Tag Archives: Grumpy

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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This is the fourth week back at uni, I am in third year, and I am supposed to know stuff. Sadly for the last week or so I have found myself completely thrown by the simplest of questions.

Read an ECG? Blank. Describe the sounds inside that lung? Blank. Save the life of Sim-Man? Blank.

Where I get really frustrated is when I know that I once knew something and I can’t recall it. I know I used to understand how ECG worked and how to read it; I’ve left it for too long and I can only get halfway there.

These frustrations have been adding up. I’ve been getting increasingly stressed, grumpy and despondent. I’ve been feeling like the biggest dummy known to medical school, ever.

Yesterday I had a reassuring talk with a registrar who I followed a couple of weeks ago. He reminded me of the endless sea of medical knowledge, and that we can’t hold it all no matter how much we swallow.

Still, I hate not being able to spit stuff out when it counts.

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All Cute And Fluffy Things Must Die

That’s how I feel. This week I am in Palliative Care, and maybe it’s some sort of reactive stress, but I’ve temporarily lost my tolerance for naïvete in medical students.

Not that I wish to kill the cute fluffy things, I just get that they are mortal like the rest of us. We are all going to die: it is just a question of how and when.

And fine, be sad. It is sad. But the guy you just watched while he was told his cancer can’t be cured? He’s not your father or your husband, he’s not your son, he’s not even your neighbour, or the guy who drives the bus you take to school. It is not your story.

It is not your story. You are nothing more than a bystander, maybe not even that. One day it will be your job to influence the when and how, but even then, it won’t be your story.

We need to learn to move between the stories without becoming a part of them. Our role is to give each patient appropriate care while maintaining our own wellbeing.

My loss of tolerance is temporary, and I won’t be popping any kids’ balloons. I’m grumpy today, but I haven’t lost my empathy, and I know that we are all learning about these things at our own pace.

However, it remains the case that if I had a giant rainbow lollipop it would be difficult to stop me from bopping people over the head with it.

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