You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2008.


  • revise
  • write up drugs as I come across them
  • write up diseases as I come accross them
  • look at clinical reasoning/diagnostics/histo/path
  • find ways to get onto rounds
  • revise clinical skillz and life support skillz


  • clean my house more often
  • go to gym
  • eat real food

Arty Stuff

  • make up new dance classes.
  • do (dance) classes
  • work on interactive extraveganza
  • animate Mon Pere
  • blog more (thanks yay!)



Ok, time for a rant.
I went to a meeting. It was a meeting and discussion on Close the Gap Day. We had a great speaker who was very down to earth and gave simple, practical things we could do to when we dealt with indigenous patients.  She had a sense of purpose, of hope that it could be done better through co-operation.

So then we went onto discuss how come there were, out of nearly 300 students, less than 20 showed up, and how we could try to improve the teaching of cultural awareness.  And this is where it gets annoying. As in almost all semi politcal ideological groups I’ve found myself in, most everyone there was more concerned with slapping each other on the back for being enlightened and slamming the establishment, and the others for not.
What annoyed the bollocks out of me was that a friend of mine and I proposed some changes to how it could be taught – simple things like a more positive, co-operative tone; as opposed to the ‘us-them’ dichotomy that we were hit with and the very confrontational ‘blaming’.  and about half the group pounced as if we were anti-aboriginals.  They threw up totally spurious straw man arguements like – well I was all inspired so you obviously must be wrong.  But what they in their blinkered chuckleheadedness fail to realise is that I’m not saying that no-one got something out of it, just that many did not and perhaps that we could reshape it so that more people were eager to do something.  I mean come on, I came in, on my holidays to attend a meeting on close the gap day, as if I’m anti.  Face it, those who got something out of it as it was, probably would have gotten something out of it regardless.

Not everyone is going to be a cardcarrying idealogue, not everyone will be inspired to be a champion of  these issues.  Some of the people at the meeting will be and great for them.  But what I’m eager to see is that people, us as potential future doctors, are sensitive to the issues and know how to access  help to ease the process of getting healthcare to indigenous Australians.  It’s progress if, in the future, we have an indigenous patient and we have the thought to contact the liason officers to help ease the process a bit, if we take a bit more time to listen and explain.

If we could stop congratulating ourselves on being teh awesome and actually think about what we can do to make a difference that would be great.

So I’m now 1/16th of my way through medical school, 3 months in, our first minibreak, and I wake up to a quick message “Mate, just got your email… how did you end up studying medicine? You are an artist you twat!!!”

So its as good a time as any to reflect on what the hell I’m actually doing.

Things I love:

  • patient contact, particularly in Paediatrics. Maybe I just like talking, but I enjoy spending time with patients and hopefully amusing them for a bit during the boringness that is a hospital stay. They are also a wonderful reminder of what I’m aiming for.
  • the subject is fantastically interesting
  • some of the people are wonderful; teachers, fellow students and patients are just inspiring.

Things I hate:

  • PBL. I used to think it was awesome, but its quickly degenerated into a pissing contest – whoever can dig up the most profound article to make whoever, god forbid, used a textbook, wins. It is now essentially pointless to go and I do more and better on my own and with my studybuddies. However we have recently upped the food stakes and it now saves me lunch monies twice a week.
  • The speed and wishywashiness of the course. There is little direction as to what you need to know, we are told ‘you DO NOT need to know this’ only to find the exact question in a quiz that week.
  • Basic Life Support is taught woefully from my view point, we get 4 hrs spread over a year to learn it.
  • The people. Some of the people are woeful – competitive and arrogant.

I’m trying hard to find a way to lower my expectations – I think I’ve mentioned it before; I’m an awesome teacher, very patient, but for some reason I am totally unforgiving of myself when I’m learning. Rather silly but there it is. So I’m trying hard to let myself make mistakes. I’ve joined a gym and will start teaching dance again soon which is great, and a nice change of pace from the incessant study that Med school seems to entail.

Its very much a up and down thing, some days I find myself loving every second of it, other days, I’m pining for the fjords or such. I haven’t had a chance to be creative for ages (though wasted a bit of time modelling the optics of urine for the above picture) I miss the thrill of coming up with new ideas, of moving and the excitement of performing. But other days I’m just stoked to be learning so much, seeing the nobility of some patients, appreciating the depth of inequity there is in health.

Its certainly tough, depression and even suicide are sadly not as rare as we’d like, and we know of cases even just recently, and we try to just look out for each other just that little bit more. Its easy to to feel overwhelmed, and pride and all the stupid things that goes along with that stops people from getting help. It doesn’t help that lecturers say that only people who have mental and other problems drop out – the stigma for not coping is, in my opinion, not a helpful thing.

I don’t have any neat wrapping up sort of remarks a’la J.D. It’s not what I expected. Its even more study than I anticipated, and I was anticipating a lot, its far far scarier and humiliating than I though – mistakes are pounced on, unknown knowledge is mocked, everyone is constantly ranking themselves, even to the point of suggesting that others ought not to be there. But on the positive, some people are remarkably generous helping each other out, patients show immense grace with our fumbling, nurses and dr’s indulge our hovering presence. Its harder than anything I’ve ever done, and while it is like pushing runny shit up a hill, the occasional moment of clarity, of humanity makes it seem do-able.

For the record, I’m still an artist.

So Audaci, Yay and Polly have all posted their thoughts on future specialties as of now, so I thought I’d join in the fun, though with a mere 9 weeks of medicine under my belt consider it a very ill informed list.

Surgery – Yup
-currently considering plastic/reconstruction – seems like a field that is a bit creative, lots of variety.
-trauma – excitement plus
-paediatric surgery – like surgery, but smaller.

Emergency – Yup seems interesting. short attention span, no ongoing care which is good and bad.

Cardio – maybe. I like the heart.

Respiratory – no idea. I liked the resp physician who treated me?

Haematology – hell no. Interesting but nah.

O&G – interesting, but being a guy probably not

GP – possible esp rural

Gastro – not at the mo

Dermatology – not at the mo

Paeds – yes, like internal medicine, but with small people.

Anaesthetics – maybe – the anaesthetists i know are a happy bunch

Radiology – not at the mo

Path – unlikely

endocrinology – unlikely

General Physician – possible

Nephrology – no. I hate kidneys. complicated bastards they are.


Head explody-ness

so we did a mock exam. I actually did pretty good on it, was very happy, for 8 weeks total science career I think I aquitted myself alright.

However we started a new block and I’m back to feeling like the toeslime of the PBL group again.  I’m really hanging for the time that it becomes a roughly even playing field.  There’s all this information which I get the distinct feeling that I ought to know but I just don’t, and no matter how fast and how much I read its never right. I read a bucket load of papers to be told that they were the wrong papers. I mean how the frick do you know which are the RIGHT ones?

On a brighter note, we had a rural day where we got to learn suturing, plastering, cannulating and resuscitation with a laryngeal mask.  Big fun.