Category Archives: Uncategorized

How Sweet It Is

I can’t think of a more joyous sound than the sound of someone I love singing her lungs out in the shower.

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Back in the Pool

I finally succumbed to the insistence of my knees (and my girl) and have given up on my current attempt to master the art of running. Having missed the first three weeks of seasonal swimming in the local pool, I dedicated 24 hours to rumination on the cost/benefit ratios of the casual visit vs 20 visit vs season pass.

I guess I enjoy maths more than I pretend to.

I spent some time wondering how four months of boot camp would affect my pool re-entry. My togs are too big. That was an encouraging start.

Too much maths meant I got to the pool just as school finished. Not quite so encouraging, but there were still two rugrat-free lanes.

My tiny brain: What if I’ve forgotten how to swim?

I am mildly fascinated by the self-doubt I can generate around a straightforward physical activity.

Naturally I had not forgotten how to swim, but my consistently lousy lap-counting skills suggest that my short-term memory could use an exercise regime all of its own.

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Arrest Call Politics

When someone crashes and the big red button gets pushed, alarms and pagers go off all over the hospital. With varying degrees of speed, people appear from all corners to play their part, whatever that part might be.

During the last phase of the course, I felt uncomfortable with the idea of trailing along behind to watch while someone’s life hung in the balance. I didn’t want to get in the way and I didn’t want to be some macabre kind of spectator. A few snide comments by nursing staff amplified my reluctance.

But after a year in the hospitals, and a number of simulation sessions where we students fumbled about with saving the plastic man, I realised that if this is what I’m going to do for a living, I need to learn how. I can read and memorise Advanced Life Support Protocols until I can recite them underwater, but a key part of learning this has to be watching while those with experience put them into practice.

I can only do this while I’m a student. Once I’m an intern, I’ll be holding the pager.

I still feel awkward about it, but I’m determined to stop avoiding the calls.

Today I was rostered on to the Emergency Department, and was with the senior doctor on shift when an arrest alarm went off. The senior ED doc is one of the key responders. The doc raced off, and I paused to tell someone we were leaving an elderly patient in the procedure room before I followed.

As I was walking to the ward in question, a small horde of junior-ish doctors appeared from every direction. I passed a Resident I know and said hello. “Run, Toast,” he said, voice sticky with sarcasm, “You might be able to help!”

He and his mate had also just deliberately sent a group of other doctors & med students to the wrong ward.

It’s not a show, and it’s not something you hope will happen. It’s something I want to be able to handle when it’s my responsibility, and I really don’t need smug jerks like that putting me off.

It was a false alarm today, so the main thing I learned was that this guy thinks it’s funny to misdirect his colleagues and to belittle his colleagues of the future.

I woke up this morning wishing I hadn’t ditched a perfectly good career to hock my life and drag myself and The Girl through this mediventure. I’m going to bed the same way.

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One Hand Clapping

McCat is asleep and purring on my arm, and my one`handed typing can’t keep up with my brain.

It’s Hiroshima Day. Please take a moment to reflect on world peace. Make it as long a moment as you like.

Today I had to go to the dentist in the city. Last time I did this, my mouth stayed numb for far too long and I felt all woozy, so I had an unscheduled overnight stay with my dad. This time, my girl and the Yellow Dog of Happiness came with me to drive me home.

We drove for three hours, got a great coffee, had a quick catch-up with my lovely Step-Ma, I tottled off to the chair; Girl and Yellow Dog had a stroll by the water. They picked me up, excessively numb and somewhat dopey, we picked up some sashimi to take home for dinner, and stopped near our old house to get the Girl a late lunch.

There’s an off-leash park around the corner from the house where we lived for seven years. Let’s take the hound there, I said, and you can eat your lunch before we hit the traffic again. Great idea, off we go.

Yellow Dog is much more in love with her than he is with me, but I convinced him to leave the Girl on her park bench. The two of us wandered across the dusty excuse for a park, greeting assorted small dogs and their owners in the appropriate way. All very harmonious.

Harmonious until behind us, a certain spaniel launched itself at the Girl’s face and stole a part of her lunch.

She politely and quietly suggested to the owner that he control his dog.

Loud enough for me to hear across the park, he suggested that she ‘stop eating for five minutes.’

For the last five months, the Girl has been working against history, genetics and a whole bunch of internal demons to regain the athlete’s frame she lost to sedentary work and too much of a good thing. She has been working HARD. And she’s looking and feeling great. She has muscles on her muscles. Her clothes are hanging off her.

There was a not-so-subtle implication in his choice of words, and I dare say it cut us both to the core.

As the portly man continued to rant at her, blaming her for being in a dog park and completely failing to apologise or attempt to control his dog, she calmly stood up and walked over to the Yellow Dog and I, obnoxious spaniel in tow.

The food obsessed spaniel climbed all over us for a full lap of the park, clawing at our legs and completely fixated on the end of the sandwich. No intervention. No apology. No manners. No accountability.

There was a time when I feared living outside the city because my differences would be more obvious and I thought I would struggle for acceptance. As I got to know the Girl’s home town, I formed the view that the anonymity of the city was a bigger threat. In a small town, people know who you are. Sure, they’ll know you’re the gayest doctor in town. But they’ll also know that if they egg your car, someone in town will know who did it.

He lives in the inner city and has a little rainbow name-tag on his spaniel. Chances are, he’s a friend of a friend. Would he have dared to unleash his stream of vitriol on my Girl if he knew the whole town would know by Wednesday?

Probably. People like that are like that wherever they live their unhappy lives.

But for us, this unpleasant encounter with the obnoxious man and his uncontrollable dog just underscored our growing distaste for the city, and cemented a feeling that our tiny town is the home we want it to be.

I’m so proud of the woman I love for the way she walked away. It implies a healthy stock of inner peace.

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Seek And Ye Shall Find

The search terms which have caused people to find this particular patch of internet are a regular source of amusement to me. Sometimes the search term itself amuses me, and sometimes it amuses me that someone would actually click on the link to this site when it pops up in their results.

So to thank these faithful searchers for the hours of amusement they have provided me, I feel it is incumbent upon me to provide some answers from time to time.

Let’s start with something recent, and I admit, not unreasonable, given that I present myself as providing advice on how not to hit a golf ball.

golf ball not going in the air when hit

Keep hitting it the way you are hitting it. See, I’m qualified to tell you how not to hit it. If you want someone to tell you how to hit it, I’m not the best person to ask. However if I were pressed, I would suggest that you hit it somewhat inferiorly to the current point of impact of club on ball. This should give you some loft.

Loft is such a great word.

in which countries is the term “dad joke” used?

I’m curious as to why you need this information. Is it to be used in planning a travel itinerary? More likely you are employed by a pharmaceutical company and are testing market viability of a new cardiac drug you’re considering naming something like “Dadjokesin”. I will help you regardless: You may add Australia to your list. Of countries, not potential drug names.

cell organelle analogy harry potter

It sounds like something I would know about, but I honestly can’t think of one. If Harry Potter were a Golgi Complex… I think I shall come back to this after exams.

soob medical terminology

This is an important abbreviation, and close to my heart. It is used when writing in patients’ notes to record observations. SOOB stands for “Sitting On Own Bottom”. Sometimes you will also see “SOSEB” which stands for “Sitting On Someone Else’s Bottom”, which is indicative of significant improvement in the patient’s condition.

free air underwear

This is a good idea, but I think I should test the market with t-shirts first.

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Dear Internet,

Given the amount of time a certain member of my family invests in you in his pursuit of happiness, I thought you may be interested to learn that his holiday to the Ukraine has allegedly been extended while he allegedly waits to act as a witness in the alleged trial of the ruffians who allegedly found him sleeping in his rental car and allegedly mugged him.

I’m not entirely sure of the period of time over which this drama has been unfolding. However the skeptic in me is not entirely sure that my relative is not being deprived of his liberty somewhere.

I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, if you could send me your bank account details and all of your passwords, I’ll see to it that he gets a new passport.

Sincerely,
Toast

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Yum Cha My Life

I have been boring/busy/uninspired lately so have spared the world the detail. Now however I feel like downloading a sampling of tasty treats from my consciousness. You could probably drink a nice cup of jasmine tea while you read it because I fear I may be about to babble.

It is one month precisely until exams. Starting with OSCEs, which stand for something about Clinical and Examination and other than that I’m still at a loss. Suffice to say that a month from now I will be required to do 13 stations of ten minutes each in which my clinical competence will be assessed.

This week I feel I am completely prepared for the “Close the Curtain Around the Bed During Ward Rounds” station and the “Theoretically Sanitise Your Hands With Stinky Pink Antimicrobial Handrub” station. Other than that, I feel my competence needs some finessing.

Failed attempt at inserting IV cannula today, needs more practice. See above.

Currently on the ward we have a patient who is 101 years old. Day one on ward rounds, she grabbed my hand and clutched it throughout the consultation. I felt some kind of connection with history and a good-going tremor. Anyway, we are clearly friends.

Day two on ward rounds, she asked me if I have any Chinese blood in me. Not that I know of, though people do seem to think so on a relatively frequent basis. In practical terms, this translates to people speaking to me in languages I do not yet recognise, getting chili on my Vietnamese chicken rolls as a matter of course, and not being denied such delicacies as beef tendon or chicken feet when at Yum Cha. Non-membership still has its privileges.

Day three, today, my super-centenarian announced straight up that she owed me an apology for asking if I was of Chinese descent. I assured her that no apology was necessary. Apparently I reminded her of a friend (insert potentially-patient-identifying historical facts here) from some time before the television was invented or possibly the gold rush era. I have no clue as to why this should offend me.

Straight after this consultation my entire team suddenly felt a desperate desire to know my ethnic origins. Which are distinctly unremarkable. I look like my grandma, though not quite as wrinkly or diminutive. Possibly certain of my great-grandfolk came from Wales or Cornwall or the Baltic states, but no, generally I don’t deserve the chicken feet.

Speaking of feet, I have been doing some running in a now-thwarted attempt to get fit, get healthier, decrease my pre-exam stress levels and generally have a low-cost low-maintenance sporting and social outlet. Most of that worked, except that I apparently have done something to irritate my sciatic nerve and now it has been suggested I stop running for a few weeks. Back to the swimming pool. Annoyed.

In January 2010 I had Yum Cha twice in two days and I haven’t been able to eat it since. Primarily because this town does not extend to Yum Cha. But still.

Girlfriend is such a stupid word for someone I’ve been living with/in love with for eleven years. Partner is too sterile. Fiancée is illegal. My Most-Preferred Yum Cha Companion will have to do for today. Naturally I am worried that this is somehow an offensive term. She is probably more worried that it is 10:40pm and I am not yet asleep.

Tonight I ducked out to drop the DVD equivalent of chicken soup to a nosocomially-infected friend (Series II, Friends) and on my return, my MPYCC was casually whipping up a sweet ginger syrup to accompany some silken tofu we happened to have in the fridge.

My life is pretty good.

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