Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The drive back

We had a wonderful drive back from rural. My father flew up to the rural city to drive back with me and so we left-mid morning. (The Man could not be there because of work commitments elsewhere.)

It was a nice drive, and it felt a lot more relaxed than when my husband and I drove up there the first time. It had a lot to do with the fact that I'm was going home, and that there was no particular rush to the destination.

It was a six hour drive, and as it went by the landscape just got greener and greener. It went from being all brown, dry and dead into green farmlands full of crops and the occasional forest.

Half-way back we took an alternative route and ended up traveling through cattle country and a lot of produce farms, and it was so nice to look around at the scenery. My favourite game is to try to guess what the crops are. I grew up around strawberries, sugar cane, pineapples and bananas but didn't see any of those on this trip. The single crop I was sure about was the mandarin trees, and we think we spotted some onions, but the rest just looked green, lovely and unidentifiable.

At one point the road got narrow and we were driving through cattle fields (on the road, of course) across cattle grids and got to slow down and keep an eye out for big beautiful beasties wandering across the road.

We had a very interesting moment when we came across a massive bull standing in the middle of the road. We came to a complete stop to see which direction the bull was going to go in, but he just stood there. Beeping the horn would have been a bad idea - he was big, intact, and may have been very territorial.

We were going to drive behind him, but then another car came along the road and the big bull moved out of the way in the direction that we were also going. We stopped, let him and the other car passed, waved to the other car as is the country way, and then we were able to drive onwards.

There were a lot of cars on the main road, but it was mostly an uneventful drive and we arrived at my parent's house in the late afternoon. We had a wonderful evening and I went home the next day to a marvelous feline reception.

I'm still not entirely unpacked, but it doesn't matter - I'm home!

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Rural rotation is over. Thank God. I am home and am happy again. :)

I now have a small and furry fan club following me around everywhere, which is very sweet.

Unfortunately the dust from the storms is still blowing around, so my eyes get itchy (I have very sensitive eyes) and my nose is a bit runny, but I don't really mind. I am simply happy to be home.

I'll tell you the story of our trip back in another post, but for now, I have to rest and enjoy life. :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

One more sleep!

One sleep to go!

Our exam is today. I should be more nervous about it, but I just want to go home.

At least other people will be around me studying this morning so there will be some motivation to study. Joys.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Week 8 of rural

Two sleeps to go! Two sleeps to go! Two sleeps to go!

Then I drive home!

Not that I'm excited or anything. I still have to hold myself together for long enough to pass the exam, before I snap and spend the afternoon racing around screaming with joy.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The end of Week 7 of rural

It is the last night at our rural placement!

Tomorrow we are going to be driving back to the central rural location, have a week of talks with an exam at the end, and then I get to go home.

I can't believe that it is almost over. I'm kind of proud of myself. I have never been away from home for such a long stretch before, particularly not by myself. (I know I'm with other people from the medical school but that isn't what I mean.)

I have even gotten into the habit of packing multiple days worth of lunch salads in one go, and even doing the same for dinners - it takes up less space and saves time later on, plus I'm never stuck without lunch. :)

It makes it easier to say no to takeaway when you already have a nice dinner in the fridge, and you know that the dinner will be tastier anyway.

I can't wait to get home again. I have missed my family so very much. It will be lovely to get back there and actually be able to STAY longer than two or three days.

I have also missed my kitchen more than I can say. The oven here doesn't quite cook right. I cooked a lovely Leek and Cauliflower Pot Pie tonight (from Veganomicon - yum!) and the biscuit topping didn't quite cook through.

The washing machine doesn't clean very well, either, but it is better than nothing.

We have been walking distance from the "city centre" as well as the pubs, which has been a bonus. It is nice to not need a designated driver or taxi because the pub is five minutes walk away!

The Man will be away for another week when I get back, which is sad, but at least I will be home. :)

So close!!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Eddie, you legend!

I have always been a huge fan of Eddie Izzard. What is not to love about the cross-dressing, razor-witted comedian and actor?

Now I think he is a bloody legend. 43 marathons in 51 days, all for charity. I just hope that he hasn't hurt himself too badly. Run, Eddie, Run, indeed!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Random career thoughts 2

I am starting to think that it would be a good idea to take my time getting into a training program.

In Australia, we do a common intern year, then most people do a residency year and normally you slot into a training program after that as a registrar. Some people take more time than that to get into the program that they want to get into, as some of them are highly competitive.

Some people change programs after a couple of years of training in one, and start again in another.

I had planned on trying to get into psychiatry ASAP, but part of me really wonders at the wisdom of this.

I am still not 100% sure that this is the direction that I want to go in. I enjoy clinical medicine, too, so I don't know that I want to leave it as much as I would be if I went into psych.

I'm starting to think that it might be a better idea to just see what happens as I go and take my time making my decision. I have gone slowly in every other decision in life, so why should this be any different?

Rural rotation week 7

I'm back for my final week in the rural town - the week after this one will be a common week where all of the students on rotation return to a common rural town and "debrief" for a week, which ends with an exam.

This week I have to finish the assignment for this rotation and prepare a case presentation. I have the information on the case, and so now the main task at hand is to do the assignment.

I'm looking at this week the same way I would look at a race - goals for each step of the way (daily assignment goals), rewards for finishing goals on-time (BEER! and movies) and a plan with enough free days at the end that if I go a day or two over, the world won't end.

If I can fill my days with this it will all be fine. :)

In food-related news, I also splurged and bought myself a proper knife! It is a Furi East West 13cm knife with a silicon handle. When I was at home on the weekend, I realised just how nice it is (and how much safer) to have a decent blade, so I spoiled myself and went to the local gourmet store and picked one up.

Normally I would have brought one of my own back with me, but I was only bringing carry-on luggage and I thought the people at the airport would get excited if I tried to smuggle a massive knife on board, no matter how honest or reputable I look.

I also picked up half a pumpkin (Queensland blue - very tough) and a sweet potato, and will be roasting some veggies tonight to go with dinner. You can't buy a new knife without testing it out properly. ;)

Back on the topic of airports, I got tested again for bomb residue before the flight back home. I have a theory that they pick people who look them in the eye and won't care about being scanned. Either that, or it is proven that terrorists look nonchalant and relaxed, too. :P I don't really care, and find the whole thing pretty funny.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The long, draging days

I am home again for the weekend, and it is lovely. I bought some cheap flights a few weeks ago, and I am so glad that I did. Monday morning will come far too soon, and I'll have to fly back to the place of dust, heat and noise.

Only two more weeks of this, and then I can rest in my own bed for good.

I thought that the hard part of rural would be different. I thought I would be more actively sad.

Instead, I find myself to be constantly tired, having trouble sleeping, and feeling worn down by everything. Resting isn't refreshing. Early marks don't have that same thrill - I am going "home" but not really going home for the evening.

I can't be bothered having afternoon naps when I get the chance.

I am not thrilled about things that I would normally be excited about.

I feel like one of those little children who is so tired and is completely miserable, but won't or can't go to sleep. The ones you see wandering around half out of it, rubbing their eyes and glaring at everybody. You tell them to go to sleep, and they yell, "NO!", run elsewhere and continue being miserable and tired.

I know I miss home a lot, miss the people and that these feelings are completely normal. God it's tiring.

The rural place I am at is really good. Thankfully.

If it weren't, it would feel like I'm in purgatory. Yes, I'm being dramatic. Remember, I'm the sulky little kid who won't go to sleep. ;)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Flying home!

I'm flying home for the weekend. It is very exciting.

When I get back here to the rural place, I will have a week and a half and then rural rotation will all be over.

Assuming, of course, that I haven't failed and don't have to repeat the whole thing. God, don't let me have to repeat rural rotation!

All of us last night were joking that we would have to repeat the rotation, and could do it all again, together, all at the same time and here again. As much as we get along, the looks of horror at having to spend this time out here again as students were priceless. :)

The most that I have gotten out of this experience is a perspective on how challenging working rurally can be, and a fairly consistent ability to put in a cannula.

I also got to spend a couple of days with an awesome anaesthetist, who taught me how to put in LMAs, ETTs (i.e. "tube" people) and guided me in a brachial plexus block. I found anaesthetics surprisingly interesting. I'm hoping to spend some more time with the gas people next year - it was very scary, but also awesome at the same time.

Got to go and get ready for the day. I have a 90 minute drive to the airport tonight, then an hour flight home. I can't wait!

Knowing me I'll be extra early for the flight, but that is okay - I have a good book and some things that I can study, so the time should go by quickly.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Just when you think you are secure and confident, over that nagging self-doubt and sense of inadequacy that plagues you since high school, one seemingly small thing can bring it all crashing back.

Stupid marks, stupid random evaluations, stupid prizes, all working together, stupid me for letting them mess with me.

I know who I am. I know how hard I work and what I know. I know that I have never been The Best at certain ways of thinking that fit into the box enough to get Perfect Marks (except in things that require lateral or divergent thinking, but no exam anywhere tests that). To be honest, I know I haven't worked as hard as others this time around, either.

I tried so hard in high school, was in so many things, not to get recognition, but because I enjoyed them, thought I did them well, and thought they were worth doing them. I would wander along, being happy as I was.

I was VERY involved in both music and academia. There weren't many musical groups that I wasn't a part of, I did a LOT of solo work (music was my first degree at university) and I also did well at school. (Yeah, I see myself in some of those geeky kids in Glee. What of it? ;) )

Then the end of the year would come around, and the Popular kids, the ones who were Cute or Funny or who were Buddies with the teachers would get awards for being upstanding, for participation, but those of us who did the bulk of the work would be left swinging in the breeze with nothing.

Shiny people get rewarded.

The recognition didn't matter in the first place. So then, why did it sting that it never came my way? Probably because the very fact of the existence of these pathetic, small and petty awards put a value on something that could not be quantified, something that I knew (by mere adding and observation) that I was far better at than the kids who were thanked and acknowledged, but I was ignored.

It is hardly a unique experience, I'm sure. Lots of the not-so-pretty and not-so-cute and not-so-outgoing people go through their lives, living with the bitter fruit of not being the "ideal" person in a society created by other people.

At heart, I have learned to be less bitter about this, have become cynical and worldly about this sort of petty award-giving over the years. I like to think that people I know would have no idea that this is how I was, or that I would not feel that way now.

Medical school brings some things back that I wish were left buried. This is one of them.

I never really thought that I would care about medical school awards, don't work hard for them, and to tell you the truth, I don't really want them. It is just the old feelings that they drag up deserve to be looked at, acknowledged and then laid to rest.

If I REALLY cared about this kind of thing, deep down, then I would be an entire other person and act in a very different way to how I do today. This probably isn't a bad thing. I have other things in my life that matter to me just as much, now. Being a whole person is much more fulfilling than having a random award on my wall or in my CV.

Am I jealous of those who are capable of being that bright, or working that hard? A little. Well, more than a little.

Am I happy for them? Certainly.

Could I do what they do? No. Good on them.

If I can't, should I really be here? I like to think so. Surely there is a place for bitter lateral thinkers with lives outside of medicine in the scheme of things. I hope so.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

On the bright side

I feel like I should add this after the last post.

I have gotten to read some awesome books.
I have gotten back in touch with some things that are important to me, and had some time to think.
I have realised how much the people I live with and love are important to me. (Cats are people, too.)
I have seen just how much the cats miss me when I come home - you know that you are missed when even the antisocial scaredy-cat comes crying to you when you get home. Or when they realise that you are leaving again, the the antisocial cat hides and the others pile themselves on your baggage/clothing/self nonstop.
I now know how nice I have it at home.
Two bathrooms between two people is a luxury. A wonderful, indispensable luxury.
As is having a bath.
And having a decent television, and a digital set-top box.
I have landed with three really nice flatmates who have made this journey a lot more bearable.
The hospital staff are nice.
Not being in traffic for two months has completely and utterly spoiled me.
We have air-conditioning here. I wonder if they would miss it . . . . (Kidding!)
I have saved money on fuel and morning coffees. (There is no cafe/coffee cart at the hospital.)
I have realised how happy I am to just be myself.

The end. :)

Hissy fit

Time to throw one.

The curtains in my flat don't block out the light.
The trains wake me up at all hours.
I feel like crap.
The washing machine leaves big patches of linty stuff (probably dead skin or fluff or both) on my clothes.
It travels around the kitchen as it cleans.
The kitchen is shit.
The knives are all blunt.
The ants are invading.
The television is tiny.
I don't have enough personal space in a tiny flat.
I miss my home.
I miss my cats.
I miss my significant other.
I miss decent take-away. Well, better take-away.
I miss shopping on Sundays.
The bogans who live behind us have too many babies at whom they swear when they won't stop crying. (Parenting tip: Screaming "Shut up you little fucker!" at your baby will not lull it to sleep, no matter how many times you repeat it.)
The bogans have too much bad music.
The bogans play their music FAR too loudly. I have to close the windows on that side of the building. Thus, I get no breeze through the flat.
I'm sad.
I'm tired.
I feel like shit.
I have had enough and I want to go home.
Not in three weeks.

The end.

Friday, September 4, 2009

So. Tired.

I am so freakin tired. I don't know if I'm getting sick, or if I have just been overdoing it.

Time to get some sleep this weekend, I feel.

Edited to add:
It is the lack of sleep. I just can't get good deep sleep where I'm staying - it is on the ground floor, near a busy road and next to a train line.

Time to cut off the caffeine and take up the earplugs and air-conditioning.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Life is going well. Things are interesting.

I'm trying to get back into eating well and exercising, and am mostly succeeding. I need to eat more veggies - I feel so good when I do.

It is quite funny - the more I see of other specialties, the more I just feel like psych is the right way to go, even when I enjoy the day in the other specialty.

There are some interesting things happening with intern and resident numbers in Australia right now. Many hospital offer more places for interns than they do residents (aka PGY 1 and PGY 2), meaning that some residents will need to find other jobs at different hospitals, or become unemployed.

It is a scary situation. Fortunately there are still small places that employ more residents than interns.

This is a random post because I have had an exhausting day. Good, but exhausting. I enjoy surgery, but it really isn't for me.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Med school hell

I'm posting a lot more on the new blog, but thought I would put a quick one up here just to say hello and mention that I'm still alive and kicking.

I really like this post on the Happy Hospitalist blog. Med school is hard work - not only mentally, but it can take a savage toll on your emotional and physical health, and your relationships. It can be hell if you are not ready for it, and can still be hell even if you are prepared.

For those of you who are going to be starting medical school next year or in the next little while, get your stuff sorted NOW, and get it sorted well, because it can all fall in one big heap when you get sucked into the living vortex of shit that is medical school. It is wonderful, but is also terrible, all at the same time. Enjoy.