Monday, December 31, 2007


Okay . . . . I have just seen the new Channel 10 advertisement for the Australian "So You Think You Can Dance". The ad looks thoroughly lame.

I watched part of the US version. Their promos were exciting. There were flips and stuff. Tricky.

The Australian version looks like it comes from 2003. Seriously, the promo song is "Move Your Feet" by Junior Senior. Surely they could have found something a LITTLE more current???!!! There is little or no dancing. Not. Impressed.

I'm hanging out for Australia's Biggest Loser, but that is it. (The US version that just finished ROCKED. I love that show.) Meh.

Happy New TV Year.

My last word for 2007

I can't believe that 2007 is over. I really don't feel like I am ready for it to be finished. I'm not sure why.

I hope you all had a lovely 2007, and that if it wasn't lovely, I hope that 2008 is a great improvement.

Tomorrow is 2008. It is also Tuesday. I am one day older, and one day closer to going back to uni. I'll have to start studying my bum off again. I'll get to catch up with friends and learn all kinds of interesting things. Then I'll have to memorise them and they won't be so fun any more. I guess that's the way it is.

I am 90% certain that I have decided on my specialty. I am also 75% certain that I will change my mind again at some point during the year. This is okay.

I'm going to go to bed now. Tomorrow I have to get used to writing a new number when I jot down the date. I need some rest to prepare for the challenge.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

More Christmas stuff!

I used to hate Christmas time. I used to see it as fake, commercial and a generator of trash. As a religious holiday in a mostly secular country, it seemed like a huge farce.

Now I am finding myself getting excited about the prospect of Christmas!

I still don't care for the religious side, even though I respect the beliefs of those who choose to celebrate it that way. Part of me is a little sad that they can't teach the story of the nativity in preschools any more. Even if you don't believe in it, it is part of the mythology of our culture. You may have to be quite scarred by past religious experience to find it offensive. After all, what is there to hate about a newborn baby in some straw surrounded by his parents, farm animals, shepherds, three kings and a little drummer boy?

And yes, I know that there is also a pagan background to many parts of the celebration. I like the symbolism of starting a new year in the middle of winter, but as we celebrate in the midst of a sweltering summer this hardly makes much sense to me. Personally I would celebrate moving towards winter in our climate!

Yule is exciting for me because I feel like I need a nice celebratory season. There are sparkly lights and shiny decorations up everywhere and this actually cheers me up this year. I love buying presents for people. This year they are already wrapped and ready to transport.

I think that Christmas is special for me this year because I need a reprieve and a break. It means that I have survived my first year of medical school. I can't wait to go back next year (sick, I know ;) ) but it is nice to be here and taking a breather.

Merry Christmas, everybody!

It's over!!!!!

Medical school is over for the year. The assessment is finished, the PBL groups have wrapped up, we have jumped through all of the hoops and I'm there.

How do I feel? I am spent. Drained. Exhausted.

To be honest, I am very glad that I finished the year. In the second semester, I felt completely lost at times. That goodness that I had a great group of friends who, although they might not have realised it, helped to get me through the year. THANKS, everybody!

I never had any intention of dropping out, but it is a testament to having lived a little and having a slightly balanced perspective on life that I didn't crumble completely. I'm a consistent student who tries to work hard. If I found it difficult, god knows how others managed.

I have to have a solid whinge about our course at this point. Even though the point of graduate medicine is that you have experienced people who can learn independently in your course, it doesn't mean that you can just throw them to the sharks and expect them to teach it all to themselves, and then examine them on material that hasn't been covered in your lectures, PBLs, notes or anything that your floundering students are likely to remember.

Running a course like this will help you end up with a lot more work, due to the number of students sitting supplementary exams, and a high drop-out rate, not to mention a dreadful student morale. But perhaps you just don't care, and choose to focus on the numbers and the amount of times you can make the paper for innovations.

Bah, humbug. I'm just bitter and twisted.

I'm taking up more exercise and meditation in the break, learning to take healthy perspective on life, plan things better and spend more time catching up with friends and less time doing unnecessary things. I would be lying if I said that I hadn't lost a close friendship or two in the past year. To be honest, this wasn't entirely from the course but due to external life events, however being busy and distracted with study did not help.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go and sleep for another month. In a few more weeks, it all starts again.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Where do the therapy dogs go for help?

I have heard wonderful things about pet therapy. I have read about it, seen some small pieces on the tv, and have heard anecdotes, but until recently I had never seen a therapy pet.

From all accounts, the little dog involved seemed to bring out the communication skills and emotions of the patients involved. They enjoyed having him there, and he brightened their day.

But how was the experience for him?

I had mental images of the dogs in pet therapy running up and down the hallways with their tails wagging, being happy to be the subject of affection from people, being keen for games, getting happy at all of the interesting smells and displaying other normal dog behaviour. I met this beautiful dog, and he displayed none of the above traits.

Having spent the majority of my life around large dogs, I can safely say that he seemed to display no body language whatsoever, he didn't respond to my body language or touch, and from my impressions he just sat there staring straight ahead, almost catatonic. For me, it was like having a conversation with a person who has locked themselves away in a safe corner of their mind and is completely oblivious to the outside world. He just wasn't present.

My thoughts were that this little pup was either extremely emotionally damaged, or on some kind of doggy sedative. I know that they screen these dogs carefully, but his emotional affect and reactivity was VERY abnormal. I am concerned for him, and left the experience somewhat disturbed.

The joys of Christmas shopping on-line

Christmas is just around the corner. For once, I have finished my Christmas shopping. This year I did it almost completely on-line.

One of the biggest advantages of this for me, is that you can start to build up a list of things that you want, then order them when you feel ready. There is no in-store pressure and you don't have to worry about driving another 30 minutes back to the store the next time you have a day off in order to actually buy the product. You can shop at any time of the day, and avoid the crowds.

Now I just have to wait for it to arrive so I can sit in front of the tv and wrap everything.

I'm not a complete recluse, and don't mind going to the shops around Christmas time. It is nicer to be able to take your time, stop and have a coffee and people-watch (one of my favourite spectator sports), without having to freak out and worry about whether you have remembered to buy presents for the people on your list.

Indeed, we went shopping for Christmas-tree lights this afternoon, and I had the luxury of being able to wander around in-store and look at all of the decorations without feeling any pressure to buy anything or shop for anybody else, while my better half went looking for the exact lights he wanted. It was actually more fun than normal shopping.

Now I am going to hang the wreath on the door, find the table decorations and the Christmas decorating will all be done! I hope your Christmas preparation is similarly relaxed!

I'm not going to cook much to bring to Christmas lunch this year. I went mad last year, but this year I'm going to make one main dish and one cake. Scrap the cake. I'm bringing chocolate soy ice-cream! Nobody else will touch it and it will be mine, all mine!!

This year has been stressful enough. It is time for a break.