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SO this is how I felt through most of last week:

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  1. Modules are due in the next two weeks
  2. My consultant aka supervisor who signs my form seems to not like me
  3. I was ditched for the second weekend in a row by the one girl I was properly friends with. See, this is why having a #squad is useful. T-Swift isn’t wrong. crap.
  4. I almost forgot that I had to prepare for a mini 2 minute presentation today and thankfully woke up in a fright at 5am to do it. Yeah. I’m going mad.

66 DAYS. I feel ungrateful etc etc for not being ‘psyched’ to be here.

Oh well. I need to try to not feel as I do right now. I am trying, I really am. I’m almost halfway through my time here.

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Mt Baw Baw

Gosh, this post is way overdue. As you already know, the Mt Baw Baw trip was weeks and weeks ago, but here are some of the better photographs taken of the day.

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Mini Olafs were too cute I had to take a picture:
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I particularly like this one:321

 

At this point in time I was very dog-deprived that I bothered spending the money to play with the dogs. Totally worth it:6

And photographic evidence that I was there:

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I am flying home in 73 days. I changed my flight to 1.10am on a Thursday because we’re allowed to leave after the Wednesday of the last week. Yes 1.10am is a little absurd but the earlier I leave the better. hah.

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It’s my birthday tomorrow, and I turn 24. Whoopdeedoo. I don’t have any plans for tomorrow. I have this workshop in the evening and I’m hoping to weasel a dinner with the people I know who’ll be attending it, too. I don’t mean I want them to pay for my dinner, it would just be nice to spend my birthday with someone, and not alone. I’ve had most of this weekend being alone, and I assure you, I have done some stupid-emotional-wreck crying on buses and trains. It’s so stupid that spending my birthday without my family makes me this upset.

This week was my first in geriatrics and I actually like it. The patients are often amusing, as terrible as that sounds. The resident and registrar I’m with are quite nice, though I think the consultant has not warmed up to me at all. Win some, lose some, haha.

I went to the Melbourne Zoo by myself on Saturday and that wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I took loads of photos and stared as long as I wanted to at as many animals as I saw fit. I made it a point to make sure I walked through the whole place.

I watched Avenue Q with a friend and honestly, it was more amusing and a better time than Funny Girl. I feel kinda bad saying that, but I liked it better. I guess it did resonate better with me because it was more about ‘failing to adult’, and ended without much resolution about that main plot thread. I liked it a lot.

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Anyway, I’m missing my best friends more than ever tonight. As usual, being here does nothing else but remind me of those I love most in the world and how much I miss them. Here’s to family, and friends that are family, to those who love us despite how shitty human beings we can be- you are the best thing in my life. ❤️

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Happy Birthday to me!

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Revival

I just came back from watching Selena Gomez in concert, with DNCE as her opening act. It was a little ‘unreal’ to be ridiculously close to the stage. I am not a massive fan of Selena or DNCE, but I’m a human being, and making eye contact, however fleeting, with Joe Jonas being less than 50m away from me was surreal. Yes, he is very attractive from afar and in real life. Also, that band is really good in person. I am genuinely a fan now.

But I wanted to talk about Selena for a bit.

So, I went to this concert with two other girls, my friend from medical school and her cousin. We were really close to the stage, we could see her make-up, her outfits etc. And I’m appreciative of how much she works at maintaining a smile and a ‘character’ while performing.

Unfortunately, one of the first comments said once we left was ‘She’s so thin! She put on weight before but she’s so thin now!’

That got an instant frown from me. I know it was probably not malicious, it was more of a passing comment, in all likelihood. But at the same time, it was a sad situatioin because it shows how much focus is on a person’s weight. You’re either ‘too skinny’ or ‘you’ve put on weight’. It’s a miserable situation when you’re a female celebrity, and even if you’re a female person in real ‘normal’ life.

I don’t know why it’s a must to observe something like that. Does it really matter if she put on or put off weight, especially since she’s clearly in a normal weight range? Why does it matter so much how a person looks?

It’s hard enough to judge yourself without having to hear the world talk about you. Let’s stop doing that, give people a break.

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When the last time you post something was 3 days ago, seeing the number reduce by so little is a bit disheartening, haha.

Week two in Radiation Oncology has been alright. I felt like a complete idiot yesterday when I basically got 80% of the questions a consultant asked me wrong. So yay, for the final year medical student who knows nothing.

I’m gonna be an awful doctor, guys.

I’m waiting to attend a consult in a few minutes but I thought I’d type up something here in the mean time to keep with the pretty lame tradition of writing a post on my Friday break.

I have been weirdly exhausted these past few nights. I don’t know what it is exactly but I’ve been having a huge difficulty in waking up. Falling asleep has not been that much of an issue, thankfully, but the rising from bed has been quite trying. I don’t know what it is, or how to fix it. I’m not going to set an alarm for tomorrow morning so I can sleep in a little. I know we’re not exactly “adviced” to try to catch up on lost sleep on weekends, but whatever.

And no, I don’t have a fixed plan of what I am going to do this Saturday and Sunday. The fact that I don’t is kinda fun. hah. I should get round to posting up pictures of the places I’ve been going to in the last few weeks. Maybe that will be the sole thing on my agenda.

Have a great weekend and week ahead, guys. x

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I delayed this by a few days but guys, I fell sick on Thursday and I’m still sick now. It’s Tuesday. I’m in the library again, and tapping away at this keyboard while waiting for clinic to start.

So, week 1 in Rad Onc. It’s been okay.

Honestly, I’ve been a lot busier. I’m in the hospital for longer hours, but that does not necessarily mean I’m doing more. There’s some moments of me sitting around waiting as always, but yeah, generally busier.

I’m actually writing more in this department since I’m actually given the intern role, so that’s not too bad. I’m a little more fnctional, so that’s always good. I also watched brachytherapy being done last Wednesday, so that was interesting. At one point, the resident wanted to give me his pager so I could ‘hold on to it’ and help him answer pages. Not that I actually know how to answer pages. hah.

But it’s okay. I do miss the comfort of knowing where to go and what to do most of the time, but I’m settling in alright. I must admit that I would rather be ‘free-er’ and go do whatever I want in the afternoons, but that’s just the lazy person that is me.

I still have not gotten round to meeting my supervisor so he can get the assessment form, but honestly, I have only seen him that ONE TIME and I don’t think he even knew I exist. But whatever. I’ll deal with that later on.

I met a new registrar yesterday and she seems pretty nice. I have decided that I’ll be spending most of my time hanging out with her instead, just so I can make the most out of my time here.

My week aside from that has been quite busy. We went to Philip Island on Saturday and then, Funny Girl on Sunday. I’ll admit that I was underwhelmed with Funny Girl. I think in my head, I thought it was going to be far far more entertaining than it was. But after watching the movie with Barbara Streisand, I knew that I should not expect much. I mean, yes, it was good, but it would not be on my list of ‘favourite musicals’ I’ve seen.

All in all, I’m doing okay. I am hoping to cook myself a homecooked meal today, instead of eating crap and buying stuff from shops. I know, it’s awful. I swear, my diet since being in Melbourne has been pretty shite.

My med school ‘partner in crime’is away this weekend so I’m going to be spending my weekend on my own terms. It’s likely that I’ll be going to the Degas exhibit and maybe attempt to watch a movie here (although the ticket prices are outrageous). We shall see how this plays out. I’m more looking forward to sleeping in as long as I want as there is no pressure of having to be somewhere at a certain time.

Anyway, have a good week ahead, lovelies. I hope to write about good things soon.

Death and all his friends

Let’s talk about death and the dying.

I know, I do this a lot. It’s like death is a ‘favourite’ topic for me.

So, it’s still Friday right now and I’m still in medical oncology. (I’m not sure when this post is going up. It may be today. It may be some time next week) A patient passed away in the ward. I’m hanging out in the library just waiting for my resident to call so I can observe how to ‘certify a body’.

I’m sure you remember my little freak out three weeks ago. But after much reflection, I must face my fears. So when my resident asked if I’ve ‘been around dead bodies’, I said ‘yes’.

We walked in and saw the family briefly earlier. With all the emotions in the room, and the crying members of his family, I couldn’t help but get a little emotional myself. Yes, yes, Grace is a sap. But his daughter could not have been more than 15 years old and she was sitting on her mom’s lap.. it was all very sad.

As with all dead bodies, he was pale, he was still and very quiet. They genuinely look like they’re asleep. During the ‘certification of death’, the doctor has to check for response. That means calling out to the patient, physically trying to wake him/her up, checking for pupils to respond. I don’t know how that’s going to be like. I’m going to wait and see what happens later and update this post.

There are a good number of patients that I’ve seen that have a ‘poor prognosis’. They’re likely to live for a few months or less than that. One of them was told today that he may not live to see Christmas this year, so maybe it would be best to see his family as early as possible and get things sorted out.

That’s like a kick in the teeth, isn’t it?

Death and misery everywhere. Oncology is a serious business. It’s not jolly happy times- it’s people coming in knowing that they’re hanging out with the Grim Reaper all day. That must be a heavy weight to carry.

One of the patients mentioned yesterday that he hopes to be able to go downstairs and have a cup of coffee with his wife today. It’s the little things that matter at this stage.

Once upon a time, I thought I was cut out for hanging out with Death. But maybe I’m not. I’m not as stoic as I wish I was. I’m far too emotional and I get attached to people too easily sometimes.

So, I did the certification with the resident. I will admit that I felt quite a chill doing it. The room was quiet, rather gloomy. The blinds were drawn. It was just the three of us, two living, one gone.

The patient was in his bed, pale like he was before. His eyes were taped shut. We had to remove them. “You can always tell when someone is dead. They look like a wax figure,” my resident says.

We had to put on gloves. I chose the wrong size at first, having to go back and get the right ones. I struggle to put them on- anxiety? clammy heands? I don’t know what it was. It’s not like I have never worn gloves before.

“We have to check for response now, so that’s calling the patient’s name, doing a sternal rub..

He calls the patient’s name. He does the sternal rub, which is when you use your knucles to forcefully rub on the thin skin overlying the breast bone. Try it on yourself. It hurts. That usually elicits a response from someone who’s alive- a moan, movement to try to shove you off.

He had none.

“Now, we have to assess the tone. Once it’s a few hours after death, rigor starts to set in, rigor mortis, you know… try to move his arm.”

I felt like someone was squeezing my heart. I have never touched a dead body before this. I have touched my dead dog’s body, but not a human being’s. I have been for funerals, don’t get me wrong, but those bodies are in their coffins, behind glass and wood, preventing contact. I don’t know if my hands trembled, I don’t know if my resident noticed if they were. I touched his arm, I tried to move it from where his family undoubtedly placed them, fingers almost interlocking.

The joints were rigid. I should not have been surprised.

“Okay, listen for heart sounds, and lung sounds. Place your stethoscope on his chest, we’ll listen together.”

I am ashamed to say that I was a little afraid that I would hear breath sounds, or a heart beat. I am more ashamed to say that I actually thought to myself, “If he wakes up, I won’t scream. It’ll probably be a loud gasp at most.”How selfish and distasteful is that. How disrespectful.

The pupils were the final step. His irises were blue, surrouding the dilated center. No shrinking to light, no flicker of movement.

We discarded our gloves, my resident called time of death.

4.25pm.

I left not long after, there wasn’t any paperwork that I could assist with. There was this feeling, the same one I felt when I was in forensics. That weird ‘uncomfortable’ feeling of seeing someone dead. I don’t know the right words to describe it. It’s not fear. It’s not quite fear, I should say. It’s just a feeling of disconcertion. Just thinking about it now, days after, I can still feel it. I cannot put it to words.

My mother said that evening, “If you’re afraid of dead bodies, you’re in the wrong field.” Well, maybe I am. Maybe these almost-five-years have been a mistake. I don’t know if she’s completely right, but I know she’s not wrong, not 100%. Death is a process of life. And I should not fear it. But boy, am I uncomfortable with it!

Does this require ‘practice’? Can you practice being ‘comfortable’ with loss? Should I immerse myself in an environment that caused me to have a visceral reaction, like those however many minutes in the morgue.

Would I be less of a doctor by being uncomfortable?

I don’t know anyone in my batch who is comfortable. Maybe that is a failing of the way it’s taught in my course. We never dealt with dead bodies in anatomy. They could not ‘weed out the weak ones’ early. I am one of those ‘weak ones’. I am uncomfortable.

Maybe it’s part of the process. And in some ways, maybe it’s good that I still feel something, rather than feeling nothing. I’m sorry that it upsets my parents so much that I have a reaction.

I can’t help it. I may have had my own share of ‘near misses’ with Death in my life, but that does not mean that I am happy in his company. I am not his friend- I thought I could be, but I’m not.

Is that wrong?