Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Wading through mud

Ophthalmology - not the biggest fan.

I like tinkering with the toys and examining the patients, but I'm not so enamored with it that I like sitting down and studying for an exam over a few days, when the exam is supposed to cover just about the entire textbook and we have only been doing the rotation for a week and a half.

Meh. I'm not upset, surprised or protesting. I'm just bored.

The running is going well, and keeping me sane. It is also helping with the fact that I am eating chocolate more because I'm not at the hospital all day long. Mmm, chocolate.

This is one of the first Easters in a long time that I haven't been vegan. I walk into the chocolate aisle and know that I can eat any and all of it, and it blows my mind. Joy! It is probably just as well that I am running. ;)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Twilight 10k

I ran my first proper 10k on Sunday night. It was the Twilight Running Festival (nothing to do with sparkly vampire-wannabes) and was along the river as the sun set.

It was humid but pleasant (mid-20s), and the atmosphere was amazing. There were teams manning the water stations and cheering everybody on, and they all wore costumes.

People whose homes were along the route put their chairs out on their front lawns to watch and cheer.

Some nice family put a sprinkler onto the road so that runners in both directions were sprayed and cooled down. The run was a circuit, and I am still quite slow, so at the end I was overtaken by the leaders of the half-marathon, who were running 21k rather than 10k. They absolutely fly along! I will never be that fast, but one day I won't be overtaken by the end of my race. ;)

The face finished on the athletics track under the stadium lights, and there were people milling around everywhere and cheering the finishers on. It was a wonderful feeling to be cheered by people who had finished the race and other supporters. I indulged in many fist-pumps as I did the final lap and when I crossed the finish line, I had both arms in the air.

I was so high and felt wonderful for hours afterwards. I had never run 10k before, even in training, so I didn't know if I could do it, but I managed it at the same pace that I do 5k, so I was ecstatic.

It is quite a funny thing. I gave up alcohol for Febfast, and haven't started again. I have taken up running and doing quite a few fun runs, and with the weight loss and feeling better in the mornings and more alert when I go out socially, I'm not inclined to start drinking again.

It is easy to say no to a drink when you have a big run the next morning or the morning after that.

Anyway, I am following a training plan courtesy of Run Coach on my iPhone, and am training to be at peak for the 10,000m at Doomben on the 6th of June on the same day as the Queensland Half Marathon. There are other races that I'll be doing before and after then, but that is the one I'll be aiming to improve my time.

After that, the next goal for improvement will be the Bridge to Brisbane on the 29th of August.

It is really nice to have found something that I am REALLY getting into that is healthy and gets me away from medicine. I'm loving it. :)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

More on the Boots of Doom

I have been stomping around town in my Boots of Stomping and Crushing.

They are entirely too fun. I suspect I will own another pair by the middle of the year, particularly as it is my birthday in May.

It is so nice having a week off. I worked during my holidays over Christmas, so now I get the time to do the things that I didn't get around to doing then.

I have given blood today. It is a donation in Australia (you don't get paid), and they give you a free cuppa and some chocolate. The new centre I visited is pretty swanky - they even had little sausage rolls and a fancy dishwasher for the volunteer to clean the cups in.

I am also doing other fun things like getting the car serviced and going to the dentist. I haven't been to the dentist since first year, and then tend to call me every six months to try to get me in for a check-up. Life has been getting in the way.

The last time I went I had a very small filling. It was so small that I didn't have any anaesthetic, as the injection would have hurt and been more annoying than the filling process itself. I feel terribly hardcore and awesome about not getting a needle for my filling - some days you need something to be proud of, right? ;)

Anyway, this is a fun week.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Day My Brain Exploded. Again.

The super-sized 43st mother who is determined to become the world's fattest woman

There are days when I really wonder about our western society.

Clearly we live in an extremely liberal and wealthy society. This woman is intent on intentionally and consciously self-harming until she destroys herself. Yet we will let her do so.

She is clearly deluded as she thinks that she is healthy, although she is unable to walk 7m, yet we will leave her go on her merry way, as she has the right to her own opinion. When do we stop calling something an opinion and start calling it a delusion?

People will pay her money on the internet so that she can consume 12 000 calories a day in food, when people in the same country do not have enough to eat. The same people will not give money to charities that feed the starving.

Australia is not very far behind the USA in this madness.

What are we to do?

I am not a fat-hater. But this isn't fat. This is 'bariatric'. Intentional and conscious morbid obesity.

She isn't just having a problem maintaining a healthy lifestyle and getting enough exercise. I have a lot of empathy and compassion for people who have difficulty losing weight. It is something that we all struggle with. But this is different.

It is like having somebody sitting proudly on a couch and declaring that they are going to drink themselves to death. That isn't a choice we would accept as valid. We question the number of drinks that people have each day in a medical interview, but we don't question the number of calories or meals that people consume.

When does your life get so bad that you have to destroy yourself to feel good?

Ladies like this on You-tube just make me sad - I really feel for her, as she is trapped in a bad, bad place. She has insight into her problem, and it is a heartbreaking video.

It is the woman in the initial story who makes my brain explode - boldly declaring her conscious intention to make herself a cripple and die an early death. It isn't just about the food and filling a hole. It is about the weight, and to me that is a fundamental difference.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Boots of Stomping and Crushing!

Yes, I went shoe shopping this morning.

We went to the store that sold the Dr Martens, but they didn't have a huge range. The Mary-Janes were okay but they didn't have them in my size, so I went with the Boots of Stomping and Crushing and Other Fun Things.

For some reason, buying them in cherry red seemed more girly than in the black. I wore them all afternoon and they are really very comfortable, plus I can Stomp people and look like I mean it. ;)

If I love them enough, I may just get another pair in a different pattern now that I know my size.

For bonus points (or the status of geek extraordinaire), name the monster I am crushing and the computer game it comes from. :P

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Exams and Shoes and Empty Thoughts

The Exam went as well as was expected.

I'm not sure whether it was because I finished last year on Surgery rotation, which had notoriously difficult exams, or whether this exam was designed for everybody semi-competent to pass, but it was not bad at all.

Honestly, I think it was a bit of both. Some of the questions were so easy that it was shocking. Of course nobody is complaining. We have been through too much in the past few years to look a gift horse in the mouth.

My registrars questioned me a lot during this rotation (I didn't mind), and it REALLY paid off during the exam. I knew things about areas that I hadn't covered on this rotation because they asked me about things outside of the area that we were working in. I felt very lucky to land in such a helpful, proactive team.

I did not buy a pair of stomping shoes just yet. I'm contemplating buying a pair of Docs (then I can rename my blog Doc in Docs after I graduage - bwahahaha, that is awful!) but don't know if I can go that far into the realm of Stomping shoes. I love pretty shoes, but they keep falling apart, and Docs would be so much sturdier and comfortable.

What do you think? Perhaps I should buy a pair with flowers all over them - that would be more feminine, right? ;)

I also think that today will involve cooking. I haven't made a good old-fashioned spaghetti-bolognese in a while, but I have all of the ingredients in the fridge right now (apart from the mince, which isn't hard to procure). Tonight will be a little cool, so it will be a good evening for spag bog and a movie! Normally it would also involve a glass of wine, but I haven't touched a drop since FebFast, and am feeling great. The wine will have to go into the spag bog instead.

I would like to imagine that the lack of alcohol made this exam ridiculously easy for me, but then that would just be deluded. ;)

Thursday, March 11, 2010


One more hurdle and then I am finished with the first rotation of fourth year - The Exam.

If it weren't for the excitement over what this exam means in relation to my planned escape from medical school, it would not warrant the capital letters. You see, it is an exam that is about anything and everything, and thus it is almost impossible to "study" for. Thus, we are all experiencing Learned Helplessness and are suitably apathetic. I am more nervous about the drive in the morning traffic than the exam itself.

The learning has happened over the last three and a bit years (including all of the seemingly random cellular physiology from first year) and if it isn't in our heads now, then we won't know it.

My main aim on this rotation was to focus on the things that will make me a safe and competent intern. I think I have achieved this as much as possible given the circumstances. If I happen to pass the exam (which is fairly likely, unless they happen to base the whole thing around the fine details of the krebs cycle) I will be happy.

I have the afternoon off, which is something I am very excited about. The afternoon may involve shoe shopping. They will be Sensible shoes, particularly because I have managed to demolish three pairs on this rotation by wearing out and detaching the soles. The new shoes will be solid and suitable for stomping. Solid stomping shoes don't lose their soles after 8 weeks of walking.

So here is to finishing the first rotation of year four, and new Stomping shoes!

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Great Hummus Recipe

I have made a lot of different hummus recipes in my time. I mean a LOT.

This one is the best I have ever made:

The most exciting part (apart from the obvious fact of it being The Best Hummus Of All Time) is that the ingredients are standard. I think it is the technique and the amounts that make it so special.

Anyway, give it a try if you are hankering for some hummus. ;)

I used borlotti beans and added a little basil for flavouring and it still turned out extremely creamy and divine.

Huzzah for hummus!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Med Spec

'Medical Sub-specialties' is a great rotation, but I am feeling completely exhausted. Lately there is not much time that isn't spent either studying like a girl possessed, or in clinics/meetings/rounds.

It seems that a lot of lunches are spent in professional meetings, so there isn't much time-out. I guess it is probably better to go home earlier than spend more time at work, but I am used to at least having a few minutes to myself each day to collect my thoughts.

I'm really enjoying the subject matter and can tell that I have learned a lot. There is still so much that I have to learn before I can start to feel any kind of confidence. One of the lovely people supervising me has said that the important thing about being a junior doctor is knowing when to ask for help - and that you should ask for opinions often rather than not at all.

Of course, asking an opinion isn't the same thing as calling somebody up with no information, unprepared and having no idea what you are doing. I constantly feel clueless, and although I know that the exceedingly intelligent doctors around me have felt the same way in the past, this doesn't make me feel any better.

I don't feel comfortable when I get pimped and don't know the answer. I am not at all upset, but the discomfort comes from feeling like I should know what is being asked, and that I am scared about being a bad doctor and that my lack of knowledge could in some way hurt somebody in the future.

This isn't something that I obsess about, but it is a thought that haunts me a little, particularly when we have tutorials where they mention the old "this happened to an intern in this state X decades/months/years ago".

I really enjoy this area, so it has been a great start to the year. We have a week and a half left before our exam, and I can't wait for the week off. Note to self: less coffee and stress will lead to less need for ranitidine and small snacks of bread.

It is a horrifying yet wonderful thought that our first rotation of the last year of medical school is nearly over.