Category Archives: life

Surreality

For May 17th, 2011, National Geographic’s Photo of the Day was of camel thorn trees in Namibia by Frans Lanting. [Official caption: Tinted orange by the morning sun, a soaring dune is the backdrop for the hulks of camel thorn trees in Namib-Naukluft Park.]


I’ve become drawn to this photo, and no matter how hard I try, I cannot get my mind to wrap around it. At first glance, it looks like a simple, yet gorgeous painting. If you view it moving slowly from the bottom going up, the ground and the bottoms of the trees look real. As the trees start to curve in seemingly unnatural directions and the orange hue of the sun sets in, this is when my brain begins to misinterpret what my eyes are showing me. I JUST DON’T GET IT and yet, I think I am in love with it. Perhaps this is the beauty and essence of art. Simultaneously captivating and provoking. This is photography and nature at it’s absolute best.

I visited Frans Lanting’s website and found a plethora of his other work. I’ve selected a few to show here. If I’m ever in Santa Barbara, I will make it a point to visit his gallery.

Lucid Ending

Congrats to myself, this is my 200th post! And what better topic to discuss on this celebratory occasion than life regrets?

Key West Sunrise

Last night I was browsing through Reddit’s IAmA entries and sitting at the top of the list was this: 51 hours left to live. If that doesn’t catch your attention, then I don’t know what will. So if you are not familiar with Reddit in general, it is a social news website where users can post content found on the internet they find interesting or,  as is the case for the IAmA entries, users can post interesting things about themselves for the online community to comment on. “AmA” stands for “Ask me Anything” and this forum is used pretty much like an open interview. “51 hours left to live” was posted by redditor, Lucidending, and the description of his IAmA is as follows:

On Tuesday I’ll finally end my battle with cancer thanks to Oregon’s Death with dignity act. As part of my preparations I’ve ended my pain medication and am trying to regain what little dignity and clarity I can.

Who I was doesn’t matter. I’m in pain, I’m tired and I’m finally being granted a small shred of respect. Feel free to AMA if you’re so inclined.

The most touching answer from Lucidending I found was one responding to whether he had any regrets. See below:

Yes, one. I bought my high school sweetheart an engagement ring and never gave it to her. Life happened, meaning [it] was dumb. I went in the military after a dumb fight and…. Yeah just one.

He often mentioned this one girl throughout the rest of the forum and the more I read, the more heartbroken I felt for him. When asked what he would do if he could have his health back for one day just to say goodbye, he said he would do this:

Go to Key West Florida. I was there once and saw the sun rise and set in the same day. Was really peaceful and sharing it with her would be more [than] I deserve.

My analysis on his take-home message: Never live life with regrets, especially those involving love. Take risks, those what-ifs and what-could-have-beens could end up hurting forever.

Key West Sunset

Further reading:
Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act: http://www.oregon.gov/DHS/ph/pas/

Let’s Do This!

Greetings friends, family, and readers (whoever you are)!

As many of you know, I recently started a new job at the Primary Care Coalition of Montgomery County (PCC).  And you probably know I do something health related or something Komen related or something with related to the low-income and uninsured population, but you probably don’t know what it is exactly that I do.  I’m hoping to now clear up that vagueness with this post.

What is PCC?

The Primary Care Coalition is a private, non-profit, charitable organization working with public/private partners to provide high-quality, accessible, equitable, efficient, and outcome-driven health care services for low-income, uninsured County residents.

What do I do?

In September of 2010, I joined PCC’s Center for Health Improvement as the Komen Regional Project Coordinator. I am specifically working on the National Capital Area Breast Healthcare Improvement Initiative; and in short, I am working with safety-net clinics in Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, DC, and Northern Virginia to streamline breast healthcare services for low-income and/or uninsured women 40 and over. The “Komen” part of my title comes from the fact that Susan G. Komen for the Cure funded this entire program.

This morning I attended a news conference for the kick-off of the 22nd annual Susan G. Komen Global Race for the Cure and met Nancy Brinker, the founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. I was pretty moved and motivated by the event, so I elected myself to be PCC’s team captain for the 2011 Global Race for the Cure.  Why not combine my love for running with my passion for what I do?

You can visit my personal page here: http://globalrace.info-komen.org/goto/PearMoraras

For PCC’s team page, click here: http://globalrace.info-komen.org/goto/PCC

Let’s do this!

2011 TeamRaiser widgets

[POTD] Medicine Day

Sad day in the Moraras household; it’s medicine day for Pip.

Monthly flea prevention application makes for a very depressed dog

Are you claustrophobic? [Part III]

Continued from So you had a bad day… [Part II]. I did say that this next part in the series would be about dealing with insurance claims, but I’m not ready to conquer that beast yet.  So let’s just keep the conversation going about my cripple-hood.
— — — — — — — —
A week after the accident I had an appointment with an orthopedist who would be able to give me a more detailed diagnosis on my knee.  By then, as you saw from the photos in the previous post, the bruising had gone down a bit.  The pain, however, was still very much there so I was eager to find out what was
wrong.

Instead of a diagnosis though, I got a prescription for an MRI.  Oh joy.  The following Monday, I would be able to answer the first question asked when getting an MRI done: Are you claustrophobic? “I hope not,” was the best answer I could give.

Have you seen an MRI machine before? Now I know why people have
panic attacks!

The technicians at the imaging center were very friendly and made sure I was as
comfortable as possible.  I was also given headphones that played classical music to drown out the loud beeps as well as a blanket to keep me warm.  The whole process took about 20 minutes which seemed like a long time to be laying inside a loud, beeping tunnel.  Apparently though, that is actually on the shorter end of the normal procedure time.

Results:

  1. Grade 1 MCL sprain with moderate amount of adjacent edema;
  2. Moderate size focal contusion of the anterolateral aspect of the lateral femoral condyle.

Basically, the inner side of my knee is swollen, ligament is sprained, and bone is bruised.  Recovery time?  Up to several months, but likely to be okay by Feburary/March.  In the mean time, yoga can be my hero. Namaste!

post-script: In case you were wondering, I’m not claustrophobic!

So you had a bad day… [Part II]

Continued from Part I of the ‘So you had a bad day…’ series.   Note – This post contains graphic photos that may not be for the super squeamish!  No blood, but lots of bruises.
— — — — — — — —
In less than 2 to 3 minutes, the ambulance arrived and I was taken to Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland (about 20 minutes away from where the accident(s) occurred).  The other three individuals involved stayed back and gave their statements to the police.  Meanwhile, here’s how the conversation went down inside the ambulance:

Paramedic 1: I’m going to have to cut through your pants.
Me: Why?
Paramedic 1: So that the doctors can see the injury better. *proceeds to cut*
Me: *sees knee* Omgg!
Paramedic 1: What’s wrong?
Paramedic 2: She’s a girl.  She’s upset that you’re cutting her pants.
Me: NO.  I’m upset that there’s a huge bump on my knee, I don’t care about the pants!!

I then spent about 3 hours in the hospital’s emergency department during which my right knee was examined and x-rayed.  It was determined that I sustained no fractures; see the scan below.

The immediate diagnosis was therefore,  a “bad contusion.”   Wanna see what a bad contusion looks like?

Day 2: 12/18/10

Day 5: 12/21/10

Day 8: 12/24/10

The hospital gave me a knee immobilizer and crutches to use during my recovery.  I was also given orders to follow up with an orthopedist and take 600mg of ibuprofen every 6-8 hours for the pain.  Weaksauce pills, I know.

Next:  Dealing with insurance claims.

post-script: I’d also like to note that being in a Maryland hospital as a Virginian resident was no fun while trying to contact relatives.  My cell phone was the only thing left behind in my car (the paramedics kindly got all my other belongings to bring with me to the hospital).  So calling my family and PV from the hospital was not as easy as dialing 9 and 1.  You have to go through the operator who is not more than happy to connect you to your non-Maryland relatives.  I later resorted to asking kind strangers to use their cellphones.  They were nicer than the operators!  Thanks again to PV and my sister for everything.

So you had a bad day… [Part I]

I’ve been lacking in inspiration to write in this blog, so I’ve decided to start a series of posts to recount my recent experiences of getting hit by a car and the process that follows.
— — — — — — — —
This is the first in the series and it’ll just be my side of the story complete with an awesome diagram I drew up in MS Paint.

On Thursday, December 16th, 2010, the DC area witnessed it’s first snowfall of the season.  For those at work, it simply meant a long commute home.  At around 1:30pm the federal government announced that they would be ‘Open with Option for Unscheduled Leave.’  For me, this meant that I could leave work early and use my Annual or Personal Leave for the remainder of the day.  I decided to take advantage of this and left at 2:30pm so that I could avoid driving home dangerously in the dark.  Retrospectively, it was probably more dangerous to leave earlier.

I decided to take the small roads through DC to get back to Virginia instead of the Beltway since the traffic maps were already indicating horrific traffic conditions.  I was on 16th Street barely half a mile from my office when I tried to come to a stop at the signal on East-West Hwy.  My brakes failed as my tires skidded across a slab of ice and snow that had yet to be plowed off the streets.  The results?  I rear-ended the car in front of me.  There was minimal damage to the car that I hit, but relatively significant damage to the hood and grill of my car.   I then got out to talk to the owner of the other car and to exchange information.  The individual still looked a bit confused so I walked back to my car to call the police.  Before I could even reach my door, I looked up and saw a car coming towards me.  It hit a car two lanes over that had come to a stop earlier, and then slid right into me.  I was backed into my own car and got propped up on top of the hood of the car that hit me.  I managed to push myself off and back onto the street.  Before I could lose my balance, I put my left hand onto the car and was helped up by the individual from the car that I had hit moments earlier.

What originally was a fender bender, turned into a multi-vehicle double accident with a pedestrian struck.  You can’t make this stuff up, people!

For a visual reference, here is what it looked like to me:

Blue car is mine, red X is me.  White X’s are the other individuals involved.

Tune in tomorrow to read what happened next.  Happy Freaking Holidays, folks!