Friday, October 10, 2008

There goes the neighbourhood

It has been a wet and rainy day, and much like our cats, the local bogans clearly need to let off some steam. It is 5:50pm, and I can hear them screeching their cars already. 
I think it will be a good night to stay in and revise haematology. The pretty patterns will distract me from the language lessons and sound effects that make their way up and down our road at night.
Hopefully before we have children who are learning to talk, we will move to a neighbourhood where we don't get woken up early on the weekend by the neighbour working on his car in is driveway and using words that begin with "f" and "c" in place of every verb, noun, pronoun, adverb and conjunction that his gifted but wasted imagination can come up with.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


I can tell that I am extremely stressed right now. I just spent a couple of minutes trying to piece together a sentence in an order that made sense. 
If only they had told us that most of the stress would come from medical school, and not necessarily from the study or the exams!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Stop torturing me, Mr Sandman!!

The exam nightmares have begun!
I usually dream that I am going into the exam right now, and am woefully underprepared.
In the dream, I can argue that the exams don't start for another month or so, but then they tell me that these are extra exams that I should have known about, and they count as well.
I open the paper, and the questions are ridiculous. I can't argue with this in my dreams, as it happens so often in real life, too.
Usually when I wake up the next day, I go and read a little about the scary topic from my dreams. 
That is, if it is slightly relevant. If it is about purple elephants, anti-gravity time machines, or the krebs cycle, I just ignore it and go on with my usual work.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Oh, hello you - long time, no see!

Now, what is your name? Can I remember ANYTHING about you? I know I spent a lot of time talking and reading about you, and have seen what you get up to, if only I could remember!! 
Yes, I am talking about study topics in medicine - although it could apply to casual acquaintances in real life, too, couldn't it? 
The other thing that happens is that you hear a name and just can't put a face/image to it - this happens in medicine, too. 
I have recently started scaling up my revision in preparation for exams (yaddayadda) and I have the above mental conversation with any number of topics semi-regularly. In this age of teach-yourself-medicine, it is quite easy to drop the ball a little without realising it. 
Back in the (real) working world, you have a number of set tasks that you have to manage by the end of the day/week/month, people to work with, and you are employed to do fill a very specific role. Studying graduate medicine is much more amorphous and ill-defined, and I would have to warn somebody who needs strong guidance and is not a self-starter that graduate medicine would be their worst nightmare.
The thing is that you get to the end of semester and revise things, and generally find a lot that you thought you knew at the time, but actually just read about and promptly forgot. I don't mind finding this, as long as it is BEFORE the exam. However, finding it during the exam is not so bad, either - I figure that I should be able to get some points by scraping together what I do remember, using logic, and can pass because hopefully most of the things that I was reintroduced to during revision will help me through in the other sections. 
After all, not knowing one thing on the exam is no biggie. Not knowing a few things on the exam is fine, too. Not knowing ANYTHING on the exam hopefully means that you are in the wrong exam room. :) 

Friday, October 3, 2008

Friday wine/whine

Hello, Friday!
I used to look forward to you. I love my weekends.
Now, the coming of each Friday is as the bells of doom.
Exams are approaching very quickly, and each Friday means seven less days to study.
Okay, that is enough drama and enough negative thinking. ;)
On the bright side, each Friday means seven less days of the PAIN of second year. I am confident that I will pass. Therefore, there is very little to stress about.
Our poor year are starting to fret, both about exams and the location of their third-year placements. I am mildly concerned, but am mostly resigned to the fates. 
Wish us all luck.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Dear Blog,

Today I went to the dentist and got a filling. It wasn't a big one, just a small amount of tooth-rot (aka "decay") in the groove on the side of one of my molar teeth, and it was more of a preemptive strike at preventing more rot in an area not easily accessed by my toothbrush. I didn't even need anaesthetic as it didn't go in deep enough. Boy, do I feel tough! 
Blog, why are medical students and doctors so bad at looking after our own health, even with all that we know?
I haven't been to the dentist in two years, and was surprised to find out that I have damage from tooth grinding and no longer brush my teeth very well. I didn't even realise that I have issues with tooth grinding. I just bite my cheek a lot, and the grinding happens then. 
Now I am going to be a good little girl and brush my teeth properly again, and am even going to floss - honest!
One brilliant thing is that I have found a lovely local dentist. She is very friendly and gentle, and has some uber-fancy equipment (including digital x-ray) which I found to be very cool. They don't even need to scrape tartar off with that crazy-looking mini-pick any more - she just used a little drill/brush thing, and it didn't hurt at all. However, the sound was like some teeny tiny angle grinders were going crazy in my head. I almost giggled, but was able to restrain myself. I don't usually find dental work particularly amusing, but this was something different. Plus, I was completely chuffed at not having to deal with the tartar pick. I HATE that thing.
Anyway, all is well in the land of teethdom. Can doctors claim repairs for tooth-grinding under occupational expenses? Just a thought.

The Girl with the New Blue Toothbrush.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Am I bothered?

In the spirit of the continued survival of this blog, I thought I would write about something that I have noticed over the past year that really bugs me.
When I go to the hospitals on clinical placements, I am dressed in my clinical gear and my stethoscope and am introduced to people as a “medical student.” We get a LOT of respect from patients and staff. It may not be direct respect (but mostly is), and is occasionally some nurse or doctor rolling their eyes at the medical students, but this is also a type of acknowledgement of our role.
When I leave the hospital, in the same clothes (sans ID and stethoscope) and go to the shops or somewhere public, I get a LOT less respect. I don’t really care, but it is fascinating to notice. I can tell that people look and either don’t care what I do, or look at me and think “office-worker/secretary” and I quite frequently get treated like I am stupid.
Fast-forward to another day, when I am going to the shops in neat but casual clothes during the daytime, and I often get people assuming that I am unemployed/stay-at-home-mother/random bum. I get asked if I have a pension card (i.e. the kind that the unemployed have), I get served second or third even when I am there first, I get service staff looking down their nose at me.
Like I said, I don’t take this personally, but I resent the way that the exact same person can get treated so differently based on my outer appearance/clothing on the day, or my ID badge. People are so bloody shallow and self-centred that it just astounds me. I might be having an off day and haven’t dressed to the nines to go and buy some veggies at the supermarket. Does this make me any less worthy of respect than if I were in my clinical gear with a big sign that said “MEDICAL STUDENT” hanging around my neck? Actually, if somebody went to the grocery store with that sign around their neck, I would think they were more of a tosspot than somebody who was just happy being themselves.
One day I just might go to the store with the old stethoscope around my neck, and the ID badge still on. However, it would have to be with somebody else. It would also have to be a dare, AND a bet, AND involve substantial bribery.
Like I have already said, I don’t give a damn what people think of me as I am wandering around the shops. I am polite, neat and courteous, and that is all that matters. It is such a shame that society is so shallow and people so thoughtless that differences in treatment based on dress are noticeable.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My only September post

Lately I have not blogged at all, and to be frank, it has felt like I really haven’t had anything different to blog about. It is funny how after a while you suddenly become much more critical about your own writing, and start to post only random drivel about pets winning bravery awards and such. This has been dreadfully shithouse and random, but probably says a lot about life lately. 
So then, if this blog is not going to die, I have to start to write again, and about everyday things that I am not going to worry too much about posting.
How is my life going as a medical student? Honestly, I am starting to be a bit concerned that I’m too apathetic about certain aspects of the course. People around me (well, at least those who speak up) seem to know a LOT, and I often sit there with the only noise inside my brain being the tumbleweeds gathering dust. I try to study, but my strengths lie in the bigger picture, and I am, quite frankly, really weak at learning the finer details of cellular biology, microbiology and reactions.
If it has a clinical application, it will stick like glue, and if I can make it part of a story, I will remember it also. However, if it is just a set of theoretical physiological reactions, then my brain goes blank, and the tumbleweeds start to set up their own little party once more.
What am I good at? I like to think that I am good at talking to people, at relating to patients, and seeing the bigger picture clinically. I am painfully aware that I would be a better clinician if I can just work harder at some of the smaller details, and now that things are getting back on track I am resolving to do that. Actually, it is more than a resolution – I WANT to do it.
I am good at using my eyes, ears and hands to see what is in front of me. I am good at taking a history and letting patients talk. I am good at organization and working with teams of people, as well as task prioritising and chasing things up.
The things that I am good at help keep me hopeful that one day soon I will be a good doctor, or at the very least, a competent one. God, this is all so scary. Lucky we still have a while to go before the end of the course.
Perhaps I should try to be more comfortable blogging again about my life as a non-honours medical student who also has become much better at developing life balance over the past year.
I have been striving to find a healthy place between complete and utter apathy and despondance, and stress and perfectionism. Neither is healthy, apathy will cause me to drop out of the course, and perfectionism is just a joke, considering that there are so many brilliant people around me. I am a very strong lateral thinker, and my brain works in ways that are quite creative and very divergent. These are useful attributes, but they don’t tend to get you high distinctions on exams, at least not in the areas of science. ;)
So I am back again, wish me luck. Sorry it has been so long.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Another animal tale

Did you know that animals who help humans during conflict are eligible for medals? Here is the story of Simon of the Amethyst, the only cat to have been awarded a Dickin Medal. 

If you love cats, it is an interesting read, and there are lots of pictures. Great procrastination and good dinner party material, as well as being historically educational.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Feel-good story

I love this story. I grew up as an Air-Force brat, so I have a real soft-spot for forces personnel, and it is nice to hear a happy story about them. I know they do a lot of good work throughout the world (as do our own armed forces) so it is great to see one such story end up in the media.

It also happens to be medically-related. So enjoy a happy story about the US navy, a jungle track, a woman doing charity work, and a witch-doctor

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

My theory is . . .

Introducing TGWTBS Hypotheses!
The stupidity of a question asked in class (S) is directly proportional to the volume at which the student asks it (V).
I.e., S is directly proportional to V.

My second hypothesis:
My respect for the speaker (R) is directly proportional to their ability to maintain facial neutrality (N) upon hearing the aforementioned question, multiplied by the question's stupidity (S). Further calculations to the total of R can be modified by the BS factor (being able to answer intelligently and amusingly), and subtracted from by the T factor (time - stupid questions should not take up more time than strictly necessary).

I would write out the formulae, but . . . well, I think it just isn't worth it.

Now to get published . . .

Trials of the easily distracted

Today's tea of the day is Chocolate-vanilla, from the delightful Eumun-tea at the Eumundi markets. It is the cutest tea stall I have been to. (I'm not sponsored by any particular tea store, but am open to offers. . . ;) )

One fascinating thing that I have noticed about myself at medical school is how one week I can loathe a subject during a tutorial, and the next week the tutorial can inspire me to go on and read a lot about the subject and (briefly) consider a change in career plans. The difference? A good tutor or lecturer.
I often wonder about the level of influence on career choice that results directly from how well the junior doctor or medical student gets along with the consultants/senior doctors that they are working with in an area. From what I hear, it is substantial.
If I am so easily swayed by having a good lecture, imagine how keen I will be if I have a good rotation in a particular area. :)
Thankfully, no matter what area of medicine you work in, you tend to interact with the other areas, so you can maintain a secondary interest without having to work in that area, too. For instance, I am sure that psychiatrists have to be aware of certain types of pathology, radiology and other specialties, at least enough to have a good idea about them if they need to refer to another specialist. GPs have to know a little about everything. As cynical as people are about this concept, in a good doctor it should probably be true.
I can still be a psychiatrist with a side interest in forensic pathology, right? ;)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The least offensive church sign ever

Just to balance out the earlier post, I thought I would add this sign that I saw today. I really liked this one:

The first duty of love
is to listen.

Who could argue with that? 
Of course, what you choose to do AFTER you listen may be entirely a different matter, but I think that life would be a lot brighter if we all actually loved and listened. 

The finer hot beverages in life . . .

I must confess to an attraction to the finer things in life. I don't mean expensive shoes or fast cars (at least not at my current level of remuneration), but am talking about doing the simple things well.
For instance, I love my coffee, and I love buying the beans freshly roasted from the place where they were roasted and ground specifically for my Bialetti stovetop espresso maker. It isn't an expensive vice, but the taste makes the time involved worthwhile. There is also something calming about the routine of having the little pot bubbling away every morning.
Lately I have also been getting into teas. This isn't a particularly new trend for anybody, but it is lovely to have a pot of herbal tea infusing away on the counter for a couple of hours while you study (providing it isn't the kind that goes very, very bad after too long). I need to lay off the caffeine a little bit, and it is nice to have a delicious alternative.
Today we went to T2 and my eyes nearly popped out of my head. I bought a packet of their Botanica tisana (which is a fruity herbal blend) and it is amazing - it even has chunks of dried fruit in it. I spotted a couple of sultanas hiding under some dried apple!
I'm also a big fan of real chai tea. I had no idea what I was missing until I went to a cafe that served it properly, and when I opened the teapot to have a peek, there was an incredible mixture of herbs and spices all floating loose in the pot. I now have some at home and haven't looked back. 
You don't need much - just a bag of loose tea of whatever kind makes your taste buds happy, and a little mesh ball for your cup, or if you are wanting more than a cup, a little teapot with an infuser will do. It doesn't take much, and is very much worthwhile. 
I don't normally like ordering tea when I go out, because I think that serving somebody a pot of tea with a teabag in it is equivalent to bringing them a cup of hot water and a sachet of International Roast when they order a coffee. Sure, I have teabags and instant decaf at home, but I'm not making it and serving it to a paying customer. 
Anyway, I guess the point of this post is to say that it is nice to spoil yourself on occasion (i.e. most days), and you can do so in little ways that won't cost the earth, but will bring a little more fun to everyday activities. No matter who you are, we all need to get better at smelling the roses when we can. :)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Welcome to the 21st century

We respect women enough on paper to allow them to become politicians but still make the most disgusting and misogynistic comments on public television, and part of the audience still thinks it is funny. (However, I like to think that I hear jeering when others work out what he has said.)
This is a great demonstration of a narcissistic personality with a God complex trying to cover his own backside on air once he realises that he has crossed the line, and failing miserably. (For those of you not in Australia, this fellow is just back on air after having been recently taken off for "counseling" due to earlier sexist and inappropriate behaviour.)
I love the fact that one of the male presenters tries to pull him up on it - watch the narcissist's reaction to him and the other men on the panel afterwards. He does not apologise - he just attacks those who don't believe his flimsy defence. 
The saddest part is that he may well get away with it. The action of the network in allowing him to still be on air says more about their attitudes to gender equality than any amount of spin ever could.
*Warning: adult language

You know you are in medical school when . . .

. . . you "enjoy" the excitement and unpredictability of databases. For some reason, the IT designed by the school of medicine seems to be less mac-friendly than PC-friendly. I love my mac, and think of it as my fourth child, after my cats.  Anybody who snubs my fourth child makes me a little sad. ;)
I am old enough to remember when uni research was done AT the university, manually searching through journals. Thankfully I am young enough that we had internet databases to find what articles to look for in the first place. While being more predictable, I will trade a little of the dependence of hard paper for the luxury of researching while my butt sits on my couch at home, paying the price of the occasional trip to the study to utilise the house PC.
You know you are at med school when you are at a party and the words, "Ask The Girl, she is a medical student!" make you bolt for the nearest exit, because chances are that the disease will be something completely obscure that you haven't covered yet, and potentially something somebody will think they know something about because they once watched an episode of Today Tonight/House/60 minutes. 
I have updated my links. Some blogs I just wasn't reading any more, and some I have added because they are very new and interesting. 
You know you are in medical school when the exam questions on drugs make the pharmacists cry. Captain Atopic has the pleasure of being both a pharmacist and a medical student.
You know you are in medical school when you are distracted from an autopsy by the inherent creepiness of the wannabe-pathologist in the same room as you, and wish that the glass was between you and the other student instead of being between you and the deceased. The Voice of Reason has decided to reveal how the psychological pathology being demonstrated several seats away can be more scary than the physical pathology that is being studied in the autopsy right in front of you. Fava beans and chianti, anyone?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Most offensive church sign ever . . . almost

I'm not going to criticise Christianity, just the stupid signs that get put up on their message boards by well-meaning people. There is one that has been put up recently in my local area that I happen to find particularly offensive:
"We're too blessed
To be depressed."
Lucky you. How unfortunate for those of your congregation who are probably being treated for clinical depression and are quite sensitive about the matter. 
I guess they will probably be less likely to be brave enough to reveal their diagnoses and personal struggles to you now that they know that they aren't blessed enough to escape their own personal pain.
I wish people would think more often before they opened their mouths. 

Medical school is like . . .

. . . waxing regularly. Sometimes you get to go to great places and meet wonderful people, but it still hurts like hell and feels like it takes FAR too long. Often the same things go wrong over and over and over again. Sometimes the pain isn't always the bad kind . . . (kidding!).
But seriously, I am having fun getting back into writing blog entries, so I thought I would try with a little free association.
You know you are in medical school when you spend nearly an hour researching your weekly PBL learning objective on the PBL room computer, and then find that it won't save, print, e-mail, cut or paste your work in ANY way, shape or form, resulting in the loss of all of your work. 
You know you have been in medical school for more than a year and a half when this does not particularly surprise you and leaves you only mildly annoyed, as opposed to the raging ball of Type-A fury that you would have been had this happened two years ago.
Groundhog Day!
You know you are in medical school when you have reverted to learning from textbooks because the databases provided by the university are too difficult or competitive to access, or just too unstable. The textbooks are in the corner of your room, won't drop out when you go out to get a coffee, and provide handy elbow rests or pillows when not in use.
You know you are in medical school when you can think of at least five other examples of similar things happening to you.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Oh, hello!

Hello again! If anybody is still reading this blog, I must apologise for my recent absence. There just doesn't seem to be a lot to blog about any more, or perhaps the things that I ponder these days wouldn't suit this site. 

I am going to be writing more as of now. However, I have to rug up and get warm and turn on another fifty heaters. I'll be back soon!

Monday, June 16, 2008


It seems that I blinked and suddenly second-year is half over. Wow. Christmas and third-year will be here soon, and I am very excited about spending all of my time doing clinical work, but not so excited about leaving my jeans and t-shirts at home. I'm a happy dag. 
This year I have learned a lot, both scholastically and personally. The best thing that I have done so far is get into meditation and learn some perspective. Suddenly, exams aren't the be-all and end-all, they are just another hurdle to get out of the way and a slot to fill in in my diary. It is quite a refreshing change of view, and was quite a challenge to test it out recently!
I am getting to the age where I can tell how much time has passed by looking at how much the young children of friends and family have grown since I saw them last. At one recent party, I initially thought that a one-year-old was her older sister, as I hadn't seen any of them in over a year and the sibling resemblance was very strong! It was a confusing moment. :)
I am very much looking forward to earning money again and working as an intern, but in the meantime I think I will hang around in my jeans and t-shirt for a little while longer and enjoy the luxury of full-time study.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

For everything else . . .

Climbing into a warm bed at the end of a hard day of study: precious.
Doing 20 minutes of guided relaxation to help switch off your brain: valuable.
Two minutes of dozing: lovely.
The sound of the cat throwing up his entire dinner (and then some) on the hallway carpet just outside the bedroom: inevitable, really.
Your half-asleep husband complaining and asking you when you are finally coming to bed and turning the lights off, while you are on your knees in the hallway cleaning cat puke out of the carpet: priceless.  
Thank the gods for the ability to laugh at life. :)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Random notes on revision and stuff

When you revise your notes and study for an exam, you realise which note compilations work, and which don't. Most of mine don't. When I write things down, I tend to be verbose and include lots of little details, which is how I think about things and learn. 

The down-side of this is that the notes aren't so good for revision, but the up-side is that I generally know the notes well enough to use diagrams and other sets of notes/books instead.

Have I mentioned that I am now 99% sure about the specialty that I want to pursue when I graduate? From the links to the right, it should be obvious. Looking back, it should have been clear all along. The nice thing is that the further I get, the more certain I am.  :)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Dramatic, much?

Okay, so things ARE very difficult financially at the moment. We know, as we are paying off a mortgage and living on one income, and just got a bill (in the thousands) from the tax office for something that our (soon-to-be-former) accountants forgot to include years ago back when I was actually working. That said, we are coping.

However, I have a sneaking suspicion that the media is feeding off this situation, whipping up panic just to gain more readers. This has to be the most dramatic headline that I have seen in a long time:

"Aussies reeling in financial doom"

Seriously, what?? Do headlines like this help or inform people? I think they just make everybody feel a hell of a lot worse. Sometimes I think some journalists should quit their day jobs and go back to writing scripts for bad action movies. We would all be happier.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


MissG tagged me with a meme to list seven songs that I am into right now. To be honest, I don't generally do memes and I'm not that into songs, so I'm going to cheat a little and talk about seven kinds of music that I like at the moment. :D

1. EUROVISION! Yes, it is shameful, but I can't get that Shady Lady song out of my head. It is just so damn upbeat and catchy.

2. Muse, Black Holes and Revelations, the album. I just love the whole thing.

3. Tori Amos: her entire catalogue of works. I'm a big fan. Nobody else can say so much with words that barely make sense but sound good together.

4. The Presents: Apocalypso, the album. It is the best dance background music for driving or just doing anything, as you can zone out but listen at the same time.

5. Sarah Blasko: What The Sea Wants, The Sea Will Have, the album. So lovely and haunting.

6. The Prodigy: Firestarter. This one brings back memories and makes me feel old when they put the clip up on Rage as well as the year it was released.

7. Insight Meditation by Sharon Salzberg. Because it gets more play than the others, and it is my list and I can add it in. :P

Monday, May 26, 2008

Reason number 105432 I won't be watching the Olympics this year

This just makes me seethe.

"DISABLED people can be unsocial, stubborn, controlling, defensive and have a strong sense of inferiority, according to an official Beijing Olympics guide . . ."

Nice. Sometimes when I find my own country frustrating and ignorant, I look elsewhere and am relieved that I live where I do.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Dejavu . . .

Today marks my first official day of serious preparation for our mid-year exam. I am getting a shocking sense of dejavu. I suppose it is not surprising, considering that I have spent more than seven years of my life in full-time study up to this point in time.

This exam is nototious for being ridiculously difficult and has a traditional failure rate of close to 50%. In other words, of all the intelligent and hard-working people in the room, just under half of them will get a mark that it below what the medical school thinks should be a technical pass.

(Note for all of the non-medical school attendees out there - medical school marks do not correspond to excellence as a doctor. Some people who get average marks turn out to be excellent doctors, and some students who get extremely high marks on written examinations would not know how to talk to a patient if they were locked in a room with one. Of course, some people who fail should not be doctors, and some people who excell will save us all. But I digress.)

Of course, the school has the option of scaling the marks so most people technically pass and the rest just have to work extra hard to ensure that they pull up their mark at the end of the year. I have a sneaking suspicion that everything we go through in medical school is helping us prepare for when we are going through life as a trainee doctor. Another day, another hoop to jump through. Dejavu. ;)

I am just going to try my best. I'm surprisingly relaxed, which is great. Now off to review my notes. Wish me luck.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Have you ever wondered . . .

. . . if a shark fought a crocodile, who would win?

Well now we know, thanks to the Northern Territory news article, "Croc chomps on shark".

There is a life lesson in this somewhere. I'm still trying to work it out. ;)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Warning: Studying Medicine May Be Hazardous To Your Health

I have some theories that the medical course can do some very, very bad things to your head.

If you let it, it can convince you that you are bad at the things that are actually your strengths. Due to a rotten exam and some dodgy assessment items last year (if you have done med, you will know what I am on about) I was convinced that I had been deluding myself for a long time about being good at talking to people, and good at communication.

It may not seem it from this blog (in which, to be honest, I let my grammar be a little sloppy and relaxed at times), but verbal communication has always been one of my strongest points. For some reason, over the past year I have developed a distorted view, and come to believe that I am very average at the things at which I do well. Recently I have had a couple of experiences that proved to me in the strongest possible way that these new impressions were just plain wrong. (Now if I can only get good at those darn drugs. ;) ) Hooray!

Sometimes we have to go through tough phases in our lives in order to come out the other side and be stronger people. As a result of some recent turmoil, I now have a much clearer idea of who I am and what I am good at. The coming exams may tell me whatever they want to, but as long as I cover what I think is important and I pass, I don't really care. I know where I'm going and I'm happy, and that is what counts. :)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Greetings from the void

Many apologies for my absence - I was sucked into a big black vortex of swirling death (there may have been clams, I can't quite remember) and wasn't able to type anything.

I'm still here, still in the course and still loving studying medicine. The course has its down-sides and the job will be a bitch at times, but that is okay. I'm getting very good at focusing on the positives. :)

I will write more soon.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Diverging roads and all that . . .

I decided to take myself out for coffee today, and do a little reading while I was there. Sometimes I know that being cooped up alone in the house all day is not very good for me, and I need to be around people.

I was sitting in the cafe area and doing some people watching when I saw a mother walk past with two small children in tow. They were younger than school-age but old enough to walk.

It took me a moment, but I recognised her, and the fact that we were in the same year of highschool. She didn't see me, and I didn't run off after her to chase her (I think we may have spoken 20 words to each other at school), and I just watched her walk off.

It seems strange to me that there are people I went to school with who now have school-aged children. I sincerely hope to have my own children before I hear of the first grandparent of our grade. (Where I grew up, this is entirely possible.) ;)

I have accomplished a few things in life, but sometimes when I see people who are my age, it strikes me just how different our lives can turn out. There are those who have made money and those who are still struggling, those who have successful careers and those who are still at university, those who are married with families or are single, divorced or anything in between, and there are those who are thriving and those who did not make it to 30.

I don't feel strongly about it one way or another (apart from sadness for those who have died), but I find the diversity of the paths of our lives absolutely fascinating.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Brain blah

Thank-you for all of your suggestions on which careers would fit the criteria I listed. Your thoughts are appreciated. Strangely enough, all the specialties listed are high on my "possibilities" list (except for derm). :)
I probably won't decide until I get out and start working. Thankfully in Australia we don't have to decide on a specialty until we are already in the workforce. I am incredibly grateful that I am going into a career which offers such a multitude of options. 
My brain has shut down into Study Mode, so I thought I would write a quick post to say that I am still alive. I also think that antifungals are the coolest things ever. The fact that I think this reflects my current state of mind. 
Yes, the Girl is lost in the Study Forrest. I feel a story coming on. :)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The career conundrum

Many other medical student bloggers (well, probably most of them) have posted on their difficulty deciding on their future career paths.
To be honest, I change my mind so often it isn't even worth a thorough analysis of which specialties interest me the most. 
This variance occurs because I find so very many of them fascinating, rather than feeling like I couldn't do one or the other. 
A part of me thinks that I should find one that is fairly lifestyle-friendly, but the rest of me knows that when I have gone for lifestyle-friendly careers before, I can end up dissatisfied and miserable - I am the kind of driven person who needs a challenge in order to be happy.
I am leaving it until I do practical work in areas to narrow it down a little, and probably won't even make up my mind fully until I am out there and working as an intern. Perhaps not even then.
A wise person once told me that your specialty choice is often determined by how well you get along with the other people working in that area at the time. If you are interested and happy in the specialty already, I can think of far worse ways to choose a future workplace. 
I also don't want to be hanging around in resident-land forever, because the specialty I want is so competitive that entry is almost impossible without connections. Considering the medical student "tsunami" currently pushing its way through the schools at the moment (and which will only get even larger in the coming years), it is a nervous time for most of us.
The best and most sensible thing to do would be to potter through medical school and do my best, crossing off the specialties that really don't appeal and just decide when I am ready. (Surgery is already off the list - not because of the actual work, which is fascinating, but because: a) when I have to go to the bathroom, I have to go; and b) I like spending SOME of my time at home, in my own bed.) I'm sure it will happen sooner rather than later. 

So, I am interested in:
- A specialty that will keep me challenged and interested;
- An area with a decent amount of colleague collaboration;
- A specialty with nice conference locations (KIDDING - I think they all have that);
- Not an excessive amount of on-call;
- An area where I can use my clinical skills, stethoscope and talk to patients;
- A wage to live comfortably (but seriously, every doctor earns that, I don't need a Porsche!);
- Pleasant colleagues;
- Work-life balance;
- Respect (not worship - there is a huge difference);
- Results from my work, and work that I can be proud of;
- Decent patient satisfaction;
- Some amount of procedural work, as I am a practical person and like to use my hands;
- And just to re-state it: I need to use my brain, or it tends to get very unhappy, which makes me miserable. It may not be the smartest brain on the planet, but it needs regular feeding!
So as you can see, my list doesn't cross out many specialties at all. Suggestions? ;)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Why I love studying . . .

This is my favourite time of year to be studying and revising. 
Why? Because there is much less pressure and fear than closer to exams. Plus, with the weather being as it is (i.e. the start of Autumn in the Southern Hemisphere), I can sit outside on the deck with my books, a coffee or a drink (caffeinated, not alcoholic!) and enjoy the view of the my yard, the trees and the mountains while I ruminate on the joys of the pathophysiology of infectious diseases and other fun things. 
Yes, it is damn hard to be a medical student at the moment! ;)
Sometimes I wonder how I am ever going to cope with returning to full-time work. Then I remember - money! Oh, and contributing to society/paying off my debts and mortgage/new car/saving lives/other stuff, too. 

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Whoah, 50's flashback . . .

I had a Stepford Wives flashback this morning, when this article left me seething mad. 
Why? Therese Rein may be the wife of the Prime Minister, but she is also a multi-millionaire and a self-made, successful businesswoman who is a confident leader in her own right.
These "fashion" experts have reduced her to the level of armpiece eye-candy, saying that she should endeavour to look more "chic," that "everyone can gain confidence from a makeover," and that she should "blow out her trademark curls into a sleeker do," amongst other equally bile-producing comments.
I have not read such a load of misogynistic tripe in a very long time. Are we in the 1950's, where the woman had to look perfect to impress the guests, being seen and not heard, and coming straight out of that ultimate woman-mould? 
Who cares if she has business nouse and built up and run successful companies? Get her some new shoes, quick!! Does Kevin Rudd (her husband) have to have a new briefcase every day of the tour? Then why should she have to bring a handbag collection to match those new shoes? After all, she probably has a lot less paperwork to carry around! 
(Whoops, I forgot about the makeup, hair products and other beauty essentials that every chic polit-spouse gal needs! Silly me!)
Has ANYBODY EVER even looked at the shoes that the male politicians wear? I am certain I have spotted a lot of suits that don't fit too well on the world stage. Nobody ever says a peep about the men. How about the husbands of the female politicians? When was the last time you heard somebody say that Bill Clinton needed a makeover so that Hillary could be taken more seriously? 
Does the fact that she has kept her own surname after marriage or her history of being the ultimate career woman not offer any hints that there may be a brain and a personality behind the face that matters more than the colour of her dress??
Apparently if you are a woman, you should be seen, and be seen to be exactly as everybody expects you to look. 
Clearly, our PM respects his wife. Perhaps our society should advance another step or ten, so we are capable of doing the same.
I'm glad to see I'm not the only one thinking along these lines. 

Friday, April 4, 2008

Medical school is tough

However, I think that you only really learn how brave you are until you find yourself facing an unexpected mountain and then find a way to conquer it.
I just loved this post from downunderdocs so much that I had to link to it. I hope they don't mind.
It shows great insight and honesty, and is also a warning for those about to embark on medical studies that it isn't all beer and skittles. 
It might have been a scarring experience, but I have a strong hunch that the author will be a much better doctor because of it. :)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Papuan Tragedy

On Tuesday night I watched an excellent Foreign Correspondent report on HIV in Papua New Guinea, called Papua in Peril.
According to the program, the HIV infection rate in PNG is the highest in the world after Africa due to a combination of lack of education, cultural promiscuity, and silence about sexual activity.
The saddest thing I heard was that there are more housewives with HIV than prostitutes - not that I would wish one group to have a higher rate than the other, it just means that there are a LOT of men bringing this illness home.
The whole report was eye-opening and very sad. These people have enough difficulties to live with, without adding HIV/AIDS to the mix. 
I think that in the next 30 or 40 years, the world will become a very different place.

Happy to be where I am

I'm back into the swing of things again, reading, reading and reading some more! Medicine, that is. 

Recently we have been covering some legal issues in more depth. A long time ago,  contemplated a career in law, even doing a few subjects and doing well at them. 

Now, after studying medicine for a little while, law just seems so dry and boring! The part I liked about law was the stories in the cases, and how the law related to them. Medicine just seems so much more . . . real.

Sorry, but it had to be said. :)

I also have to mention that yet again I have no idea what I want to do when I graduate. I'm not one bit worried about it, either. 

Well, that isn't true - if I wasn't worried, I wouldn't have written about it. 

Apologies for this scatty post - it reflects my current state of mind. 

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Free with purchase . . .

We just had the funniest experience of our week this afternoon.

We bought a couple of work shirts for my husband at Myer (an Australian department store). Being a man and the shirts being standard fit, he didn't try them on, he just picked them up off the rack and bought them.

They were folded and put in the bag and we took them home. I took them out of the shopping bag to hang them up in the cupboard, and didn't notice anything amiss.

However, when I was about to close the cupboard door, I noticed the edge of something that looked round and shiny in the breast pocket of one of the shirts.

I checked the pocket, and found a pair of mens reading glasses, with prescription lenses (long-sighted, by the look of it)! Somebody must have tried the shirt on, put his reading glasses in the pocket out of habit (although God knows why), taken the shirt off, decided not to buy it and then put the shirt back without remembering to take his glasses out again!

My husband recently got a new pair of glasses, and this pair are not particularly fashionable, so I think we'll take them back to the store. ;) (Just kidding - of course we would take them back! Somebody is probably panicking somewhere.) I have called the store to let them know, in case somebody rings them to ask if they have been handed in, but as my husband says, anybody who leaves a pair of glasses in a shirt pocket that they are only trying on is unlikely to know that they left them in a store in the aforementioned piece of apparel. :)

I hope they do return and find their glasses. They need them more than either the store or we do. Who knows how long they have been sitting there in that shirt pocket, waiting to be found and returned home.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Break time!

We are pretty much one quarter of the way through the year and I have decided to take a break from study for a few days, to refresh and relax.

So far, it has been simply devine!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Any Friday off is a Good Friday

However, this one is followed by a Monday off, which I suppose makes it better than all of the others!
Plus, come Tuesday, the best cheap chocolate-buying time of the year begins. ;)
This year, I plan to be eating lots of chocolate bunnies!!! 
Yes, the picture is much, much longer than the blog post.
But look at those bunnies! Don't they just scream, "Take me home and make me yours"?
I feel a personal responsibility to give several of them a good home. They will be very loved. >:D

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Fresh is best

 Stupid busy supermarkets - making me save money and be healthier!!
We went to the supermarket today to buy groceries. When we got there, it was PACKED - there were huge queues in every line and it looked like a solid 30-minute wait just to get through the checkout. There were so many people walking around the store that it looked like the lines were only going to get bigger.
Seriously, what is it about long weekends that makes people panic as if armageddon were around the corner and they need to stock up on foodstuffs just in case?
We decided that this was ridiculous, so we went to the butcher directly outside the store (very friendly, helpful and good quality) and bought a variety of meat for about a week.
Then on the way home we picked up just over $50 in fresh vegetables, eggs and milk. I even went crazy and bought sugar snap peas and sun-dried tomatoes. Madness, I say! :D
All up we paid less than we would had we gone to the crowded supermarket (due to lack of processed food and junk food), saved ourselves a tonne of stress, and now have healthier fresh food for the week.
Not bad, all things considered. Now I just have to source some Tim-Tams from the corner store, bread from the local bakery (mmm, fresh bread!) and all will be well with the world. :) 

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


I was wondering why Rang and Dale's Pharmacology was getting so many votes, but today I am using it for some study and have worked out why. It is such a good text for explaining a difficult topic.

Drugs scare me a little, but this book helps it all make sense, so I now see why so many people love it. :)

(BTW, this isn't a sponsored plug or anything - it is just a good book!)

The poll is yielding some interesting results - I am interested to see that Kumar & Clark is getting a LOT more votes than Harrison's, but I suppose that the former is more of a medical student-level text than the latter. 

I am looking forward to seeing how it all pans out in 30 days time. :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Studying is just like every other job. Some days you just don't want to have anything to do with it.
Today is one of those days. 
Often I try to harvest the power of fear in order to motivate myself. It seems that I have built up a resistance to this kind of stimulant, so instead I am trying for a different method: interest!
Wow, look at these pathology diagrams - aren't they interesting.
Even more interesting are the drug names, classes, side-effects and interactions.
Memorising the fiddly parts of anatomy makes them possibly the most interesting parts of the lot. (You know - the interesting parts that only seem to have relevance to future microsurgeons.)
But don't forget about EBM and Public Health - they are so interesting they deserve to be in their own course. 
Yes . . . interest . . . 
Hopefully I'll find some clinical correlation and it will all fall into place, going from interesting to being genuinely interesting.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Well done! Now go celebrate!

Today, thousands of hopefuls flocked to examination centres throughout Australia and sat through hours of painful questions in the torturous process that is the GAMSAT exam.
We were all thinking of you today.
Remember, most people walk out of the exam feeling like they have failed. It is MEANT to be hard, in order to separate the candidates from each other. Your marks will be mainly based on where you come in the pack.
Many of us who are now in medical school felt like they failed the exam but ended up with solid scores. A lot of people have to sit it more than once, and then got into great universities. It is character-building, really tough, and you should just be proud that you have given it your best shot.
If it helps, think of it as a rite of passage. Congratulations. :)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Me likes to read good books of cleverness . . .

This year I have begun to indulge in one of my oldest and most favourite hobbies - losing myself completely in decent fiction.

I had forgotten how much enjoyment I get from ploughing through a good book in a day or so. As I have the attention span of a gnat when it comes to fiction, if I don't get into it quite quickly I become excessively familiar with the characters and they tend to go from the fictional version of my new and exciting friends to those dull and predictable relatives that you just can't get rid of at family gatherings.

Okay, that probably sounded quite harsh, but it is true. Generally the more I enjoy a book, the faster I will read it.

The other day I started reading "Romulus, My Father" at 10am on a day off, thinking that I would get a couple of chapters in before lunch. I finished it off at 2pm, having devoured it, cried a little in places, and thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing.

I haven't read through books like this in years, since I was in highschool. I don't know why I fell out of the habit - probably stress, inattention and a decrease in my attention span that probably corresponded with my beginning consumption of university residential college food as well as completing a physics degree.

To be honest, I suspect our high-school librarian who stocked our library had a pretty good taste in literature, as I hardly ever bombed out on any book that I borrowed. I had no idea how lucky I was. After that, I went for bookstores, and bombed out in fairly spectacular style a few times. My bookshelves still have quite a few books on them that I couldn't quite force myself to finish. After I stopped finishing a lot of the books I started, I guess I got discouraged and stopped reading fiction.

The book that I blame for reintroducing me to my oldest of vices is "A Spot of Bother" by Mark Haddon, sent to me as a Christmas present by my in-laws who generally have similar taste in books to me (except for Atonement - hated it, sorry everybody). I loved it, loved his first title, and haven't looked back.

I know that, as a medical student, I should be spending all of my time studying. But it is amazing how much extra time you can find in a day if you just turn off the television. Plus, I need down-time like I need oxygen and water. It is an investment in my mental health - well, that is my excuse to justify it, anyway. :P

The joys of clinical signs

One of the things that has surprised me the most about studying medicine is how much I enjoy examining patients.

Using the framework and knowledge that you have gathered from past study (plus the little bit of experience and invaluable advice passed on by teaching doctors), you can look at a patient and get some idea of what is going on with their body.

We have been studying this for more than a year, but now that we are wandering around more by ourselves and examining patients, it is great when you find notice something unusual, come to your own conclusion about it, then go to the notes after the examination to find that you were correct!

Usually the hospital patients are sick enough to have quite obvious clinical signs, which really helps.

Of course, the qualified doctor who initially examined the patient generally has noticed a LOT more than we have (we are only second-year medical students, after all) but it is still a thrill to see so much of what we learn in theory come into play in real life, in individuals who you can talk to about their experiences.

Bringing study content into the light of reality is the fastest way to make it fascinating.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


I love the weather at this time of the year. It is a great season to be sitting at my table, with the view of the yard, reading textbooks, watching recordings of lectures, drinking coffee, switching the coffee to herbal tea when I start to twitch, and generally enjoying being able to read about all of the things that interest me as they come up in the course (and occasionally when I just want to read them).

I also have a brilliant view of the front door, so I don't even have to get up and move in order to tell the people who come doorknocking to get lost! I just look up from my book/computer, and say, "Sorry, not interested!" The funny thing is that the path up to my house is rather long, so they take ages to get here before I tell them "No, thanks!" :P

Yes, I could be happy like this for some time yet. :)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

New Poll

Because I am a big giant monster nerd who loves her textbooks, I have added a new poll about those lovely tomes, and which one you love above all others.

There were lots that I missed (including anatomy texts - but does anybody seriously prefer their anatomy text over, say, Robbins?) so feel free to comment about which one you would rescue from the fiery inferno.

Another answer could have been, "I would save me credit card and buy new texts with the insurance money," but I am not heartless enough to think that you would let your favourite book burn if you had the choice. ;)

And the winner . . .

in the first poll of the year (before I replace it) is:

The phrase, "Hi, I'm a medical student" fills me with: Panic - how the hell did I get here?

with 35% of the vote, followed closely by:

the feeling of embarrassment (27%) and pride (22%).
Dread came last, with 15% of the votes, which is either a reflection of healthy outlooks on life or reveals a certain amount of optimism on the part of the voters.

Nice to see our feelings are as diverse as the med cohort. :)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Chipmunk face - not an insult

No. At least, not in a medical sense.

It is a sign of thalassaemia major. (This includes bossing of the skull, hypertrophy of the maxillae which tends to expose the upper teeth, prominent malar eminences and depression of the bridge of the nose.)

Of course, it could also be taken as an insult. Imagine a group of gormless medical students surrounding a patient's bed, attempting a clinical examination. One of them begins, "I examine the patients face, and note that the patient appears to exhibit chipmunk face."

I wonder what would happen next.

A new outlook

Things are getting quite stressful at the moment, so I have decided that it is time to take a bit of a new outlook on life. Less negativity, more positivity!

Less watching the news, more reading novels and writing light-hearted blog posts.

Less worrying about study, and more actual study and getting involved with the material.

Oh, and more baths with smelly stuff and a good book.

This year is going to be better than ever, I can tell!

The cat on the mat with the rat . . .

My cat deserves to be promoted to living in a barn on a farm. Perhaps he was a farm cat in a past life. (Don't read any further if the thought of little furry creatures being eaten offends!)

In the past 24 hours, I have seen him catch three mice! I'm willing to bet that he has caught others that I haven't seen! Three!!! This is during a period in which he spent a solid 12 hours locked inside, as we keep them in at night to keep the native nocturnal wildlife safer.

Thankfully he only brought them as far as the front yard, which I can see from where I study, and not into the house. I have only ever seen him catch mice or rats, not any little native creatures or birds, for which I am grateful.

I'm thinking that one of our neighbours has a SERIOUS pest-control problem somewhere in their house or yard, as I see him bring them in from across the road. Perhaps I should start charging for pest control services. ;)

He is lying on the carpet right now looking very happy with himself, but if I get up from my desk he will yell at me for food. Somebody is slightly greedy. Or has a rampant case of worms! Ew. Time to go to the vets for some pills, methinks . . .

Monday, March 10, 2008


I can't believe that this would happen in my country. According to the article, a nurse in a remote community was attacked, which was terrible enough on its own, but then her lack of treatment by those who were supposed to be looking after her (imagine being raped and then told by your employer to just start work again at 9am the next day) was beyond words.

It is difficult enough getting health workers to move to remote communities, but after this I would imagine it will be almost impossible for quite some time. I realise that the writing is very emotive and inflammatory but the if the details of her treatment are correct, it is beyond belief.

Who is looking after those who are trying their best to look after others?

Friday, March 7, 2008


Sure, television is fiction, but this just goes too far. Surely they know that anything medical on a fictional show is immediately assumed to be true, even if the show is The Bill.

Why don't they just abandon all pretense of reality and have a ghost or zombie plague of house robberies and murders? Or better yet, they could install a special crack-squad of vampires to deal with night-time criminal activity. They could write all kinds of storylines based on locker room squabbles (leaky blood bags: a spilt snack or an infection control nightmare?), inter-species romantic interests and workplace discriminations based on dentition.

It might make it more interesting. ;)

Monday, March 3, 2008

Out there

You know you have reached a cool point in your studies when you start running across references to diseases that are shown in the X-Files, rather than the "everyday" stuff shown on the normal medical shows.

Does anybody else remember the X-File ("X Cops") when a woman spontaneously dies from symptoms of the Hantavirus, without actually having the virus, but because the haemorrhagic fever is the thing she fears the most in the world? I'm reading about Hantaviruses now. Great stuff. (To read about, not to have!) :D

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Oh no! I have been struck down by the dreaded study malaise! 

Symptoms include:

- Extreme lethargy while sitting at study desk;

- Lack of interest in topics that would otherwise fascinate the student (woohoo - metabolism!);

- Onset of symptoms increases exponentially with proximity to study-related objects;

- Sudden and unexpected interest in subjects completely unrelated to study (e.g. cleaning, cooking, the Gardening Channel);

- Increase in general anxiety level;

- Resolution of symptoms when removed from study environment.


- Quick read-through of past exams;

- Reminder of impending doctor-hood, and future responsibilities;

- A weekend off and some good sleep;

- Viewing of inspirational movies (e.g. Zoolander, Dodgeball, Mystery Men).


- Good, if treated promptly and not left to fester for significant portions of semester.

Huzzah! Off to watch Zoolander . . .

Friday, February 15, 2008

Funny things

What funny things have you noticed that have changed about yourself since becoming a medical student?

I now read things much more thoroughly, whereas before, I skimmed most documents. I noticed this today when reading (of all things!) the introduction section to a diet cookbook. Not only did I read it, I remember most of it. Clearly, my brain has shifted in to "study mode". In my off-time, I am trying to shift it into "relaxing mode" via the intermediate stage of "television mode".

Having to learn something more than once is now considered perfectly normal. I'm well into the acceptance stage, here. :)

I now understand more of House. It makes even less sense than before. ;)

Medstudentitis. Feeling tired? Leukaemia! That spot on my brother's back? Could be melanoma! Feeling down? SAD! Unwell after drinking spirits? Must be early diabetes!

At least I am enjoying it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Second year: brilliant! But where to start?

Apparently with first year. My favourite thing about medicine so far is that further study is based on simpler things that you learned (and subsequently forgot) in the earlier year of the course. Brilliant!

I love the fact that we are now learning more about pathology. The processes are just fascinating. Reading about them is great. Memorising them is not so fantastic. But it is still brilliant!

The textbooks I collected last year are all coming in handy, and there is always a book on hand that has the information I need, so I don't have to spend time trying to get onto the electronic web versions provided by our library which are often too busy to access. Books are brilliant!

We get more clinical time with patients, which I love, as they have the most interesting stories and impressions of life and each one has such a different tale to tell, which is brilliant! I even like it when they mistake me for a nursing student because I'm a girl - it makes me laugh a little on the inside and be glad that times have changed, as compared to 50 years ago, equality is now brilliant!

And yes, I have recently acquired a copy of all seasons of the Fast Show. Let's just say that it, too, is brilliant. ;)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Portion Distortion

There is an interesting phenomenon that has happened over the past few years in food outlets, where portion sizes have grown gradually to the point where food is now being served at more than double the portion size for a "normal" or healthy meal.

The sad thing is that a lot of people see the new sizes as being standard and it is sometimes hard to not get sucked into eating more than one normal serving without even knowing it. I used to go along with this at times, so I can't criticize, especially as I am hardly skinny myself. :P

I won't write much about it, but just tell a story from the weekend when we really noticed the difference.

My husband went to the bakery to buy bread (I grew up rural, so having a bakery that makes nice bread one block away is wonderful). He bought one serving of vanilla slice for us to share as a treat. I took one look at it and knew I didn't want to eat half, so I thought I would be conservative and cut my half into one further half so that I was eating one quarter of the original size and more in control of the portion.

I finished the quarter, but I could not have eaten any more. My husband ate a similar amount of his half, and put the rest into the fridge for another day. The thing that frightens me is that we bought ONE serving, and two grown adults could only just finish HALF of it. We couldn't have eaten more if we had wanted to.

It reminds me of the local noodle place, where we will often buy a large serving each, and then eat it over the space of three meals. We eat well, and aren't stick-thin. But there must be people out there who eat food in these portion sizes and think it is normal, and then wonder why they put on weight when they are not eating any more than the "one" meal or the "one" serving.

Modern eating really is filled with traps for the unwary, particularly if you were raised to finish what is on your plate, and it has taken me years to realize that you can ignore the serving size that you are given and still be full, and that bigger is not better. :)

Monday, February 4, 2008

Just a quick message . . .

I'm still around, I have just lost a little of my blogging mojo and am focusing on other things right now, like uni and life in general.

I just had to add another post to say that I was quite wrong so far about So You Think You Can Dance Australia - I like the judges more than any other of the shows in that they all seem to find something positive to say, and Natalie Bassingthwaighte (?spelling???) seems to be really nice to the contestants.

There doesn't seem to be any good cop/bad cop nonsense going on that they seem to feel obliged to put into a lot of these reality talent shows, and I think it is better for it.

The amount of talent that some people have is simply astounding. Of course, the amount of people who think they are fantastic but aren't also gets me every time. I can't decide which of the two groups I enjoy watching more, but I rate this show. ;)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Breaking out is easier the second time

The holidays are winding down and we are all preparing to return to uni. I have had a very busy break, as I was working in my old profession the whole time and had little time to catch up with uni friends, most of whom were overseas or interstate anyway.

There are a number of advantages to being able to return to your old job in your holidays. These would have to include:

1) Having the reasons why you hate your old job and want to complete your studies in medicine rammed down your throat again and again and again until you have to physically restrain yourself from putting your head through the wall. I am going to study so much harder in the coming year with this extra motivation driving me!

2) Topping up the old bank account. I have made a resolution to not buy any textbooks this year. Let's count the weeks until this resolution fails! ;)

3) Catching up with old work-mates, who are generally the sole reason I am physically capable of returning to work. I love my colleagues! (With the odd exception, of course.)

4) Being in the air-conditioning over the hot Australian summer. I'm not kidding - for me, this is an advantage.

5) Having some time feeling like a competent professional, walking around the hospital with a purpose rather than floating like the average medical student. Sadly there were no other medical students on prac at my work-place whom I could pimp on my area of expertise. I just had to quiz the students who are training in my area instead. ;) (Note: I am really nice to students, and take the time to teach them. I know what it is like, having had very recent experience myself. :) )

6) Did I mention the money? Oh, and I like opening payslips, too!

I am now back to being an unemployed student (or an unpaid domestic worker, as I have some things to do to the house) and taking some time off before things return to the fun and insanity of student life. I love being a medical student, more than I have loved being any kind of student before. I'm old and mean enough to know that if I didn't love it, I wouldn't be here, so that is of great comfort to me as we slide head-first into another year of study madness!
Getting out of the old job is much easier the second time. I know where I am going and I am aware of how challenging and rewarding it is going to be.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Hunting accidents

Another hunting accident story has produced my favourite line from a news article this week:

"It is not uncommon for hunters to be shot by their dogs."

Man's best friend indeed. Perhaps we underestimate the intelligence of dogs if they frequently shoot their hunting masters - the ability to be able to fire a weapon without the use of opposable thumbs and actually hit something should actually give us pause and make us wonder whether they can actually open doors, drive cars and operate telephones, all the while managing to hide it from the human population.

I know I'm being flippant about an incident in which somebody died, but still. The man gave his dog access to a firearm. What should he have expected?

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Spring Cleaning

If you look to the right, you will see some slight changes.

I took the chance to add a poll, which should be particularly relevant to the medical students amongst you - although feel free to flash back to the days of your student life and remember how this phrase made you feel, too!

I also did some sorting out amongst the blogs - there were getting to be so many of them there that they needed tidying. For some reason, psychiatrists seem to be more prolific bloggers than radiologists. Interesting . . .

This way I will be able to find them more easily at a glance.

I don't quite know what the cat has to do with spring cleaning. I don't think it really matters - SO CUTE!!! AWWW look at the kitty!! :D

Hope your new year is treating you well!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Christmas PTSD

Thank god the new year is here. This means that Christmas Day is officially over, and is not able to come back again for at least another eleven and a half months.

There are those who say that Christmas Day is all about families, belonging, and welcoming people into your home and creating a sense of togetherness. I don't think the people who say this have ever experienced a Christmas where performing these acts would be at all uncomfortable for them, or create one little bit of excess tension. They would certainly not have experienced the Nightmare of the Imploding Christmas Day.

I say that it is a lovely thing to invite people over to share your Christmas Day. But BEWARE! The success or dismal failure (and extreme discomfort of your main family and friends) can be directly related to who you choose to invite.

I can't be particularly specific on the particular horrors of my Christmas Day for fear of incriminating myself, so I will write a helpful list concerning who you should and shouldn't invite if you want to have a happy, harmonious day. I am all for people inviting anybody that they genuinely want to be there. This list pertains more specifically to the fringe-element that can get sucked into the whirling vortex of pain and death that is the Family Christmas Day.

Top People To Add To Your List:

1. Friends of the family who have nowhere else to go on the day, who you genuinely want to be there, and who are going to have a good time.

2. Distant relatives who wouldn't normally be invited, but who are also lovely people who you care about, and who are going to enjoy the company.

3. Random neighbours who fit the above criteria, and who are a good fit for the party. (See, I'm not that picky!)

Slightly Less Fantastic People To Add To Your List:

1. Distant relatives who you don't really know, who have never really made the effort to get to know you, are a token invite due to their proximity but are likely to show up anyway for the free food and booze. These could go either way - they are likely to know people at your party better than they know you, particularly if it is a big family get-together, and you might get to know them well and find they are a good time.

Or it might end in dog bites, barbeque burns and calls to the police. You just never know.

2. Distant cousins with slightly shady pasts who are getting back on track with their lives. They are family. One of the things that Christmas is supposed to be about is family. They could enjoy catching up with people, making new acquaintances and having a chance to socialise.

Or they could steal all of the booze, take the gift certificates from the present piles when nobody is looking and scrape a whole row of cars on their way out. They may even kick the dog.

Hopefully they won't trip on the dog. They might sue.

3. Serial whiners. Miserable relatives who spend all day whining will bounce off these people, sending other revelers around them into spirals of doom and gloom, killing the Spirit of Christmas, making fairies die by the score, and allowing the grinch to be one happy little critter. Sit them with the right people and it might work. You never know.

4. Anybody you feel obliged to invite out of guilt.

The No Go Zone:

1. The boyfriend of a distant cousin who has just spent time in jail and spent the last Christmas gathering at your place telling disgusting stories about close family members of yours, while they are in the next room, and while sitting next to your 86-year-old grandmother. He used up his first chance, and inviting him again would be like positive reinforcement. Particularly if he starts inviting friends or family of his own.

Work out some way of not inviting them the next year. Spend the months you now have up your sleeve thinking of a good way to let them know they are not on the list, otherwise you might end up finding yourself fantasizing about changing the date or location of your party. You may even find yourself looking up the real estate section of the newpaper, considering a Christmas Eve house move.

2. Anybody who thinks it is funny to make another Christmas Day guest cry. On Christmas Day. In the year that their husband/son/dog died.

Seriously. Don't. Invite. Them. Back.

3. Relatives who think it is okay to tell you that you somehow kept them out of your dying father's inheritance, while he was dying, and then still expect to be invited to every function that you put on. This also applies to weddings, baptisms, birthday parties, random coffee meetings, and any other event put on by you.

Several of the above may or may not have happened on my Christmas Day. If the guest list next year looks the same as this year, I am going to spend Christmas Day on a beach in the middle of nowhere where nobody can reach me, with a bottle of champagne, a very full i-Pod and a swarm of annoying but friendly and harmonious mosquitoes trying to dive-bomb me through the thick canvas of my tent.

Hopefully this year I'll learn about some little-known random maladie that I can diagnose myself with after getting the Christmas list of invitees. It would have to be highly contagious, so horrible that nobody else would want to get it, yet resolve spontaneously with no apparent ill-effects by New Years Day. Ideas? ;)

Happy New Year!