[journals] A Saturday Full of Little Moments


[journals] A Saturday Full of Little Moments

24 May 2016


I woke this morning to the ping of incoming text messages. My mother was reminding me about my doctors appointment in thirty minutes.

I hurriedly washed up and drove to pick up my grandma, who had arranged for her appointment to be the same time as mine.

She was wearing a black wool jacket with splotches of red, green, and blue threads. Paired with her leopard spotted slip ons, she was as hip as some of the kids at my school. I told her this. She began to laugh.

“Stop, I was just cold. I just threw this on.”


We pulled in twenty minutes late and briskly walked into the building. After signing papers, Dr. Chang ushered us in. He was in a very chatty mood. I was surprised as he peppered me with questions not only about my exercise habits and medical history, but questions about my major. He tied a white rubber band around my right bicep and with a steady hand, pushed a cold silver needle into my basilic vein. As dark, crimson red blood quickly begin to pool in the plastic vial, he shared with me his opinion on the legalization of marijuana. His older brother had gone to Berkeley and he has one memory of visiting his older brother, and seeing him reach into the top of his closet and pull out a large bag chock full of Northern California broccoli.

“You know, opiates kill a lot of people. Marijuana can’t kill you, so as an alternative pain killer, I support it. Recreationally obviously I don’t. Some of my patients are policemen. They tell me about cases where people are having psychotic episodes. A lot of people don’t know this, but some people have a  gene that predisposes them to developing psychosis when exposed to marijuana’s active ingredients.” I thought back to a roommate who had told me about one late night smoke session, where a friend began screaming and shivering one night after peering out the window and imagining someone there.

Multiple blood samples are required when running comprehensive tests. Dr. Chang while leaving the needle in my arm, plucked out the full vial and plugged a new one into the chamber. It’s a fascinating contraption. The needle does need not be reinserted multiple times. He talks throughout this entire process.

“Tell your friends it’s not too late to change their majors.”

I had told him that a lot of my friends were pre-meds.

“The healthcare industry is changing right now. Most people don’t know it yet, but private practice will be gone within the decade and only big centers like Kaiser will be providing healthcare. That means doctors will eventually all be on salary. It’s not worth it. Also, dentists make good money. But there’s way too many of them being trained now. It’ll be difficult soon.”

Dr. Chang is thinking about how to adapt to this changing environment. He’s considering the concierge service. This is a new model in which doctors handle exactly 1000 patients, charging them $100 a month each for unlimited appointments and access to the doctor. It’s like a gym membership. 

Dr. Chang sent me off to the bathroom to take my urine sample. When I came back I found him digging around his blood sampling kit. 

“I can’t find it. What in the world…”

My samples that were taken just a minute before were gone. I watched him ransack the drawers, and dig through the biocontaminant box. The search for my blood was to no avail however, and I found myself back in the black chair with a white rubber tie around my left bicep this time.


We had skipped breakfast on the doctors orders, and so we decided to stop by the Fish Grill for some tacos. The Swahi fish over buttered rice, and the battered pollack in corn tortillas were exquisite. Dipping into the house tartar sauce, I asked her about Park Chung Hee.

“The best. He built that roadway between Seoul and Busan you know?”

“But some people say he was violent and killed a lot of people.”

“Yes, but it was a very unique situation. He had to be strict. At the time, there were no other options.”


I dropped her off after our meal and rushed home to pick up my sister and driver her to the archery range in Long Beach. The traffic was terrible and I decided to stay there for the entire session instead of driving back down and having someone else pick her up. Thankfully a newspaper was tucked into the backseat and after a quick longboard ride past the dog park, I settled down under the tree and leisurely began to read. 

An old grandma sat next to me. I helped her calculate how many pizzas she would need to order. A group of seventy seven cub scouts and their families had set up camps on the other side of the park. She remarked how tiring it was. But I could tell how happy she was to be with these kids and their families. They had went fishing yesterday but caught nothing. The closest thing to a catch was a dead fish wriggling with maggots that had floated within grasp of one of the boys.


Rachael and I had Yoko donkatsu for dinner. She shared with me anecdotes relating to frustrating moments in high school, and we discussed how through politics we can change these things. 

“Ew. Ew.”

She reached into her soup and pulled out a short piece of black hair with small glistening beads of broth clinging to it. 

Her brow was furrowed and she peered intently at the hair.


After Yoko we had some ice cream. She’s been going crazy the past few weeks about this new franchise called Honeymee. They sell soft serve vanilla ice cream with natural honey swirled in. We had been driving back towards the freeway when suddenly she screamed “Honeymee!”. I abruptly swung into the right turn lane. Besides the ordering window, there was a wall of orange sticky notes where customers could write whatever they wanted. One of them had a smiley face drawn on it with the accompanying reminder, “Life is made up of little moments.”