come pick me up

When they call you name, will you walk right up, with a smile on your face?

No ladies and gentlemen, it’s a rhetorical question. A beautiful song, albeit a mildly saddening one. That perhaps is a description of the weeks thus gone – beautiful, with mild saddening imbued.

First things first – I’m now officially five eighths through medical school. I ran the gauntlet of the OSCE, as mentioned in the post previous couples therapy los angeles , had a day of light study and confusing dinner invitations, then sat two written papers over two days, which made me wonder if I was going to be five eighths through medical school. Dear GSM, when you eventually find this, as I’m sure you will, please note: that was a absolute piece of shit exam – even if, as it turned out, I did pass it all. That said – I’m getting ahead of myself in the story, so let’s deal with the aforementioned events one at a time, then do some philosophical meandering. I mean – I know why you’re all here, right?

OSCE. Objective, Structured, Clinical, Explosion. That’s how it felt by the third station. The day dawned bright and warm, I dressed in a nice stripy shirt, went into Wollongong and had a latte at Swell, then had a satay chicken early lunch at Mylan, all the while cramming Paeds & ObGyn notes (for… nothing as it turned out!) and then wandered to the uni, where I hung about for a little while with a few friends before we were tagged, given stickers, and then… quarantined for an hour and a half. Literally, I sat in a lecture theatre for an hour and a half without any phone/outside access (mobiles confiscated) and didn’t remember to take a novel. I did make a study playlist though! On my iPhone. Sigh.

Anyway, after the quarantine we were escorted to the med school and I went upstairs, sat down, buzzers began and off we went for two and a half hours. My first station was a bitch (muscular/neuro lower limb shit crap) but… I walked in, my hands were still, my stomach was calm, and I just played the game. That almost fell apart on my third station which was apparently a peripheral vascular disease (although I did examine the nerves, muscles, chest, lymph nodes and lungs!) but… after that it was mostly smooth apart from some cockups, but not fuckups. Anyway. Walked out feeling crap but okay, and went over each station and thought “ah, can’t actually find any I fucked over totally” so that was nice. I then got a phone call saying “hey, let’s go see X-Men!” and so a gang of ten med students watched a hilariously awesome film and just chilled. Great end to the day, I must admit.

Sunday following was… confusingly indecisively enjoyably odd, I must admit. I did a half a day of study, and was randomly asked to dinner by a friend and (hey, let’s be honest) I’m still unsure what the hell she meant by it. That said, dinner was lovely and made me wonder – and since my brain was insanely complexly wrapped up in issues involving acute renal failure and schizophrenic medications, and as such my reasoning was not perhaps working well… but hey. Anyway, that plus a few other things have led to a relatively amusing extended conversation about the ‘X-Girls’ (which I will no, not elaborate on here), but apart from that, and a few flutterbies, well… I’m derailing from my narrative.

Curse you, Miss Butterfly.

The written exams followed on the Monday (oh god, that was so bad) and the Tuesday (if not multiple choice, it would have been even worse) and I was not confident at all precious, not confident at all. I then spent a week trying to relax but basically evolved into a check-online-marks-repository-every-fifteen-minutes machine instead. There was some creativity though, when Jessie semi-volunteered me to work on the script for this year’s MedRevue, and which I didn’t take much persuading to do, and so we’ve done that a few times since and have put together something that is kinda fun and kinda hilarious, if I do say so myself. It’s been ages since I’ve written script, and it’s been a hell of a good time – and now it appears I’m singing and acting in it as well as helping write the show. Creative team ahoy!Read more:

Anyway, after that, marks did eventually come out – thank you, dear Kylie, for calling me in the middle of the fail call times to congratulate me, but seriously, thanks! – and I passed… hence the 5/8ths I mentioned earlier. And that’s nice… and climactically anticlimactic. This means that in four weeks, I’ll move to Bowral for a year (apart from some of summer) and then after that I’ll be effectively qualified, electives pending… and that’s scary.

Lots of elipses in that paragraph there. Just saying. But yes – not long now until it’s over and done with, and I can get on with the real world issue of finishing a novel and becoming Rich and Famous. Watch this space.

Finally, a few thoughts to round this out – I’ve finished the conversations, with you poetry sequence I posted a few of a while back – 25 pieces in length in total. To be truthful, it was becoming too hard to keep writing, and the X-Girls issues as mentioned earlier have fried my brain to the point that the Girl Known As ConversationsGirl needed to be removed, and so I wrapped it five poems earlier than the initial plan. I may pick it back up again – who knows when I’ll run into her again – but right now, I can’t think like that.

There comes a time when the empath and the emotional engager needs to turn off. There’s a thought that says you can close your ears but you can’t close your heart, and it’s mostly true, except when you bottle it all down and refuse to let any of the emotion leave and just pray that it distills itself away and is gone – either that, or it explodes in your face. Until recently, I’ve been bottling a lot of things away, and it’s only through conversations and through talking with a few friends (and one in particular) that that has at all changed – and for that, we can thank my Psychiatry rotation for basically running along in the background and uncorking all my stored bottles.

Ah, metaphor. Regardless – I’m feeling more emotional and yet more stable than I have in a long time, right now. There’s butterfly potential, there’s relaxation, there’s a new movement in the doctorin’, and health is looking a bit better (physio + orthotic + maybe-no-surgery = awesome news)Plantar Fasciitis cure so at the moment, fingers crossed… life is good.

Let’s see how long this time lasts. 🙂



a warm gun

So, the Beatles tell us, happiness is – and so, Across the Universe showed us, is being addicted to opiates while being injected by hot blonde nurses.

Hm? Oh yes. Relevance.

Today is Friday, and as Rebecca Black has recently taught us, we’re all looking forward to the weekend – although I can’t honestly claim there will be much “partying” or realistically much “fun”, no matter how many times said “fun” is repeated – and to be honest, sufficient hours have elapsed since this entry was started (I know, some fifty-odd words ago) for it to no longer be Friday, but I enjoy the joke too much to change it, so let’s just dive in and see what’s happening shall we?

This has been an interesting week for me in several ways. Since my last post, I can honestly say that my mood has remained high, or at least high for me, and that my overall level of emotion this week can be best described as ‘contented’, and even ‘happy’ as an elevation thereof. This is… quite a different situation, from my typical. I sound like a fourteen-year-old wearing eyeshadow no doubt, but I find my natural state of being these days (these years?) tends to be at least 20% below contentment, even when I am content – as if I have titrated my own state to be slightly lower than it should be. This may be a result of the slow grinding down of the soul that life and med school have engendered, it may be due to the burdening cynicism that I tend to filter my surroundings through. Oh yes, I’m a cynic, despite what many people have said to me about my ‘optimism’ and my ‘naivete’, I just find it easier to present the happier, or at least less cynical face to the world. Ask any of my family though, and you’ll definitely hear the ‘glass half full’ argument as applied to my perspective. I don’t know that it’s entirely fair, but I do perhaps come across a little un-optimistic.

Ties in a little with an entry here from a few weeks ago, where I mentioned the “I have to laugh or I’d be crying” perspective, which tends to be my actual outlook on life itself, or at least on the life I tend to lead. I imagine clowns must have the same thing – cry on the inside, as it’s a show. Damn right it’s a show, and my chosen profession, my calling, requires the happy or at least the compassionate face. The second is easier, it’s more default, but as I seem to have ranted in several essays submitted to the GSM under the guise of professional development, there is no clear boundary between compassion and over-involvement, and to me that is the flaw that will, I am certain, lead to burnout.

But not this week, oh no. This week has been different!

I’m sitting at uni on the Saturday now having worked through two surgical CBL cases (I’m only 3 behind over the whole phase now! 3 cases!), have half a container of Vietnamese saté chicken in the fridge to eat in the next hour or so when I feel snackish, and am reflecting on the week gone and (being the eternal optimist I just described myself as) I’m trying to pick holes in it, and… mostly failing. This week, I’ve had my ego boosted immensely by showcasing a piece of short fiction I wrote to several groups of friends and receiving feedback that basically boils down, to me, as “yep, still got it!” (the piece is called “Fallen” if you’re interested, and it’s on FB); I caught up with several friends, being on break, that made me smile; I spent time with the family which was lovely; I… well, to be honest, I had a week of horrible eating patterns but hey, there was delicious food involved; I managed to get my GP to agree that I should have medicare-assistance for my current physio so it’s free until May; I read three novels… overall, a fairly positive week!

There is a slight negative of course in that a young lady seems to be overly enamoured of me in a way that I can’t/won’t return for her, and I’m sad to see it, but that is something that I feel will work out with time. It’s noticeable enough that friends have been commenting, and my response has been “yes, I know, and it makes me feel bad” – I dislike hurting people, in fact I tend to be harder on myself so as to spare others, and this incident is only really proving that point, but I digress. That’s the negative of the week, and as such, well… I can deal with that negative. No choice in the matter!

I suppose there’s another brief negative too in the lack of the company of some people who haven’t been around, either recently or for a long time, but sadly the stars do not always align the way that would be nice, and sometimes the lack makes for a clear head, or at least perspective. I predict, at the moment, that the upswing might just last for a while longer, and isn’t that a happy thought – I’m even planning a poetry collection I think, as I have a few things I want to put together. The last book, letters to Jessica, is a book of love poetry, effectively, and there were I think three specific subject people in the book as well as a few other tangentials. The next collection, well, for some reason I want to write a collection where the title includes the world Conversation, and each poem is actually a real letter or discussion that I wish I could have had/could have with someone(s) special, noone necessarily in particular but a similar theme to ltj. We’ll see.

I do think, though, that Conversations with You makes for a cute sounding title.



all the lost souls

Mark Twain, when writing about Jeanne d’Arc, found it difficult to comprehend certain ‘truths’ about her that were embedded ultimately in altruism and faith. Altruism, naturally, is the belief that self-service is wrong and that service of others is good, that our greatest happiness in life comes from giving to others, selflessly, even self-sacrificing. Some no doubt find this a difficult perspective to come to terms with – I had an engaging chat with a ‘friend’ about this, and he could not be shaken from his belief that self-satisfaction is the ‘payoff’ from altruism, and as such it is in and of itself a selfish action – because the altruist is gaining a self-affirmation out of it. Read more about Toronto laser hair removal

Maybe it’s a kind of madness, but I can say that self-satisfaction isn’t the reasoning behind giving, although I’d be lying if I said it didn’t exist, it merely isn’t important. This is a little abstract for a daily blog, perhaps, but hey. I don’t feel like a full lonely empath entry today, and I will be talking about a mixture shortly… but first let me say this. I think, in certain ways if not in the majority of ways, I default towards altruism. This is especially apparent in relationships between myself and friends, and in relationships in which I am less engaged. There is something entirely captivating about seeing people emotionally content and joyous, something about watching people in love be in love that makes me feel amazingly content. Not content in myself, oh no, that’s a rarity and a half these days, but content that the world is spinning on its axis as it should – even when I’m never on the inside of these relationships, I’m just the facilitator looking in and smiling in gentle affection.

Ah, what a fun time it is.

I’ve finally finished my surgical term in ENT surgery – which was amazing, let’s not split hairs, but thank god, no more surgery. Ever. Unless I choose to do so. Next up I have a psychiatry rotation, which I’m fairly sure will be ultimately fascinating and self-destructing, as I seem to be becoming more prone to picking up and amplifying the emotional context of people around me, so I assume that being in a crowd of depressed people will make compassion be more of a self-inflicted weapon than something useful – but we’ll see.

I finally, incidentally, have a diagnosis as to what’s been going on with me health-wise the past few months. I have managed to sustain a Groin Disruption Injury – a Gilmore’s Groin in NA – which is likely going to require surgical fixation in the not too distant future, will require a highly expensive scan, and currently involves a physiotherapist molesting my adductor muscles on a weekly basis. That said, apart from the ache today (as in, goddamnit that muscle is sore!) it was a good thing and helped a lot at the time. So that’s nice. Hopefully, with a little luck, physio will get me to a functional state, and surgery can be done during Phase 3 after I pass these pesky June Exams.

Yes, pass. I’m being somewhat confident at the moment, due to my relatively nice performance in the practice exam we had a week ago – passed each clinical station, and ranked overall in the top 30 (I think, hard to tell from the graph!) so I’m not panicking about that… just about the written paper, which will be My Nemesis I’m sure.

So I’m probably a little more hopeful than I was at the last entry, if you scroll down and feel sorrow for me – I did at the time, hell, why not still, but… right now, I feel contented. I’m on holiday (read: study break) for a week, and the past three days and nights have been… exceptional. On Thursday, I gave my final hospital presentation (of med school, I think!) then did some study at the uni and had amazing Thai food with a lovely friend; Friday I handed in my ENT surgery paper work (Grade: Excellent), had a few awesome lectures, went to the Novotel for a coffee and then had Indian food with a few med friends – one of whom is getting married tomorrow, congratulations darling Lisa! – and a pair of New Zealanders (one of whom I found to be a kindred spirit, I mean, anyone whom you can discuss Socrates, John Stuart Mill, Plato, The Beatles, Glee and Qaddafi is, well, fricking rare); and yesterday I had my Molestation Physio (which was actually pretty good), then decided to have a weekend off study so I spent the afternoon writing a Sonnet for the Jejunum, the least remembered of our bodily organs whilst watching Jon Stewart & Stephen Colbert, then followed that by a fantastic home-made tapas dinner with two wonderful med friends and one of them’s husband, at the conclusion of which I realised with an amused shock, that I felt actually and peacefully happy for the first time in a long while.

Winding down is essential. Wishful thinking can be a benefit. Loving and being in love are different – but that doesn’t matter when you’re there.




once upon a december

Hello there internet. It’s been a few weeks, hasn’t it, and I hear you’ve been a bit unwell. I’m sorry to hear about it, but this is my forum – you can come later.

Heh. Just kidding. For some reason, I’m in a decent mood this evening, the past weeks nonwithstanding. Life is a bit of a random rollercoaster at the moment, with exam stress beginning to kick in (beginning, sure), health still an absolute clusterfuck, random emotional traumatic baggage, and a general sensation that things are being sucked down the drain.

Still, as I told a patient yesterday, you’ve got to smile and laugh – she commented I’d make a wonderful doctor because I was always smiling and was lovely. I jokingly told her it was either that or cry, and I wasn’t allowed to do that in the hospital because it’d upset patients. She laughed. So did I – although on the inside, Ben tapped me on the shoulder and said “yeah, sure, funny. Pity it’s absolutely true.”

I’ve likened mood to a pendulum in the past – I’m sure the evidence is searchable on this blog, it definitely existed on LJ. Right now, the pendulum is swinging down and I’m having a hard time pinning down why, other than a long list of small things that are all having a downwards pressure. Life reminds me of course that it, as well as most of the medical issues my patients have, are comprised of many small things, so there’s that of course, but I think there’s a few core issues happening, and so I’m hoping that writing this down will be a bit exorcistic for me in terms of at least putting them into words. Here’s hoping.

The first of the great levellers is health at this point – I really understand now what pain does to people. I’m perpetually exhausted, and that’s never a great sign. The pain itself comes and goes, but it’s always in the background ready to pounce when I do things like, oh, walk up three flights of stairs. It’s amazing what kind of impact it’s had on me – I’m sleeping badly; I’ve lost weight as I’m often either in pain and don’t want to eat or I’m too tired to eat or I’m eating less as filling the intestine makes it worse; the lack of positive progress in resolution is dragging my mood down, and even when I’m cheered up it’s still there; I’m having trouble with memory (both remembering stuff I’ve just done and to take my painkillers); I’m constantly fatigued; I can barely walk more than a few hundred metres without focussing on my gait and making sure my heels hit the ground before my toes… ah, there’s more, but hey.

Any one or two of those things would be dealable, it’s just the constant crushing grind that is driving me further and further down. The only benefit I have at this point is I’ve been migraine-free for almost five weeks now… though since venus factor diet reviews diet, fatigue and mood have always been triggers for me, that’s unlikely to last – and considering my life is under fluorescent lighting and that sets me off after a while, I’m just waiting for a headache slam to top the month off. It’s got five hours… taking bets now.

Another issue, about which I just posted on TLE, is loneliness, and that’s something that keeps growing as well – nothing atypical, but just another thing. It’s definitely not helped by emotional baggage at the moment, what with the fun that is LadyTroubles, although troubles is selling it too large.

I suppose to elaborate: I’m a little amused and reflective of my usual relationship with The Womens™, as a dear friend described it. The majority of my friends are female, which is both enjoyable and entertaining, and I find that I seem easily able to talk to, relate with and understand the female mindset. This perhaps makes it natural that I am in my element as the Gay Best Friend role for almost every single girl I know, while being unabashedly straight. I seem to have the ability to assume the FriendZone as a natural state of mind – which isn’t helped by my seeming propensity to cause female friends of mine to break up with their partners, simply by being a friend. There should be some way to monetise that – I’d make a freaking fortune, even as I hate that it seems to happen.

Seriously though, there’s relatively emotional baggage going on at the moment, which I can no more cease or control than I can lift a tectonic plate but cannot allow to progress due to what Miles would call chivalry and what the modern male would call bloody stupidity. I’ll take the chivalry clause, but will note that being an emotional wreck of a (?)man makes me engage way too easily with certain aspects of people and want to provide a level of shelter and comfort that I seem to be adept at doing – it’s just not possible to do that without chipping another layer of personal sanity away, and smiling while I do it because it’s worth it.

At least losing sanity doesn’t result in losing eloquence! It’ll get better, I can but hope – even though hope is a flawed and shattered process, it’s much like clinging to driftwood after a shipwreck, but hey – how the hell else are you supposed to wash back into shore? Just pray that the ship was closer to shore than you’re pretty certain it was.