Monthly Archives: April 2010


I study at a satellite campus. For the first eighteen months of my degree, the thirty-odd of us based on the ‘rural’ campus spend a day a week on the main campus. The university provides a bus, at no cost to us. But the time it takes to get there and back makes for a twelve hour day – with more dead time than most med students are normally comfortable with. Meanwhile, our colleagues in the medium smoke are reading textbooks in the bath. Or so I imagine. Not that I like to imagine my colleagues in the bath.

This is a minor disadvantage in the scheme of things. There are other more significant disadvantages to being allocated to the satellite campus for the first phase of the degree, for me mostly related to the second and third phases. There are plenty of fellow satellitians who feel that we have been ‘shafted’. It’s not the same experience across the two campuses, and it’s not an equal experience.

That said, every so often I suck up the fresh air, listen to the birds and take in an amazing view like this one. Those shafts of light seem to make it all worthwhile.

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Neuro Block

I had two lectures today from a man who is undoubtedly brilliant but also most probably jetlagged. Something about Local Anaesthetics, and something about Spinal Pathways. I remember understanding two words: Conquistador, and cocaine.

The anaesthetics lecture was not too bad, but the Spinal Pathways? It probably doesn’t help that the lecture schedule has recently been jumbled up and we have therefore missed the (probably pivotal) lecture on Organisation of the Nervous System… I mostly felt that a good place to start for a Spinal Pathways lecture might be to say what a Spinal Pathway is, and why it matters. But that’s probably my Arts degree speaking.

So, after about forty minutes of incomprehension, I found myself deeply amused at the confusion and on the brink of despair for the next eight weeks of Neuro Block. Neuro Block sounds like a local anaesthetic, but is actually a set of fortnights in which we will allegedly be taught stuff about the Nervous System. I’m hoping “Nervous System” does not mean “method by which we will make you anxious”, though its positioning in the curriculum suggests that this is in fact the correct interpretation. You see, straight after Neuro Block, we are set to be examined on eighteen months of medical education.

Teetering thus on the brink of despair, I started laughing. That made it all feel so much better. Oh and wait, I learned a new word: Decussate. This does not mean ‘break the habit of swearing’, though it probably should.

When in doubt, chortle. Or swear. Whatever makes you less nervous.

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Weekend in Revue

I have been occupying my non-study time with our first ever Med Revue. We had two shows last weekend, and it was fabulous. It was not the slickest of operations, but it was a heck of a lot of fun, and if people didn’t like it, they’ve not told me. There is so much talent in our school. Dancers, singers, musicians, comedians… The best thing from my perspective was the opportunity to get to know people from different cohorts and friendship groups, it really feels like we built some bonds across the school.

On a more personal level, the lead-up to, and execution of, the production gave me a new perspective on my friendships and the people I can count on. I honestly feel humbled by the generosity of my med friends, old and new, and I hope I can repay their support and enthusiasm. I can’t imagine how things would have been without their energy and willingness to pick up loose ends. If the teamwork, humour and initiative shown are anything to go by, Australian, Canadian and Indonesian medicine have a great bunch of future doctors on their way through our school.

I think for a lot of us, Med Revue was an unknown quantity and we are only just now appreciating its reach. Yesterday on hospital placement, five of us were examining a patient with our preceptor when a Registrar joined us to examine a Baker’s Cyst. He quietly wandered over to me and said “Hey, were you in Med Revue? You were really good.” Buzz. I kinda forgot there’d be more than just friends and family there. Especially when mooning the audience in rather floral underpants. Ah well.


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