most was my knee; as you all know by now, I had surgery nearly 3 years ago and I still have difficulty longing long distances and standing for long periods of time. It was just the sheer adrenaline of being somewhere new that kept me going really.

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The weary travelling physician

Sure, I succumbed to fatigue, going in and out of the hotel I was staying in, Premier Inn Hotel, and then heading towards the nearest coffee shop to get a sugar rush in order to resume my exploration; I am a big Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf fan, but sadly, I can’t find any nearby, so I settled for Starbucks, my former love.

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Sugar rush!

After the much needed sugar rush, I am back on the road, exploring on my own. I was this close in getting to Merlion Park by myself, but having air traveled just in the morning and not having enough sleep to back it up, I reached the end of my energy tank, and had to call it a day and head back to the hotel. Overall, I had so much fun exploring on my own, tomorrow surely will be even better.

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Back at it again after my sugar rush

Next day… it started a bit slow, cos we all woke up late. Having washed up and ready to go exploring again, we waited for my former Resident/Mentor when I was but a wee medical clerk, Doc Noe, who has moved to Singapore and is a physician there, so who better to show us around than him, while my sister and 2 other friends, who are also physicians and my mentors, catch up with their colleague. Just 5 physicians hanging out in Singapore.

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Five Physicians in Singapore

Doc Noe then treated us to a nice hearty meal, and as the afternoon was ending, a photo of the former AUFMC IM residents along with their boss/mentor is definitely a must.

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Doc Noe!
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Jollibee!?

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Doc Chan’s Glare
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The gang after shopping at Samsonite since they had a sale
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From L-R: The Boss: Doc Edwin, along with the former IM residents: Doc Deb (my sis), Doc Noe, and Doc Jap

At the evening, we managed to meet up with Doc Jap’s high school classmate who happened to also have moved to Singapore; he also treated us to a delicious dinner and then showed us around.

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Singapore Trip 2017

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Singapore Trip 2017

Though we didn’t get to visit places like Merlion Park and the like, Orchard Road was pretty neat by itself; lot’s of places to eat, shop, or simply look around. I was on the lookout for some action figures so it isn’t surprising that when I arrived in Singapure I would go straight to the action figure shops, sadly, no Macross figures in stock at that time. Maybe next time…

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Singapore Trip 2017

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Doc Deb, my sis!
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Doc Chan… Me… obviously

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Singapore Trip 2017

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The doctor…  the otaku
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Looking for my waifu

As the night turned into early morning, we wanted to see Mustafa since it is supposedly a 24 hour lot for electronics and whatnot, but we were just too tired already; we headed back to the hotel and of course, the packing comes next. Now since I didn’t really get to buy anything interesting this time around during my visit, it was relatively easy packing, especially when my sister bought herself a Samsonite luggage as pictured above. For my friends’ souvenirs, I decided to just buy a lot of souvenirs in the airport later in the morning.

Finally, had just about enough sleep for the trip back home. After a quick bite to eat, it is straight to the airport and on the way back home to the Philippines. After 2 and a half days away from home, I must say, I was already getting home sick, hence, I was very eager to hop on that plane and get home.

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Manila bound… isn’t it obvious by my happy face?

Upon arriving back home, the first thing that greeted me was the wall of humidity and heat; Singapore wasn’t really at its coldest at that time we visited, but boy oh boy, nothing can beat the heat of the Philippines. The next thing I immediately miss about Singapore is the free flowing traffic; back here, man, the traffic jams are a stuff of legend.

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HOME… One of my fave pics my sis took of me

I don’t know if it was apparent in the post, but I was slightly hinting that I am planning to go back to Singapore later this year, for I am a Formula 1 fan for 21 years now, and I heard that it may be the last Singapore GP in F1 for the foreseeable future (not yet sure), I jumped at the chance of finally watching a race live in person. I will also be traveling on my won for the first time in my life, so it all the more, it will be a special experience.

I have yet to book my flight, book a hotel, or even buy a ticket for F1, but I’m pretty much sure about this trip, just have to finalize the seating (gotta find good seats, of course) and ask Doc Jap’s friends what hotel to book into, and we are ready for the race!

Anyways, overall, my 1st flight in 11 years, thankfully a short one, and thankfully a beautiful place like Singapore to visit, was a fun and well worthwhile one. I am not much of a traveler, but honestly, apart from going back to Singapore for the race and going to the States to see my home again, I plan to go to Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan in the near future. Somehow, visiting Singapore whet my appetite for traveling. Maybe this geek should see more of what the world has to offer…

Singapore Trip 2017
After 11 years, I got to travel again…

Til next time! PEACE!

P.S.

I will add a few of my favorite shots I took with my DSLR (you can click on the title/caption to be linked to my Flickr:

The Other Side
The Other Side
The Daily Grind
The Daily Grind
The Light on Route 76
Light on Route 76
One Small Step
One Small Step
The Connection
The Connection

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What a Ride it has Been

9 months ago, I was finishing up all my paperwork and touching up my resume in order to become a university physician of my Alma mater; now, I am finishing up my clinic duty for the day and I would be done with my contract.

I have mentioned many times in my past posts that I was given the opportunity to become the director of the university health services, a full time faculty in several schools of medicine, and a post in the research department, but I had to decline most, if not all, of these since I have a greater goal – that is to start training real soon, or soon enough.

My goal is to train in the States so I need to prepare for yet another medical licensure examintion, the USMLE, which is divided into 4 exams; these are not just any exam that I can take them on a whim, I really need to prepare for these. I will be linking a future post on how I reached my decision in going back home in the States and hoping to train there.

As flattered I am by the university and my colleagues in the university clinic wanting me to stay, I am much more elated that they understand my goals and would not hinder my wanting to train as soon as possible.

I am the youngest in the clinic, and at the time I was hired here, I was only 3 months being officially licensed as a physcian. So, I felt that my confidence level is still low to lead a team or to be taken seriously. Thankfully, my fears are put to rest as the team trusted me since day 1, guiding me in things I am not to sure of, and more importantly, accepting me and making me part of their close knit family. The latter is the one I appreciate the most. I learned a lot and I had a lot of great memories… But it is being part of this family that will be the best part of this job.

Even if I am just a general physician here in the university, I do have my share of toxity (our term for a hectic workday along with difficult cases and whatnot); that is something quite rare in an out patient department setting like here in the clinic. I’ve seen cases like diabetic ketoacidosis in a 15 year old, Takotsubo syndrome, retinal detachment, etc. Now some of these cases are common in the hospital setting, but to be primarily diagnosed in a clinic like here, and with what little I can request in terms of ancillary procedures to confirm my assumptions, it is quite a feat for a young physician as myself. This helped me become a little more confident as a diagnostician.

And through it all, my colleagues never doubted me.

That really helps a fledging physician.

Such as what my collague and my mentor said yesterday during our pizza pig out, “I hate goodbyes…”, but honestly, this is not goodbye, more of a “see you all later”, even if I do become a licensed physician in the States and I train there, these colleagues of mine are now family and I have no doubt that in the future when we see each other somewhere down whatever road, we can easily get a cup of coffee or two, reminisce our days in the clinic, and just smile on how far we all eventually come.

With that, in a few hours time, Christian Udarbe, M.D., University Physician, would have signed out. And what a ride it has been!

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Til next time! PEACE!

Addendum:

This is Dr. Udarbe, university physician, officially signing off.

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Move over DX Racer, GT Omega, Maxnomic Gaming Chair; I found an alternative… ADDENDUM! Ergodynamic F1 Gaming Chair Review

DISCLAIMER: I am not a professional reviewer, I am like you, a consumer, giving his consumer thoughts on purchases straight from his pocket. Also, if I place prices, remember, prices may, and probably will, change without prior notice.

Introduction:

My previous review on a non-branded gaming chair has been getting a lot of traffic, and since then, I have answered messages from Facebook, Twitter, and in Steam about that chair. Of course, I have since then upgraded my chair and now I have new recommendations on gaming chairs.

I decided to review my current chair and update the previous post as readers still think I have the old chair. And with all these new questions, I just wanna give them more info and alternatives so they can choose the perfect chair for themselves at the best price the see fit.

For this post, I will review my current chair and give new recommendations as alternatives to this chair as the price may not always sit too well (see what I did there?) with many people.

So here we! Let us begin!

Notable Mentions:

RAKK Gear/EasyPC

As much as I enjoyed my previous gaming chair, I felt that it is missing some features such as the ability to recline, missing head rest (I got that pink head rest from a friend) and lumbar pillow, and frankly, the mesh parts are starting to irritate me.

So I knew, it was high time to upgrade.

We start at the alternatives that I considered:

I stumbled into RAKK Gear/EasyPC and they were selling a gaming chair akin to those like DX Racer, Maxnomic, or GT Omega, etc, but at a reasonably low price of PHP 5,450.

It can recline, tilt, and it has the head rest and lumbar pillow.

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As to why I didn’t order this is simply it was not on stock and I waited quite awhile for it to be on stock. You can reach out to RAKK Gear (FB Page) EasyPC (FB Page or Official Site) for the availability and I highly recommend this chair as I have friends who swear by it.

I heard, however, they have 2 new models, with similar features, and similar price, just different design. Also of note, it doesn’t come with lumbar pillow and head rest.

Again, just reach out to Rakk Gear or EasyPC for the availability.

PCHub

Another shop that sells good alternatives to the more expensive brands, but like the shops above, the chairs were taking too long for my taste to restock.

But the one that caught my eye was the FTW Frag series. Like the Rakk Gear/Easy PC XRACE 01, Kabil, and Takus chairs, it is sweetly priced at PHP5,490 with similar feartures you now expect in a gaming chair.

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For those looking for a more of a premium and even more designs, they also carry AKRACING chairs.

Again, if PC Hub had this back then, I would have gotten the FTW Frag series of chairs; just reach out to them in their FB Page. If you find either this or the RAKK Gear/Easy PC equivalents, I highly recommend them. And if you will get either one of them, do pick it up from the shop; shipping is a pain in the wallet and you will know in a bit.

Ergodynamic/Cost U Less

Now, I really wanted to upgrade my chair, and I didn’t care about the price or shipping (I am not rich, I am just desperate to upgrade), so instead of waiting for either one previously mentioned to restock their products, I decided to look at the Ergodynamic F1 Gaming chairs that can be purchased from Cost U Less (FB Page or Official Site).

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It is a premium as you can see by the price, but for me, it is still slightly less than the more expensive brands, and this can hold up on its own against them.

The shipping hurts, since it is a large object to ship, and I live outside Manila, the shipping cost me nearly or about half the price of the chair. That’s how desperate I was… Did I regret it? No, not at all.

Now time for the short review…

Review:

  • Base Type: Nylon Base
  • Base Size: 350mm
  • Base Capacity: 300kgs
  • Gas Lift Type: 120D
  • Gas Lift: 80mm
  • Caster Type: PP
  • Mechanism Thickness: 2.5mm
  • Chair Seating Capacity: 110kgs
  • Tilt-Lock Function
  • Pneumatic Height Adjustment
  • 360° Swivel Function

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First off, I have the faux leather version of this, and for me, I like it better than the fabric version. Your skin tends to “breathe” more with faux leather.

For the price I was a bit letdown by the fact the star base is still made of plastic, albeit very, very  strong plastic that can carry upwards to 300kgs, but with that price I was at least a metal start base. I hardly think with that price, you can’t have at least an aluminum star base, but oh well.

Next are the arm rests, I like how it can go up or down, tilt in or out, but the latter doesn’t have a lock feature, so sometimes, once you get it in the orientation you like, it may tilt outwards or inwards beyond your comfort. Not so much of a problem, but annoying.

Also, the plastic feels so cheap. Again, with that price I spent on it, I was hoping a little more. It can get a wee bit uncomfortable at times when I rest my arms on them, I would have loved a thin fabric or something, but it never really gets uncomfortable all the time… just…at times.

The best part of this chair, I know it sounds crazy, but its the included pillows. Now most chairs are already supplying this apart from the 2 other models from RAKK Gear/ EasyPC, the Takus and Kabil, but upgrading from a chair that doesn’t even recline or have these is a welcome change. I just wished the head rest pillow also had the clip loncking mechanism like the lumbar pillow. I say this, cos I’m short, and I do mean short! Like most girls are taller than me… Okay, I digress. So I had to lower down the head rest to make it feel comfy but the strap is like strangling the chair as you can see below.

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It is also nice to note that even if the castor wheels are much better than my previous chair, it is still not the large castor wheels that can easily glide on carpet, like in my case. It can move around, but once you sit on it, the wheels do bury unto the carpet and you have to make the effort to move. That, or I’m just gaining too much weight for my own good.

Since the chair itself is quite heavy, the tilt function while the chair is upright can oppose you. I am used to a certain level of tilt from my previous chair, and when I sat on this, and loosened the tilt maximally, I still can’t tilt when the chair is upright. With that said, you can feel the tilting a lot when you start to recline. Either that, or I’m too weak and short to tilt the chair like a rocking chair if it isn’t reclined.

Reclining is pretty much what you expect from it, and it does it well; it doesn’t recline completely 180 degrees, but that is good, as the center of gravity will shift and you may just fall on your back. Now I mentioned I loosened the tilt on this chair and I will admit, when I tried to recline this fully, I always think I would fall over, but I didn’t. Up to now, I still get scared. Great way to have a pick me up when I am sleepy.

I got the faux leather finish and it is a dust magnet, I would suspect the fabric finish would be a lot worse. Of course, you can easily wipe it off with a damp cloth, but I think at this price, it is best to get a leather polisher or something to wipe it off.

The cushion, I am unsure if it memory foam, but it is comfortable and firm, in the sense that it is unlike other chairs with cushions that if you sit on it for long periods of time, throughout most of the day of the week,  it would start to lose it structural integrity. This one, I had it since December 2016, and the cushion are still firm and has no signs of going away (I hope I didn’t just jinx it)

Verdict:

So, the price may hurt in a way and it is close to the more expensive ones, well the lower end models of the expensive ones, but we can’t deny that it is a premium especially compared to the products from RAKK Gear/EasyPC or PCHub, and truth be told, I would have purchased from them if the products were available at them time.

That is not to say that I regret this particular purchase (plus the expensive shipping), I love this chair, it was everything I hoped the first chair I bought would be. Apart from my nitpicking in the review section, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS PRODUCT IN SPITE OF THE PRICE.

Of course, my advice would be to go to Cost U Less’ showroom to get the item and avoid the shipping fee, but if you are desperate like me or you live far, then you have to weigh it in for yourself if it is worth the extra shipping fee. Take it from me, after this chair arrived and I started using it, I didn’t care about the shipping fee.

Til next time! PEACE!

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Assuming the Sick Role

Let’s face it, physicians are not supermen or superwomen as much as people think we are; We do get bogged down by the physiological needs that every other human does. We do need to eat at the proper time, we do need to sleep to regain our energy and train of thought, and we do get sick.

I for one got a bug right now and it has debilitated me for the better part of the entire week. This caused me to miss my clinic duties. It is tough because I chose this career to in order to treat people who are ailing or at least do my best to increase their quality of life as it goes, but having the tables turned on me and now assuming the sick role hinders me from doing so.

I am a workaholic and I don’t like to be seen or labeled as someone that can’t be relied on, so being sick and having to miss my clinic duties is tough on my ego; All I can think about is letting my colleagues down, and most importantly, I feel I am letting my patients down.

But we were also taught in medicine that one physician has to take care of him or herself and stay healthy enough in order to treat other people.

With that said, there are still patients who don’t know what we are going through just to treat them; all those sleepless nights, all those sermons from our bosses, all the doubts that can cloud our judgment, and a multitude more of intangibles, add in the fact we are still human and are, like I mentioned above, still bogged down by physiological needs, the mere fact we try to take a short nap (10min nap is already heaven for us, by the way), have a quick snack since we are already hypoglycemic and suddenly have blurring of vision. or having to go to the bathroom real quick because the peristaltic rush is a bitch. It is the latter, tangible, aspects of being human that patients hate about us doctors. They expect us to be exempted from all that in order to be of service to them.

God forbid the physician gets sick.

Being away from work to recover my health and I am sure once I get back on the horse, I will make a run for it and be better than I was before I got ill and serve the patients the way we physicians aim to do. But there is a voice lingering, a thorn in my side, reminding me that I am failing my patients. With that mentality, let it be known that, each time we take a quick nap, we are thinking of our patients as we are counting sheep and how we can better treat that patient in the ER, also in taking a quick nap, makes us rest our weary minds and reset it to think more of the treatment; each time we take a snack, we tend to forget to chew, and in doing so, whet the mouths of our clerks/interns at the possibility of them carrying out the Heimlich Maneuver on us, just to finish the meal quickly enough to attend to the patient again immediately; and having to dispose a few pounds into the toilet rapidly and not realizing that the toilet paper ran out and hoping the same clerks/interns are not devilish enough to not give you a new roll when you ask them (I can always give them a demerit anyway).

Assuming the sick role reminded me how human I am as a physician and how vulnerable we are to being human. Let it be known that every waking hour, every minute passing, every second ticking, we are bound to our patients and we are as angry at ourselves for being human as the patients are. We just need someone out there to understand us… as humans.

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