No Sacred Heart, No Sound

This is the way the degree ends. Not with a bang, but with exultation.

Pardon me. It’s been a long time coming, and I’m finally at the end of the tunnel. In fact, ladies and gentlemen of my devoted reading audience (so… anyone?) in two weeks and one day, I will finish the education programme known as the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery. One more week of placement, one week of presentations and conferences and then… boom. Done. Admittedly, we don’t get the ‘piece of paper’ until the 12th of December but as far as the formal programme goes, Wednesday the week after next is it.

It strikes me that I’ve been lax in my blog/writing/posting/etc recently. For that I can only apologise and say well, I’ve been doing a daily/weekly updates on Facebook thing instead of writing extended posts here. Not a great excuse, sure, but a true one.

At present I’ve spent the past five weeks at Sacred Heart, the hospice attached to St. Vincent’s in Darlinghurst. I arrived back in Australia on the 14th of October… I actually lost the 13th as I travelled, but that’s okay. Plane was smooth, Emirates were lovely, and I didn’t eat the prawns on the trip.

Since I’ve been home I’ve been working in the aforementioned Sacred Heart, with amazing doctors, nurses, allied health and the tao of badass administrative staff, as well as two ward cats named Morphine and Dexamethasone (Morph & Dex for short). I’m pretty much sold on the speciality now… it’s just been superb.

I note that I promised earlier to write about MedRevue this year, which I, ahem, did not do. So, a brief summary… it was superb. There was an amazing group of first year students in particular who were incredibly enthusiastic and talented, we had Kate who was one of our stars last year as the producer, director, writer and choreographer and she did an absolutely stellar job. Me, well. I told Kate if she needed some help I was happy to do “a little bit”. I went over the script for her and tidied it up a bit and said that I supposed I could be on stage for a small part if necessary. So I got cast as the leading compere/MC role. I played Willy Wonka in the Willy Wonka themed show.

Small part… sigh. It was, however, *amazing* fun, and they were such a great group of kids to be working with. Next year apparently they’re thinking of Harry Potter… I’m almost considering offering to come back for one weekend only as Professor DumbleDean, if that role exists. 😉

Anyway fans, it’s getting late and I’m getting sleepy. Was off sick from work today, and need to at least make an impression tomorrow. My paperwork will be filled in on Monday I hope, so I need to look keen!

Miss you all, surely. Say hi!

This portable MIG welder reviews are very helpfull.


-Benjamin Andiyar

london calling

Hello world.

I’m currently sitting on the seventh floor of a medical officer residence with Portable Air Conditioning in London – where I’m placed at the moment for the next three and a half weeks, to learn how the NHS works. That’s what my brief says, anyway, and that’s what the assignment I really should start working on will say, you know, when I get to it.

So far London is a delightful place, full of interesting people and wonderful sights. I’ve been learning a chunk of neurology while I’m here, which is my aim, and have been engaging with a wide variety of people. That, and catching up with old friends.

Friday last I braved National Rail over here and visited Cardiff in Wales – something that’s been a goal of mine for several years now. There I met my internet friend, Jon, with whom I’ve talked about life, random stuff, women and bad humour for the past decade, and who I promised, many years ago, to visit when I finally made it to the UK.

Promise kept. He gave a visiting Australian a lovely tour through the Welsh countryside, gave me a surprisingly comfortable couch to rest upon, and even chauffeured me to and from the train station. He’s also a wonderful guy and has some lovely friends, as well as a great local Japanese restaurant. Add in the wonderful countryside and it was a thoroughly enjoyable visit.

South Wales and New South Wales though? Not that similar. Not really. One wonders where the name was inspired from, and will keep wondering.

Upon returning ‘home’ to London I had another Friend Adventure™, this time with Amin, an old school chum who has recently (last week) moved to London with his wife and new son, to start work at a law firm here. We sat down for a drink, and then explored the centre of the city for a while. Wonderful to catch up and to finally meet his lovely young lady, and his little boy – named, appropriately, after me. I assume.

Today, being Monday, was day 16 of elective, and I celebrated the best way I could; by having a day off to do some paperwork. Yep. I was going to go into the ward, but didn’t, and instead of attending the clinic I wandered about London, had something to eat, explored Fitzrovia, and found out where my mail gets delivered too while I’m here. That’s important, as I have ordered a book off Amazon, as well as an engraved pen, and now a pair of headphones. The book has arrived already, the pen hopefully by tomorrow, the headphones this week. Huzzah!

Tomorrow’s plan at this stage is to attend the Professor’s clinic (my technical boss) and then attend an epilepsy clinic in the afternoon, then on Wednesday I’m planning a hospital day (attending the registrar’s meeting and then rounding), Thursday probably similar, and then clinics on Friday morning, I think.

Next week? I’m probably having a week off. I’m going to Stratford-upon-Avon and staying the evening, as well as seeing some Shakespeare. I’m thinking about visiting the Continent, but Eurostar tickets are for some reason triple their usual price at this juncture, so that might not happen. Maybe I’ll trek up to Edinburgh instead, or do some sightseeing around England. I’ve always wanted to visit Alderly, after reading the Weirdstone of Brisinghamen, and maybe that’ll happen. Maybe I’ll just do some of the London sightseeing I’ve been missing out of so far, like the Tower, a bus tour, that kind of thing.

Probably try to see Wicked too; depending on my elective friends who want to go and see it. If they can’t make it, hell. I’ll still go. It’s my birthday that week after all, so I deserve some time, right?

The two weeks following I’m planning to spend mostly on the ward. I might do a bit of clerking perhaps, I’ll definitely attend rounds, and I plan to spend a day or two following the on-call SpR (A/T registrar) to see how the life a neurology-trainee goes. I’ve also got a PPD essay to write, as well as a disease monograph, and a symptom monograph.

Sigh. Busy busy. Life!


-Benjamin Andiyar

so very. damn. tired.

It’s 10:30pm, and at this point I’ve been awake for nineteen hours, and taking out the two hours of sleep I managed last night, I was awake for some 15 hours the day before with a horrific migraine. So two hours of sleep out of thirty six, and a migraine gently reminding me in the background why it’s a good idea to take domperidone during aura phase.

Ah well.

Life in Bowral is, at the moment, kind of awesome, despite the tone of my prior post. Oh, there’s still some melancholia ticking along but it’s mostly backgrounded now – my dear friend who was away and was my closest person in the house is back, and I have someone I can talk with again, instead of spending all my time talking with Ben Upstairs.

Incidentally she asked about him. He’s doing fine, although he’s discomfited that other people realise he’s about, and he needs to shut up sometimes so I can get some damn sleep. Seriously, thoughts going over and over in my head is not a productive method of producing sleep.

It’s interesting, actually. Apparently this is abnormal, but I almost always have a conversation going in my head, normally with myself or with aspects of myself, where I will talk through what’s happening, give myself my opinions about things (especially things I’ve done), etc. This goes away when I’m working/focussed – for instance, typing this now – but when I’m just lying there trying to sleep, or walking down the road without music, or sitting idly about, my mind never shuts up. I’ve been told by several people now that “that’s weird”, I’ve been told by several INFJ people online that “yeah, completely normal”… so yay for being odd in yet another way?

At least I try not to reply to myself out loud when there are people around. That always gets me the “crazy?” looks. I used to joke that I was talking to the most intelligent person about… but hey, that’s a little narcissistic, and I dislike being narcissistic.

I’m alive and I talk with myself. All the time.

Ah well. Isn’t that fun. I was going to talk about women here… but I won’t at the moment. Suffice to say: dammit, etc, butterflies, etc.

One day, Jessica. One day.



is it me you’re looking for?

So the last entry here was… melodramatic? Perhaps. It’s not often I use an ellipsis to title things these days except perhaps as an expression of “i am lost for words.”

I was lost then. In some ways, I still am now, but at least I’m being semi-verbose around the issues. Ah, life.

This evening had a surprising event contained within. I was sitting in front of the gas heater in Merrigang, watching my eyes in the mirrored glass, and found myself telling that reflection, “I just wish I wasn’t alive right now.” That was a slightly disconcerting moment – I assure the gentle reader that I am in no sense suicidal, so please do not immediately leap for the telephone, but there was just an incredible detachment there, as if it didn’t matter.

The weekend however has been full of ‘stuff that matters’. I was part of the production crew and cast for MedRevue, which was a hell of a lot of fun – as I told Miles, I love theatre and I hate theatre, the hate being the five minutes before and five seconds after I walk onto the stage, the love being everything else ever about it. The show was fantastic, the cast were really amazing – we have some wonderful talent. True, there were a few moments where I was ready to tear my hair out from stress, but (for you, Jessie), a friend called ScarfGirl was perfectly placed with a few words, a smile and a hug that just made the stress melt.

A pity that… ah. No. Not tonight – to continue:

Right up until open, of course, but when the audience burst into laughter we had them. The second night was tougher, but the show was tight and once a seductive parody of an Irish neurologist swaggered onto the stage I knew we had them for the second time, and we were golden. Afterwards, we broke down the pieces and went to my absolute favourite of venues, being a bar, where I had a single drink (of the non-alcoholic type), chatted in the corner with a few people, and then left reeking of cigarette smoke.

Interestingly, I was shadowed most of the evening there by my poetry swapping Miss Butterfly friend. I’m not sure what’s going on there at this point.

Anyway, went home, had a few hours sleep – I’m close to nine hours in three days now, hoorah – and then attended a gathering of my mother’s family today, catching up with cousins, including some second/third cousins I haven’t seen since I was, oh, not old enough to recall. That was… the easiest difficult thing. Actually, I met (again) my mother’s cousin, Phoebe, and it was an interesting moment. I walked through my grandmother’s kitchen door (between the kitchen and the dining room and she just stood up, her face went a little pale, and she just mouthed “oh my God, that’s Ben.”

I didn’t have a beard the last time and I would have been in my primary school years – sure, there’s some resemblance, but no, more the fact that she was best friends with my mother I think. All in the eyes, I told her later, and she said that, the carriage, the slightly twisted/curved lip-smile, and just a certain indefinable something – a je ne sais quoi, perhaps.

I suppose that’s part of the contemplatory part of the evening, there. I love my family dearly, and I don’t see them often, especially the extended extendeds, and that, I think, is something I shall have to rectify in the future. I am a trifle uncomfortable with it all, I must admit – there are certain subjects I avoid and don’t discuss often, although I’m getting a few digital (scanned) photos in the next few days from cousin Phoebe, which is something I didn’t really think I’d want, so… that will be interesting. Possibly difficult to deal with, but as yet, I am unsure.

Lord. Lady troubles, death, family and theatre. I was going to talk medicine as well, but I don’t know that I can tonight. I need to go and read some fiction and then just fall to sleeps, I think. It will be nice, I can sleep in tomorrow without any issues due to the magic of schedule-free day (although I pay for it with a Fuck-you Tuesday!), and I should be receiving my new computer in the mail tomorrow… yay for new technology!

I wrote another letter to Jessica this evening. It was hard. I tried to write a poem. It was impossible. Too many issues with ‘X-Girls’ to pick one, too many fragments, too many memories, uncertainties, and just too much damn feeling.


No more ghosts.



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.




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. 🙂