Sunday, October 19, 2014

Three good Saturdays

The first Saturday we went to Bright for a wedding.  Bright is actually paradise.  Especially when it's sunny and the trees are blossoming.  I wore a dress and sandals all weekend and threatened to go swimming.  Jason and I went for a long walk along the river and wondered if the Bright hospital needs a critical care doctor and  sonographer.

We went to a wedding in Wandiligong (Paradise North).  We went off the reservation at the reception, down to the creek at the bottom of the property.  I didn't quite go swimming:

But I did attempt a Dirty-Dancing re-enactment. It turns out Jason's no Swayze.

Last weekend after a long ICU day we rode into the city to see Nihls Frahm, an amazing German pianist with all manner of amps. He played in the Melbourne festival hub, a big hot wooden box of amazing sound.  It was a balmy night so we rode home the long way, zooming down the Yarra to bed.  Then it was just a breezy (ha!) four more 13 hour shifts before some days off.

The third good Saturday was yesterday.  We went to see 'Finding Vivian Maier' with our friends Arla and Jesse. It's a documentary about the Chicago street photographer who was discovered post-humously by a somewhat obnoxious young man called John Maloof.   Vivian Maier was deeply peculiar.  My new ambition is to become deeply peculiar.  I think many of the best people are deeply peculiar.  My sister Pen thinks I am definitely on track in this regard.

After the doco, we ate at Tonka (modern Indian) and went to hear Tuba Skinny (sleazy New Orleans street jazz).  Jason and I walked home on another balmy night.  As luck would have it, the Spring street gelati store was still open. So we ate gelati in the park, in the dark, listening to 'Luck be a Lady.'

Stick with me, Lady, I'm the guy that you came in with….

Saturday, August 23, 2014

ghostbusting for a grateful public

This year my job involves seven 13-hour shifts in a row, followed by about six days off.  Followed by seven 13-hour nights shifts, followed by about six days off, ad infinitum. 

So it's probably not hard to imagine that by working day 7, the wheels have started to fall off. Last week on Day 7, my resident and I had a long conversation about how medicine is an absurd profession.    There are so many other fulfilling, worthwhile jobs that don't require basically constant study for over a decade plus horrendous working hours.

I was reminiscing about my year 10 aptitude test that suggested I should become an economist or an art critic.  At the time I thought they were terrible suggestions but now I marvel at how much I'd love those jobs.  My resident was keen on events planning or floristry. 

At one point I realised that the medical student thought we were joking.  I wheeled around to her, "You think this is a joke?!? It's NOT TOO LATE FOR YOU!!"  

Into this ballyhoo wandered my favourite characters in the ICU, the ghostbusters.  Two middle aged men in grey jumpsuits.  One inches along with a radar pointed at the upper walls, whilst his partner records readings on a clipboard.  I'm am always astounded that no one else finds this hilarious.  Every time I ask if they've found any ghosts and every time they tell me not to worry, they're just checking for water vapour. 

Of course, this time I asked how I could become a ghostbuster. 

Today we went to Trentham to celebrate Jason's dad's birthday. For the past few weeks, my mum kept telling us about Dr Wisewould from Trentham.  When my mum worked at Ballarat Base Hospital in the 1960s, Dr Wisewould would visit each Friday afternoon dressed in her gumboots and long black farming raincoat.  This had clearly made an impression on mum.

I reckon this Dr Wisewould must have had plenty of gumption, as well as gumboots, to be the sole doctor in the Trentham community.  She'd have done it all- delivering their babies, caring for their mad and their dying.  And the Trentham community appreciated her.  Look what we found in the main street, "erected by a grateful public":

Sunday, August 10, 2014

et cetera

1. Sunday DIY
Proper winter again today. We walked to the hardware store to get some wood to hang our awesome canvas throw/picture:
It was so sunny on the way there, then on the way back it TURNED!  Windy horrible rain in the face, running down Wellington street with a 3 metre picture rail. You can't turn corners very quickly with a 3 metre picture rail. 

2. Walking, not sitting. 

If I'd been asked ten years ago what I'd look would look for in a job, I don't think I would have asked for a job that requires standing and walking around. But now I realise that THIS IS AMAZING! My job requires standing and walking for at least a third of the day.  imagine if I'd gone into academia or, in fact, most other jobs, I would be sitting down all the time.

I think I would struggle to solve problems if I had to sit down to them.  I like walking around the ICU, mulling over something tangentially, to reach a solution.  But perhaps this is a cognitive weakness too.  I'm easily distracted, and I trained in ED which involves constant distractions and now I can't think without distractions.  But the walking helps, too. 

3. October arts

Having completely failed at MIFF, I am feeling pretty pleased with my Melbourne Festival selection:

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Winter Things

1. If on a winter's night a traveller…
Reading for next week's book club meeting.

2. Walking in Mornington Peninsula.
Jason and I went down to Red Hill on the weekend.  We walked to Bushranger's bay and Cape Schanck on Saturday and then ate the tasting plate at the Red Hill Cheese shop as reward.  The walk was fantastic, heaps of kangaroos bounding across the trailer.  We also saw a very handsome fox with a bushy tail, just like Fantastic Mr Fox.  

3. Mahler 1.
We went to the MSO on Thursday to hear Mahler 1.  I loved it.  I haven't been to a classical music concert for ages.  Seeing some of my old MYO friends on stage had me reminiscing about band camps past.
I loved hearing Jason's impressions of the concert, as he'd never been to a symphony orchestra concert before.  He kept looking at the players getting their instruments ready to come in, "You just lift your instrument up, get ready with your partner, and then…no…not now…put your instrument down again."  I had to admit it's pretty hilarious to see a middle aged man in a dinner suit getting ready to play the triangle.
We went past Blue Train on the way to the concert hall and I was sad to see that they don't serve lentil dahl anymore! Luckily I have more than $4 to spend on dinner these days. (It cost $8 but was big enough to share between 2 people).

4. The Returned.
Spooky French drama series.

5. Wearing a thin cotton dress over a neck to toe merino wool body suit.

6. Daphne making the whole flat smell divine.  Jason says,  "I can't smell anything. Does it smell like grass?"

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Autumn things

1. 'The Strays'
Emily Bitto's debut novel about the Melbourne art scene in the 1930s-1940s. A rambling house and garden, the Surrey Dive, evenings of Dionysian excess in the artists' commune. A great read.

2. Welcome to Night Vale.
I may be the last person on the Internet to catch this podcast. Jason and I started listening on our trip to Finland.  Although it's set in a small desert community, it seemed well suited to the isolated arctic landscape of Lapland. All Hail the Glow Cloud.


3. Lake Elizabeth, Forrest.
Jason and I went camping this weekend in the Otways, to catch some stars and some mountain-biking. Lake Elizabeth was created in the early 50s by a landslide into the Goulbourn river.  The dead trees in this lake reflect so well that it feels like walking around an immensely deep crater.

4. Lady-night
I caught up with Tash, Mel and Mandy on Friday night and it was FUN.  Tash drunkenly ordered a bottle of Shangiovese.  So of course I had to tell Jason's Sean Connery-DIY joke ("I have only my shelf to blame").

** The least terrible of my photos from our hotel window.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Department of Re-animation

Welcome to the Department of Re-Animation
I'm sorry that it's such bad news
There is only one completely pain-free state.

Whatever it takes? Everything!
I could smell it from the waiting room.
Where'd cub 7 go?  Oh, right.
No, she's the one who just looks dead.

Life is a time bomb

Shall we begin?

Monday, March 10, 2014

I am having a nice time

Jason and I went to Golden Plains for the weekend.  We did our own thing, our own quiet thing I suppose. Arrived at 5pm and found a lovely spot in the blue gums.  Put up our tent.  I love putting up our tent.  It's an old three-man tent, which is very easy to put up and roomy but cosy inside.

Then packed our cold bag with some beers and ciders and wandered down to the stage, running into Gen and her friends on the way.  By 7pm the sun was streaming golden through the amphitheatre.  We went on the Meredith Eye (ferris wheel) to look out over the plains.  Yep, them plains be golden.

The highlight of the first evening was Charles Bradley and his extraordinaries.  (I thought they were extraordinaires, but he kept say 'extraordinaries', so I'm running with it).  The Extraordinaries were extraordinary.  Such a tight band.

After Flyong Lotus we retired to bed.  Happily, I'd bought some earplugs and I slept like a very happy dead woman, waking up 8 hours later.

Sunday was just an awesome, beautiful day.  There was a man with a sign saying, "I am having a nice time" and I should have taken a photo with him.  For I, too, was having a nice time.

We saw the first couple of acts and then heard Michael Leunig give the keynote address.  He spoke about 'sleeping on country', a topic close to my own heart.  He spoke of the Finke desert and central Australia and stars and meteorites.  He told us to be careful that the world didn't pack us down too tight, to have quiet time and let the art come.

We met our friends Sarah and Dom while Hiatus Kayote were playing. Then Jason and I went off the property and off -programme, hiking down the steep ridge to the river.  It was a hot day and the water was glorious. We floated, watching the water sparkle in the sun and the birds hop around on the bank.

I was super-happy by the time we made it back to the 'Sup.  I bought a Zooper Dooper  (they cut the top off for me like in primary school) and danced to Los Coronas.

Then time for a kip in the afternoon heat.   I read 'A Girl is a Half-formed Thing' while Jason slept.

The evening: Osaka Monaurail, our old housemate Alex DJ-ing, Public Enemy and Cut Copy.  Public Enemy missed the mark a bit.  They are definitely just funding their retirements now.  They announced:  "Get your smart phones out and go to public enemy dot com slash free, to get your free gift."  Pause. "I don't see many phones out."  Pause "Ya'll got wifi here??"

There's no wifi here, Chuck D.  This be Golden Plains.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Diagnosis Wenckebach

I had a brief foray into illness this week.  I'd had palpitations for several days that I tried to ignore because I was doing night shifts.  A weird heart-jumping feeling that makes me want to hold onto my chest.

By Tuesday night they were really bothering me, so my friend Mel was going to do an ECG, but of course by the time we'd started another Medical Emergency Team call went off.  So we trundled off to the wards instead.

The next night I actually did get an ECG, revealing: DIAGNOSIS WENCKEBACH.  The arrhythmia with the JT soundtrack!!

I was a bit freaked out.  The nurse in charge saw my trace on the monitor and tried to send me home.  I went to ED to ask them to do some bloods.  They were like, "Sure, we'll take your bloods…whilst you are in a cubicle on cardiac monitoring until morning!"  I didn't want cardiac monitoring and a code blue went off.  So I walked moderately fast to the code, cos running gives me palpitations, and ran the code with a surreptitious hand on my chest.

After that it was a hectic night till morning.  I finally went down to ED, had bloods and an echo. Jason came to the hospital to be supportive. The cardiologist said I have a high grade Wenchebach (high grade!!), which is probably benign because I'm young and not collapsing.  A phenomena of young athletes!  Young athletes with high vagal tone!!  Too bad I'm not actually a young athlete.

Jason drove me home humming, "Diagnosis Wenckebach (AV type I mobitz)….My PR interval it elongates…."

And then the best part- Jason bought me gelati!! Perhaps I should get sick more often.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Make Hay While the Sun Shines

The roster gods have finally smiled upon me and I have had some weekends off this summer.  I know better than to waste them.

This weekend we went to Roseville, Blairgowrie with our friends.  Jason and I camped on the soccer pitch to stay away from crying babies and barking dogs.  Jenn asked me how I slept, I gleefully stretched and told her, "I had the sleep of a childless woman."

We swam in the beautiful rock hole and walked in the paths through the dunes.

We walked along the wild backbeach at Rye.

We ate pie at Johnny Ripe, on a hill overlooking their orchard.

Jason found nautical ephemera at the antique shop.

We swam at Rosebud, and lay on the beach reading.

We napped in our bedroom in the late afternoon sun.

And then we went to the Shadow Electric cinema at the convent and watched 'Hearts of Darkness'.  Hundreds of bats flew over the courtyard and then the movie started.

Yes this is how all the weekends should be.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

school for feminists

I went to a private, all-girls high school.  It was a great school, I had a fantastic education and lots of adventures.   But I still find myself reflecting on the strange lack of education about feminism.

The school's unofficial motto was, 'Girls can do anything!'  And they did: alumni regularly came back to speak about their experiences as banking executives, army officers, vets in Africa and activists. We went on compulsory hikes, played football in our compulsory PE classes and built solar-powered cars. It was quite a broad education- 18 months of our religious education was devoted to major world religions and we studied history and philosophy.

But there was no teaching on feminism, its history or current challenges.  We were taught that we could do anything.  We were not taught that some people would assume we couldn't do things because we were women.  Or that doing some things would be harder for us because we are women.  When I hit university, I was unprepared for sexism and had no working knowledge of feminism.  This felt like a strange hole in my education, a crucial blind-spot.

I'm not sure that my 'feminist education' would have been better at a co-ed high school, but at least I wouldn't have been shielded from the casual sexism I have to negotiate in adult life.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Good night.

Last week I finished my Last Emergency Night Shift Ever (Hopefully.  Until consultants do night shifts. Perhaps 2025?).

Of course, I've got plenty more ICU nights to work.  But nightshift in the Emergency Department is a particularly offensive beast, so it's worth marking the event. 

There's nothing like coming on to a department with at least 25 people waiting (read: any metropolitan department I've ever worked in), receiving handover of a further 30 patients, and then the usual updates: "The police have phoned in two section 10s. One's drunk, the other was wandering on the highway with a knife. They can't find the knife.  Oh, and did they tell you about the bat phone?  There's a GCS 3, ETA 10 minutes.  I've cleared resus 3."

And then it's on.  No Sleep till Brooklyn.  Or 10am.  Whichever is later. 

But you know, there are some good times.  Like the time I convinced a nurse to eat three cherry ripes and then breathalyse himself.  (He got 0.01). Or the lovely family who sat with their dying father and sang Ava Maria, whilst the ice-addled patient in the next cubicle hurled obscenities at everyone.  Or the polite patient who bled all over the waiting room and then offered to go and clean it up because he has hepatitis C. 

Anyway, I could go on but the interesting stuff just ain't fit for sharing.  And the polite patients bear mentioning only because they are the stark minority. 

Finishing my last night shift I felt so tired but euphoric, it reminded me of coming down after a huge night when I was 20 or 22.  I remember standing in the shower listening to Idioteque, and just bawling.  Smiling and bawling. 

So perhaps I'll leave you with this.