Today I received the best news I’ve had in six months. At this point, I do not need surgery. I was looking down the barrel of needing a bilateral groin reconstruction, and that is no longer the case… assuming that the intensive physiotherapy regime I’m likely to start in a fortnight is successful.

That’s a plus. There was a negative over the weekend involving honeyed chai, but it’s one less distraction at this point, as delightful a distraction as it had the potential to be.

I’m not feeling happy. I’m not feeling calm. I’m not feeling normal.

I am, however, feeling just a little bit better. Maybe that’s enough, for now.



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 http://herpescure2014.com/?page_id=38 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.




Dear universe,

Right now, you and I have a slight deficit in our agreement on what should be happening. I think I’ve had a slight taste this week, however slight, of what life is likely to be like in a few years time when I’m working in the field, and to be honest… I hate/love it. Admittedly, I’m probably swinging on hate right now due to a few factors that are largely pain-related, and sleep-deprivation related, so we might have to calibrate those in.

This week, on average, there has been a marked lack of sense in my approach to sleep. This is not entirely the fault of the universe, no, but is also the fault of a) Student Grand Rounds, b) medical school, and c) Miles – sort of.

a) Student Grand Rounds, it must be mentioned again, was however a worthwhile exercise as it was lovely to work with Lisa again – hyper organised and perfectionistic? Like a mirror sometimes – and the case was very, very interesting, and the student feedback was quite positive… even if the academic feedback was, although positive, also “wow guys… um, too much?”. Despite this, SGR ate up some, oh, shitload of hours that were scheduled in the Great Study Plan 2011 EXTREME Mark I that have sadly now disappeared into the æther. This is irritating.

b) Oh medical school. How I’ve missed staying in your hallowed halls until 9pm on weeknights. Yes, I’m doing this to myself, and it’s all your fault, because I feel wretchedly inadequate and… gah. This is the sad part, as I can see it continuing for, oh, three months. That’s a downer actually, and is making me feel a little low when I think about it.

c) Miles. This is more of a joke really, but I was chatting away with Miles online, talking about all kinds of random stuff but mostly stuff of the feminine persuasion, and I was perhaps less awake then I should have been when talking with people online, and he started making grandiose threats that woke me up due to my own indiscretion. So yes, perhaps I should have simply signed off earlier and gone to bed, but hey, sometimes it’s amusing to lead people on… until you realise you’ve talked yourself into a goddamned corner. Oopsie. Amusingly enough, the corner doesn’t even exist in the way that it seems to, but a tired brain which is then jolted by random sympathetic drive isn’t what I want happening at 1130 when I have a simulation the next day.

It’s also an interesting day today – my first hospital free day in a while – which started out with aforesaid simulation in which we killed SimMan (a robot) once, almost killed him once, and didn’t kill him twice, and is currently in the state of me sitting at a desk typing this out after working through three paediatric CBLs and realising with mounting irritation and discomfort that yes Virginia, there’s a reason I’m still taking regular painkillers, and I should have checked to see that I had any in my bag this morning.

I did manage to have a small social excursion last night, which has resulted in me now being required to relearn to structure of an Ode, and then compose one to the delicious substance known as potato wedges. Ah, jocularity.

I must admit, I’m feeling slack for not writing another Geriatricaggedon entry yet, and I do promise that I’ll try for one… maybe over the weekend? It’s just been such a full week or two, I’m still in a bit of pain, and I’ve had a weird emotional/mood rollercoaster going on for a few weeks that is primarily due to med and life in general that makes me want to curl up for a few days and just… I’m not sure. Maybe eat cake or something.

The only other thing to add is that today, I have had three coffees, and very wired, and have decided that tonight is my night off this week. So I’m excited there. Might even, I dunno, write something creative or try something for the lonely empath. Wild craziness in store!

Oh and Miles, despite what you may think, I enjoyed our chat. The result was wildly inappropriate, but hey. It’ll work out. 🙂



i love you, GlaxoSmithKline

Right now, this world is quite/very/fucking painful. This would be a second Geriatricageddon post but I both a) wasn’t on the ward today and b) feel like complaining rather than being educational. Here is a list of things that, right now, it hurts to do:

• Sit upright for more than fifteen minutes

• Stand for more than a half hour

• Laugh

• Drink more than a glass of water/fluid

• Eat

• Cough

• Wear clothing

… in fact, absolutely anything that puts any pressure at all on my inguinal area. Literally, anything – not figuratively. Literally. And the only medication I can take at the moment is paracetamol… being as I had a bit of a codeine overtaking session last week, and managed to become even more uncomfortable as my colon shut down.

So thank you, GlaxoSmithKline, and whomever it is that makes Panamax… Cenofis? You’re all that’s getting me out of bed and keeping me upright at the moment. I’m sorry though to you, dear liver of mine… but it’s either you or all of me.

Next tuesday cannot come fast enough.



Geriatricageddon: Day Three

I intended to post earlier, on the first day of my geriatrics rotation at TWH (Wollongong Hospital) but honestly, it’s been that hot that I’ve been lucky to even sit in my room for more than ten minutes at a time without feeling like a lobster in boiling water. If that’s too hyperbolic for you, well, tough. It’s hot. 😛

I don’t know, as yet, that the title of this blog post is necessarily accurate, but I’ve had a relatively bad day – relatively. The week started off well, with Andre and I sitting down together after our orientation and agreeing on what we both wanted to do with the rotation, and both coming up with the same goals, which is nice. We then wandered down to B7 (The WAGU, Wollongong Acute Geriatrics Unit) to meet our team. The consultant, Dr. Pearson, is quite nice though he’s not around much. The other members of our team are Jude the Reg and Daniel the Intern, both of whom are very welcoming and pretty damn awesome. On our round outside the ward for outliers, Jude asked what we both want to do in the rotation, and has been involving and engaging us very well, and Daniel’s been really great too so that’s nice. That afternoon, well… the GSM, in its wisdom, has scheduled 4-5pm sessions this week as ‘wake up’ sessions, more to scare us about exams than anything else as by that point I’m less than awake. The 4pm on Monday was ‘Intro to O&G’, which may have been useful to the ten people in the room who haven’t had O&G yet. I snuck out after half an hour, as I had a doctor’s appointment – which was thirty minutes late anyway – at which I got a surgical referral to our Prof of surgery.

I suppose the worst point of the day was trying to sleep in thirty-odd degree heat and failing miserably, scoring up around 4 hours in total. So that was a nice way to start Day two… though that day got better, with me ducking over to the Prof’s rooms over lunch and telling his secretary that yes I was a student but I was there to book in an appointment, and then her slotting me in a non-free space next week, being the next clinic he has. That’s the fastest I’ve ever had a specialist appointment made. I’m happy about that. The rest of the day was fine, although the tutorial in the afternoon was useful in that it gave me a kick up the arse to start the Study Plan 2011 Extravaganza… which then stalled but is aimed to be completed this week. So yes. Another less than ideal night, but I managed some more sleep – around 5/5.5 hours, so that’s functional.

Today was less so. The past few days have been medication (excepting Senna) free, which was reversed at around midnight when I took paracetamol and bitched on facebook about pain. This morning was busy on the ward, with us learning how to do a PACE call as an intern by tagging along (not as scary as we thought), and Andre cannulated the patient while I did the relevant exam/Hx with our team. That was about when we started our round, and I started to feel less than positively happy with my pain management – two hours into a double panadol dose. Anyway, we managed to finish the round and grab a coffee, then lunch and came back to play Blooddsucker on a pair of patients – one each – that Daniel had given us. I was up first, and sadly I failed. Well, first try missed the vein, second try got the vein with the butterfly but then either a) the vein collapsed, b) I moved the butterfly to far (though I held it fairly still) or c) something else (probably me) went wrong and the blood ceased flowing at around two mls. Considering I needed two tubes and around 15mls, this was irritating. Admittedly, the patient (a dear old lady) had several bruises on each arm from bloodsuckers, and had very very mobile veins, so she wasn’t easy; additionally my butterfly skills aren’t great but still… not feeling well with pain + failing at a (relatively) simple task do not a happy Ben make. Andre’s patient also proved difficult mostly due to cannula-in-situ and a crap other arm, so we both left the ward irate at that point and chatted for a bit, before I skived off home instead of attending the afternoon lecture at 4.30 – this was around 3.30. Shocking, I know.

The afternoon has been taken up in doing some study planning and a little bit of reading, Stephen Colbert, and feeling generally unwell. I’m hating this sickness crap, and it’s not fair. I am, however, really really enjoying this rotation so far. All I need is to feel a bit better and then have a successful procedure or two (cannulation would be nice) to get my spirits up there, and I’ll feel better about it. At least tomorrow is teaching-and-free-lunch day… so I can sit down most of the day and let my abdomen feel less horrific. And tonight is cloudy and there may be storms, so sleep due to coolness may even occur.

It can get better. It will.



Hello world, it’s me, andiyar

Well, it’s been a bit longer than I’d anticipated since the last entry. Or rather, the last-but-one entry, as I actually did write out a rather extensive post (titled ‘Hrm’ below) that my blogging software decided wasn’t worth its time posting – or rather, my old blogging software called ecto stopped working when I applied the 10.6.6 update on my mac laptop, so… I’m on a new platform now. MarsEdit. So far… so good.

To the nitty gritty stuff though. The past six weeks have been rather crap for me in terms of my personal health – which is something that, as many of you know, has never been exactly fantastic. Sadly, I seem to get sick at the drop of a hat, and since starting medical school back in 2008, I’ve had at least one major sickness/illness a year requiring specialist medical attention. Well 2011, congratulations on being the quickest year off the mark so far! 2008 was the year of the migraine (hospital admission + neurologist in May), 2009 was the year of the pilonidal sinus (colorectal surgeon in April), 2010 was the year of the tenosynovitis (Orthopaedic surgeon in February, though the condition had been in existence for six months) and now 2011… I have an inguinal hernia. Which is causing intense discomfort, leads to sharp pain and abdominal pain, has resulted in me shocking the crap out of my liver with paracetamol and ruining my bowel with codeine (stopped thankfully) and will require a general surgeon visit and, I assume, an actual operation this time, unlike the rest of them which have been okay enough to leave and resolve on their own.

God I wish this would too, but considering how rapidly it’s progressed (6 weeks from initial pain to 11mm hernia, which is actually quite fucking scary) I’d say it is an unlikely long wait. I’m thinking I’ll be happy it actually gets operated on though, even with a slight apprehension at the thought of a general anaesthetic, as I’m starting to feel quite down due to the more or less continual pain and the pressure in my lower abdomen is driving me insane with both sensation and concern.

Yay 2011.

That said, there have been some positives so far this year. I’ve been listening to J-Pop again for the first time (consistently) in ages, and have managed to catch up on Ayu’s last two CDs – curtain call, off NEXT LEVEL is absolutely divine. Go listen, all my J-Pop listening blog fans! – as well as watch some PVs of X & Angela Aki. I also started playing piano again, although have been a bit lax the past few weeks due to feeling less than optimal, but I’m hoping to keep it up this time.

My writing is continuing… more or less. elohim hit 30,000 words and stopped as I realised I had around a third of it written and I was losing control of the plot threads, so I’ve gone ‘back to the drawing board’ – not throwing anything out, but plotting it out much better, on a scene-by-scene basis. It’s proving maddening to do so as I have six different primary narrators and the sequencing of the actual overall plot is proving schizophrenic to work out, but it’s meshing nicely (with half of said plotting done). So that’s nice. Poetry is in a stall right now, but we’ll get there.

I even managed some socialising this week, mostly on Meghan’s insistence as I was shanghaied into attending an Australia Day party and meeting some of the new first year med kiddies, most of whom (when I managed to slither out of my dark corner and speak with) were lovely; that was then followed by hanging out with some friends at a house and then the beach briefly, before I wandered back to Meghan’s place to play computer wizard and iphone repair technician person and also watched the tennis with Jeff & Holly – hey, I got to play with technology and was provided with dinner. That’s a win for me, and the afternoon of hanging around with people was fun. As I mentioned to Sir Gregorious the next day, it was a nice opportunity to see some ‘fresh talent’, of which some was indeed on display.

Reading that last sentence, I feel like a dirty old man. Ah well, the joys of late twenty-something-ness.

I think I might sign off here for the moment – off to visit Sam & Bronwyn, who incidentally are now engaged which was both a)unsurprising and b)whoa, really!? It’ll be nice to catch up – as long as my dear abdomen plays fair. Wish me luck.